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

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...

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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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Parmandur

Book-Friend
For example, the Forgotten Realms gods like Corellon, Lolth, Gruumsh, Archdevils like Asmodeus, are called out as factually existing in the Eberron setting.

Sometimes the connection is bizarre, like the elves of Eberron came into existence from the blood of the Forgotten Realms god Corellon, but the primordial dragons of Eberron cloned these elves so they could develop in Eberron without the influence of Corellon.

Basically, the Eberron setting was thrown into a dumpster fire, simply by making Forgotten Realms factually exist.
So say the Forgotten Realma doesn't exist in your Eberron. Doesn't matter.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But isn't that the goal of this stated policy, to remove the perceived burden?
If that's the goal, they've bungled it. I had no burden before. I didn't have to include the lore of prior editions. I could have easily just picked up the Sword Coast book and used that alone as canon.

However, now that nothing is canon, it will be very easily for them to just switch things up if a designer thinks it's cool, which will cause waves in what I have determined to be canon. The players won't know if the new stuff is going to be used in my game. It might be or it might not, depending on what it is. And I'm going to have to make the decision individually on every piece that is changed. My burden is increased, not decreased.
 





Faolyn

(she/her)
Yes. A default with a table that provides options which demonstrate that one doesn't need to use the default.

That's the compromise.

I get what I want.
You get an official view that demonstrates that it could be something else.

Or you could drop it completely.
That's not a compromise at all. Because we already could make monsters any alignment we wanted.

So why is it that you don't consider a statblock without an alignment but an official view of what the monster's alignments could be a compromise?
 


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