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


Taken separately, if we had just "Rhys" or if we had "Guildmaster Montgomery", I think your assertion that it's just looking for a term everyone understands, would be more plausible. But together, they form a picture of two deliberate choices, both of which point toward Faction War.
It's possible you're correct, of course, but I think there's been so much hate towards the Faction Wars for so many years I think it's questionable that they'll use that as their new canon. I can see them redesigning the factions for modern audiences, but not in the way that that adventure did.

There are other reasons why I think their choice of Rhys doesn't mean they're going for the FWs. First, Rhys is physically cool-looking, what with the hooves. Secondly, if they had just said "Rhys" then... who is this person? What does this person have to do with training people or finding recruits or being a patron? Third, while all of the factions center around a philosophy, the Ciphers are among the most physical. Showing a martial artist or acrobat falling doing (or failing to do) something makes for an evocative piece, whereas the Sensates... experience things with wonder. It would probably be a beautiful picture, but not one that may necessarily grab you or show anything different than a normal D&D picture--and it's hard to show how Montgomery sighing because a recruit failed to experience something.

And of course, fourth, they ignored nearly everything from the Ravenloft adventures, keeping only the bit about Azalin blowing himself up--and even then, they changed how that worked.

Obviously, we won't know until they release a Sigil-oriented book, but I think there's reason enough to think they'll go for the traditional factions, or something similar.

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I know people are falling back on sourcebooks of 5e...and trying to validate that, but right now...nothing really is canon from the older editions to 5e...except maybe that the name of the game is still called Dungeons and Dragons.

We could go with the basic...we still have 6 ability scores that are STR, DEX, CON, WIS, INT, CHA...

But they could retcon that right quick if they really wanted to (not that they would) and that would be that with the current policy...so...

I'd say the name...and that's about it.

That could be a good thing...or a bad thing...depending on your take.


Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Some information on the Kingdom of Furyondy and the Sea Princes, the Azure Sea and the battle of Jetsom
There is mention that "one of the possible locations of" Acerak's Tomb could be in the Hool Marshes
Iuz is mentioned as "a cambion and demigod", as well as the land of Iuz having ties to the Tieflings of Greyhawk
A reference to the Tower of Zenopus (the sample adventure from Holmes blue basic)
A lot of info about Scarlet Brotherhood
A sidebar on Procan, Greyhawk god of the sea
A series of books penned by Tenser and Nystul
sahaugin worship of Sekolah
A Tharizdun worshipper

Specifically, for in the VRGtR, there is a line which implies that Lord Soth's Domain of Dread, Sithicus, is destroyed. That does imply it had existed, but no longer does.
This is a misinterpretation of what "not canon" means. It doesn't mean "never happened". It means "might or might not have happened", It's Schrodinger's History, and most of the time the box remains firmly closed. In the event that the box is opened, e.g. a future Dragonlance book says "Soth never existed" (obviously unlikely), then VGR never mentioned Soth or Sithicus by name - so there must be some other explanation. The point is, new players don't need to read a bunch of old bunch of books and modules to understand VGR.
I mean, you may be right, and the 5E DMG really has a lot of signs of being written in an awful hurry (something not seen in a D&D core book post-1E, I'd say), but equally I think the general thinking about these settings at WotC probably still holds true. (Spelljammer and Planescape aren't mentioned because they're just listing "Known worlds of the Material Plane"). So whilst I accept they could change any of this, I very much doubt that they will change any of this.
You can say this about most of the stuff from earlier editions as well - it's unlikely to be explicitly changed because there is no reason to do so.



  • Reorx is associated with the Forge Domain
  • Wee Jas is associated with the Grave Domain
  • Blackrazor is referenced under the Hexblade entry as a sentient magical weapon "carved from the stuff of shadow", tied to the Shadowfell (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Pholtus, god of the sun, is referenced under one of the example rivals; he has "somber" worshipers
Nentir Vale
  • The Raven Queen is referenced under the Hexblade entry as the creator of the first shadow/Hexblade weapons (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)

  • The book is ostensibly by the "Oeridian wizard Mordenkainen" and was shared by his student Qort
  • Shemeska's introduction mentions Bigby, Mordenkainen's apprentice whom he turned from evil; but she casts doubt on that
  • Qort's introduction mentions the Circle of Eight
  • Shemeshka and Qort both mention Mordenkainen's philosophy of "the Balance", which is elaborated on in the Blood War chapter
  • Iuz the Old is quoted in the section on demons; he mentions Doraaka, Greyhawk (the city), and the Amedio jungles
  • Rary is mentioned in Mordenkainen's sidebar on Demogorgon
  • Keptolo is mentioned as a primal elf/god and gets a profile in the drow deities section (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Tarsellis is mentioned as a primal elf/god and again in the list of elf deities (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Mordenkainen describes the elves of Oerth in a sidebar as "a sorry sort, abused by their past conquerors, often in hiding, and much divided."
  • The list of elf deities includes Gadhelyn and Ye'Cind (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • Mordenkainen has met Elminster, according to a sidebar at the end of the drow section
  • Vecna is described as a rival of the Raven Queen; Kas is mentioned in the same sidebar
  • The chapter on dwarves has a section on the dwarves of Greyhawk, to include specific details on Oerth's hill and mountain dwarves
  • The list of dwarf deities includes Muamman Duathal and Ulaa (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • The list of halfling deities includes Charmalaine, who also gets a full profile (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • The sidebar Halflings of the Multiverse describes the halflings of the Greyhawk setting, to include hairfeet, tallfellows (taller and more athletic with a resemblance to elves), and stouts
  • The list of gnome deities includes Nebelun, who also gets a full profile, and Bleredd (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • The astral dreadnought entry mentions Tharizdun, the Chained God, as their creator; Tharizdun is also listed as an Elder Evil
  • Fraz-Urb'luu is said to have been imprisoned for centuries within Castle Greyhawk on Oerth
  • The first skull lords are said to have appeared in the aftermath of Vecna's bid to conquer the world of Greyhawk; Vecna punished warlords of his that turned on one another by turning them into skull lords
  • Star spawn larva mages can arise from cultists of Kyuss; Kyuss is also listed among the Elder Evils (not explicitly tied to Greyhawk)
  • The book was ostensibly delivered by Shesmeska the Marauder
  • The Lady of Pain is mentioned as possibly playing a "game" against the Raven Queen
  • Sigil's Great Bazaar is mentioned in the halfling section
  • Maruts (and "the Kolyarut") have a new origin tied to Sigil (thanks, @Quickleaf)
  • Steel predators are constructed by a rogue hexton modron at a shop in Sigil
  • The section on Elves and Magic describes a mythal raised at Qualinost by the elves of Krynn
  • Mordenkainen describes the "dark" elves of Krynn in a sidebar, describes them as elves "whom others believe have betrayed their people"; he notes they don't have the physical appearance of drow, but wonders if that's permanent; he also notes Lolth and Corellon are unknown in Krynn
  • The chapter on dwarves has a section on the dwarves of Dragonlance, to include Kal-Thax, the Cataclysm, the Neidar, Thorbardin, the Dwarfgate Wars, the Hylar, the Theiwar, the Daergar, the Daewar, the Klar; it also has a specific section on the gully dwarves (aghar), which are "derided as stupid, smelly, and dirty" and "vermin" (no indication that there's anything to that beyond perception)
  • The sidebar Halflings of the Multiverse describes kender as the counterparts of halflings; they are described as having shorter life spans, pointed ears, and becoming "wizened" as they age; also as "great mimics and vocalists", "consummate storytellers", and very fast speakers (no mention is made of their views on property)
  • Tinker gnomes get a dedicated sidebar in the gnome section
Nentir Vale
  • The Raven Queen is detailed at length, with a new origin (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • The new origins of nagpa and shadar-kai are tied to the Raven Queen (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • Haemnathuun, the Blood Lord, is listed among Elder Evils (not explicitly tied to Nentir Vale)
  • The section on dwarves has quotes from "Tenelar, Outcast of Five Peaks"; Five Peaks is a location in the Birthright setting; could be coincidence (and not explicitly tied to Birthright)
  • Githyanki flying vessels are based on the illithid flying vessels, and powered by helms piloted by gishes (not explicitly tied to Spelljammer)
Dark Sun
  • The sidebar Halflings of the Multiverse describes the halflings of Athas as "feral creatures" that devour human and elf flesh; they live under chiefs and eke out an existence with "hunting, foraging, and raiding"; also described as "mistrusting, cynical, and often paranoid" due to their assumption that other races also devour other humanoids
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You can say this about most of the stuff from earlier editions as well - it's unlikely to be explicitly changed because there is no reason to do so.
I somewhat agree but also somewhat disagree. The difference with older editions is that they tended to believe they literally had a duty to maintain continuity and often included really bad decisions or lore-bits from the previous editions that should have been wiped away. I hate to grind the same axe, but one easy example if 4E's take on Sigil, which despite massive lore-changes about the basis of the D&D universe, inexplicably retained the specific status quo from the Faction War adventure - which both people who worked on the adventure have stated was not intended to continue - and acted like it had been that way for years. There are tons of more subtle examples too. Plus where the lore does change, they feel the need to explain it, often tediously and at length, which isn't actually helpful to anyone. The FR has been a particular victim of this.

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