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

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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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Dausuul

Legend
Honestly, they aren't even that bad. Not super great, though Last Jedi had a lot going for it, but not bad like, say, Attack of the Clones.
"Force Awakens" and "Last Jedi" were both perfectly serviceable movies (each had significant flaws, but nothing devastating). They just had wildly different ideas about where the trilogy was headed. So "Force Awakens" set up a bunch of plot threads, and "Last Jedi" unceremoniously sliced them all off and set up new ones. "Rise of Skywalker" then sliced off those threads and tried to tie the original ones back together, and was also just generally a train wreck.

The prequel trilogy had the opposite problem. The story arc was coherent, well-planned, and really quite good. It was just the execution that was godawful.

But all three trilogies featured Ian McDiarmid cackling and seducing Jedi and blasting lightning out of his hands, and that will never not improve a movie. You could make a romantic comedy and it would be improved by Ian McDiarmid blasting lightning out of his hands. (Actually, most romantic comedies would be vastly improved by that.)
 
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Well, if we're going to spend a bunch of time describing how Star Wars borked up it's eternally expanding world, let's go back to the beginning, shall we.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The first EU novel, and the introduction of kyber crystals. Published before ESB is released. Features Luke taking on Darth Vader head to head and winning. Builds the romance between Luke and Leia.

The Holiday Special. The first video release post-Star Wars and the first appearance of Boba Fett. Objectively terrible and completely ignored.

The very foundation of the Star Wars EU is garbage. Star Wars add-ons have always been mostly sub-par entries mined for one or two good idea. A lot of us got incredibly lucky with West End Games, Dark Horse Comics, and Timothy Zahn forming "our" EU. But the Zahns are always outnumbered by the Kevin J. Andersons.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Well, if we're going to spent a bunch of time describing how Star Wars borked up it's eternally expanding world, let's go back to the beginning, shall we.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The first EU novel, and the introduction of kyber crystals. Published before ESB is released. Features Luke taking on Darth Vader head to head and winning. Builds the romance between Luke and Leia.

The Holiday Special. The first video release post-Star Wars and the first appearance of Boba Fett. Objectively terrible and completely ignored.

The very foundation of the Star Wars EU is garbage. Star Wars add-ons have always been mostly sub-par entries mined for one or two good idea. A lot of us got incredibly lucky with West End Games, Dark Horse Comics, and Timothy Zahn forming "our" EU. But for the Zahns are always outnumbered by the Kevin J. Andersons.
I have consumed enough Star Wars media to attest the truthiness of this post.
 

I'm kind of reminded of the way Doctor Who fans insist that everything in the history of Doctor Who is canon for the tv series, even the bits that contradict other bits and the three different versions of Atlantis.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
What blows my mind is folks who honestly believe the prequels are better than the new movies. The new movies got problems, but they are mostly entertaining. The prequels... they're honestly so boring. There is so much walking and talking, and most of the action is a CGI slog.
 

Keldryn

Adventurer
I admit I don't quite get this. So WotC are declaring that things that we all know never happened never happened?
My wife has described arguments over canon as people arguing about which fake thing is more fake than the other.

That's exactly why I don't get "Disney ruined Star Wars and Kathleen Kennedy hates Star Wars" narratives. The prequel trilogy was total trash, but presumably Lucas didn't hate Star Wars or lack understanding of what Star Wars is about!
You might be surprised. I've seen plenty of people go off on how Lucas no longer understands his own creation, or how he hates or disrespects the fans.

When the prequels came out I was on board with the consensus that they were crap (TBH I don't think they're that bad now). But eventually (right around the time between VII & VIII) I came to the conclusion that what killed Star Wars for me were the Toxic Fanboys who would scream into the ether about how everything filmed after 1996 was trash EU was best etc. etc. Sure, they'll insist that they don't have any hatred in them, but the ones I've spoken to IRL have almost all been betrayed by the fire in their eyes and the adrenaline-shaking aggression in their body language.
Nothing is likely to ruin Star Wars for me, but I stopped visiting the big SW discussion forums a few years back.

If you only like Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back, and Rogue One and you think that Return of the Jedi was tolerable... hey, I'm totally fine with that and you are entitled to your opinion. But maybe don't visit the Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy sub-forum on a daily basis to make sure that nobody forgets that you think they're garbage.

I really don't understand the need to go somewhere that people are discussing something they enjoy just to butt in and tell them how terrible it is and how much you hate it.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Why even do that? A wiki might say that there's a village with an inn between town A and town B. If the DM says there isn't, the wiki is meaningless.

I want to know what, aside from guidelines for writers, people think 'setting canon' even means? Is there an expectation that a DM of a given setting has (and uses) encyclopedias of lore from prior editions, or rely on that more than their own campaign designs?
Yeah, my FR is an amalgam of the 4e setting books, minus some random stuff I didn’t like (like Wheloon the prison city 🙄), plus some stuff from books or games I like set in FR regardless of era, plus whatever occurred to me at some point while planning or running or post-game table talking a given session, plus the stuff my friends liked or thought of, over the decade the campaign has been running, with 3 DMs at different points, and a rotating cast of about 15-20 player characters in 2 editions, all told.

Canon is an abyss.

I care vastly more about whether the current material that is being published is good than I do about whether it conforms to strict “canon”, or about its canonical status.
 

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