The folks over at 4 Geeks 4E have a pretty fun podcast covering different topics on D&D. One part of the Dungeon Master’s Round Table show is taking twitter questions from listeners. As a semi-regular series of posts I’m throwing in my 2 cents and cherry picking a few questions to address or throw out my opinion on some topics brought up in the podcast.
A shorter podcast this time around with a focus on one topic, ‘What will be the next default setting for DnDNext?’ I am going with a lighter version of World of Greyhawk. I’d guess you will get a short (possibly softbound) book with a thumbnail sketch of different regions along with a color map (possibly two with and without hexes). A couple of reasons why:
Tie in the older products – As the guys mentioned, you have a ton of classic modules out there. Nothing is keeping WotC from revisiting that material with a new update. Not sure how Tomb of Horrors fared, but I think the response from the newer versions of Against the Giants were pretty popular. I could see 3-4 classic modules being redone, and Greyhawk would likely be the go to backdrop for that. It could also be a nod to folks that pick up the classic first edition reprints, not to mention if any 3E material sees the light of day in a digital format.
Classic Cosmology – Other settings have a pretty extensive list of gods and deities. Greyhawk has a tad limited pantheon that fits pretty well with the more recent versions of D&D. More importantly if domains gain any ground in the newer edition, Greyhawk can allow for some fairly generic spheres of influence, allowing for other settings to expand on that.
Drow are around – Drow are part of the lore. That means you could have a Dragon article allowing for a PC race version and still keep all the lovers of Drizzt (somewhat) happy. Again, something that allows for classic modules to be used and still fit in with a simple campaign setting.
Greyhawk is generic – No steam punk. No spell scar. Nothing too outlandish. A fairly generic world. This allows for other settings to explore options that make them stand apart, while keeping a core setting viable for folks that want something simpler to play in.
Use up the current stock out there – Having a different setting out of the gate will extend the lifetime of existing products. Some late adopters of 4E might be holding out to hear what will be coming out at launch. With a ‘brand new’ setting of Greyhawk, that might get those customers deciding to pick up currently released products now, over waiting another year+ for a newer version.
Forgotten Realms is too popular – I think FR is a bit too near and dear to people. If there is going to be a new edition, WotC needs to take it’s time. First off FR has a long, established canon. One big issue with the 4E version was that it felt forced to be something that fit the default points of light idea which 4E was centered around. To that end, I think they tried to make the setting something that was too far against the grain for lovers of an older edition of that world. FR is well explored and has established political entities, a points of light setting didn’t fit it.
Secondly, as it is so popular, WotC needs a bit of time to get the kinks worked out of DnDNext. I think the latter products for FR were far superior books compared to the first 4E campaign book. I also think universally each campaign setting that came out following FR (Eberron and Dark Sun) each were progressively better books. With a streamlined, simple generic treatment that Greyhawk could get, it will allow for more refined development to release a version of FR that fans will really love.
What about the video games? – Forgotten Realms, Neverwinter, Eberron, all of them are somewhat tied up with fairly recent game licenses. Even Baldur’s Gate is getting a re-release. So a new version of Greyhawk might open up for a licensing deal to be made with another company. Some fresh IP of a D&D computer game might be a decent revenue boost, and for game developers stand apart from existing games using a different campaign setting.
Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Geek Ken likes games. Sometimes he likes to blog about them too.