Posted by : David Guyll August 17, 2012

For those of you that missed it (which is likely no one), you can watch the entire thing here (skip ahead eight minutes).

There was a bit on art that I liked, and the statement "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" got used, which hopefully will not mean "we are not going to change things, even if we find a better way of illustrating/doing it". Peter Adkinson--a pretty funny guy--also pitched his web series The First Paladin. Oh yeah, and Ed Greenwood's voice is pretty bad ass. Like, Morgan Freeman quality. Mearls mentioned that some 75,000 people have participated in the playtest, and provided some examples of how feedback has shaped the playtest thus far (and also said that they go through forums, reddit, and blogs for ideas and additional feedback).

 It was a good watch, but I wanted to write at length on how they were going to handle supported settings, and the pdf backlog.

Since the backlog is the quickest to explain, I will just get it out of the way: In early 2013, WotC is going to re-release the entire backlog of D&D products. All of it, from every edition. Given that Next is not slated for release until sometime in 2014, this could be a nice revenue stream. Not sure if this will a subscription model, of if you will have to buy them individually. I would like to see something like Steam or Barnes & Noble, where you buy them and they become linked to your account. It will not circumvent piracy, but it is low-hassle, which helps.

As for supported settings, they are going to start with Forgotten Realms, as they always do, but are going to put a lot of energy and focus into it so we get something fully fleshed out. Likewise, it will yet again see another big change that Ed assures us will not be another Time of Troubles or Spellplague. It is called the Sundering, which Ed states will "right the realms". Judging by the name and symbol I take it to mean that they will split Abeir and Toril, which will allow them to fix whatever it is they feel needs fixing. They are also going to launch a six-part novel series starring Drizzt, Elminster, and some others that takes place during this time, though the actual setting will be set in the era that takes place after the event. The idea is that, while Drizzt and Elminster will continue to do their thing, it will be their thing.

They are going to avoid issues of numerous high-powered NPCs and second-fiddle PCs. As part of this philosophy, in 2013 Ed and Salvatore are going to help write two adventures that, depending on the majority feedback, will affect the final product. Some possibilities mentioned were toppling a kingdom, burning Zhentil Keep to the ground, and unleash a horde of demons.

I have not been a fan of the Forgotten Realms since early 3rd Edition, and did not really care about the whole Spellplague controversy. My issues were the massive amount of established history. When planning an adventure, I felt like I had to do a lot of homework to avoid stepping on the "canon". It is not that I dislike the Realm's style as a kind of pretty vanilla setting with a lot of renamed real-world cultures. That it fine. My problem is that there is so, so much "official" lore to muddle through, and it creates a pretty high bar of entry.

I loved how Eberron approached things. There are not high-level NPCs, except for a few high-level threats (which tended to cap out at level 16 in 3rd Edition), as well as lots of vague adventure hooks that the writer himself left open to the individual DM to hammer out (like the Dragon Prophecy, the layout of Xen'drik, what caused The Mourning, etc). If the writers give us a word with some history and themes, but largely leave the rest open to the DM to decide, I will be happy.

Regardless, it was stated several times that other settings will get support, including past stuff. While I am also not a Greyhawk fan (having like, never played it), I take it to mean that Planescape, Ravenloft, and Eberron will get support. Heck, might even see some Spelljammer in the mix, which I also never played but always wanted to.

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Rather than schemes, rogues could just get two specialties to start. That would represent rogue flexibility. The existing specialties could easily just become specialties.

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  2. Whoops, that text near the end was supposed to be part of the writing notes that I forgot to delete. How embarrassing...

    At any rate, I think that rogues could just get a class feature that allows them to pick a few extra skills. As is, it is feasible that they could pick a scheme that has skills that overlap with a background (and a trait, though that seems very unlikely).

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