At the first D&D Direct livestream, Wizards of the Coast revealed what’s in store for Dungeons & Dragons with a series of new reveals—including major new additions to Fifth Edition in the form of the return of not one, but two classic campaign settings in all new releases: Spelljammer and Dragonlance.
In a short press video from members of the Dungeons & Dragons creative team, Chris Perkins (a game design architect) and Trystan Falcone (a graphic designer) introduce Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. Falcone describes this as “deep space meets deep sea.” As players take “the long way” through space, they’ll encounter cities on asteroids and dead gods floating in the ether.
The new Spelljammer will be available as a new science-fantasy campaign setting in a slipcase with three 64-page hardcover books, a Dungeon Master’s screen, and a double-sided poster map. The Astral Adventurer’s Guide is written for both DMs and players. It has all you need to run campaigns set in Wildspace, as well as six new playable ancestry options:
- Astral Elves—These are elves with starlight in their eyes who have abandoned the feywilds for space.
- Autognomes—Mechanical gnomes, “built gnome-tough,” that appear like steampunk automata.
- Hadozee—Mischievous-looking flying monkey aliens
- Giff—A race of hippo-headed folk who don’t know where they came from and don’t know where they’re going, who are looking for home in all the wrong places.
- Plasmoids—Described as slime, these vaguely-human shaped beings are D&D’s first character race where you are an ooze.
- Thri-Kreen—Mantis-like insectoids with color-changing carapaces who possess telepathy.
The second book is called Boo’s Astral Menagerie, named after the miniature Giant Space Hamster, a sourcebook of new monsters for the Wildspace setting such as Vampirates, Space Clouds, Murder Comets, Giant Space Hamsters, and Solar and Lunar Dragons. The third book is Light of Xaryxis, an all-new D&D adventure set in the Wildspace and the Astral Sea. It will take characters from level 5 to level 18. It’s got 12 episodes at about 2-4 hours each, and each chapter ends in a cliffhanger. There will be a prequel adventure released in July via a Wizards of the Coast online account.
Spelljammer was last published for the second edition of D&D in 1989. As Spelljammer was ported into 5e, Perkins stated that adjusting the setting for the updated edition was relatively painless. “We did jettison the flam system,” he says, “in 2e, there this was a flammable ether, or gas, in between the planes of existence. We did not use that, partly because we wanted to leverage the cosmology of the Dungeon’s Master’s guide and leverage the astral plane... and streamline the journey from one world to another.”
Perkins also teased a Spelljammer Academy addition and denied that The Starjammer, which was a massive ship of older Starjammer lore, does not make an appearance.
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space will arrive August 2022.
Seen at the end of a short animated preview trailer, there are two new Dragonlance products: a tactical board game titled Warriors of Krynn and a campaign book, titled Shadow of the Dragon Queen. Dragonlance has remained a strong IP for WoC across the years, and when the company fully realized that they could create something new and unique through a combination of a board game and a TTRPG campaign at the same time. Original Dragonlance authors, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, were not associated with this setting or board game.
Dragonlance was originally a series of novels set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, and later turned into playable campaign settings. There have been over 150 novels published in the Dragonlance series, which have been in publication since the 80s. This is about as classic swords-and-sorcery role-playing as D&D can get, and it doesn’t seem from the trailer that WoC is deviating much from the formula.
Ray Winninger, Executive Producer for Dungeons & Dragons, confirmed that this will be an accessible, lore-light game that will folks who have no familiarity with Dragonlance will be able to play, and will almost “give you a tour of what this setting is like.” It’s a brand new setting set during the War of the Lance, but it’s an entirely new story, not associated with the concurrent stories or lore that were published in the late 80s and early 90s. “It adds edges around the details of those settings,” Winninger clarified, “this product takes you to Ancelon, a place that hasn’t been covered in other Dragonlance materials.”
When asked how the battle game, Warriors of Krynn, will tie into the campaign setting, Shadow of the Dragon Queen, Winninger said that they went to the core of the setting. “Ultimately,” he says, “Dragonlance is a war story.” D&D wanted to find a way to play out epic war games and emotional narratives. “One of the original modules was a war game and older RPGs asked you to stop your RPG and play a board game,” Winninger explained. Warriors of Krynn is a co-op Euro-style board game that allows players to play out the massive military battles of their role-playing campaign while retaining narrative legacy elements. Players will be able to port their characters between the board game and the TTRPG experience. Likewise the game will be able to be played on its own without any role-playing tie-in. Rob Daviau and Stephen Baker designed Warriors of Krynn.
A new starter set was released in the press which will contain have a campaign book, dice, and five pre-generated character sheets as well as digital access to onboarding videos. It will also be released alongside digital tools, making this an easily-accessible entry adventure for those new to D&D. There will be a lot of tools to help new Dungeon Masters in addition to new players, helping walk DMs through a supportive experience to allow them to understand the basics of leading a role-playing game.
Natalie Egan hopes that this starter set reflects eight years of feedback since the 2014 publication of the previous set, Lost Mines of Phandelver. One of the problems was that if you didn’t have someone who had played Dungeons & Dragons before the set was still intimidating, so from inception “the biggest goal was creating a product that anyone could pick up and get going.”
Shelly Mazzanoble is heading up the onboarding efforts of Wizards of the Coast and helping out digital tools. For this set there is a “New Player Hub” that will be available to help ease the friction of first-time players. There will be a suite of video tutorials to guide people step by step through the initial pressure points of gameplay. There will also be an interactive video that will demonstrate the fundamentals of D&D within 15 minutes.
The starter set will cost $19.99. (An earlier Hasbro press release misprinted the price as $49.99)
Dungeons & Dragons is also producing customizable case sets that allow you to make your own creature tokens, using adhesive cling illustrations of classic monsters and discs of three different sizes. The case is also portable, and the goal is that this product will help create a cohesive, immersive campaign.
The Terrain Case will have 30 interlocking tiles, and additional reusable cling stickers, as will also double as a carrying case. The tiles are double sided with a green terrain print on one side and a stone tile print on the other. Both the Creatures Case and Terrain Case are available for preorder.
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