D&D Upcoming Storyline Predictions – Revised

Way back in November 2014, I made some predictions on upcoming storylines between now and 2018. I predicted that they would do an Underdark storyline… but I was way off thinking it would come out in 2018. As we have learned more about the two storylines a year that will be coming out each year, here are my revised “predictions”, but I would say that this is wild guesses at this point.

Here are the storylines and products that have been released/confirmed…

2014

Tyranny of Dragons

Setting: Forgotten Realms – Sword Coast.

  • 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

  • Elemental Evil Player’s CompanionFREE DOWNLOAD Released April 2015
    Aarokocra, Deep Gnome, Genasi, Goliath races and elemental spells
  • Princes of the ApolcalypseReleased April 2015
    Abolish an Ancient Evil Threatening Devastation in this Adventure for the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game

Rage of Demons

I originally predicted an Underdark storyline coming out in 2018. It looks like the Alice in Wonderland inspired storyline that was confirmed for Fall 2015 and the Underdark come together for the Out of the Abyss adventure.

Setting: Sword Coast/Underdark
Fight alongside Drizzt Do’Urden in the new Dungeons & Dragons storyline on computer, console or tabletop this Fall.

  • Neverwinter: Underdark (tenative title) – 2015
  • Sword Coast Legends – Fall 2015
    New CRPG (computer role-playing game) coming this fall on PC from n-Space and Digital Extremes
  • Out of the Abyss Adventure – Fall 2015
    Pendleton Ward (creator of Adventure Time) is working on a secret project with Wizards of the Coast. Maybe he is helping add some whimsy to this potential successor of the D&D Dungeonland module.

    Dare to descend into the Underdark in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game!

    The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, casts a foul spell meant to ignite a magical energy that suffuses the Underdark and tears open portals to the demonic Abyss. What steps through surprises even him, and from that moment on, the insanity that pervades the Underdark escalates and threatens to shake the Forgotten Realms to its foundations. Stop the madness before it consumes you!A Dungeons & Dragons adventure for characters of levels 1–15

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 might want to cover the more traditional stuff first after focusing on the Realms. The important thing to remember is that their focus in on stories not settings, but they could just keep going with Forgotten Realms for every storyline.

Storyline 4 – World of Greyhawk

  • 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’s Companion PDF, Adventure 1 to 2 Books
  • Digital: ???

EVERYTHING FROM THIS POINT ON IS PURE 100% SPECULATION

Forgotten Realms

  • 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 has been initially be more focused on particular areas, likely tied to campaigns.
  • Books: Player’s Companion PDF, Adventure Book / Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide
  • Digital: Core video game update or entirely new game.

Psionic (Dark Sun?)

  • 2017 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’s Companion PDF, Adventure Book
  • Wildcard: This could be set in Dark Sun
  • Digital: Maybe an expansion pack for one of the previously released games.

Dragonlance

  • 2017 Release?
  • What You Will Get: Kender, Gully Dwarves, Draconian and Minotaur races.
    A recent Unearthed Arcana article provided Waterborne Adventure options including a Krynn inspired Minotaur
  • What You Might Get: 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’s Companion PDF, Adventure Book
  • Digital: I would love to see an Dragonlance game!

Eberron

  • 2018 Release?
  • What You Will Get: Artificer class, Warforged race
    A recent Unearthed Arcana article provided playtest ready material for Eberron and provided Artificer class, Warforged, Changlings and Shifter races and information for using Hero Points.
  • About the Setting: Eberron was created by Keith Baker (read our recent interview with 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’s Companion PDF (perhaps based on UA PDF), Adventure Book
  • Digital: I would love to see an Eberron game too!

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’s Companion PDF, Adventure Book
  • Digital: They did the board game. Now make a video game. Castlevania is awesome.


2019 and Beyond

Even if Dark Sun, Dragonlance and Eberron are passed over for storylines for a few years, does not mean they won’t show up in hardcover setting books or get their own storylines in 2019 and beyond. Some other worlds/settings that might appear are below.

Primal (Feywild?)

  • 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’s Companion PDF, Adventure Book
  • 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.

Other Ideas

I would expect to see some of these covered in future posts on D&D’s site in the Unearthed Arcana column.

  • More Forgotten Realms – they keep going to the Realms. Why not more?
  • 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. They already covered waterborne campaigns in Unearthed Arcana: Character Options for a High Seas Campaign.
  • 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.