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D&D 5E WotC: 5 D&D Settings In Development?

WotC's Ray Winninger spoke a little about some upcoming D&D settings -- two classic settings are coming in 2022 in formats we haven't seen before, and two brand new (not Magic: the Gathering) settings are also in development, as well as return to a setting they've already covered in 5E. He does note, however, that of the last three, there's a chance of one or more not making it to release, as they develop more than they use.

settinss.jpg

Two classic settings? What could they be?

So that's:
  • 2 classic settings in 2022 (in a brand new format)
  • 2 brand new settings
  • 1 returning setting
So the big questions -- what are the two classic settings, and what do they mean by a format we haven't seen before? Winninger has clarified on Twitter that "Each of these products is pursuing a different format you've never seen before. And neither is "digital only;" these are new print formats."

As I've mentioned on a couple of occasions, there are two more products that revive "classic" settings in production right now.

The manuscript for the first, overseen by [Chris Perkins], is nearly complete. Work on the second, led by [F. Wesley Schneider] with an assist from [Ari Levitch], is just ramping up in earnest. Both are targeting 2022 and formats you've never seen before.

In addition to these two titles, we have two brand new [D&D] settings in early development, as well as a return to a setting we've already covered. (No, these are not M:tG worlds.)

As I mentioned in the dev blog, we develop more material than we publish, so it's possible one or more of these last three won't reach production. But as of right now, they're all looking great.


Of course the phrase "two more products that revive 'classic' settings" could be interpreted in different ways. It might not be two individual setting books.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Interesting - I had assumed it was a Nautiloid, because he was a Mindflayer (I don't have the adventure), is it not? And when you say rules, how detailed are you talking? Last I heard people were claiming 5E had "no official spelljamming rules" and fighting over homebrew attempts at them.
About a half page of rules for Spelljammer helm as a Magic Item. As my grandfather always said, "good enough for government wotk."

It is Nautaloid shaped, but it's made of wood. The Mindflayer (who wears a a trifold hat and Carribean pirate costume) has a crew of Orogs he recruited from another planet in Realmspace. The tension of the denizens of that dungeon level is that he has resorted to eating his xrews brains, and his crew doesn't want to be eaten.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
It is a Nautiloid in particular, not just a spelljammer.

The book doesn't actually include all the rules for Spelljamming exactly. It includes all the information on the ship's structure, includes a Stardock accessible from level 16, and has the Helm taken to level 23. If you get the helm and put it on a boat, any boat under 100 tons, you can make the ship you're on function as a spelljammer with a speed of miles per hour equal to your highest unexpended spell slot level.

No information about interplanetary travel, nothing about Phlogiston or the Spheres. Just "Your boat now flies at a speed based on your spell slots, has an atmosphere at 70F at all times, and has gravity".
I mean, it can be improved from that basis. But a whole book that goes into those details and gives a solid space setting...could be legit.
 


I’m just seeing a canvas that is ripe for repainting that didn’t get to live up to its full potential when it originally came out for a number of reasons where you see forgettable trash. We can obviously agree to disagree on that.
I'm not sure we actually disagree. Those are two spins on the same thing to me. I don't think it could ever have lived up to its full potential because I don't think anyone at TSR cared about it or liked it enough, not even Jeff Grubb, though. And think part of the reason they didn't care about it enough (and fans didn't either) is that it was a compelling high concept, but that's where it ended - they didn't manage to make the actual setting compelling too.
It is a Nautiloid in particular, not just a spelljammer.

The book doesn't actually include all the rules for Spelljamming exactly. It includes all the information on the ship's structure, includes a Stardock accessible from level 16, and has the Helm taken to level 23. If you get the helm and put it on a boat, any boat under 100 tons, you can make the ship you're on function as a spelljammer with a speed of miles per hour equal to your highest unexpended spell slot level.

No information about interplanetary travel, nothing about Phlogiston or the Spheres. Just "Your boat now flies at a speed based on your spell slots, has an atmosphere at 70F at all times, and has gravity".
That makes a lot of sense, and is more like what I was expecting, given all the "5E has no spelljamming rules!" stuff was post-Mad Mage.
I mean, it can be improved from that basis. But a whole book that goes into those details and gives a solid space setting...could be legit.
Problem being that Spelljammer as of 1989 and the early 1990s was not, imho, remotely close to a "solid space setting". It had some "baddies", but no real compelling conflicts or stories or memorable stuff beyond simple stuff "Giff were bizarrely cool!" "Neogi were super-creepy!" "The Elven Navy seem like wankers I can't understand why the book seems to think they're okay!" and "Space Hamsters were lolz!".
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
I mean, it can be improved from that basis. But a whole book that goes into those details and gives a solid space setting...could be legit.
Which is why I think it'd be an awesome expansion of Planescape. Because the Spelljamming Rules themselves would be pretty simple to model from the point they're already at, just need the inter-stellar and inter-planar portions to make it amazing. Fly your Spelljammer into the plane of fire and have the deck stay at 70F, gird yourself with heat protections, and set out.

Traveling between worlds, seeing the goofy stuff and the serious stuff, doing the on-the-deck fighting thing, making the travel between planes and planets something important rather than just another portal...

It'd be baller.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Problem being that Spelljammer as of 1989 and the early 1990s was not, imho, remotely close to a "solid space setting". It had some "baddies", but no real compelling conflicts or stories or memorable stuff beyond simple stuff "Giff were bizarrely cool!" "Neogi were super-creepy!" "The Elven Navy seem like wankers I can't understand why the book seems to think they're okay!" and "Space Hamsters were lolz!".
Well, look at Ravenloft circa 1990, versus 2021. A 5E Spelljammer is not limited by the past.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Which is why I think it'd be an awesome expansion of Planescape. Because the Spelljamming Rules themselves would be pretty simple to model from the point they're already at, just need the inter-stellar and inter-planar portions to make it amazing. Fly your Spelljammer into the plane of fire and have the deck stay at 70F, gird yourself with heat protections, and set out.

Traveling between worlds, seeing the goofy stuff and the serious stuff, doing the on-the-deck fighting thing, making the travel between planes and planets something important rather than just another portal...

It'd be baller.
Spelljammers travel in the Prime Marerial, though, not through dimensions. That's an established part of the 5E cosmos. They are not likely to change the unified metasetting they have built up.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
the lack of gun in spelljammer is just odd, people would love a setting with guns.
Right?
Another reason why I didn't like the Phlogiston, though I'd think that with the invention of percussion cap technology someone would figure out how to compress a bit of Phlogiston inside a metal cap and use it as a propellant.
The phlo is weird. Cool weird, mostly. But weird.

Phlo as energy source would work well...as long as you're not following the original setting. The phlo dissipates when brought into a crystal sphere and ignites when it comes into contact with even a tiny spark of fire.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I see where you're coming from, totally but Spelljammer is the wrong kind of silly.

Like "kids today" do indeed like a lot of stuff that's kind of superficially "silly" (as did my generation, really), most of it represented by various somewhat-actually-edgy cartoons like Rick & Morty or Infinity Train (I'm sorry, it is, based on what I've seen of it), or, especially for a slightly older generation, now in their later twenties mostly seriously fluffy/secretly kind cartoons with a slight edge of self-knowing-ness like the previous gen of MLP (I dunno if there's a new gen yet I haven't been following - I've literally watched six episodes of MLP in my life, well, over the age of 10 anyway) or Steven Universe or w/e (actually SU is extremely serious at times, but that's part of the whole deal).

Spelljammer belongs, very firmly, to an older breed of much less self-aware or totally un-self-aware, much less secretly-edgy (or equally, secretly kind - Spelljammer is neither) silliness, that is silly more for the sake of being silly, doesn't feature references or much in the way of "meta" commentary or the like. It has a relationship to the LOL SO RANDOM era of the internet (a long-ago time), which whilst later, featured a lot of the same sort of stuff that didn't really have a meta component, it was literally just silly to be silly.

So I think it would take a lot of work to reshape that into a modern-friendly kind of silly.

And I guess the big issue is, there ain't much to work with. You have a very bland and rather featureless space setting. Even Realmspace, Krynnspace etc. which probably won't feature due to potential IP damage, don't actually help much because they're also pretty bland. I hate to say it, but based on the decent amount of Spelljammer stuff on the shelf behind me, this was not TSR's greatest work. This was not something they were really doing a great job with. This setting was not written at the same level as Taladas, Dark Sun, or Planescape, all of which had a hell of a lot of energy. It feels like an artifact from the mid-80s, but not like, compellingly '80s, just... old. Like a boardgame you find from back then in an attic, and give a go, and turns out, it wasn't actually very good!

And it's whole age of sail, empires rock! deal would need re-working.

So where Dark Sun and Planescape are really solid settings that you could re-work, Spelljammer is more like the idea for a setting, which you'd have to rebuild from the ground up. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be done, does mean it would be a lot more work than something like Dark Sun, Ravenloft, or Planescape.

I don't know why anyone is responding to this with more than "That's just your opinion, man."

There is no objective analysis in this comment at all, and is entirely based off of what @Ruin Explorer personally likes. Which is fine (everyone's entitled to their own taste), but personally everything bemoaned here is stuff I enjoy.

I personally like how Spelljammer is taking influences from HG Wells, Burroughs, and a Ptolemaic views of cosmology to build a "space fantasy," that isn't actually science fiction at all and is firmly fantasy.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
Hell, I know I'm going to get rocks thrown at me, but Greyhawk is pretty mediocre (I've believe this since I was 11, note, and first read stuff for it)
You're not alone there, I find Greyhawk amazingly boring and uninspiring. It lives up to the "grey" part of it's name exceedingly well to me...dull and bland.

To each their own however, but the market hath spake with Greyhawk me thinks. It's been, as you point out, given many opportunities at resurrection and each time was met with a resounding "Meh".
 

Right?

The phlo is weird. Cool weird, mostly. But weird.

Phlo as energy source would work well...as long as you're not following the original setting. The phlo dissipates when brought into a crystal sphere and ignites when it comes into contact with even a tiny spark of fire.
how did we never get a guns and magic setting tsr made nearly everything else.
You're not alone there, I find Greyhawk amazingly boring and uninspiring. It lives up to the "grey" part of it's name exceedingly well to me...dull and bland.

To each their own however, but the market hath spake with Greyhawk me thinks. It's been, as you point out, given many opportunities at resurrection and each time was met with a resounding "Meh".
what do people even like about it as I do not even get fr so I gotta know what was worse than that?
 

OblivionDrive

Adventurer
I'm not sure we actually disagree. Those are two spins on the same thing to me. I don't think it could ever have lived up to its full potential because I don't think anyone at TSR cared about it or liked it enough, not even Jeff Grubb, though. And think part of the reason they didn't care about it enough (and fans didn't either) is that it was a compelling high concept, but that's where it ended - they didn't manage to make the actual setting compelling too.
And as I said, back then everyone wanted to be a cool edgelord (we were in the early days of the Drizzt blitz) and anything overly “silly” was gonna get side-eyed and side-lined if it wasn’t a huge hit. We’re not talking one-off goof-em-ups like Castle Greyhawk or a Dragon Mag April fools issue. I agree that the setting could have gotten way more love back then. And after a couple years they introduced Planescape almost explicitly as a replacement for SJ in the sense of “okay, how about THIS as a means of traversing worlds?” And it was weird without being too silly and edgy without being annoyingly so and it was a huge hit.

The thing is, I’m not trying to argue about why it failed back then or if the concept was executed well when they first tried it. I’m just saying I think it’s not a concept that should be forever dustbinned because it had a bad first run.

And with the way WotC handles releases now, it would just be a single book or box anyway that may not sell as well as the others and would get an “okay, noted” and they’d not bother to revisit it in the future. One and done. No long term commitment expected or implied. I just think that in the right sets of hands, it could be a lot of fun.

And yes, that includes 70s prog rock crystal spheres too. ;)
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Spelljammers travel in the Prime Marerial, though, not through dimensions. That's an established part of the 5E cosmos. They are not likely to change the unified metasetting they have built up.
They haven't established that it -only- travels in the Prime Material. They haven't established what the Phlogiston -is- in 5e.

Make it the Astral Sea. Make -space- the Astral Plane. And now you can Spelljammer to other planes.

ERrq2h9UUAAYKeq.jpg

How long would it take? Hell if I know! But they -could- make the rules for it, and make it work with Planescape to create a kind of Planesjammer combo where Spelljammer stuff still comes up in various settings and explorations of the cosmos both within the Material and beyond it.
 

Well, look at Ravenloft circa 1990, versus 2021. A 5E Spelljammer is not limited by the past.
Yeah and I'd actually kind of love to see a really super-revamped Spelljammer. But I think part of that revamp would ideally involve getting rid of a lot of the odd and kind of setting-diminishing ideas of 2E Spelljammer. Whether you link it to Planescape or not another matter.
There is no objective analysis in this comment at all, and is entirely based off of what @Ruin Explorer personally likes. Which is fine (everyone's entitled to their own taste), but personally everything bemoaned here is stuff I enjoy.
If that's what you're getting from it, obviously that's just like, your opinion man, but it's a pretty profound misunderstand. The commentary I'm making re: the aesthetic is most assuredly not simply about what I "personally like". If you think it is, more fool you. There's a significant aesthetic difference in the approaches to "silly" material here. I didn't actually make a value judgement on them, either, note - that's all your misinterpretation. I make a value judgement on the phlogiston/crystal sphere though, that is "just my opinion, man".

That said, I've never seen even a passionate explanation (let alone a convincing one) for why I should like/care about the Spelljammer setting, and I was absolutely perfectly positioned to do so. It was the third D&D setting I ever saw (after "meh" FR and decent-but-tricky Taladas) and it was about cool fantasy spaceships and cool scary fantasy races, and there was even a comic-book, which I got every issue of, and read!

But I don't think people did really care about the setting. Even now, the conversation is never about the various factions within the setting, it's just like "Giff were cool!". Can you make a passionate argument for the setting?

I mean, at least with Greyhawk, I've seen passionate, interesting, engaging even somewhat moving arguments for the value of the setting. I might not be convinced, but I can totally understand it. Spelljammer - people just don't even try.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
They haven't established that it -only- travels in the Prime Material. They haven't established what the Phlogiston -is- in 5e.

Make it the Astral Sea. Make -space- the Astral Plane. And now you can Spelljammer to other planes.

ERrq2h9UUAAYKeq.jpg

How long would it take? Hell if I know! But they -could- make the rules for it, and make it work with Planescape to create a kind of Planesjammer combo where Spelljammer stuff still comes up in various settings and explorations of the cosmos both within the Material and beyond it.
No, they have established the Pholstigon links the Prime Maferial together in numerpus places, and other than exceptions like the Mindflayers psionic voodoo, that's where Spelljammera stay. Even the Mindflayers Spelljammer helm in DotMM only confers movement in the Prime Material, because it was the Mindflayers Planeshifting the ship, not their ship Planeshifitng the Mindflayers.

I just don't get why you would specate that they would change something they've been very consistent about for the past seven years, for no particular gain.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
They haven't established that it -only- travels in the Prime Material. They haven't established what the Phlogiston -is- in 5e.

Make it the Astral Sea. Make -space- the Astral Plane. And now you can Spelljammer to other planes.

ERrq2h9UUAAYKeq.jpg

How long would it take? Hell if I know! But they -could- make the rules for it, and make it work with Planescape to create a kind of Planesjammer combo where Spelljammer stuff still comes up in various settings and explorations of the cosmos both within the Material and beyond it.

I agree; I do love the Great Wheel and the ideas that the Outer Planes are remote places accessible through spells and the afterlife.

But I also love the very Marvel idea, that Asgard is a real place you can go to by just sailing towards it (in the comics, the Asgardians don't really use space ships; they literally sail through space on longships). Spelljammer is a very similar idea.

1623866956290.png
 

OblivionDrive

Adventurer
They haven't established that it -only- travels in the Prime Material. They haven't established what the Phlogiston -is- in 5e.

Make it the Astral Sea. Make -space- the Astral Plane. And now you can Spelljammer to other planes.

ERrq2h9UUAAYKeq.jpg

How long would it take? Hell if I know! But they -could- make the rules for it, and make it work with Planescape to create a kind of Planesjammer combo where Spelljammer stuff still comes up in various settings and explorations of the cosmos both within the Material and beyond it.
My only big issue with this is that it kinda boots the Astral’s original concept of “trippy between-space void with ghostly out-of-body spirits adrift on silver cords moving at the speed of thought and the corpses of dead gods as huge floating islands” out the door when it becomes “Wildspace 2.0” with commercial shipping lanes and pirates stuff. I feel like the ideas work better separately, personally.
 

And as I said, back then everyone wanted to be a cool edgelord (we were in the early days of the Drizzt blitz) and anything overly “silly” was gonna get side-eyed and side-lined if it wasn’t a huge hit.
I was there, man, and I just don't agree. I got all the issues of the Spelljammer comic. I thought Spelljammer was a cool idea. But when I tried to run it, there was like, nothing compelling about that setting. I didn't like, just decide to hate it - I was one of the kids mocking Drizzt, not thinking he was cool (even more so after he was revealed to be an utter fake badass boyscout in Sojourn etc.). I don't think I've ever played an "edgelord" character in D&D. I was your laid-back Half-Elf Bard, not your angry Dwarf Fighter or Human Paladin (edgelord favourites of that era, especially with the "Lawful Good" means I can justify genocide deal some Paladins had going) nor even, later on, your Tiefling Rogue. Hell dude the first time I played a Tiefling, I played a 2E Mystic - the kind of who makes magical scented candles - I was basically a hippy with hooves following the party around making them smell better!

I do agree that with 5E the same issues won't apply re: long-term support, but I think they should do better than just try to merely replicate a setting which already didn't work good.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
My only big issue with this is that it kinda boots the Astral’s original concept of “trippy between-space void with ghostly out-of-body spirits adrift on silver cords moving at the speed of thought and the corpses of dead gods as huge floating islands” out the door when it becomes “Wildspace 2.0” with commercial shipping lanes and pirates stuff. I feel like the ideas work better separately, personally.
The astral sea already has pirates. And shipping lanes.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah and I'd actually kind of love to see a really super-revamped Spelljammer. But I think part of that revamp would ideally involve getting rid of a lot of the odd and kind of setting-diminishing ideas of 2E Spelljammer. Whether you link it to Planescape or not another matter.
I agree with thisn100%, and is what I would expect from any Spelljammer revivalin 5E: and unlike, say, Ravenloft, I can't imagine there are too many people who would be upset about WotC not respecting the deep artistic integrity of the Setting. Which is too bad, because I enjoy a good laugh.
 

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