Friday, August 7, 2015

D&D Multiverse, Movies and Lots of Speculation

So yesterday at EN World, there was a post about an interview with WotC's Jeremy Crawford. The interview covered a lot of topics and many contain hints at where the near future of published Greyhawk might fall. All quotes below are Morrus' paraphrased responses by Mr. Crawford from the Tome Show interview found here. Let the speculation begin!

"Other settings - "Nothing to announce right now." Other settings are all over the core books, with the multiverse emphasized as the official setting. Forgotten Realms is the most popular setting, but other settings are part of the multiverse."

Conveniently all settings are supported and not supported at the same time by this Multiverse tag. Not quite the same multiverse treatment we grew accustomed to during the heyday of 2nd Edition. Moving right along.

"They are open to the idea of a new setting but the priority right now is serving classic settings and types of stories that can be told there. The Realms are large with room for many types of story."

Serving classic settings, plural? Sure... If the right person came along and wanted to make a published homebrew D&D world and there was rabid fan interest, then yes, even the Forgotten Realms would be pushed aside momentarily. Could this happen? Of course it can, it just happened with Wil Wheaton's Titansgrave setting which sold out in the blink of an eye at GenCon. More on this later.

"Tiamat in Tyranny of Dragons failed with Krynn, and so tried again someplace else. It's not a Dragonlance story transplanted to the Realms, it's a multiverse story with villains which exist in some form or another in the entire multiverse. Princes of Elemental Evil bombed out in Greyhawk, so tried somewhere else. The demon lords don't just threaten one world, they threaten them all."

In principle I agree with this. So far none of the 5E storyline antagonists have been native Realmers, they've all been planar in origin. It's still rather dubious that Dragonlance and Greyhawk, etc. have been inspiring the best threats to Faerun. I haven't read a FR book in a decade, so do they have any credible villains left of their own making? Planescape handled the Multiverse better by understanding demon-lords and elemental princes had their hands in many worlds, but at the same time set conflicts in the actual multiverse not just on the prime worlds. Is that a bit too cumbersome for today's audience? Then there's this:

"In some upcoming material, famous characters from other settings may show up under different names. It is canon that Elminster (FR), Mordenkainen (Greyhawk), and Dalamar (Dragonlance) know each other. This sort of thing will come more to the fore as one giant connected multiverse."

Now this comment is an eye opener and a head-scratcher. So in a year or two their plan is to actually use the connected multiverse more, by way of The Wizard's Three type cameos or crossovers? That's wonderful then, except, doesn't it do a disservice to said settings like Greyhawk if their iconic NPCs are renamed? It's already been done before by Paizo when they renamed Tenser, "Manzorian" for their Dungeon Magazine AP Age of Worms. It makes no sense. Would Elminster take on a different name if he visited Dark Sun? In character he might, but the meta name would still be Elminster because they wouldn't want to diminish his iconic name. So Wizards, when it comes to Mordenkainen or Dalamar, don't be coy, please use them to their full glory!

"Chris Perkins has needles and seeds which thread several years into the future, with seeds planted as early as Tyranny of Dragons which will take fruit later."

This is another good sign for Greyhawk fans as Perkins is a big fan of the setting. Several years is still a long time to wait and see however. He could be gone by then or there could be a new edition, or a reboot. I really can't wait to see what Chris has in store.

"They are not yet announcing what Pendleton Ward's project is."

So there is the tip off for a new D&D setting. For those who don't watch cartoons religiously like me, Pendleton Ward is the creator of the popular cartoon Adventure Time. Ward and his writers/artists are heavily inspired by D&D. Just from his name being dropped I can gather WotC wants to take his star-power and make it the next Titansgrave. How well would that alliance do? Well, I would stand in line at GenCon for an Adventure Time setting book and I'm a diehard Greyhawk fan!

"On third party stuff, the familiarity with rules phase has occurred and they're waiting for the company to be ready to take the next step. "Nothing to announce at this point" though Crawford thinks there is a lot of value in having something like the OGL, both he and Mike Mearls worked on OGL products before coming to WotC. "Fingers crossed -we'll see what happens!"

The OGL is where alot of Greyhawk fans are pinning their hope for short-term publication of new material. Considering the recent setting poll on the D&D website allegedly had fans voting Greyhawk as a second tier world behind several others that it normally trounces, I wouldn't hold my breath for a full Greyhawk treatment in-house at Wizards. Whether, one of their "collaborators" like Green Ronin or Kobold Press gets a chance is another thing entirely. There is definitely people among these companies I would trust with a daunting project like Greyhawk.

Why is the OGL or 3rd party licensees important to Greyhawk fans? Think about the recent D&D movie deal we've all heard about. Given that they start working on a D&D movie immediately, the soonest I can see a good movie finished would be around 2017-2018. It's going to be Forgotten Realms they say, so ideally they'll also want a trilogy of some kind. Since Wizards has stated that all their brands; RPGs, video games and so on will work in conjunction through the Realms for the "foreseeable future", that means FR could be the main focus of D&D in the public's eye until something like 2024! By then of course, 6th Edition will be out, paper books will be obsolete and we'll all be going to work on hover boards. Hopefully there will enough of us Greyhawkers still around...

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