D&D to Release 2 Storylines a Year Through 2018

UPDATED to include new information revealed at Gamehole Con by Chris Perkins and Ed Greenwood. New text is in blue.

In an interview on Israeli site pundak.co.il, Mike Mearls (Head of R&D for Dungeons & Dragons) provided answers to 14 questions. The most interesting question and answer for me was:

Q: How often can we expect to see a story line like Tyranny of Dragons? Once a year? Twice a year?

A: We’re looking at two storylines a year. Right now, we have plans laid down for stories up through 2018.


Looking forward to 2018 provides 6 7 unaccounted for slots for our favorite settings of the past and new settings. Here is a possible release schedule. This is based only on what I have read when Mearls has been asked about future releases (such as this recent AMA) and what I have seen included in the Player’s Handbook.

I’m not 100% sure Elemental Evil will be two parts with a $49.95 price tag. I’m not sure releasing two books when you could release one book is the best idea and the Tyranny of Dragons being split could have been due to time constraints. Maybe they will release one or two books, depending on the storyline.

So what do we get every six months?

It appears that each storyline will provide some of the following:

  • Optional: storyline specific Adventurer’s Handbook, with new races, classes, backgrounds, feats, equipment lists.
    Not every story will necessarily include a player option type book” – Chris Perkins
  • Adventure for that storyline (1 or 2 books) for the Dungeon Master with additional details for that setting such as adventure specific bonds, locations, monsters, magic items and NPCs.
  • Free downloadable storyline supplements at official D&D site
  • Support with storyline specific video games, comics, miniatures and more.
  • Digital Versions: “We have every intention of releasing the books in electronic versions. But we don’t have a date at this time.” – Chris Perkins


Here is what we know has/is coming out…

2014

Tyranny of Dragons

Setting: Forgotten Realms – Sword Coast.

  • Player’s Handbook Released August 2014
    Everything a player needs to create heroic characters for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
  • Hoard of the Dragon Queen Released August 2014
    Fight the war against draconic oppression.
  • Rise of TiamatReleased October 2014
    Avert the Cataclysmic Return of Tiamat.

2015

Elemental Evil

Setting: Forgotten Realms – Sumber Hills and Dessarin River Valley
I have no idea what this setting will be. It could a new setting or even be one of the settings further down the page.

  • Elemental Evil Adventurer’s Handbook – March 17, 2015; hardcover; $39.95
    Create Heroic Characters to Conquer the Elements in this Accessory for the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game
  • Princes of the Apolcalypse – March 17, 2015; hardcover; $49.95
    Abolish an Ancient Evil Threatening Devastation in this Adventure for the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game
  • Elemental Evil Adventure 2 – Release May or June 2015 or not at all?
    Will they go two books for this storyline?

Alice in Wonderland” Inspired Storyline

  • Late 2015 Release
  • Already in development, this storyline that will come out next after Elemental Evil
  • What You Get: ???
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure Book(s)
  • Digital: ???


2016 – 2018

Here is where pure speculation begins on a release schedule that I can imagine happening. The settings most mentioned/supported in the Player’s Handbook are Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Greyhawk and Dragonlance. I have not included Planescape, Spelljammer, Dark Sun and other settings. I put Eberron towards the end (but included), since it was part of 3.xe/4e and I think they want to cover the more traditional stuff first. My speculation has already been proven wrong in less than a day. The important thing to remember is that their focus in on stories not settings.

Storyline A – World of Greyhawk

  • Early 2016 Release???
  • According to Wizards… a Giants based story influenced by a Shakespearean play. List of Shakespeare plays, by genre
  • Set in a new world? or maybe this is set in Greyhawk or another existing setting such as Forgotten Realms.

If this is set in Greyhawk…

  • What You Get: Old school vibe? Not really sure what this setting can offer for 5th edition, but I think it should provide typical medieval fantasy with knights, dungeons, dragons and castles. Maybe we’ll see a return of Fighting Man and Dwarf and Elf as classes 😉
  • About the Setting: In the early 70s Gary Gygax (co-developer of D&D) created Castle Greyhawk so his players would have a castle and dungeon to explore. This home campaign expanded to include an entire medieval-Europe type world, which was published in 1980. Setting a new storyline in Greyhawk would show just how committed Wizards of the Coast is to supporting the original fans of D&D. Greyhawk might also work better for some DMs as their default fantasy world if they don’t want to bother with all of the history of the Forgotten Realms. Greyhawk also fits well as a replacement for the D&D 4th edition Nentir Vale/Points of Light default setting that was outlined in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale and many adventures.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure 1 to 2 Books
  • Digital: ???

EVERYTHING FROM THIS POINT ON IS PURE 100% SPECULATION

Storyline B – Forgotten Realms 3

  • Late 2016 Release Early 2016 Release
  • About the Storyline: This storyline could be the third to take place in the Realms. Forgotten Realms is the default D&D setting for 5th edition. An expanded campaign guide is needed OR at least more adventures in the default setting to get some expanded idea about the the overall state of the Realms in 5th edition. The storyline could be set in a Forgotten Realms city location on (or near) the Sword Coast such at Neverwinter or Balder’s Gate. They could travel somewhere far across the continent. They have moved the timeline of the setting forward to allow a reasonable time for certain elements to return, such as the Zhentarim and Harpers. Content for the Realms will initially be more focused on particular areas, likely tied to campaigns.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure Book(s)/Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide
  • Digital: Core video game update or entirely new game.

Storyline C – Psionic (Dark Sun?)

  • Early 2017 Release Late 2016 Release
  • What You Get: Psionic Class options such as Psion, Wilder, Ardent and Battlemind. Cleric Mind Domain.
  • About Psionics:  Similar to what they are doing with the Elemental Evil storyline. Not sure where it would be set (Dark Sun), but this would expand the player options to include psionic class options and perhaps a Mind Domain for clerics.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure 1 to 2 Books
  • Wildcard: This could be set in Dark Sun
  • Digital: Maybe an expansion pack for one of the previously released games.

Storyline D – Dragonlance

  • Late 2017 Release Early 2017 Release
  • What You Will Get: Kender, Gully Dwarves and Draconian races.
  • What You Might Get: Minotaur, Aquatic Elves, Bakali, Centaurs, expansion of Elven and Dwarven subraces.
  • About the Setting: Before Forgotten Realms was a bestselling book series and campaign setting there was Dragonlance. Set in Krynn, Dragonlance was popular in the 1980s and beyond and has a long history detailed in adventures, novels and an animated movie starring Kiefer Sutherland. There are some behind the scenes hurdles for seeing Dragonlance happen, especially since a new story will be needed and the best people to provide a new story would be big gun Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure 1 to 2 Books
  • Digital: I would love to see an Dragonlance game!

Storyline E – Forgotten Realms 4 – Underdark

  • Early 2018 Release Late 2017 Release
  • What You Get: More Drow, more Illithids (Mind Flayers) and underdark monsters and Drizzt! This could be a really hard campaigns for higher level characters.
  • About the Setting: The Underdark is a vast subterranean network of interconnected caverns and tunnels, stretching beneath entire continents and forming an underworld for surface settings. This could be set under Forgotten Realms as seen in the Legend of Drizzt series by R. A. Salvatore or under any campaign setting. Check out our list of 10 Monsters for Cave / Underground Encounter.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure (1 to 2 Books)
  • Digital: Expansion pack for Forgotten Realms game.

Storyline F – Eberron

  • Late 2018 Release
  • What You Will Get: Artificer class, Warforged race
  • About the Setting: Eberron was created by Keith Baker in 2002 and was released in 2005. Eberron is a setting with non-traditional fantasy technologies such as trains, skyships, and mechanical beings which are all powered by magic. It combines a fantasy tone with pulp and dark adventure elements in a period after a vast destructive war.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure (1 to 2 Books)
  • Digital: I would love to see an Eberron game too!


2019 and Beyond

Primal (Feywild?)

  • Early 2018 Release
  • What You Might Get: Minotaur, Wilden, Goliath and other Fey races. Seeker, Shaman and Warden classes. More options for Barbarian, Druid and Ranger.
  • About the Storyline: This might work best set in the Feywild. It could but this would expand the player options to include class options such as Seeker, Shaman and Warden. It could expand Barbarian, Druid and Ranger classes.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure (1 to 2 Books)
  • Digital: Feywild expansion pack?

Planar / Planescape

  • Developed by Zeb Cook, Planescape was published in 1994 and is supported in Player’s Handbook with the cosmic wheel on page 303. This connects the numerous planes of existence, encompassing an entire cosmology called the Great Wheel, as originally developed in the Manual of the Planes by Jeff Grubb. This includes many of the other Dungeons & Dragons worlds, linking them via inter-dimensional magical portals.
  • This could be a higher level campaign, maybe even a way to introduce becoming a demi-god for characters level 21 and beyond.

Ravenloft

  • What Your Would Get: Dark power checks. Additional options for Clerics, Bards, Paladins and Rogues.
  • About the Setting: If you want a gothic horror setting, Ravenloft is a setting where DMs are encouraged to build fear, culminating in the eventual face-to-face meeting with the nameless evil.
  • Books: Player Handbook, Adventure (1 to 2 Books)
  • Digital: They did the board game. Now make a video game. Castlevania is awesome.

Other Ideas

  • More Forgotten Realms
  • Dark Sun if not covered by Psionics
  • Pirates of the Fallen Stars – pirates and swashbuckling set in the Forgotten Realms. Paizo/Pathfinder is pushing pretty hard on its pirate setting (Skull & Shackles) with adventures and a card game.
  • Spelljammer – a fantastic outer space setting that provides a way of connecting settings such as Dragonlance (Krynn) to Forgotten Realms (Toril) via space travel via open deck space galleons
  • Modern Adventure (e.g. D20 Modern) – rules for modern weapons will be included in the Dungeon Master’s Guide
  • Classical or Mythic Adventure – Celtic, Norse, Greco-Rome, Egypt inspired settings. Their deities are mentioned specifically in the Player’s Handbook.

Let me know what you think of this in the comments below…

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Shawn Ellsworth

Shawn is an author and co-founder of Tribality.com. He first got into tabletop RPGs through ninjas and then by playing a Kender in Dragonlance. Years later, he can be found running games in the Nentir Vale and his own Seas of Vodari campaign setting.