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D&D 5E WotC Explains 'Canon' In More Detail

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Recently, WotC's Jeremy Crawford indicated that only the D&D 5th Edition books were canonical for the roleplaying game. In a new blog article, Chris Perkins goes into more detail about how that works, and why.

This boils down to a few points:
  • Each edition of D&D has its own canon, as does each video game, novel series, or comic book line.
  • The goal is to ensure players don't feel they have to do research of 50 years of canon in order to play.
  • It's about remaining consistent.

If you’re not sure what else is canonical in fifth edition, let me give you a quick primer. Strahd von Zarovich canonically sleeps in a coffin (as vampires do), Menzoberranzan is canonically a subterranean drow city under Lolth’s sway (as it has always been), and Zariel is canonically the archduke of Avernus (at least for now). Conversely, anything that transpires during an Acquisitions Incorporated live game is not canonical in fifth edition because we treat it the same as any other home game (even when members of the D&D Studio are involved).


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey



Voadam

Legend
An interesting bit:

"Fifth edition’s canon includes every bit of lore that appears in the most up-to-date printings of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Beyond these core rulebooks, we don’t have a public-facing account of what is canonical in fifth edition because we don’t want to overload our fellow creators and business partners."
 

Public-facing is the key line there. I've no doubt that they have an internal wiki that they use.

we don’t have a public-facing account of what is canonical in fifth edition because we don’t want to overload our fellow creators and business partners."

Perfectly happy with the approach as outlined by Chris Perkins.

Although, now I kinda want my Modrons to have been built in a Radio Shack.
 




Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I feel like this is just stating the obvious for people who were freaking out over things they read into the earlier statement. No, this doesn’t mean any lore from any novels are being thrown out or re-written. It just means the designers aren’t beholden to decisions made by previous creative teams for previous versions of the game, or by authors of any stories within the official settings. Continuities remain intact, but separate, as they have always been.
 





J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Key to our approach is the belief that the story belongs to the DM and the players, not us. We make a conscious effort to preserve as many opportunities as possible for DMs to play with their own ideas. That’s why we don't produce sourcebooks that spool out a ton of backstory. The DM or player remains the ultimate arbiter of what’s true in their expressions of D&D.
QFT. This, by far, is the most important point, and should be front and center in bold flashing lights.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
One update that I hope becomes "core" "canon" is, the cosmic-force Cleric.

This thematic of a cosmic force allows more reallife ethnicities to relate more comfortably to the game, and allows the core books to function better in the other settings besides Forgotten Realms.
 


OblivionDrive

Adventurer
I feel like this is just stating the obvious for people who were freaking out over things they read into the earlier statement. No, this doesn’t mean any lore from any novels are being thrown out or re-written. It just means the designers aren’t beholden to decisions made by previous creative teams for previous versions of the game, or by authors of any stories within the official settings. Continuities remain intact, but separate, as they have always been.
I mean that point was made over and over and over again during the other thread but it didn’t seem to be enough for some folks. There was so very much ridiculous hyperbole going on claiming that WotC had active hatred and contempt for fans or that this was like being spat on or whatever else. I don’t foresee this clarification meaning much to them, sadly.
 

The lore or background should be a source of inspiration, not a straitjacket.

And WotC notices shouldn't say too much yet because in a future Hasbro could order something that altered seriously the metagame, or the cosmology of the multiverse, for example an intercompany crossover. How are you explain a crossover "Transformers/Kaladeshs (Magic: the Gathering Etherpunk setting). Some portions of the fandom could ask an explanation, or there would be some tentation of parody.

Let's remember the look of the trolls (specially their noses) of the 3rd Ed and how they were retconnected later.
 


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