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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The thing I have to ask is:

How many fans even know about these differences? And among those who know, how many of them strongly care? Maybe the most obsessive Critters do care, but from what I've seen, less hardcore CR fans seem just as willing as your average Millenial/Gen-Z new D&D player to stripmine stuff from Exandria to use in their own worlds as they would for any other setting.
Oh, I don't know. I couldn't tell you. I'd imagine that DMs who want to campaigns in the setting would be more likely to know and care.

My initial attraction to the Critical Role setting was that it was derived from the 4E default setting, which I had previously collected and read a lot of the information regarding the planes and gods (even scouring official adventures I would never run for lore material, such as the graves of dead gods mentioned to be in Pluton in the 4E Tomb of Horrors). Until D&D games became popular at my local comic store a few years ago I was definitely one of those people who mostly enjoyed D&D by reading the books and online magazine articles for the lore (RIP Dragon and Dungeon Magazines).

The Critical Role setting is relatively undetailed as of now, so I can use compatible 4E material to fill in gaps in my current campaign while also incorporating new official information about the setting as it is revealed. For example, the current Exandria Unlimited mini-campaign has just established the existence of an ancient civilization that previously has never been mentioned in any source related to Critical Role or its world. I'm kind of excited to learn what it's deal is and if there will be any major revelations about the setting's nature that come from it.
 
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But we should remember the older generations who buy books for the youngest ones.

FR doesn't need a new reboot, but the rest of lines aren't the same. We need some reasons to explain why some new PC races or classes have appeared in this setting.

I don't mind to find changes but my fear is any changes I wouldn't like, for example a popular character being killed to be replaced with a "legacy hero".
 


Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I don't use settings as published. I only cut & paste parts for me home-brew settings. Don't really care one way of another as long as there are cools ideas I can reuse with a bit of change.

The only setting I ever cared about was the original Greyhawk because it was the default setting with AD&D1e and I wasn't yer ready to make my own settings. What TSR didn't to Greyhawk after Gygax left is of no concern to me.
 

MGibster

Legend
The public is weird.
I feel personally attacked by this post!
How many fans even know about these differences? And among those who know, how many of them strongly care? Maybe the most obsessive Critters do care, but from what I've seen, less hardcore CR fans seem just as willing as your average Millenial/Gen-Z new D&D player to stripmine stuff from Exandria to use in their own worlds as they would for any other setting.
I'm an old timer and I have to admit that I don't really care all that much about settings like the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. I very often can't keep the two settings separated in my mind.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I'm not convinced that the Gen-X demographic is unimportant to WotC . . . we're just not the only demographic being catered to anymore, so it sometimes feels like we're being left behind. Welcome to getting old, I suppose! And I'm also not convinced that the majority of Gen-X gamers are opposed to the changes announced in recent weeks (focus on diversity, removal of problematic elements, less focus on maintaining canon, shorter adventure chunks) . . . a lot of us are fully on board and celebrate the changes to the game.

In fact, I have Gen-X friends who never played D&D as kids . . . but are now curious to try! And once you get a taste . . . .
Exactly. I'm a Gen-Xer and (as my previous posts indicate) I am a hundred percent on board with cleaning out the... less inspired... material from official canon.

(That's kind of how I roll in general, though. I'm a software developer, and any day that I can say I wrote negative lines of code is a good day for me.)
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I feel personally attacked by this post!

I'm an old timer and I have to admit that I don't really care all that much about settings like the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. I very often can't keep the two settings separated in my mind.
Eretic! Burn! Burn! Burn! 🙃 :D:D:D
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
This even more confirms in my mind that we are getting a new FR setting book, with a Realms changing event or two, but it feels like a faustian bargain, we finally get the book, but at the cost of wrecking the setting and destroying canon by the myopic minds at WotC that never seem to learn from their mistakes.
You know, there's always the chance you'll like whatever changes they made.

Those of us who are Ravenloft fans already had our setting "wrecked" and its canon "destroyed"--but VGR is actually pretty good and does very interesting things for the setting that I at least think mostly improves it.
 


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