WotC's Nathan Stewart Teases New D&D Setting Book in 2019

No real details, other than denying that it will be Spelljammer, but in the latest Spoilers & Swag episode Stewart stated straight up that another hardcover setting book is coming in 2019:

"Nathan Stewart, the senior director of Dungeons & Dragons and Avalon Hill, made the announcement on his monthly "Spoilers & Swag" Twitchcast yesterday. 'Next year for our annual releases I can confirm there will be a setting book,' he said. 'A new setting book. A book that we have not created that is for a D&D setting.'"

I'd speculate, given the Settings mentioned in the recent marketing survey and what is listed in the DMsGuild, that the likely options are from the following, given we got Magic this year and Stewart has previously said they are not working on a new setting right now:

- Dark Sun
- Dragonlance
- Eberron
- Greyhawk
- Planescape
- Ravenloft

https://comicbook.com/gaming/2018/11/03/dungeons-and-dragons-new-campaign-setting-book-2019/
 

Comments

Jester David

Adventurer
I'll admit that I don't know much about Dragonlance. What would you say the hook is? Every time I see Dragonlance mentioned I'm given the impression that it's just a typical fantasy world.
More heroic high fantasy.
But, really, the hook is the key story. The famous War if the Lance.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'll admit that I don't know much about Dragonlance. What would you say the hook is? Every time I see Dragonlance mentioned I'm given the impression that it's just a typical fantasy world.
Typical in a way that was not typical of D&D pre-1984, nor since outside of Dragonlance. Epic fantasy, rather than heroic fantasy.

It is one of the most popular settings, next to the other biggies that you mention, too.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Yeah, that’s always been its strength, and its weakness. Having an epic struggle against a monolithic foe can be great, but it can also make things difficult – capturing that epic feel without either infringing on the main story or having the main story overshadow the PCs isn’t always an easy task.

Were I to run a Dragonlance campaign these days, I’d set it during the War of the Lance, but in an area of Ansalon that the Heroes of the Lance never went to, creating an entirely new front for the war, with a new Dragon Highlord to fight. Concentrate more on the tone rather than the locales like Xak Tsaroth, Solace, and Palanthas.

More heroic high fantasy.
But, really, the hook is the key story. The famous War if the Lance.
 
I don't see Planescape or Spelljamer getting full supplements, but instead getting adventures that also act to introduce the setting (much like ToA).
Agreed.

If I were doing Spelljammer, for instance, I'd probably do something like the Odyssey, Star Trek: Voyager, or the story of Cugel the Clever - give the PCs some strong ties to a home location, suddenly spirit them away to a faraway Sphere, and then base the campaign on their efforts to get home. (You'll need some way to persuade them to use Spelljamming to get home rather than some variant of teleport, but that shouldn't be impossible.)

The bulk of the book would then be a set of adventures in a dozen or so Spheres between them and home, and then a final showdown with whoever it was abducted them in the first place.

If they then open the setting to DM's Guild creators, they can then benefit from huge amounts of material with relatively little outlay.
 
I agree that Mystara is a pipe-dream for Mystara fans, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a PDF treatment. But a hardcover? Very unlikely.

Greyhawk is also just so dated and idiosyncratic in tone; the folks who want it most and see it as on a similar level as the more recent settings are generally older players who have lost sight of cultural perspective (I am reminded of a 50ish Lyft driver who was telling me and my friend that the late 80s to early 90s was the height of popular music...umm, really?).

That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Greyhawk "commemorative edition" at some point. But I just don't see some great Greyhawk--or Mystara--revival to exhume the corpse of 70s-80s era D&D. WotC has created a formula that is working quite well, and I think it is partially because it has a relationship of appreciation and honoring to the older eras of D&D, but without fetishizing or trying to re-live the past.

Dragonlance is interesting, though, because it embodies something 5E has lacked so far: a huge, world-changing story. Well, there have been big stories, but not quite on the level of what Dragonlance is best known for.

That said, I would be surprised if they simply re-did the War of the Lance. I know that is the cultural trend to endlessly re-hash rather than innovate, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see WotC take a different route with a big epic story. Maybe still set in Krynn, or maybe something else. Actually, the Ravnica book gives me hope that they're willing to explore new worlds rather than simply re-do the old.

I also think it likely that we see some kind of world-connecting book at some opint within the next year or two, whether that is Planescape, Spelljammer, Planeswalkers, or a hybrid of all three. Again, they seem to want to turn a new spin on things, so my bet is on a hybrid.
 

Hjorimir

Explorer
I love Dragonlance for many reasons, but most of all because it deviated from the vanilla kitchen sink that most published offerings feel the need to support. There are no regular halflings. There are no orcs to be found. Minotaur as a playable race. The knights of Solamnia. Etc. Etc.

Yes, there's an issue of living in the shadow of the Heroes of the War of the Lance (the same issue found within Middle Earth), but it's a rich world. I'd love to see it come back a few hundred years into the future past all of those events to clear space for the heroes of a DM's campaign...the players.
 

TiwazTyrsfist

Explorer
If it were presented and treated the way settings are currently in 5e, then Dragonlance would be a fairly typical fantasy setting with a does of "Our [blank] are different" tropes, a much stronger focus on the dragons than most settings, and some fairly setting specific subclasses.

The thing that really made Dragonlance different, Beloved by it's fans, Hated by it's detractors (besides Kender), was that every time Weis & Hickman wrote a book, the events of the book are fully canon and change the setting.

You're playing post Chronicles, and you're a cleric. Oh, a new set of books came out, "The Gods are gone again, you lose your magic." Oh, well, huh, that's uh, dang.

Giant Dragon razes the entire elf wood, all the green elves are dead.

Etc.

These things make the setting dynamic, but can also be upsetting for players.

Anyway, I really don't feel like WotC/Hasbro would be into maintaining a line like that at this point, so a 5e Dragonlance would end up being static. In which case, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and Greyhawk are all similar in the sense of being traditional Fantasy settings. I'd love to have a good setting book for all of them, but they lack what I would call a "Strong Hook".

Eberron - Magipunk
Spell Jammer - Space Fantasy
Planescape - Planar reality jumping
Dark Sun - Harsh dying world fantasy
Forgotten Realms - The only setting we actually support in organized play
Greyhawk - Forgotten Realms Alpha (Not supported)
Dragonlance - Forgotten Realms but with realm events (Not Supported)
 

Parmandur

Legend
Given the popularity of Curse of Strahd, the continued popularity of Dragonlance, the popularity of Tales from the Yawning Portal, and the willingness of WOtC as of DotMM to have a 320 page adventure...

I think a full re-do of the original Dragonlance Campaign, with Hickman's input, is very, very possible. Followed with a setting book, that is all the Dragonlance fans would need: world info, and the chance to make the War of the Lance their own.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
If it were presented and treated the way settings are currently in 5e, then Dragonlance would be a fairly typical fantasy setting with a does of "Our [blank] are different" tropes, a much stronger focus on the dragons than most settings, and some fairly setting specific subclasses.

The thing that really made Dragonlance different, Beloved by it's fans, Hated by it's detractors (besides Kender), was that every time Weis & Hickman wrote a book, the events of the book are fully canon and change the setting.
Sorta, the setting would get changed for the sake of changes to the TRPG (see SAGA) and then Weiss & Hickman would be called in to write these changes into the fiction cannon. It's the standard "Rule changes? Need to blow up the setting!" that TSR started (and WotC continued) with the other settings like Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk

You're playing post Chronicles, and you're a cleric. Oh, a new set of books came out, "The Gods are gone again, you lose your magic." Oh, well, huh, that's uh, dang.

Giant Dragon razes the entire elf wood, all the green elves are dead.

Etc.

These things make the setting dynamic, but can also be upsetting for players.
Ideally, WotC should just hit the "reset button" on the setting and allow the setting to be played as it was intended.

Anyway, I really don't feel like WotC/Hasbro would be into maintaining a line like that at this point, so a 5e Dragonlance would end up being static. In which case, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and Greyhawk are all similar in the sense of being traditional Fantasy settings. I'd love to have a good setting book for all of them, but they lack what I would call a "Strong Hook".

Eberron - Magipunk
Spell Jammer - Space Fantasy
Planescape - Planar reality jumping
Dark Sun - Harsh dying world fantasy
Forgotten Realms - The only setting we actually support in organized play
Greyhawk - Forgotten Realms Alpha (Not supported)
Dragonlance - Forgotten Realms but with realm events (Not Supported)
In the DMG, it defines Dragonlance as "epic fantasy" and Greyhawk as "sword and sorcery" as opposed to the Forgotten Realms "heroic fantasy" for what it's worth.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I’d pick that up and run it in a heartbeat. I could see a new War of the Lance hardcover module. Give the PCs a chance to be the next Heroes of the Lance. Tell the story with some giant battles for them to take part in and shape. Include just enough references to the previous War to connect it while not requiring people to know the lore. Maybe Lord Soth shows up as an adversary.

I'd love to see it come back a few hundred years into the future past all of those events to clear space for the heroes of a DM's campaign...the players.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'll admit that I don't know much about Dragonlance. What would you say the hook is? Every time I see Dragonlance mentioned I'm given the impression that it's just a typical fantasy world.
A very different focus on dragons, Wizard magic as a monolithic school that will hunt you down if you defy it's rules (including going beyond hedge wizardry without becoming part of the system), a world with very little divine magic even in the era where Divine magic had returned, very different takes on a few races (very interesting Dwarves, for instance), more personal and flawed deities, The Balance, and a strong and consistent theme in terms of how the world is built.

For a start.

Yeah, that’s always been its strength, and its weakness. Having an epic struggle against a monolithic foe can be great, but it can also make things difficult – capturing that epic feel without either infringing on the main story or having the main story overshadow the PCs isn’t always an easy task.

Were I to run a Dragonlance campaign these days, I’d set it during the War of the Lance, but in an area of Ansalon that the Heroes of the Lance never went to, creating an entirely new front for the war, with a new Dragon Highlord to fight. Concentrate more on the tone rather than the locales like Xak Tsaroth, Solace, and Palanthas.
I just either used to start in the beggining of the war, and in my campaign the heroes of the lance didn't exist, or I played in the Legends era, and just never interacted with them. It's always been weird to me that people think you can't play DL without either rehashing the Chronicles or being overshadowed by the HoTL.

I love Dragonlance for many reasons, but most of all because it deviated from the vanilla kitchen sink that most published offerings feel the need to support. There are no regular halflings. There are no orcs to be found. Minotaur as a playable race. The knights of Solamnia. Etc. Etc.

Yes, there's an issue of living in the shadow of the Heroes of the War of the Lance (the same issue found within Middle Earth), but it's a rich world. I'd love to see it come back a few hundred years into the future past all of those events to clear space for the heroes of a DM's campaign...the players.
My idea for the setting is to set the new era as the original began. Treat the War of Souls and all that jazz as the catyclism was treated originally, have a few hundred years of history in between, don't go into detail on any of it, and present a world very much like Ansalon in the first days of the War of The Lance. Dragon Armies are on the rise, the gods are silent, and there are rumors that The Dragon Queen has returned.

But where, then, is Paladine? Where, the dragonlances? Who will rouse the Knights of Solamnia? Who will forge the alliances needed to stand against the rising tide of darkness?

Also, the trees of Solace have regrown, and the town once against rests in their strong branches. Because whoever decided to have them burned down was objectively wrong.
 
In the DMG, it defines Dragonlance as "epic fantasy" and Greyhawk as "sword and sorcery" as opposed to the Forgotten Realms "heroic fantasy" for what it's worth.
That actually works quite well, although would say that Greyhawk isn't truly pure sword & sorcery, more a hybrid of S&S and heroic fantasy. When I think true S&S I think Newhon or the Hyborian Age. But of the major D&D settings, Greyhawk is the closest to S&S.
 

Parmandur

Legend
That actually works quite well, although would say that Greyhawk isn't truly pure sword & sorcery, more a hybrid of S&S and heroic fantasy. When I think true S&S I think Newhon or the Hyborian Age. But of the major D&D settings, Greyhawk is the closest to S&S.
I feel that Mearls has been conducting a multi-year guerilla campaign to justify making an independent Greyhawk product by emphasizing it as different from the FR. He brigns it up on Twitter a lot, and GH is his favorite setting.
 
I think the reason Dragonlance was so popular was, first and foremost, the Dragonlance Chronicles novels. In terms of writing they were awful, but in terms of story they were quite good, and even the characters were fun and alive - especially to the target demographic, the tween and teen D&D fanbase. How many early teen boys (such as myself) identified with Tanis, fell in love with Laurana and had early lustful thoughts about Kitiara? To my newly emerging emotional self, the deaths of Sturm and Flint were heart-wrenching.

In a way, Dragonlance essentialized the approach that WotC is taking now: making story front and center. But they did it through a great big meta-plot, with a corresponding railroady campaign. 4E came out 30 years later, with 30 years of D&D worlds and stories and trends, and an entirely different generation (or two!). Most new D&D players are Millenials and Gen Zers, who were born after 9/11, with a very different worldview.

But what I'm getting at is that I think the D&D world is ripe for "another Dragonlance" - another great big epic story to inspire and enjoy, and then play alongside of or re-create in your own way. But it probably won't be, shouldn't (can't) be Dragonlance. It has to be something that fits the current zeitgeist - perhaps something more dystopian. Dragonlance was very much the product of the naive and utopian 80s. The Dragonance of 2020 will be quite different. But I think D&D is ripe for it, and that at some point we'll see something like it.
 
Sorta, the setting would get changed for the sake of changes to the TRPG (see SAGA) and then Weiss & Hickman would be called in to write these changes into the fiction cannon. It's the standard "Rule changes? Need to blow up the setting!" that TSR started (and WotC continued) with the other settings like Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk



Ideally, WotC should just hit the "reset button" on the setting and allow the setting to be played as it was intended.



In the DMG, it defines Dragonlance as "epic fantasy" and Greyhawk as "sword and sorcery" as opposed to the Forgotten Realms "heroic fantasy" for what it's worth.
I feel that Mearls has been conducting a multi-year guerilla campaign to justify making an independent Greyhawk product by emphasizing it as different from the FR. He brigns it up on Twitter a lot, and GH is his favorite setting.
I've said before that I think the best way to handle Greyhawk is to go all in on a single, deluxe product. OK, two products: do a PDF like the Eberron one that can essentially be put together by a single person for relatively little cost, but then do a commemorative deluxe box set that includes elements of the glassic Greyhawk box set, the city box set, and Castle Greyhawk...I'm talking a huge $150-200 product. A deluxe product for serious collectors. And then just leave it.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I've said before that I think the best way to handle Greyhawk is to go all in on a single, deluxe product. OK, two products: do a PDF like the Eberron one that can essentially be put together by a single person for relatively little cost, but then do a commemorative deluxe box set that includes elements of the glassic Greyhawk box set, the city box set, and Castle Greyhawk...I'm talking a huge $150-200 product. A deluxe product for serious collectors. And then just leave it.
I would expect more a book like GGtR, with the material from the old box set supplemented with more rules and tables for 5E play.
 

lkj

Explorer
I feel that Mearls has been conducting a multi-year guerilla campaign to justify making an independent Greyhawk product by emphasizing it as different from the FR. He brigns it up on Twitter a lot, and GH is his favorite setting.
I feel like that too (though it might just be the dreamer in me). But I sometimes think he has already come up with a clever way to pull it off and just has to wait till the more easily justifiable settings (Eberron, DarkSun, occasional MtG) are finished.

I'm really hoping the Eberron experiment ends up being a big success. Because i think that's probably the best chance for it working (pdf on the Guild that doesn't compete with print releases, but gets a full print treatment if people love it).

AD
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the reason Dragonlance was so popular was, first and foremost, the Dragonlance Chronicles novels. In terms of writing they were awful, but in terms of story they were quite good, and even the characters were fun and alive - especially to the target demographic, the tween and teen D&D fanbase. How many early teen boys (such as myself) identified with Tanis, fell in love with Laurana and had early lustful thoughts about Kitiara? To my newly emerging emotional self, the deaths of Sturm and Flint were heart-wrenching.

In a way, Dragonlance essentialized the approach that WotC is taking now: making story front and center. But they did it through a great big meta-plot, with a corresponding railroady campaign. 4E came out 30 years later, with 30 years of D&D worlds and stories and trends, and an entirely different generation (or two!). Most new D&D players are Millenials and Gen Zers, who were born after 9/11, with a very different worldview.

But what I'm getting at is that I think the D&D world is ripe for "another Dragonlance" - another great big epic story to inspire and enjoy, and then play alongside of or re-create in your own way. But it probably won't be, shouldn't (can't) be Dragonlance. It has to be something that fits the current zeitgeist - perhaps something more dystopian. Dragonlance was very much the product of the naive and utopian 80s. The Dragonance of 2020 will be quite different. But I think D&D is ripe for it, and that at some point we'll see something like it.
I was always more into Tika, tbh. I cried when Sturm died, though, and again for Flint. And for Raistlin, though that was less sad and more...relieved, for the character.

Anyway, I don't think that gen z and younger millennials want dystopian stories as much as some people think. I think they want stories where hope is not in vain, where good wins through collective action, and where no one is a monster just because they look different.

A continuation of the DL story can absolutely do that, as could a remake.

@doctorbadwolf sounds like a fun game to me!
Thanks! I think it's honestly the very best way forward for the setting.
 

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