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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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Edit: I just checked via naughty means (I didn't download anything, though!), and it appears that monsters in Candlekeep don't have alignments, but named individuals and unique creatures do. Which makes perfect sense to me. I'm willing to bet that's what is going to happen in Fizban's as well. (I'm not looking at an official copy of CM, though, so I could be wrong.)
Miirym the unique undead dragon that roams the keep does not have an alignment listed, so at least one named and unique creature lacks alignment in Candlekeep. Scanning the book, some have alignment and some do not. It's inconsistent.
 

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Faolyn

Hero
Miirym the unique undead dragon that roams the keep does not have an alignment listed, so at least one named and unique creature lacks alignment in Candlekeep. Scanning the book, some have alignment and some do not. It's inconsistent.
It's bad editing, yes. But very possibly what will be used in upcoming books.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Sure and there's evidence. This site had a poll where 2/3+ of the 100+ voters had uses for alignment. It's not strong evidence, but it is evidence. In my gaming experience with hundreds of players over the years, 99% of them used alignment. Further at gaming conventions I like to walk around and observe groups playing. 100% of them used alignment. That's hundreds more. Now, I suppose I could have hit longer odds than the lottery and somehow only ran into several hundred who used alignment and a small handful that didn't, but I'm just not that lucky. That's more evidence. Plus the game itself still makes alignment the default way to play, and most people play by the rules.
That's not evidence at all, except what 100+ users on a particular website think. It has absolutely nothing to do with what numbers WotC have, assuming they even bothered with a poll and didn't just decide that one way to stop having problematic Always Evil races and thereby be more inclusive is to get rid of alignment. You don't need a poll for that.

Convention games use alignment because it's still in the books and they're not going to spring what is currently not anything official on people, and most players at a con aren't going to start a fuss about alignment. Also, what conventions have you walked around lately? I should really hope none, unless you live in a Covid-free area. I would bet that this data is from at least a year or two ago. And in that short period of time, the idea of not including racial alignments in D&D has gained some traction.

Also, the fact that you saw people using alignments means nothing about whether they think alignments should exist, either for individuals or for entire species. As you know, I dislike alignment. I have told my players I don't require them to include alignment on their sheets. The other DMs in my group haven't yet made that announcement--even though I know that none of them like the idea of Always Evil races (it was mentioned in passing just last session)--so I included alignment on my charsheets for their games. If you looked at my sheets, you'd have no way of knowing my feelings on the matter.

So... you don't have evidence. You have a guess based on some very surface information.
 

Sure and there's evidence. This site had a poll where 2/3+ of the 100+ voters had uses for alignment. It's not strong evidence, but it is evidence. In my gaming experience with hundreds of players over the years, 99% of them used alignment. Further at gaming conventions I like to walk around and observe groups playing. 100% of them used alignment. That's hundreds more. Now, I suppose I could have hit longer odds than the lottery and somehow only ran into several hundred who used alignment and a small handful that didn't, but I'm just not that lucky. That's more evidence. Plus the game itself still makes alignment the default way to play, and most people play by the rules.
IIRC, about 30% of people in that poll said they had no use for alignment, which is a lot. Further, we can differentiate between those who have "some use" for alignment and those who find it essential to playing (and running) dnd. For example in this thread, alignment was deemed to be of middling importance overall.


Per my comment way way upthread, "vocal minority" sounds dismissive, as if because they are the minority their preferences are not valid. In a game marketed to a wide audience, this may be true at some level but is not a great argument and is, again, dismissive. For example, we might say that people who really care that wotc maintain an official, consistent canon, even across videogames and novels, are a 'vocal minority.' Alternatively, we can try to have a discussion about what kind of lore continuity is useful, practical, and enjoyable and arrive at (probably different) conclusions on the basis of something other than idiosyncratic preference or anecdote.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That's not evidence at all,
You're wrong. People have been convicted on less.
except what 100+ users on a particular website think. It has absolutely nothing to do with what numbers WotC have, assuming they even bothered with a poll and didn't just decide that one way to stop having problematic Always Evil races and thereby be more inclusive is to get rid of alignment. You don't need a poll for that.
What? I don't give a rat's fig about their numbers. Whether they do or don't have numbers is irrelevant to my claim and evidence.
Convention games use alignment because it's still in the books and they're not going to spring what is currently not anything official on people, and most players at a con aren't going to start a fuss about alignment. Also, what conventions have you walked around lately? I should really hope none, unless you live in a Covid-free area. I would bet that this data is from at least a year or two ago. And in that short period of time, the idea of not including racial alignments in D&D has gained some traction.
I said games AT conventions, not convention games. First, the games run as part of the convention don't have rules on how they have to function. The DM could opt not to use alignment at all if that was his wish. Second, I'm talking about games in the common area that I can just wander around to and watch. Those are just people gathering to play, often regular groups that have met at the convention to play there.
Also, the fact that you saw people using alignments means nothing about whether they think alignments should exist, either for individuals or for entire species.
Irrelevant. I'm saying that the majority of people USE alignment. I don't care what else they may believe.
I have told my players I don't require them to include alignment on their sheets.
Me, too. They still do include it, because I think it's a habit of theirs after all these years, but I don't ever ask for it or use it in that manner. I use it pretty much exclusively on the DM side of things for NPCs and monsters.
So... you don't have evidence. You have a guess based on some very surface information.
Just so you know, evidence does not have to be correct. You being present at a scene of a crime can be used as evidence against you, even if you didn't do it.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
IIRC, about 30% of people in that poll said they had no use for alignment, which is a lot. Further, we can differentiate between those who have "some use" for alignment and those who find it essential to playing (and running) dnd. For example in this thread, alignment was deemed to be of middling importance overall.
Sure. Finer differentiation is absolutely possible, but not relevant to my claim. I'm just talking about people using alignment, not to what degree they use it.
Per my comment way way upthread, "vocal minority" sounds dismissive, as if because they are the minority their preferences are not valid. In a game marketed to a wide audience, this may be true at some level but is not a great argument and is, again, dismissive.
Maybe if some of that 30% weren't constantly trying to take alignment away from the majority of us who use it, I wouldn't be so dismissive of them. While 30% don't use it, I don't think anywhere near 30% are trying to take alignment away from the game. The vocal minority(much smaller percentage) are the ones doing that.

Alternatively, we can try to have a discussion about what kind of lore continuity is useful, practical, and enjoyable and arrive at (probably different) conclusions on the basis of something other than idiosyncratic preference or anecdote.

We've tried. We say they can ignore alignment, and that it would be good to add in traits so that they don't feel like they have to use it. We say that it's better to go back to the 3e version of alignment when races were objectively in the books NOT all one alignment. Orcs were evil more often than not, but that only meant at least 50.01% That left huge amounts of room for good orc nations, but no, they are unwilling to compromise at all. That's why I'm dismissive of that vocal minority.
 

Faolyn

Hero
You're wrong. People have been convicted on less.
That means the justice system is bad (and is not a topic for this thread), not that decisions should be made using poor evidence.

What? I don't give a rat's fig about their numbers. Whether they do or don't have numbers is irrelevant to my claim and evidence.
So you're pulling that claim about a vocal minority, as well as that claim that tons of people want alignment, out of that rat's fig.

I said games AT conventions, not convention games. First, the games run as part of the convention don't have rules on how they have to function. The DM could opt not to use alignment at all if that was his wish. Second, I'm talking about games in the common area that I can just wander around to and watch. Those are just people gathering to play, often regular groups that have met at the convention to play there.
Again, it doesn't matter. A DM who decides to spring a bunch of house rules on total strangers at a con isn't going to get players. DMs who run at cons are going to go by the books just because it's easier.

Irrelevant. I'm saying that the majority of people USE alignment. I don't care what else they may believe.
Whether they use it or not has no bearing on if they think it should be used. As I said, I use it for my characters in other people's games. If you don't care what anyone else may believe, why did you start out claiming that "hundreds" of people use it and 60-70 people said they had a use for it?

Me, too. They still do include it, because I think it's a habit of theirs after all these years, but I don't ever ask for it or use it in that manner. I use it pretty much exclusively on the DM side of things for NPCs and monsters.
Which suggests that your players don't care about alignment and only use it out of habit. That's not evidence of anything other than that habits are hard to break. Do you really want to include something that you admit doesn't have any real meaning for the players?

Just so you know, evidence does not have to be correct. You being present at a scene of a crime can be used as evidence against you, even if you didn't do it.
Evidence that isn't correct isn't evidence; it's misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or deliberate lies. Do you really want to base your claim on something like this?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That means the justice system is bad (and is not a topic for this thread), not that decisions should be made using poor evidence.
It's not as poor as you want to make it out to be, but it's not very strong, either. I'll grant you that much.
So you're pulling that claim about a vocal minority, as well as that claim that tons of people want alignment, out of that rat's fig.
No. I'd be willing to be good money that a majority want alignment. At least 50.01%
Again, it doesn't matter. A DM who decides to spring a bunch of house rules on total strangers at a con isn't going to get players. DMs who run at cons are going to go by the books just because it's easier.
As I said, many of them are normal groups just playing there. And players aren't going to write alignment on their sheet for a sit down game. If they don't use alignment, it won't be on the sheet and they will just make it up and tell that to a DM who wants it.
Whether they use it or not has no bearing on if they think it should be used. As I said, I use it for my characters in other people's games. If you don't care what anyone else may believe, why did you start out claiming that "hundreds" of people use it and 60-70 people said they had a use for it?
Okay, but this is not relevant to my claim.
Which suggests that your players don't care about alignment and only use it out of habit. That's not evidence of anything other than that habits are hard to break. Do you really want to include something that you admit doesn't have any real meaning for the players?
Okay, but I'm not trying to say that they really want alignment. And yes, I do really want to include something that doesn't have any real meaning to the players, because I find it invaluable as DM. I also have seen MANY new players and a lesser number of less creative players rely on alignment to help them roleplay. My players don't need it, but there are a good number of players that do. It should be present for them as well.
Evidence that isn't correct isn't evidence; it's misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or deliberate lies. Do you really want to base your claim on something like this?
It is evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence, whether you personally like and agree with it or not. Your opinion doesn't really matter here. It's going to remain evidence anyway.
 

Insulting others AND inappropriate language
It's not as poor as you want to make it out to be, but it's not very strong, either. I'll grant you that much.

No. I'd be willing to be good money that a majority want alignment. At least 50.01%

As I said, many of them are normal groups just playing there. And players aren't going to write alignment on their sheet for a sit down game. If they don't use alignment, it won't be on the sheet and they will just make it up and tell that to a DM who wants it.

Okay, but this is not relevant to my claim.

Okay, but I'm not trying to say that they really want alignment. And yes, I do really want to include something that doesn't have any real meaning to the players, because I find it invaluable as DM. I also have seen MANY new players and a lesser number of less creative players rely on alignment to help them roleplay. My players don't need it, but there are a good number of players that do. It should be present for them as well.

It is evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence, whether you personally like and agree with it or not. Your opinion doesn't really matter here. It's going to remain evidence anyway.
Well you're just the goddamn emperor of cherry picking, aren't you? How do those blinders look on you? Because from here you look like a clown.
 




Faolyn

Hero
It's not as poor as you want to make it out to be, but it's not very strong, either. I'll grant you that much.

No. I'd be willing to be good money that a majority want alignment. At least 50.01%
Since you have absolutely no evidence to back that up, and just admitted to making up the numbers...

As I said, many of them are normal groups just playing there. And players aren't going to write alignment on their sheet for a sit down game. If they don't use alignment, it won't be on the sheet and they will just make it up and tell that to a DM who wants it.
What? What sort of games are you encountering?

Okay, but this is not relevant to my claim.
Your claim is that lots of people are using alignment. You admitted that, with your group, it was more habit than actually liking alignment and wanting to use it. That is 100% relevant to your claim that people want alignment.

Okay, but I'm not trying to say that they really want alignment.
You just did at the top of your post.

And yes, I do really want to include something that doesn't have any real meaning to the players, because I find it invaluable as DM.
So there shouldn't be alignment except as an option in the DMG. Gotcha.

I also have seen MANY new players and a lesser number of less creative players rely on alignment to help them roleplay. My players don't need it, but there are a good number of players that do. It should be present for them as well.
Wow. Not only is this incredibly rude to players in general but it certainly looks like you just called yourself less creative because you rely on alignment as a DM.

It is evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence, whether you personally like and agree with it or not. Your opinion doesn't really matter here. It's going to remain evidence anyway.
Hey, if all your claims are based on crappy evidence, then your claim can also be dismissed as crappy. So anything you say can be safely ignored.
 


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