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D&D General WotC: Novels & Non-5E Lore Are Officially Not Canon

At a media press briefing last week, WotC's Jeremey Crawford clarified what is and is not canon for D&D. "For many years, we in the Dungeons & Dragons RPG studio have considered things like D&D novels, D&D video games, D&D comic books, as wonderful expressions of D&D storytelling and D&D lore, but they are not canonical for the D&D roleplaying game." "If you’re looking for what’s official...

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At a media press briefing last week, WotC's Jeremey Crawford clarified what is and is not canon for D&D.

"For many years, we in the Dungeons & Dragons RPG studio have considered things like D&D novels, D&D video games, D&D comic books, as wonderful expressions of D&D storytelling and D&D lore, but they are not canonical for the D&D roleplaying game."


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"If you’re looking for what’s official in the D&D roleplaying game, it’s what appears in the products for the roleplaying game. Basically, our stance is that if it has not appeared in a book since 2014, we don’t consider it canonical for the games."

2014 is the year that D&D 5th Edition launched.

He goes on to say that WotC takes inspiration from past lore and sometimes adds them into official lore.

Over the past five decades of D&D, there have been hundreds of novels, more than five editions of the game, about a hundred video games, and various other items such as comic books, and more. None of this is canon. Crawford explains that this is because they "don’t want DMs to feel that in order to run the game, they need to read a certain set of novels."

He cites the Dragonlance adventures, specifically.
 

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thundershot

Adventurer
I mean, depends on continuity. Because there's Beast Machines of course, which gave us Strika and Obsidian, the best generals. Or the Japanese series where we've got Lio Convoy and Big Convoy (Big Convoy's a good figure). Or the 3H Wreckers comics that are a post Beast Machines thing. Or the Beast Wars: Uprising universe, which is a whole different thing and goes on for hundreds of years after

Or the post Japanese fiction where humans dig up time-travelling Ravage's head nad rebuild him into a car body, so he adjusts time and space and this eventually leads to the Binaltech universe, which also eventually leads to Smokescreen going slightly insane due to controlling 5 bodies at once and becoming a Decepticon, eventually teaming up with the pacifist Dreadwing (WHO'S GATTLING GUN IS ILLING) to stop the Transformer's eternal war by destroying them all. And then there's Prowl 2. And the Legends universe, which is an alternate universe created by the Zamojin and is a whole Thing.

How much of that is relevant to you if you want to run a Transformers campaign? Very little. Does it no longer exist if we aren't dealing with any of these specifics? No. Do you want a story where you're playing as 4 versions of Smokescreen and have to stop his jet body from going out of control? Completely fine! None of it is irrelevant. One Optimus Prime killed himself over a video game, the other sacrified himself against the Swarm who were unable to rebuild him and that lead to the Beast Wars: Uprising universe, another was killed by Megazarak the dimension-hopping emperor of the Destructicons, who left his corpse to rot on the shores of the Rust Sea where it was found by Unicron (And would eventually become Black Convoy of the Convoy Council once he was freed from Unicron's control). None of these didn't happen, they're just, not always relevant.


Do you want to read about this fun universe and explore the what-could-have-beens? Or do you only want to add on top of an ancient pillar and hope the thing doesn't collapse under its own weight?

Given this is something supposed to be played, with your characters being thrown into this situation and seeing how things develop (Spoiler: Throw any of my characters into Dragonlance and the answer is Kill the Gods and Shatter their Thrones), not an unbroken story continuing over time.

If you want a continued, unbroken story? Then I humbly introduce you to the world of fanfiction. Its where I go for my warm fuzzies of "What if the Animorphs universe wasn't as dark as it is" and "Why is this one particular ship on FFXIV not the highest"

Also, let's not forget that 4E's Dark Sun basically going "Ignore the books we're going back to this point" was incredibly well received.


Its still there. They haven't wiped it out.

They're just not writing sequels to books written before a good percentage of the playerbase was born.
I’m proud to say I understood every Transformers reference.

None of this matters to me because I make my own continuity at the table. The official stories are just guidelines, anyway…
 

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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
The above is what the designers of the Spellplague believed as well, it was their rationalization for the Spellplague, they learned they were wrong the hard way, the Sundering reversing, but not retconning much of the Spellplague changes, in the face of the angry backlash.
Again:

Huge reboot/retcon like the spellplague/2nd sundering caused angry backlash, not because they modified canon, but because it was a sweeping change to an established setting.

Now, they are doing the opposite: they open the option to change specific elements of the settings if the publication requires it. No preemptive blank state. No major changes.

You have yet to point some major things this position has ruined in FR in the past 7+ years.

Because, again, this is nothing new, this has been the modus operandi for quite some time.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Now, most fans are convinced their favorite stuff isn't coming back at all, or if it does, it'll be unfamiliar and unrecognizable.
I dont think that's true.

I've seen, on this forum, maybe 3 persons convinced that something NEW and TERRIBLE is happening from a 2 sentences answer in a random interview.

I've seen hyperbole like gender-swapping every DL characters.

I've seen panic because a Greyhawk publication might allow tieflings.

But, no, I havent seen ''most fans'' being convinced that their favorite settings have been modified beyond recognition in the last years.

Setting purity isnt a thing. Setting purity is not a selling point. A one-true-history does not help creating a shared creative experience at local tables, no matter how you wish it was the opposite.
 



akr71

Hero
If they do return to Dragonlance during the War, I think they would be better served if they rewrite the adventures so they are elsewhere and perhaps have a cameo interaction with the Companions and their actions at best.
Yes, this. The problem spans the entire continent, there is no great reason to start in Solace.

It would be far more interesting (IMO) to release a 5E Krynn-War of the Lance campaign setting. Outline the motivations and potential starting points of all the factions and let the DM decide where the group starts. You could even play as members of the Dragon army, helping your Dragon HighLord jockey for position, or a group of dwarves or Silvanesti who don't agree with their leaders that hiding away from the world will make the problem go away.
 


Bolares

Hero
Even if one agrees with rebooting why would one buy any new novels if they just declear it non canon again further down the track?
If the only reason a person should buy a novel is because it's canon and a must read to keep um with a game's lore.... that's not only a bad novel, but a bad product and a bad business model. Novels should be read/bought because they are good reads
 

Bitbrain

Lost in Dark Sun

Bolares

Hero
For example, there is a drow novel that said all drow magic items are destroyed by direct sunlight. That is awesome! It is explains why the drow dont create surface empires.

I dont think this was ever "official". But it is super flavorful.
In out of the Abyss drow items are destroyed if hit with direct sunlight. A good example the even though the novel isn't canon, a good idea came out of it and was cannonized in a D&D book.
 

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