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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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
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.
My ideal for canon would be for the setting to be boiled down to essential skeletons. These might include places, people, events, all of which would be, to use a Doctor Whoism, fixed points in time and space. Things around them may adjust, but the anchor points remain so that various materials have a core to build on that is the same even if other details drift.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Nowadays, of course, if they created novels they could sell them as ebooks and wouldn't have to worry about overprinting them.
 


Dire Bare

Legend
Nowadays, of course, if they created novels they could sell them as ebooks and wouldn't have to worry about overprinting them.
I wouldn't mind, I'd likely pick up ebook-only D&D novels. Digital-only novel publishing is still relatively new territory, some authors have done extremely well, but it also seems dominated by some odd genres, like LitRPG.

They experimented with that for Magic fiction a couple years ago, and then stopped.
That was web-based short fiction, if I remember right. There have been a lot of issues with Magic fiction over the past few years, lots of pushback from fans . . . that might add to WotC's reluctance to jump back into the novel game with D&D, digital or print.

Hopefully the new Dragonlance trilogy will do really well, and convince Penguin or some other publisher to approach WotC to license a D&D line of novel fiction. I miss D&D novels . . . at least I still have Drizzt!
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I wouldn't mind, I'd likely pick up ebook-only D&D novels. Digital-only novel publishing is still relatively new territory, some authors have done extremely well, but it also seems dominated by some odd genres, like LitRPG.


That was web-based short fiction, if I remember right. There have been a lot of issues with Magic fiction over the past few years, lots of pushback from fans . . . that might add to WotC's reluctance to jump back into the novel game with D&D, digital or print.

Hopefully the new Dragonlance trilogy will do really well, and convince Penguin or some other publisher to approach WotC to license a D&D line of novel fiction. I miss D&D novels . . . at least I still have Drizzt!
No, they did a couple of e-books, as well:


 


Catulle

Hero
Probably for the best as far as Dragonlance is concerned. The original novels are remembered fondly, but haven't aged all that well, and then the series just went downhill from there as far as I'm concerned...

I'm curious as to why you think they'd retcon Rajaat. The Sorcerer Kings in the present day of Tyr, yeah maybe tone down the more gratuitous aspects of the whole slavery thing, but do people have issues with the Dark Sun backstory, and Rajaat specifically? And how much do you think they might change?
Just catching up on the thread, but speaking for myself (and going out on a bit of a limb as one of Steam's DS Players) but I liked Rajaat, the champions, why they burned a world - it contextualised them them as utter, irredeemable bastards and gave the world a load of unreclaimable history. Those extinct species are never coming back..! Now, the post-Kalak 'history' I'd drop in in a heartbeat but I'm definitely more down with the version of Athas that Lynn Abbey presents than Troy Denning's more prosaic take.

Abalach-Re and the lies that comprise Raam remain my problematic fave, and I'm glad to have the chance to really get to grips with the themes! :D
 

Catulle

Hero
During the very long thread on Dark Sun I started up a lot of discussion was had about the Prism Pentad and while I recognized that a lot of it was poorly written I didn't actually understand the core of the anger toward it until later in the thread:

Dark Sun was interesting as a Mystery. WHAT happened to the world? Who are the Sorcerer Kings? What lead to this way of being and how do we explore it to try and fix it?

By keeping Rajaat and the other canon from the Prism Pentad, they lock themselves into a set of answers to the questions that are at the heart of the exploratory and inquisitive aspect of the setting. By discarding it, they free themselves, and our tables, to find the reasons and understanding all over again.

Or never find out in full. Like a Zombie movie without the tedious explanation of Zombies and how they came to be.
See? Should've read one more page! ;)
 

Catulle

Hero
I would imagine that the Companions won't be changed. For the most part I don't really see any problem issues with them as a legendary group of adventurers (except for the rotten way that Flint had to die. Not cool. Should've been given a heroic death).
I really liked that, to be honest. It felt like it grounded things in a way that was utterly true to the character. And, when I read that for the first time, I was coming to terms with my grandfather's death (the first of a relative I'd experienced) and honestly... it helped me make sense of things.
 

Catulle

Hero
Basically what Crawford is stating is that 2014 was a stealth reboot of the entire continuity of all D&D worlds, in all facets big and small. The early 5E products may've appeared to be a direct continuation of the previous D&D continuity (4E and prior editions). But even from the start, the 5E continuity was actually a total reboot, in a different continuity (different timeline, different multiverse, different reality, like the Abramsverse). Only those facets (people, places, events, dates) which appear in a 5E RPG product actually happened in this new timeline. The pre-5E stuff simply does not exist as far as the 5E Reality is concerned. Even the "past" in the 5E timeline is not the same as the previous editions' lore, unless a 5E happens to say so.
And honestly? As much as I love 4E D&D (and Zeitgeist/Ashes of Athas have my heart forever), the Realms iteration was the worst of the lot in my opinion; just a thematic mess from start to finish. Obliteration of the "FR Canon" as-was at least relieves us of "kiddie fiddler" Durnan in Waterdeep and a load of similarly ill considered artefacts. I'm glad to be rid of them. And of any fans of said iteration of that character. Good riddance.
 

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