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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

I would argue that although Wildemount's book is very well produced, it's actually fairly unimaginative as 5E setting books go (probably better than SCAG or Ravnica, worse than Theros, Eberron, Ravenloft). But we are all entitled to our own opinion...
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.
 

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That's exactly why it's problematic - because some real world groups have been described as being effectively cursed by god and beyond saving, excusing all sorts of atrocities against them.
Curse of Strife is interesting. The goblins are not inherently evil, but they have a jerk whispering in their ear from Day 1.

This makes it like being raised by narcissistic/abusive parents, or raised in a cult, or like Menzo Drow. Everything they've been taught is wrong.
 



This Effin’ GM

Adventurer
One other element that the Wildemount setting book had that I haven’t seen in other setting books: every new locations had a handful of adventure hooks specific to the location. I found this super useful!
This impressed me about the Tal’Dorei setting as well. Very good stuff. Information about a setting is nice. Actionable information about a setting? chefs kiss
 

This Effin’ GM

Adventurer
This impressed me about the Tal’Dorei setting as well. Very good stuff. Information about a setting is nice. Actionable information about a setting? chefs kiss
On this note one of my favorite things to do when I see things like this is to see if there is a hidden full length campaign. Like Eberron 4e book, which if you read close enough to different hooks, you see many of them are connected and it all implies not only what happened to the mournland but also what a game dealing with that might look like. Fun stuff.
 



Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
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.

I'll be clear, I already know this. I personally feel that setting books published by the WotC team should be pushing the envelop a lot more than Wildemount does. I absolutely understand that Exandria has its fans and that the book is very successful, as will this one. However, in the context of more recent setting books like Theros and Ravenloft, the book is a lot less innovative or generally useful in campaigns outside Exandria, so IMO the product is not as good.

We're all entitled to our own opinion of course, and I don't think Wildemount is a bad product. Just not as good as others being released in the same timeframe.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Isn't the common view that Dominaria is too vanilla and doesn't offer enough new to make it worthwhile for WotC to devote a book to it? I mean, why Dominaria over Zendrikar, Alara, New Phyrexia, etc?

Similarly, I don't get the expectation of Innistrad...that would seem odd, considering Ravenloft.

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.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
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.

I know. IMO the best settings are introducing new cool stuff to 5E, not collecting them all into one book.
 



Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
true but consolidation is an important task, personally it seems more up my alley than FR but nothing quite hits my spot other than maybe green age dark sun.

Agreed. But that should happen in the core rule books, not a setting book (which IMO should introduce new stuff that isn't in the core).

This is also why I'm less keen on FR getting a new book, as it doesn't really have much mechanical/thematic stuff left that will be entirely fresh for 5E.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I know. IMO the best settings are introducing new cool stuff to 5E, not collecting them all into one book.
I mean, the weird moon and dunamancy are cool. There's a whole nation of "monstrous" races at war with the imperialistic humans of the Dwendalian Empire, using crystal dodecahedron-beacons to reincarnate until they achieve perfection. The Vestiges of Divergence and Arms of the Betrayers are magic items that gain power as the person they're bonded to gains more power/experience. The Three Lesser Idols (Phoenix, Worm, and a multi-eyed Sea Serpent) that are trapped in Wildemount and have cults that are trying to free them. Do those not qualify? Or how many new and cool things does a setting need to be considered "one of the best" by you?
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I mean, the weird moon and dunamancy are cool. There's a whole nation of "monstrous" races at war with the imperialistic humans of the Dwendalian Empire, using crystal dodecahedron-beacons to reincarnate until they achieve perfection. The Vestiges of Divergence and Arms of the Betrayers are magic items that gain power as the person they're bonded to gains more power/experience. The Three Lesser Idols (Phoenix, Worm, and a multi-eyed Sea Serpent) that are trapped in Wildemount and have cults that are trying to free them. Do those not qualify? Or how many new and cool things does a setting need to be considered "one of the best" by you?

Well, I actually think Wildemount makes a very good grab-gab of good stuff to implement in your homegame, much like Fizban's looks like it will be. I don't think it makes a particularly good setting book, as it doesn't challenge the base assumptions of 5E D&D much.

Theros/Ravenloft are very much different worlds than the base core rulebooks present, with very different styles of play. So I think they are better setting books.

I'll say again, I think Wildemount is a good book, and in the context of all D&D books is pretty solid. But it doesn't incentivize me much to run a game specifically in Wildemount, when instead I can pull the bits and pieces I like into another world instead.

Wildemount bought with Netherdeep though is a better mix, as that's a full setting and adventure. But I'm grading Wildemount alone here!
 

Bolares

Hero
I don't think it makes a particularly good setting book, as it doesn't challenge the base assumptions of 5E D&D much.
I don't know if that is what takes to make a setting book good. To me what makes it good is being a good presentation of a world that a) entices players to play in a new way or b) let's players live out their fantasy in a world they love.

I know preferences may vary, but I think both a and b are a good reason to make a setting book. Tal'dorei may not have a lot of a, but I'd bet no other setting has more people wanting to play in it today...
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I don't know if that is what takes to make a setting book good. To my what makes it good is being a good presentation of a world that a) entices players to play in a new way or b) let's players live out their fantasy in a world they love.

I know preferences may vary, but I think both a and b are a good reason to make a setting book. Tal'dorei may not have a lot of a, but I'd bet no other setting has more people wanting to play in it today...

I think that has less to do with the book though, and more to do with... well, Critical Role.
 

Bolares

Hero
I think that has less to do with the book though, and more to do with... well, Critical Role.
The popularity of the world sure. But I'm not saying people want to play in Exandria because there is a setting book. I'm saying there should be a setting book because people want to play there. And in this case what makes a setting book is if the book is a good presentation of the world, that meets the public's expectation.
 

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