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


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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
For everyone saying this isn’t for them: remember that this will be an official 5e adventure, so it’s bound to be presented in a fairly modular way so you can cut/paste and reskin bits into your own campaign.
We‘ve had discussions about past WotC adventures (dragon heist being a memorable one) so I think I’m going to get this as a point of comparison. If WotC is not in the drivers seat, does an adventure pass the smell test?
 

Mercurius

Legend
A bit of a surprise - I thought Darrington would be handling all future CR books.

One question answered: the "terrifying new place."

It also makes me think we'll see six books next year.

1. Monsters of the Multiverse (splat)
2. Call of the Netherdeep (Exandria adventure)
3. Classic setting
4. Classic setting
5. Adventure compilation
6. FR/D&D setting adventure

They've said that there will be more adventure compilations, and I just don't think the only story arc of the year will be Exandria, and we know we're getting two classic settings, so...six books. If it is only five, then probably no compilation.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
We‘ve had discussions about past WotC adventures (dragon heist being a memorable one) so I think I’m going to get this as a point of comparison. If WotC is not in the drivers seat, does an adventure pass the smell test?
WotC probably facilitated playtesting, so honestly I would expect it to be just as good quality, mixed bag elements and all.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
For everyone saying this isn’t for them: remember that this will be an official 5e adventure, so it’s bound to be presented in a fairly modular way so you can cut/paste and reskin bits into your own campaign.

I’m not a CR fan but I bought the Wildemount book anyway, and I’ll probably buy this adventure too. I might not want to run a game in Exandria, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing useful in either book.
Yeah, with 5E Adventure books, the difference between an "Adventure Path" and a "Adventure Compilation" are mighty thin. Witchlight can easily be looked at as 5 modules that don't need to relate to each other at all.

Also, the Wildemount book by the same authors had pretty good Adventure content, actually.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
A bit of a surprise - I thought Darrington would be handling all future CR books.

One question answered: the "terrifying new place."

It also makes me think we'll see six books next year.

1. Monsters of the Multiverse (splat)
2. Call of the Netherdeep (Exandria adventure)
3. Classic setting
4. Classic setting
5. Adventure compilation
6. FR/D&D setting adventure

They've said that there will be more adventure compilations, and I just don't think the only story arc of the year will be Exandria, and we know we're getting two classic settings, so...six books. If it is only five, then probably no compilation.
A reasonable projection: I think a Magic Setting book is fairly plausible in there somewhere, with either Kamigawa or Dominaria offering interesting possibilities from that game's lineup.
 

Mercurius

Legend
A reasonable projection: I think a Magic Setting book is fairly plausible in there somewhere, with either Kamigawa or Dominaria offering interesting possibilities from that game's lineup.
I'm thinking the next Magic setting will be in 2022. That would fit the mode of 2 setting books a year, like so:

2020: Wildemount, Theros
2021: Ravenloft, Strixhaven
2022: Classic setting x 2
2023: Classic setting, Magic

Of course that doesn't include the so-called new settings, which could be in there somewhere. But I would see them on a "one Magic book every six quarters," with Theros in spring of 2020 and Strixhaven in fall of 2021, so the next one would be spring of 2022. Just a hunch, though.
 


Scribe

Legend
WotC doesn't own the rights to Exandria, Critical Role does. So long as WotC doesn't have the rights to a setting, I'm 90% certain that they're not going to make that their core setting.
Hmm, yeah that is an issue.

2. I think that this is just an objectively good change. No one likes it when your players are supposed to be the heroes, but a literal Deus Ex Machina from the setting's gods saves the day. That's just not fun and doesn't promote good storytelling.

This, I can agree with. I dont think a 5e product exists that handles the God's at all (thats one of the things I hope Planescape would do...)
 


Dire Bare

Legend
But as an innovative campaign setting to run a different game style than normal (which is what I think setting books should be), Wildemount isn't as good. For streaming, Wildemount is perfect. As a product, less good.
Exandria, which includes Wildemount, being a relatively standard D&D campaign doesn't make the setting or it's books less good as products. Perhaps not your cuppa tea, but rather obviously tea that a lot of folks are interesting in tasting.

Exandria wasn't published to bring a new game style to D&D, it was published because Critical Role became an unexpected and huge success, and the world of Exandria now has fans.

The purpose of setting books can vary with the setting.

However, if you pay attention to Critical Role and other streams . . . . they are nudging play styles in new directions. We're moving away from inherently evil sentient races, we're moving towards not-quite-human style characters (green with fangs, blue with pointy ears) . . . not huge changes, but subtle shifts in tone and play style.
 

darjr

I crit!
Exandria, which includes Wildemount, being a relatively standard D&D campaign doesn't make the setting or it's books less good as products. Perhaps not your cuppa tea, but rather obviously tea that a lot of folks are interesting in tasting.

Exandria wasn't published to bring a new game style to D&D, it was published because Critical Role became an unexpected and huge success, and the world of Exandria now has fans.

The purpose of setting books can vary with the setting.

However, if you pay attention to Critical Role and other streams . . . . they are nudging play styles in new directions. We're moving away from inherently evil sentient races, we're moving towards not-quite-human style characters (green with fangs, blue with pointy ears) . . . not huge changes, but subtle shifts in tone and play style.
Well if you'd ever been to a 4e Living Forgotten Realms game all those not-quite-human style characters were the norm. I think it was much the same in Living Greyhawk near the end. And it is absolutely that way in Adventurers League.

though I get your point. Even some of the players would remark on how strange it seemed back then, but not so much now.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Well if you'd ever been to a 4e Living Forgotten Realms game all those not-quite-human style characters were the norm. I think it was much the same in Living Greyhawk near the end. And it is absolutely that way in Adventurers League.

though I get your point. Even some of the players would remark on how strange it seemed back then, but not so much now.
Critical Role and other streams didn't originate any of the stuff I mentioned . . . . just nudging us so that they are more prominent than before. At least, to my eyes.
 

dracomilan

Explorer
I bought Wildemount and found it pretty similar to the 4e PoL setting - which wasn’t bad per se. It was a “good for all” setting, that made really easy to roleplay any PH race.
Since I’m curious of how other DMs and designers turn their adventures in products I’ll probably buy this one.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I bought Wildemount and found it pretty similar to the 4e PoL setting - which wasn’t bad per se. It was a “good for all” setting, that made really easy to roleplay any PH race.
Since I’m curious of how other DMs and designers turn their adventures in products I’ll probably buy this one.
It started as a 4E PoL campaign before they switched to Pathfibder, then 5E, then started streaming.
 


Yenrak

Explorer
Too similar to squiggy real life narratives about real people for comfort. Toxic evil cultures are one thing, but inherently evil races are not really a great fantasy trope.
Ah. I got it. But isn’t that specifically not what the Curse of Strife is? The goblinkin aren’t inherently evil. They’re cursed by an evil god that deprives them of agency. They can be free of the curse.
 

teitan

Legend
Ugh. Yet more money being thrown at these overhyped celebs 🙄 Not a fan of the money they put into them but it’s clearly for promotion.

That kind of stuff should go into someone more grassroots, like Keith Baker for Eberron. (The guy who actually won the contest fairly and got his campaign published as opposed to just putting a camera on a celebrity playing D&D and feeding Exandria on a silver platter).

I’d have been much more accepting of another Eberron book than another Exandria. 😑
tell us all how you really feel! LOL

They legitimately built their campaign on the quality of their work, just like Keith, but in a different way. They weren't celebrities before, they were voice actors, D list at best. They weren't even sure it would work because streaming D&D was in its infancy and 5e was still very, very new. They built a brand with a strong sense of community and loyalty that many, many other brands would love to have. LIke them or not they aren't any different than Keith, just more successful at it.
 

vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
I'll take that over Dino Halflings, honestly.
How dare you, sir!? How dare you!? I will take ALL of the Dino Halflings!

Good day, sir! I said, Good Day!

Seriously though, this is one of those things that is both surprising and not surprising. I had a feeling it was going to happen, but also told myself "Nah, that can't happen again." And then it does. However, this does fully open things up for more adventures paths that take place in other settings.

That, I am really looking forward to seeing!
 

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