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D&D 5E What is Your Favorite WotC 5E Setting Book, and Why?

What is your favorite WotC 5E Setting Book?

  • Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    Votes: 3 5.4%
  • Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica

    Votes: 1 1.8%
  • Eberron: Rising from the Last War

    Votes: 15 26.8%
  • Explorer's Guide to Wildemount

    Votes: 10 17.9%
  • Mythic Odysseys of Theros

    Votes: 4 7.1%
  • Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

    Votes: 15 26.8%
  • An Adventure Book (Tomb of Annihilation, Descent into Avernus, etc)

    Votes: 8 14.3%

  • Total voters
    56
If you answer the poll with "an adventure book", please comment with which one you mean and why.

For me personally it has to be Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, for the following reasons:
  • Included after the descriptions of the gods are many "lesser idols" that can serve as warlock patrons. It's nice to see a setting book actually include examples of specific patrons for that world that players can pick for their warlock characters, such as the imprisoned leviathan Uk'otoa, the penitent solar Xalicas, and the godhood-seeking archfey known as The Traveler.
  • The gazetteer touches on every named location on the map, with many locations having at least one accompanying adventure hook.
  • The flavor of each region is further reinforced by a list of laws and their punishments. For example, the Clovis Concord of the Menagerie Coast allows private worship of evil deities but bans public displays, the Kryn Dynasty of Eastern Wynandir bans the worship of evil gods, and the Dwendalian Empire of Western Wynandir is in control of all the temples and bans worship of even some of the non-evil gods. The Clovis Concord is also the only one to not include capital punishment for any crime.
  • The section on races talks about them in general before going on to describe their presence (or lack thereof) in the various major regions of the setting and how they are perceived. Even races like aarakocra, goliaths, and tortles get this treatment. A particularly interesting example involves aasimar born in the Dwendalian Empire; those born to worshipers of state-approved gods are seen as a good omen, but a couple that worships an unapproved deity and has an aasimar child fears the attention that their child could bring upon them from investigating government officials.
  • Instead of a single introductory adventure, each of the four major regions of the setting gets one that showcases some aspect of the region.
 
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vpuigdoller

Adventurer
For me it was a close call between Eberron and Wildemount books but Explorers guide to Wildemount won thanks to the tiered adventure hooks after each area description. That alone has been so useful to my games that made it better than the Eberron book to me (which i love).
 
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Disclaimer: I haven't read Wildemount, Theros, or Ravnica.

Eberron for me. It's not my favourite setting, but it's the best book by a long way (partly because it's just plain bigger and can fit more stuff in it). I think the bit I like the most is the section which lists all the possible antagonists, their likely strategies, plot hooks, location, what sort of campaign they'd likely to be a part of. Really genuinely useful stuff. Same with the gods etc, it was brought back to a really down-to-earth level, how the material affects the everyday lives of peopel in the setting, how it'll affect your PCs, and related plot hooks. At every step, there was a really deliberate focus on how to use it in a game.

SCAG is just profoundly inadequate. It covers a tiny fraction of the setting, a small fraction of the pantheon, and does none of it very well. Its one saving grace is that it doesn't waste pages on an introductory adventure ... but it just cuts those pages out completely rather than fill them with something useful, so it's all a wash in the end.

Ravenloft I was originally very keen on, but it gets worse every time i re-read it, unfortunately. I profoundly despise that 90% of the population are soulless automata made by the dark powers to help torment Darklords. It was stupid in Curse of Strahd and it's worse here. These are the PCs family and friends and the people they should be protecting! I HATE that, it's literally psychopathic game design - 'nobody is REALLY real except us...'. The book completely cops out on covering the gods or religion at all. There's no attempt to address how the realities of D&D mechanics interact with the world as presented - Protection from Poison, for instance, is a 2nd level spell that lasts for 8 hours without concentration, and it makes everything in Borca about 87% less scary. Again, a lazy cop-out which makes running the setting as written harder. I think the Carnival is a poor choice of domain to cover in depth when there were better options. I think the later small writeups of domains later in the book are abbreviated to the point of uselessness, which annoys me more when i think of all the pages wasted on the adventure. I think there was some good stuff in here - the advice on different genres of horror gaming was great, and i really liked the new Har'Akir, but this isn't a fuctional, gameable setting in my opinion. As a toolkit to steal stuff from, yeah sure.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
For me personally it has to be Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, for the following reasons:
  • Included after the descriptions of the gods are many "lesser idols" that can serve as warlock patrons. It's nice to see a setting book actually include examples of specific patrons for that world that players can pick for their warlock characters, such as the imprisoned leviathan Uk'otoa, the penitent solar Xalicas, and the godhood-seeking archfey known as The Traveler.
  • The gazetteer touches on every named location on the map, with many locations having at least one accompanying adventure hook.
  • The flavor of each region is further reinforced by a list of laws and their punishments. For example, the Clovis Concord of the Menagerie Coast allows private worship of evil deities but bans public displays, the Kryn Dynasty of Eastern Wynandir bans the worship of evil gods, and the Dwendalian Empire of Western Wynandir is in control of all the temples and bans worship of even some of the non-evil gods. The Clovis Concord is also the only one to not include capital punishment for any crime.
  • The section on races talks about them in general before going on to describe their presence (or lack thereof) in the various major regions of the setting and how they are perceived. Even races like aarakocra, goliaths, and tortles get this treatment. A particularly interesting example involves aasimar born in the Dwendalian Empire; those born to worshipers of state-approved gods are seen as a good omen, but a couple that worships an unapproved deity and has an aasimar child fears the attention that their child could bring upon them from investigating government officials.
  • Instead of a single introductory adventure, each of the four major regions of the setting gets one that showcases some aspect of the region.
I completely agree with this, and I chose Wildemount as well.

For some additional reasons why I love the book, the Bestiary is filled with a ton of monsters, both setting-specific (Blood Hunters, Aeorian Hunters, Udaak, Moorbounders, etc) and non-setting-specific (Frost Worms, Frost Giant Skeletons, Husk Zombies, Sea Furies, etc), the Magic Item section has both generic items (Acheron Blades, Amulets of the Drunkard, Battering Shields, Dispelling Stones, etc) and amazing unique items (Vestiges of Divergence, Arms of the Betrayers, Luxon Beacons), and the subclasses and Dunamancy spells are super awesome.

The book is great. I highly recommend buying it to those that haven't, even if you're not a fan of Critical Role and aren't planning on playing in the setting. There's just so much that can be used in other worlds and campaigns that it will be well worth the price.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Mythic Odysseys of Theros. While I was going to do 'An adventure book' because my favorite of all of them is Curse of Strahd... I thought that'd be kind of lame to go off-list and take the non-setting guide Ravenloft rather than the actual Ravenloft setting guide available in the poll. And then the only reason I also didn't select Eberron is because I already own both the 3.5 and the 4E Eberron books and thus there's nothing in the 5E version that makes it stand out over the other two. So the book itself is 'eh' because I already own the best version of it, the 3.5 one. Theros is thus my favorite 5E setting guide overall.
 

JohnF

Explorer
Van Richten. I’ll never exhaust all that it has to offer, and the inherent replay value in the Dread domains conceit is actually compelling. Dark Gifts, Curses, and Survivor rules are added treats.
 

Bitbrain

Location: Arrakis
Eberron: Rising from the Last War.

It’s the only 5e setting I currently own, although I have been giving serious thought lately to getting Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. It looks really cool.
 

akr71

Hero
I voted for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft. I recently purchased the Beadle & Grimm's boxed set and have been devouring it in advance of a little Hallowe'en sidequest. While I may never run a long campaign there, I can certainly see myself getting a lot of use out of it.

I do own Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden also & it could feature heavily in our next campaign also.
 






I went with Ravenloft, because that's been a favorite campaign setting of mine for a long time, and I love what they did with the setting (okay, so I wish there was still a proper map of all the domains in relation to each other...).

But Theros is a lovely setting book, one that manages to feel both like D&D and like a Greco-Roman fantasy setting.
 




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