D&D 5E What's after Tomb of Annihilation? (Ridiculously premature speculation on 2018 releases)

designbot

Explorer
OK, now all the secrets are out. We know about Dust (Tomb of Annihilation) and Midway (Xanathar's Guide to Everything).

Way back in November 2014, Mike Mearls said:

We're looking at two storylines a year. Right now, we have plans laid down for stories up through 2018.

Well, here we are, with releases revealed through the end of 2017. There are only one or two cats left in that original bag. It's never too early to speculate, so what are they?

I haven't heard any codenames. Possible clues:

  • In this interview, Chris Perkins says he has collaborated with outside people on upcoming adventures, specifically mentioning Charlie Sanders, a writer for Key & Peele. This Instagrammed lunch with Chris Perkins in November 2015 comes about 5 months after Pendleton Ward's collaboration in April 2015. If the lead time is similar (about 17 months from story collaboration to release), then the project with Sanders could be the next storyline, released around April 2018. Shortly afterwards, Charlie Sanders was featured on two podcasts (High & Mighty and The Tome Show) discussing D&D—I have not listened to those yet.
    • Update: I have now listened to both podcasts. The experience doesn't come up in High & Mighty, but on The Tome Show (starting around 21:34), Charlie Sanders says he was in Seattle for three days, brainstorming for a few hours each morning:
      It was a lot like being in a writers' room for a TV show, except we were talking about the next D&D module. And it was just riffing. Like I just sat down with the creative director of D&D, the main artist, and the main writer. And the four of us just hung out and threw ideas around of what could happen in the upcoming module and modules beyond that. It was totally fun. It was like a writers' room, but specific to D&D and even easier, because I didn't even bring a computer. You're just throwing ideas around, and they take what they will.
  • We've now had an adventure featuring Acererak (on the cover of the Dungeon Master's Guide), a book featuring the Xanathar (on the cover of the Monster Manual), and an adventure featuring the fire giant Snurre (on the cover of the Players Handbook)—though that was basically a reprint, we also had another new adventure centered on giants. So those covers may be exhausted for clues.
  • Volo's Guide added several new dinosaurs, just in time to be used in Tomb of Annihilation. There are probably other clues to be found in the monsters that were chosen. (My bet? The froghemoth and vegepygmys are clues about an upcoming adventure based on Expedition to Barrier Peaks.)


Key quotes:
A journal purportedly written long ago by the wizard Lum the Mad describes strange, cylindrical chambers of metal buried in the ground from which froghemoths emerged, but no reliable reports of the location of such places exist.
No one knows for sure where russet mold came from. One historical account tells of adventurers in a forbidding mountain range discovering russet mold and vegepygmies in a peculiar metal dungeon full of strange life. Another story says that explorers found russet mold in a crater left by a falling star, with vegepygmies infesting the dense jungle nearby.

Anybody know of an existing adventure that the "crater left by a falling star" would refer to? The jungle almost sounds like Chult. (If vegepygmies and froghemoths feature in Tomb of Annihilation, that would certainly dilute the significance of this evidence.)

Update:
It was confirmed in the announcement that froghemoths are featured in Tomb of Annihilation, so that's not necessarily a hint at an Expedition to Barrier Peaks-inspired adventure (unless their presence in Tomb of Annihilation is itself a hint).​

Assuming two adventures per year, with 6 months of story writing per adventure, and lead times of 18 months, I would estimate that the next three adventures have been written already (drafted anyway), with work now in progress on the fourth, a late 2019 release. It must be very hard to keep track of.

If you know of any other hints in novels or elsewhere, let me know.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Until now, I've assumed that the froghemoths, vegepygmies, and other swamp- and jungle-dwelling creatures in Volo's Guide were influenced by the upcoming Chult adventure. But you're right, those Barrier Peaks references could be significant.

Unfortunately, we're working with a lot less information this time around (or so it seems). One of the biggest clues in predicting Tomb of Annihilation came from a Salvatore novel. Supposedly a recent Ed Greenwood novel also referenced the resurrection curse in some oblique fashion, so there was that too. Now, with no new novels on the horizon, we don't have much to go off of besides the rule-books and interviews. Then again, Tomb of Annihilation might drop some hints as well, much as Storm King's Thunder did with Artus Cimber and the Ring of Winter.

If you want my best guess, based entirely on instinct, I think we're getting a planar adventure next year. I don't think they can put it off any longer, and they seem to be priming us for it too. According to Chris, Acererak's new Tomb is filled with strange souvenirs from his planar travels. That's the perfect opening to a plane-hopping adventure. Or, if not the planes, then something really genre-bending, like Barrier Peaks or Spelljammer. Whatever it is, I'm certain it'll be different from what we've had before -- more so than Chult or any other region of the Forgotten Realms.
 


ccs

41st lv DM
My 2018 guess:
●2 - 3 books, 1 of which I'll definitely buy, the others being 50/50.
●Some misc stuff (cards, screens etc) that I won't buy.
●a boardgame - that I might buy.
● a set or two of minis - of wich I'll pick up a few pieces as singles.
 

darjr

I crit!
Great sleuthing! I wonder. I'd love a Barrier Peaks adventure that ends up traipsing around the planes and going in and out of Sigil!

Maybe true space ships is they way they do spelljammer? There was a wrecked spelljammer in one of the AL mods. The set of adventures for In Volo's Wake in store introduction. And it was seemingly much more space ship like.
 

OK, now all the secrets are out. We know about Dust (Tomb of Annihilation) and Midway (Xanathar's Guide to Everything).

Way back in November 2014, Mike Mearls said:



Well, here we are, with releases revealed through the end of 2017. There are only one or two cats left in that original bag. It's never too early to speculate, so what are they?

I haven't heard any codenames. Possible clues:

  • In this interview, Chris Perkins says he has collaborated with outside people on upcoming adventures, specifically mentioning Charlie Sanders, a writer for Key & Peele. This Instagrammed lunch with Chris Perkins in November 2015 comes about 5 months after Pendleton Ward's collaboration in April 2015. If the lead time is similar (about 17 months from story collaboration to release), then the project with Sanders could be the next storyline, released around April 2018. Shortly afterwards, Charlie Sanders was featured on two podcasts (High & Mighty and The Tome Show) discussing D&D—I have not listened to those yet.
  • We've now had an adventure featuring Acererak (on the cover of the DMG), a book featuring the Xanathar (on the cover of the MM), and an adventure featuring the fire giant Snurre (on the cover of the PHB)—though that was basically a reprint, we also had another new adventure centered on giants. So those covers may be exhausted for clues.
  • Volo's Guide added several new dinosaurs, just in time to be used in Tomb of Annihilation. There are probably other clues to be found in the monsters that were chosen. (My bet? The froghemoth and vegepygmys are clues about an upcoming adventure based on Expedition to Barrier Peaks.)
Key quotes:



Anybody know of an existing adventure that the "crater left by a falling star" would refer to? The jungle almost sounds like Chult. (If vegepygmies and froghemoths feature in Tomb of Annihilation, that would certainly dilute the significance of this evidence.)

Assuming two adventures per year, with 6 months of story writing per adventure, and lead times of 18 months, I would estimate that the next three adventures have been written already (drafted anyway), with work now in progress on the fourth, a late 2019 release. It must be very hard to keep track of.

If you know of any other hints in novels or elsewhere, let me know.


Someone, somewhere in all the discussion this past weekend, mentioned that froghemoths would be making an appearance in ToA. I wouldn't be surprised to see vegepygmies as well, as they fit the jungle habitat. For all we know, we might get an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks type scenario as a part of ToA, which would be (a) cool, and (b) the basis for a huge amount of heated discussions here.

As for 2018, I am really thinking we'll be going planar next year. Mearls and Crawford both keep saying insistently that the setting for D&D is the multiverse, so what better way to showcase that than have a big plane-hopping adventure. Given that clues are supposed to be scattered in the core books and even in adventures, I'll stick to my theory that we'll see a riff of the Great Modron March, as it's mentioned in a sidebar in the MM, is the subject of the frontpiece illustration in the DMG, and lost modrons from the march can be encountered in OotA. I also think that next year's hardcover will be a book on the planes and other settings for D&D, which will give good reason to showcase the Artificer and the Mystic...
 

I think expedition to the barrier peaks will be done similar to the upcoming Keep on the Borderlands, i.e. a sort of licensed work by another publisher.

I think we will see a remake/spin off of Gates of Firestorm Peak. There's a lot of hints in the DMG, plus it would involve the Far Realm, which hasn't been a focus for an adventure yet.
 

jimmytheccomic

First Post
I'm thinking we're overdue for a Planescape themed storyline- I consider the Modrons in Out of the Abyss a thread they wanted to pick up later.

I also have a hunch we'll get a Fey themed storyline at one point.

They also seem to like being able to hook storylines around a villain. Maybe Lolth or Orcus? It may seem repetitive after Out of the Abyss, though.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
When it seemed like the Mystic and Artificer were going to be in what is now XGtE, my hope and supposition was that the book was going to be about the various campaign settings and the rules and PC info needed to run games in all of them. When it became obvious that Acererak was going to be the villain of the 2017 adventure path, I thought that was supporting my supposition, as he was a plane-hopping villain. We now see (especially with the delay of Mystic and Artificer) that it isn't happening that way this year.

So my hope is that a "Manual of the Planes" styled book is still on the docket and will now come out in the fall of 2018, and will include rules for the Mystic (and the other stuff needed to run Dark Sun) and the Artificer (and the other stuff needed to run Eberron.) Plus additional rules (like Backgrounds and stuff) for running games in Greyhawk, Mystara, Dragonlance, Birthright etc.
 

There is no world where I do not purchase a Manual of the Planes, whenever it comes out for any given edition of D&D.

For my part, I’m still a little surprised we haven’t seen anything with Halaster Blackcloak and Undermountain. That being said, after Acererak and the Tomb of Annihilation, I don’t think that we’ll see that next.

A Barrier Peaks module would be cool, and it would be interesting what they do with the techno-fantasy elements. That could be a potential Pandora's Box, especially if translated to Adventurers League play. I'm okay with it, but not everyone is comfortable with fricking lasers in D&D.

So my hope is that a "Manual of the Planes" styled book is still on the docket and will now come out in the fall of 2018, and will include rules for the Mystic (and the other stuff needed to run Dark Sun) and the Artificer (and the other stuff needed to run Eberron.) Plus additional rules (like Backgrounds and stuff) for running games in Greyhawk, Mystara, Dragonlance, Birthright etc.
 

A follow-up to Out of the Abyss where they take on Lolth, returning to the old Demonweb Pits would’ve been cool, though it would either have to be for higher levels or have guidelines for adapting it, as many would want to bring their OOTA characters to it.

I still wish that Orcus’ section hadn’t been cut from Out of the Abyss. He’s my favorite of the demon lords. Paired with undead mindflayers, that would’ve been something.

They also seem to like being able to hook storylines around a villain. Maybe Lolth or Orcus? It may seem repetitive after Out of the Abyss, though.
 

guachi

Hero
We already have three of the S series modules reprinted in TftYP, I wouldn't be surprised if they did the fourth in some fashion.

For me, though, the three S series modules were the least exciting part of TftYP because WotC had recently reprinted them in Dungeons of Dread (which I bought because I was excited to have them in an accessible printed form).

So if they do Barrier Peaks I would like it redone enough to be fresh. Fantasy/Sci-Fi mash-ups are a great way to give a feel for late '70s RPGs (and American culture, but that's a separate topic). Because of that, a fantasy/sci-fi mix doesn't have to be Barrier Peaks redone; it could be Blackmoor or something entirely new.

Who am I kidding? It won't be new. But something "inspired by" rather than "reprint of" would be welcome.
 

jimmytheccomic

First Post
A follow-up to Out of the Abyss where they take on Lolth, returning to the old Demonweb Pits would’ve been cool, though it would either have to be for higher levels or have guidelines for adapting it, as many would want to bring their OOTA characters to it.

I still wish that Orcus’ section hadn’t been cut from Out of the Abyss. He’s my favorite of the demon lords. Paired with undead mindflayers, that would’ve been something.

When I run it (in about two years, according to my loose schedule, haha) Orcus is going to be the main villain, because my players are dealing with the Demogorgon in the current campaign. I'm going to have it transition to the 4e Orcus adventures for the high level stuff- I also wish they'd put his undead mindflayer stuff up on DMs guild or something, though!
 


Ack. If I never, ever see Lolth as the main villain of anything again, ever, I'll be a happy gamer. I'm not one who has complained about revisiting past material, or new stuff inspired by past material--I often enjoy it--but enough with Lolth, already. :p
 

If we're going to see anymore fiends as main villains, what I want is Anthraxus and daem--uh, yugoloths. Give them the spotlight for a change. (And give us some decent stats while we're at it. The ones in the MM don't remotely stand up to their demon and devil counterparts.)

I mean, I'd be happy giving the fiends in general a rest for a while, but I'm saying if.
 

jimmytheccomic

First Post
I also expect that we'll see a "Tales From The Yawning Portal 2" sooner rather than later- I get the impression that it sold really well, and it seems like it gives the behind the scenes crew a bit of a break in terms of effort expended putting it together.
 

jimmytheccomic

First Post
Okay, one last theory- I still stand behind my hunch that they want to base it around a major villain, but I've come up with a more tempting choice for them:

Ashardalon hits a lot of the 5e storyline "buttons".

-Plays on nostalgia for 3rd edition gamers
-Some outside recognizably because of the board game (which can be repackaged in a deluxe set)
-He's more of a loose thread in the original adventure path, so they can have freedom to create a new storyline where he's a bigger focus.

If not in 2018, I bet 2019, they're gonna do an Ashardalon storyline, I'm certain of it.
 

Assuming two adventures per year, with 6 months of story writing per adventure, and lead times of 18 months, I would estimate that the next three adventures have been written already (drafted anyway), with work now in progress on the fourth, a late 2019 release. It must be very hard to keep track of.
According to interviews on DragonTalk with Perkins, he wrote/finished both Curse of Strahd and Storm King's Thunder only a few months prior to their release.
I imagine the planning starts early (especially for SKT that also has minis, board games, and video games to coordinate) and the actual adventure comes later. The broad strokes of the adventure are planned, and it's just a matter of filling in the details: writing the individual rooms and Grey Boxed Text as it were.

  • In this interview, Chris Perkins says he has collaborated with outside people on upcoming adventures, specifically mentioning Charlie Sanders, a writer for Key & Peele. This Instagrammed lunch with Chris Perkins in November 2015 comes about 5 months after Pendleton Ward's collaboration in April 2015. If the lead time is similar (about 17 months from story collaboration to release), then the project with Sanders could be the next storyline, released around April 2018. Shortly afterwards, Charlie Sanders was featured on two podcasts (High & Mighty and The Tome Show) discussing D&D—I have not listened to those yet.
  • We've now had an adventure featuring Acererak (on the cover of the DMG), a book featuring the Xanathar (on the cover of the MM), and an adventure featuring the fire giant Snurre (on the cover of the PHB)—though that was basically a reprint, we also had another new adventure centered on giants. So those covers may be exhausted for clues.
  • Volo's Guide added several new dinosaurs, just in time to be used in Tomb of Annihilation. There are probably other clues to be found in the monsters that were chosen. (My bet? The froghemoth and vegepygmys are clues about an upcoming adventure based on Expedition to Barrier Peaks.)
They've settled into a "big story" and "small story" rhythm. One tied into videogames and minis and more. And one that's not. The small spring story that is mostly a reprint (since it's coming so shortly after the fall book) and the big summer story that details the Realms and acts as a gazetteer.
Curse of Strahd and Tales from the Yawning Portal were both "small" stories in that regard. TftYP was also an exception as it was written by Kim Mohan and Mike Mearls rather than Chris Perkins (I imagine for time reasons). Honestly, I either expect another complication adventure or expanded reprint, like the above two. Something where half the adventure is just an update. So it can be done more easily, and give Perkins more time to focus on the needs of the "big" summer adventure of 2018, that has more tie-ins.

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is an odd choice for an adventure. Going spaceship and sci-fi is cool, but it's a little soon in the life of the game. Build a larger staple of traditional fantasy stuff first, and then get. I'm not saying it's impossible… just that it's a little more of a stretch and they might try for something a little safer first. After all, every storyline is someone's first, and you don't want to start with aliens and lasers.
It's too big of an adventure NOT to do. But I expect they're thinking about 2019 for that bad-boy.

It's also likely a little too soon for a More Tales from the Yawning Portal. So a reprint/ compilation might be harder to justify.

Looking at classic adventures:
  • Desert of Desolation is a good choice. Combining three adventures, it should be pretty large. (128-pages apparently. So they only need to expand it by 100 or so. Which is easily done by having some more setting description and low level adventuring.) Plus, deserts, mummies, and ancient tombs (that are actual tombs) haven't been done yet, and are classical but slightly different.
  • Gates of Firestorm Peak is a biggie that hasn't been touched. That could work. Get into the Far Realms lore and touch on aberrants. Would need a lot more expansion.
  • Dragon Mountain and Red Hand of Doom likely feature monsters that have been in a spotlight too much. Dragons need a break. Ditto the drow and Queen of the Spiders... although they did overlap giants and Acererak. So that's no guarantee.
  • Scourge of the Slavelords. This one can easily fill a book.
  • Undermountain. Which was teased and set-up with Tales from the Yawning Portal and is a pretty iconic mega-dungeon. We've seen a lot of small dungeons, but no singular megadungeons.
  • Rod of Seven Parts. If this was planned, it might not have been a throw-away element of TStorm King's Thunder. But… it did tease that item and set it up for a future story…
  • Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga. It's been commented in the past, that this could work well as a feywild adventure. I'd love a faerie adventure.

Looking at big villain types that haven't been featured:
  • Githyanki. Iconic to D&D, having been featured on the cover of the Fiend Folio. And invasion of the material plane ending in a planar jaunt to the Astral Plane and siege of a Githyanki city would be cool. But… it's not evoking a classic adventure, so WotC likely won't do it… (Although, Chris Perkins did write the high level Lich Queen's Beloved for Dungeon Magazine.)
  • Mind Flayers. These were skipped in Out of the Abyss. Likely so they could be used later. Again, this could tie nicely into Gates of Firestorm Peak. I imagine they might wait until 2019, and tie it into a psionic book. Or something with the Mind Flayers and githyanki fighting. But, again, it's not evoking a classic adventure, so WotC likely won't do it...
  • Orcs. There's not really any iconic orc adventures, so these guys have fallen to the wayside… And probably will continue to just be random encounters. But since WotC is only interested in call-backs...
  • Devils. These saw a little attention in Tyranny of Dragons but we haven't seen Asmodeus really make himself known. And, one more time, no classic to draw from. Well… maybe A Paladin in Hell...
  • Genies. Likely to Al-Qadim. But I'm gagging for a big adventure that goes to the City of Brass, which has always been a criminally underused part of D&D, despite once being featured on the cover of the freakin' DMG.
  • Fairies/ fey. See above.

Spring 2018
I think Scourge of the Slavelords is high on the list of most likely updates. It can be given the Curse of Strahd treatment and made a little more cohesive, while also working as a series of smaller adventures. Because people want smaller adventures.

Summer 2018
Then maybe a reimagined Desert of Desolation, placed in Mulhorand.

(Either could be replaced for Undermountain.)

Fall 2018
A book of magic items. Maybe with some lore on crafting and shopping, with some magic item shops. More artifacts and lots of advice on creating artifacts and building campaigns around them.
Ideal title: Bazaars of the City of Brass. Detail the city and its markets.
Maybe also the artificer, now that I think of it.

Spring 2019
Time to get weird. Expanded Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

Summer 2019
Summer of aberrations Gates of Firestorm Peak mashed with invading Githyanki versus Mind Flayers.

Fall 2019
Psionics and the Mystic. Maybe something on the planes. Planar gazetteer, like the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.
 

Okay, one last theory- I still stand behind my hunch that they want to base it around a major villain, but I've come up with a more tempting choice for them:

Ashardalon hits a lot of the 5e storyline "buttons".

-Plays on nostalgia for 3rd edition gamers
-Some outside recognizably because of the board game (which can be repackaged in a deluxe set)
-He's more of a loose thread in the original adventure path, so they can have freedom to create a new storyline where he's a bigger focus.

If not in 2018, I bet 2019, they're gonna do an Ashardalon storyline, I'm certain of it.

Ashardalon as the villain behind Dragon Mountain and a whole mess of kobolds could be so very cool...
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top