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D&D 5E WotC Announces New Critical Role Hardcover Adventure

Call of the Netherdeep will be out in March 2022. This adventure is set in Exandria and is for character levels 3-12. Interestingly, it also bears Critical Role branding at the top and bottom of the cover.

This is the third Critical Role D&D hardcover. The Tal'Dorei Campaign Guide came out in 2017, and the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount came out in 2020.

Darrington Press, CR's publishing arm, also announced the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn in July of this year with a release date of late 2021/early 2022.

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An epic Critical Role campaign for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

The greed of mortals has awakened a powerful entity long thought destroyed. For eons, this mighty champion of the gods has been imprisoned in the darkest depths of Exandria. His name has been forgotten, as have his heroic deeds. Languishing in despair, he calls out for new heroes to save him.

Inspired by the campaigns of the hit series Critical Role, this adventure begins in the Wastes of Xhorhas and leads to the glimmering oasis-city of Ank’Harel on the continent of Marquet, and from there into a sunken realm of gloom, corruption, and sorrow known as the Netherdeep. Above it all, the red moon of Ruidus watches, twisting the fates of those who have the power to shape the course of history.

Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep contains seven chapters of thrilling adventure, new creatures and magic items, and a poster map of Ank’Harel.
  • First major adventure module within Critical Role’s world of Exandria, taking players from levels 3-12.
  • Multi-continental story that spans the scarred Wastes of Xhorhas, introduces the continent of Marquet, and eventually plunges players into the Netherdeep—a terrifying cross between the Far Realm and the deep ocean.
  • Bursting with lore and all new art depicting Exandria.
  • Includes new magic items and creatures and introduces new rival NPCs.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Scribe

Hero
Sorry, I'm probably feeling a little defensive because I've also started being more active on Total War's forums (specifically for TW:Warhammer) and holy smokes are folks mean to each other there. Way worse than anything I've seen here
The moderation there is nonexistent.

It's like...if your looking to participate in the Blood War, that's a nice forum representation of it.
 

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eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
I'll add, I own Wildemount and like it, I'm just becoming more picky now that D&D release schedule is speeding up. I can't possibly own all the books anymore, so I'm becoming more picky in my purchasing.
I'll second that. Before with the slower pace I would pick up stuff even if I thought I would only use a small bit of it (the Wildemount book is a good example of this) but now that it's speeding up? Naw, I can skip this and the magical school for owl bois or whatever is coming after the dragon book and not feel bad.
 

Amrûnril

Explorer
I don't know.... I prefer problematic elements to be errated out than being solved in canon. I'd rather have the curse of strife to be retconned as never existing than being something that will be forever real in the in canon history of the setting... I don't know if this would be "the right way" to do it, but that's what I prefer.

I'll add that this would be a fairly trivial errata/retcon. Over the thousand-ish hours of Critical Role gameplay, I don't recall the Curse of Strife ever being mentioned, and I don't think, based on what I've read about it here, that it's necessary or even helpful to understanding the events of either campaign.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Couple reasons. One, Dominaria is HUGE. Like so big, MTG used to set all their stories and sets there, because it's so big it can incorporate anything.

Two, it sticks fairly close to "typical D&D" much like Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk. It would be fairly easy to write an adventure anthology set there that can also be dropped into one's homebrew world.

Three, Dominaria is getting two different card sets this year, so the timeline matches up for "cross-brand synergies," (bleh).

Four, Dominaria has several different time periods, so one can also have adventures not just set over the various continents, but also across time.

As a setting for an adventure anthology, checks a lot of boxes for ease of placement.
Good stuff. I would also add, it is "Magic Classic" - the first plane, I believe, and sort of "home base."

From what I've read about it, it sounds really good. I don't mind vanilla settings, if done well and with distinct qualities. Or to put it another way, a really good vanilla ice cream is as good as any other flavor, especially if it includes vanilla bean seeds!
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Good stuff. I would also add, it is "Magic Classic" - the first plane, I believe, and sort of "home base."

From what I've read about it, it sounds really good. I don't mind vanilla settings, if done well and with distinct qualities. Or to put it another way, a really good vanilla ice cream is as good as any other flavor, especially if it includes vanilla bean seeds!

To be clear, I was just arguing it makes sense as a location for an adventure anthology, much like Candlekeep. As a full setting book I am less confident.
 

Bolares

Hero
Dominaria also became the "history plane" so stories there are very focused on the history of the world and how it impacts life...
 

pukunui

Legend
Exandria has never been a "unique" setting. Instead, it takes some of the coolest elements of other settings and puts them in one place.

It has the Dawn War, the Ring of Siberys, the crashed ruins of Netheril, airships, a savage land full of dinosaurs, a dragon rage, etc.
It also takes a 3.5e era approach to providing setting info (like populations and such, which 5e has mainly ignored).

What some people are calling new and innovative, like the magic items that grow in power, also hark back to 3.5e. Legacy weapons, anyone?
 

Mercurius

Legend
To be clear, I was just arguing it makes sense as a location for an adventure anthology, much like Candlekeep. As a full setting book I am less confident.
The way I see it, adventures--whether story arcs or anthologies--require either a focused region or location and/or setting support. I suppose they could introduce Dominaria through an adventure set in a specific region, but I'd hope they would also include some kind of world gazetteer, if only for those who want to adventure beyond the bounds of adventure.

For example, if it is a 250 page book, something like so:
Part One: The Blah Region - 50 pages
Part Two: The Adventure in Blah - 150 pages
Part Three: The world and adventures beyond Blah - 50 pages

Or something like that. So you're getting 100 pages of setting material, and 200 pages directly related to the adventure in 250 pages.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Note also how they seem to be doing Exandria: A Wildemount book, which covers one of the main continents, and then a second book that is an adventure set there, but also introduces another continent.

I think a good model for handling future settings would be something like this:

  • A world book with setting info and rules specific to the world (e.g. Dark Sun)
  • An adventure book set in a specific region of the world, with greater detail of that region (e.g. City on the Silt Sea)

The one-and-done works for more focalized/thematic settings, like Ravnica and Theros, which are both setting books with adventure ideas, but also sourcebooks for different styles and themes. But for big and diverse settings, I think a setting book + adventure books with regional details is a good model.

They can cut out the unnecessary regional sourcebooks, which tend to have diminishing returns in sales, and just not needed for the current model.
 

When I look at the cover, I can't say I see Matt Mercer...

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From the sound of it, this adventure will be pretty easily ported elsewhere - you've got Xhorsas, sure, but then it moves onto two brand new locales, one of which sounds like it very well might not even be on the Prime Material. I imagine it will also come with tips on relocating to FR, Eberron, and other official settings.
 

pukunui

Legend
Or how many new and cool things does a setting need to be considered "one of the best" by you?
I'd just like to reiterate that I don't think the Wildemount book is particularly new or innovative. It's a callback to the 3.5e era setting guides, particularly in the way it presents details like population (including racial percentage breakdowns), government, etc for each settlement and the like.

For me, that's a positive, as I've missed those details in the other 5e setting material. However, I know that not everyone here has been around since the 3.5e days so might not be aware of that link (and might thus view it as "new").
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'd just like to reiterate that I don't think the Wildemount book is particularly new or innovative. It's a callback to the 3.5e era setting guides, particularly in the way it presents details like population (including racial percentage breakdowns), government, etc for each settlement and the like.

For me, that's a positive, as I've missed those details in the other 5e setting material. However, I know that not everyone here has been around since the 3.5e days so might not be aware of that link (and might thus view it as "new").
I do find it funny when people grouse about Matt Mercer like he's a kid on their lawns...when he has a very 2E/3E aesthetic.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
yeah, it's just heads and an angel... I'd expect an U'ktoa eye or something like that...
To be honest, I didn't like the cover art for Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, either. I haven't liked either of these covers, and far prefer some of the amazing art that are contained in these books (I'm going off of the minor art previews for the new book, btw). Just take a look at this amazing full-page art of what I assume is Marquet.
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