According to a recent interview, there’s a secret book containing the most recent iteration of D&D’s secrets and lore–what could possibly be inside?
Somewhere in the bowels of Wizards of the Coast’s building (or at least in the bowels of its server architecture), there lies hidden a secret lore bible that contains answers to questions both magical and mundane–questions that may never even be asked, and answers that may never be given. At least, that’s the story according to a recent interview with Polygon given in anticipation of Baldur’s Gate 3, the upcoming CRPG from Larian studios. In the course of an interview, Larian founder Swen Vincke let slip information about the secret lore of D&D:
“They have this little thing that they don’t publicize,” Vincke said, referring to D&D’s publishers at Wizards of the Coast. He immediately looked like he regretted bringing the subject up.
“It’s rather interesting […] They … have a lot more detail about everything that’s happening in the world and, as we started discovering that existed…”
Of course this secret lore book is only one of a few details confirmed in this interview–other relevant and much more provable points include the fact that Baldur’s Gate 3 won’t be a sequel to the original Baldur’s Gate games, but rather is a sequel to the upcoming Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, with BG3 taking place a full 100 years after the events in Descent into Avernus go down.
But enough clear and relevant data, let’s get back to combing through for clues as to what might be in D&D’s book of secrets. We’ve already seen some hints as to a larger overarching story unfolding in the various D&D adventures. You can find strange black obelisks in each of the big D&D adventures as well as following the ongoing saga of Artus Cimber and the Ring of Winter. But what is it all pointing to? Well, according to the interview–some rather confusing points:
Of course, there are powerful characters throughout the fiction of D&D. The most powerful ones — the gods, for instance — appear in just about every permutation of the game that exists. But they might not even know what they don’t know, as the structure of the world itself may help to create certain in-universe blindspots.
“Orcus, in theory, appears in every setting. Except if he doesn’t. So then you have this interesting thing; Orcus is aware of all these worlds, except the ones he’s not aware of.”
The setup here is interesting. The world itself might mean that gods aren’t completely omniscient. But then it kind of dithers into this “Orcus appears in every setting except for the ones he doesn’t, which means he knows about all of them except the ones he doesn’t–and WHAT DOES THAT MEAN” that feels like it’s meant to be mind blowing, but also feels just kinda common sense.
It hints that there’s a meta-continuity that ties together all the previous incarnations of D&D, but that smacks of St. Elsewhere’s ending jiggery-pokery. Especially since, according to the article “that’s the stuff we don’t publish.” Do they not publish it because it’s a bit nonsensical? Or because it has no impact on play? But Ice Cream Koan opinions on Orcus aside, it does feel like there’s secrets left to explore in the setting.
Answers to how the timeline flows, how events in the Realms impact and cast out ripples, as well as what the overarching story actually is are somewhere in this book. And while they may never be revealed, there’s an internal consistency behind everything.
What secrets have you uncovered about D&D?