log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E What is canon about older-edition settings in 5E?

JEB

Hero
Sidenote: That they reference the Chaos War for Dragonlance in Yawning Portal...
  • is a pretty strong indicator that they were counting all the novels as canon for Dragonlance at that point, not just defaulting to the War of the Lance (though that was clearly still their preferred era, based on nearly all the other refs)
  • makes me doubt that the listed options for placing adventures in other settings include binding information; I'll be very surprised if they revisit Dragonlance in the Chaos War or later eras for 5E
Still gonna try and list all such refs, though, just in case (and to keep building the picture).
 

log in or register to remove this ad


JEB

Hero
TOMB OF ANNIHILATION

Greyhawk
  • Acererak gets a profile in a sidebar in the introduction (with a few more details in his statblock near the end); according to ancient texts, he's from Oerth; much of his past, however, is "forgotten"; he travels the planes in search of artifacts; rather than seeking godhood, he prefers to "create evil gods and unleash them"; he has many followers and worshipers; he has lived in "many worlds" and "crafted countless demiplanes", but mainly builds tombs, one of which is the Tomb of the Nine Gods on Toril (by implication there are others, presumably including the original Tomb on Oerth)
  • Vecna is a "prime example" of a lich who pursued godhood
GHOSTS OF SALTMARSH (thanks for help with this, @Stormonu)

Greyhawk
  • The adventures are set around Saltmarsh, a fishing community with a "tradition of being a starting point for incredible adventures"; it's apparently located along the Azure Sea; the book further details part of the "coastal lands of Keoland, a kingdom in the Greyhawk setting"
  • Saltmarsh is detailed at length, along with information about the Kingdom of Keoland (to include King Kimbertos Skotti), the Hold of the Sea Princes, and their relations to Saltmarsh
  • The Scarlet Brotherhood is profiled
  • Iuz is mentioned as "a cambion and demigod", and his emissary in Saltmarsh is a tiefling (possibly suggesting ties between Iuz and tieflings); his emissary in Saltmarsh works for the Faithful Quartermasters of Iuz
  • Mention is made of Ket, "a distant kingdom held in a mix of contempt, mistrust, and fear", and the Great Kingdom and (presumably) its Overking
  • Rare types of wood can be found in the Hool Marshes, the Drowned Forest, and the Dreadwood (which also has elves and fey)
  • A cleric of St. Cuthbert is mentioned
  • There is a sidebar on Procan, Greyhawk god of the sea and weather
  • Locations detailed near Saltmarsh include Abbey Isle, Burle (near the Dreadwood), Seaton, the Tower of Zenopus (from the sample adventure from in Holmes blue basic), the Dreadwood (now tied to the Shadowfell), the Drowned Forest (site of an Abyssal incursion), the Hool Marshes, the Dunwater River, the Silverstand, and the Azure Sea
  • All of the adventures in this book take place in Greyhawk by default
  • The updated Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh includes books penned by Tenser and Nystul
  • The Styes features a cult of Tharizdun, "an ancient deity of darkness"
  • In the sidebar for placing The Styes, they suggest the city of Prymp, in Ahlissa, implying it fits the criteria of "part of a free city that has fallen into despair and decay"
Mystara
  • In the sidebar for placing The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh in other settings, they mention the Grand Duchy of Karameikos and the Five Shires (which may share a border), the Blight Marsh, and Rollstone Keep; they also use the term "hin", which presumably means halfling
  • In the sidebar for placing Danger at Dunwater in other settings, they imply that halflings are tied to the Five Shires; they also mention Baron von Hendricks of Fort Doom, Darokin's "other port", Port Tenobar, and the "vast" Malpheggi Swamp
  • In the sidebar for placing Isle of the Abbey in other settings, they mention the Minrothad Guilds ("always interested in consolidating their power on the sea"); the Thieves' Guild; "the scholars of North Isle"; Fire Island; cult "followers of Alphaks"; and "Thyatian privateers" from Terentias
  • In the sidebar for placing Tammeraut's Fate in other settings, they mention Duke Stefan of Karameikos (who would apparently be concerned by a Thyatian attack); Rugalov; "Duke von Hendricks of the Black Eagle Barony"; "agents of the Iron Ring"; the "Known World"; Nyx; Orcus as an entity in the setting; and Protius
 
Last edited:




JEB

Hero
BALDUR'S GATE: DESCENT INTO AVERNUS

Greyhawk
  • Arkhan the Cruel has the Hand of Vecna, having acquired it from the world of Exandria (one can assume this is the same Hand of Vecna from Oerth, having found its way to Exandria, but it doesn't actually say this)
ICEWIND DALE: RIME OF THE FROSTMAIDEN

Greyhawk
  • The Secret of the Obelisks sidebar notes that "an evil wizard named Vecna" stole one obelisk and used it wipe the obelisk's creators out of existence, and also stole the knowledge to make new obelisks; this took place sometime before Netheril's fall in the Realms, as Netherese wizards "later" learned the secret of making obelisks; so Vecna's living days were at some point before -339 DR (over 1800 years ago)
Spelljammer
  • A Nautiloid features in the sidequest "Id Ascendant", including a layout of the interior and various functions (not explicitly tied to Spelljammer; don't know how accurate it is to Spelljammer, either)
CANDLEKEEP MYSTERIES

Greyhawk
  • An alternate setting for this anthology is the Great Library in the Free City of Greyhawk
 

JEB

Hero
EXPLORER'S GUIDE TO WILDEMOUNT

Nentir Vale
  • The creation story has parallels with the World Axis cosmology (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • The Dawn War pantheon is worshipped in Exandria, to include the Raven Queen (whose origin story differs from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes) (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
Greyhawk
  • "Vecna the Whispered One" was a notable archmage in the Age of Arcanum, and is part of Exandria's pantheon (the same Vecna as the one on Greyhawk, or a variant? not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Kord, Pelor, and Tharizdun are part of Exandria's pantheon (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
VAN RICHTEN'S GUIDE TO RAVENLOFT (thanks, @Urriak Uruk)

Nentir Vale
  • One option for Ezra's true nature is that she's an aspect of the Raven Queen (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
Greyhawk
  • Azalin Rex once existed as the Darklord of Darkon (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Among the domain of Klorr's echoes of "lost and failed" domains is one with "a city of skulls"; possibly a reference to Vecna's 2E Ravenloft domain of Cavitius, although for 5E alone it could be anything
  • Kas the Bloody Handed, Vecna's traitorous vampire ex-lieutenant, rules the domain of Tovag; he's "notorious across the planes"; he was taken by the Mists after betraying Vecna and engaging in a battle with him that supposedly destroyed them both; he searches for the Sword of Kas (same setting as Vecna by implication)
  • The entry for Tovag also describes the lich Vecna as growing in power "over ages and across worlds" after escaping the battle with Kas that supposedly destroyed them both
Dragonlance
  • Among the domain of Klorr's echoes of "lost and failed" domains is one with "a tower like a blackened rose"; possibly a reference to Lord Soth's 2E Ravenloft domain of Sithicus, although for 5E alone it could be anything (note also that Lord Soth hasn't explicitly been tied to Dragonlance in 5E)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Arkhan the Cruel has the Hand of Vecna, having acquired it from the world of Exandria (one can assume this is the same Hand of Vecna from Oerth, having found its way to Exandria, but it doesn't actually say this)
Ah, no, bit of a spoiler for Critical Role there, but Arkhan actually got the Hand a more...direct...way while
Vecna was distracted by his ascension to godhood
.
 

JEB

Hero
Ah, no, bit of a spoiler for Critical Role there, but Arkhan actually got the Hand a more...direct...way while
Vecna was distracted by his ascension to godhood
.
Interesting, thanks. But this raises an interesting question... the Baldur's Gate book tells us nothing about that, just that Arkhan has the Hand. Icewind Dale makes Vecna a contemporary of (or older than) Netheril. The Exandria book is actually pretty vague about when Vecna ascended to godhood, except that he's the newest god in the pantheon. And the 5E Ravenloft book notes he's gone between multiple worlds.

Wizards appears to have left themselves a few different ways of handling Vecna's backstory in 5E, none of which technically contradict any of the 5E books:
  • One Vecna, from Greyhawk, visiting multiple worlds (also works with older-edition lore, but not Critical Role)
  • One Vecna, from Exandria, visiting multiple worlds (also works with Critical Role, but not older-edition lore)
  • One Vecna, from an unknown world, visiting multiple worlds (safe middle, broad-strokes)
  • Different variants of Vecna in different settings (Into the Vecna-Verse?)
That Vecna has also meddled with something that can basically create retcons may be relevant...

EDIT: Just realized that by the new canon policy, Critical Role isn't canon for D&D 5E; it's not from a 5E RPG book. So only what's in the Exandria book would count.
 
Last edited:

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Interesting, thanks. But this raises an interesting question... the Baldur's Gate book tells us nothing about that, just that Arkhan has the Hand. Icewind Dale makes Vecna a contemporary of (or older than) Netheril. The Exandria book is actually pretty vague about when Vecna ascended to godhood, except that he's the newest god in the pantheon. And the 5E Ravenloft book notes he's gone between multiple worlds.

Wizards appears to have left themselves a few different ways of handling Vecna's backstory in 5E, none of which technically contradict any of the 5E books:
  • One Vecna, from Greyhawk, visiting multiple worlds (also works with older-edition lore, but not Critical Role)
  • One Vecna, from Exandria, visiting multiple worlds (also works with Critical Role, but not older-edition lore)
  • One Vecna, from an unknown world, visiting multiple worlds (safe middle, broad-strokes)
  • Different variants of Vecna in different settings (Into the Vecna-Verse?)
That Vecna has also meddled with something that can basically create retcons may be relevant...

EDIT: Just realized that by the new canon policy, Critical Role isn't canon for D&D 5E; it's not from a 5E RPG book. So only what's in the Exandria book would count.
Vecna ascended into godhood about twenty years prior to the Wildemount book's timeframe, in rather dramatic fashion, and I'll leave it at that.
 

JEB

Hero
Vecna ascended into godhood about twenty years prior to the Wildemount book's timeframe, in rather dramatic fashion, and I'll leave it at that.
Not according to the Exandria book itself, though (unless I missed a reference). So by the current Wizards canon policy, we don't officially know when Vecna ascended (except that it was more recently than the Raven Queen) or how Arkhan got that hand. This policy makes for some interesting effects...

Side thought: I wonder if this is part of why the revised Tal'dorei book is being independently produced, instead of released through Wizards like Exandria was. (Though it being a guaranteed best-seller for CR's homegrown game company would have been more than enough reason.)
 
Last edited:

Concerning Vecna and Critical Role, the short version is that he was featured as the final antagonist of Campaign One. He became a god but was banished.

The longer version is that in Critical Role, the Raven Queen was a mage during the Age of Arcanum that created the Rites of Ascension to kill the god of the dead and take his place as goddess of death. The other gods agreed to not take action against her so long as the Rites of Ascension were hidden away.

Vecna, another magic-user during this Age, sought the Rites and became a lich to prolong his quest for godhood while opposing the Raven Queen, though he was betrayed by his ally Kas shortly after defeating a hero named Yos Varda (this Kas was destroyed, his soul trapped by Vecna within the Sword of Kas).

Years later, another mage inspired by the Raven Queen's rise to godhood attempted his own ritual...which unleashed the imprisoned evil gods upon the world and brought about the Calamity, a divine war waged across Exandria. At its end, the Prime Deities established the Divine Gate to banish all fully-manifested gods from the world and keep them out. Though the Prime Deities could break the Divine Gate, it would allow for the Calamity to repeat.

Finally, during the last stretch of Campaign One of Critical Role Vecna learned how to ascend to godhood, succeeded, and attempted his first "miracle": the destruction of the city from which the Prime Deities operated upon Exandria during the Calamity. The adventuring party Vox Machina was aided by several allies (including Arkhan the Cruel) to weaken Vecna enough so that the Rites of Prime Banishment could be performed, sending the new god beyond the Divine Gate and barring his return to Exandria.

IIRC, Matt Mercer later commented future villains would be original creations of his rather than being established D&D characters (though Tharizdun was featured in Campaign 2 under the title The Chained Oblivion, and the ending of Campaign 2 implies that The Chained Oblivion is subtly connected to multiple apocalyptic threats via a vision of black chains shattering when the campaign's villain was defeated).


So...yeah, Arkhan is effectively a canon anomaly in 5E. Descent into Avernus explicitly states that he got the Hand of Vecna from Exandria. You can easily watch the episode of Critical Role where this happened and skip to the moment when Arkhan cut his own hand off and stuck the Hand of Vecna to the stump. This was very soon after Vecna became a god.

Now I'm curious if the upcoming Critical Role Amazon Prime show will cover the end of Campaign One and, if so, whether it will feature Arkhan the Cruel or omit him.
 
Last edited:

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
Awesome work.

I do have to point out something though. The authors of these books, are what might be called "unreliable narrator's." So, for example, it would be easy enough for Tasha to say later: "Oh, I wasn't raised by Baba. I just said that to keep my past undisclosed."
That is kind of the whole point. It frees up DM to much about with the lore and WoTC to contradict past lore. In part to walk back lore that may be discriminatory or have other problems. It also gives them room for lore mistakes, which reduces the cost of lore compliance and finally they get a out if they publish something that is unpopular. By unpopular here I do not mean lore that cause an outcry. They deserve to take flack for that but stuff that just falls flat.
 

Bolares

Hero
Now I'm curious if the upcoming Critical Role Amazon Prime show will cover the end of Campaign One and, if so, whether it will feature Arkhan the Cruel or omit him.
If they get that far, I'm curious if Hasbro will let them license Vecna for the show, or if they will right some other villain in
 

Remathilis

Legend
Different variants of Vecna in different settings (Into the Vecna-Verse?)

So one of the things hinted at in Fizban's is that D&D deities and beings of power can have echos that reflect multiple worlds. Tiamat on Faerun , Exandria, Eberron, and Tahkisis on Krynn are all echos of the real Tiamat that can have subtle changes in outlook, temperament, domains of influence and even identity, but stem from the same primordial entity. Thus, it might become possible to reconcile Vecna's multiple origins with the birth of multiple echos on different worlds. I assume the same could be true of the Raven Queen and other immigrant deities like Tyr on Faerun.

 

Chaosmancer

Legend
EXPLORER'S GUIDE TO WILDEMOUNT

Nentir Vale
  • The creation story has parallels with the World Axis cosmology (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • The Dawn War pantheon is worshipped in Exandria, to include the Raven Queen (whose origin story differs from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes) (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
Greyhawk
  • "Vecna the Whispered One" was a notable archmage in the Age of Arcanum, and is part of Exandria's pantheon (the same Vecna as the one on Greyhawk, or a variant? not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Kord, Pelor, and Tharizdun are part of Exandria's pantheon (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)

This seems to be a bit ridiculous to me. Exandria is its own setting, not Nentir Vale or Greyhawk. Making connections to the wider multiverse of DnD like this would be like saying that Takhissis and Tiamat are the same exact being and their stories are identical.

Now, I do admit that in the Wildemount book they use the same names for the gods as well as titles, but in the Tal'dorie book they only used their titles and I think it is far more appropriate to consider these new dieties rather than the old ones, even if we can draw comparisons between them.

(And, just because I think most of these titles are super cool names and they don't all match the Dawn War Pantheon, here is the list.)

The Archeart -> Corellon Larethian
The Allhammer -> Moradin
The Changebringer -> Avandra
The Dawnfather -> Pelor
The Everlight -> Sarenrae (Not Dawn War, Pathfinder, referred to as Raei in the Wildemount book)
The Knowing Mistress -> Ioun
The Lawbearer -> Erathis
The Matron of Ravens (blech, only bad name)-> The Raven Queen
The Moonweaver -> Sehanine Moonbow
The Platinum Dragon -> Bahamut
The Stormlord -> Kord
The Wildmother -> Melora
The Chained Oblivion -> Tharizdun
The Cloaked Serpent -> Zehir
The Crawling King -> Torog
The Lord of the Hells (eh, also not a great name) -> Asmodeus
The Ruiner -> Gruumsh
The Spider Queen -> Lolth
The Strife Emperor -> Bane
The Scaled Tyrant -> Tiamat
The Whispered One -> Vecna

I know it is only a single divergence, but it is a pretty big and thorny one. There are also 10 lesser powers that I don't think correspond to anything in another setting.


Edit: And if this was just a way to say "the dawn war pantheon exists in 5e!... it is in the DMG. You don't need Wildemount to provide those names. They also are in the PHB, for those from FR or Greyhawk
 

guachi

Adventurer
GHOSTS OF SALTMARSH (thanks for help with this, @Stormonu)


Mystara
  • In the sidebar for placing The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh in other settings, they mention the Grand Duchy of Karameikos and the Five Shires (which may share a border), the Blight Marsh, and Rollstone Keep; they also use the term "hin", which presumably means halfling
  • In the sidebar for placing Danger at Dunwater in other settings, they imply that halflings are tied to the Five Shires; they also mention Baron von Hendricks of Fort Doom, Darokin's "other port", Port Tenobar, and the "vast" Malpheggi Swamp
  • In the sidebar for placing Isle of the Abbey in other settings, they mention the Minrothad Guilds ("always interested in consolidating their power on the sea"); the Thieves' Guild; "the scholars of North Isle"; Fire Island; cult "followers of Alphaks"; and "Thyatian privateers" from Terentias
  • In the sidebar for placing Tammeraut's Fate in other settings, they mention Duke Stefan of Karameikos (who would apparently be concerned by a Thyatian attack); Rugalov; "Duke von Hendricks of the Black Eagle Barony"; "agents of the Iron Ring"; the "Known World"; Nyx; Orcus as an entity in the setting; and Protius

Mystara is the only D&D setting I really know well and these examples are all spot on. I've run the original Sinister Secrets in 5e several years ago and I placed it SW of the capital in Sulescu village because I had no plans to run the other modules but Blight Marsh on the Karameikos-Five Shires border is the perfect place to put it.
 

Voadam

Legend
From the Chris Perkins Canon statement

"Fifth edition’s canon includes every bit of lore that appears in the most up-to-date printings of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Beyond these core rulebooks, we don’t have a public-facing account of what is canonical in fifth edition because we don’t want to overload our fellow creators and business partners."
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
"Fifth edition’s canon includes every bit of lore that appears in the most up-to-date printings of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Beyond these core rulebooks, we don’t have a public-facing account of what is canonical in fifth edition because we don’t want to overload our fellow creators and business partners."

-Chris Perkins, here: D&D Canon | Dungeons & Dragons

Ducks and covers
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top