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D&D Ramping Up ‘Cadence Of Releases’ In 2021

4 Minute Read
Mar 01
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After D&D’s big wins for Hasbro, WotC announces they’ll be increasing the cadence of releases, meaning more books and more Dungeons and Dragons.

Big changes are afoot at WotC, not the least of which is a new role as Hasbro’s digital publishing imprint. But according to the latest news, it looks like D&D could be increasing the frequency of their new releases every year. What does this mean for D&D’s future? Let’s take a look.

Dungeons & Dragons has been on a roll for the last 3 years, which culminated in Wizards of the Coast getting a serious promotion at last week’s big Hasbro investor presentation. You can read all about how Wizards of the Coast is now Hasbro’s digital publishing arm here.

At that same presentation, Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks announced that, in light of the success of the Dungeons & Dragons brand, WotC was looking to capitalize on the momentum of their biggest year yet, including potentially, more books:

“For Dungeons & Dragons, we’re coming off our best year ever. We are aiming to capitalize off that momentum in 2021 with new formats and storytelling opportunities in our main campaigns while increasing the cadence of those releases.”

Cocks did not comment on what those new releases might be, or give any specifics as to the future plans for this year’s schedule of release, but generally, there are 3 to 4 Dungeons & Dragons books released each year. Last year we saw the release of the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, a Critical Role themed supplement, Mythic Odysseys of Theros, a Magic the Gathering inspired supplement, Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, and of course the game-changing Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

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In the past, Wizards has been measured with the release of their D&D books, hoping to avoid the glut of publications that plagued 4th edition. However Wizards of the Coast has recently relaxed their PHB+1 rule for organized play which might indicate a shift in attitude going forward. Which is interesting because the role was in place originally to preserve game balance.

Now, players have almost the full spectrum of D&D books for any organized play event, per the new rule, released ahead of the investor meeting:

Our community will be able to choose from player options in the following resources in any campaign: 

Player’s Handbook 

Volo’s Guide to Monsters 

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes

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Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

For campaigns set in the Forgotten Realms (Seasonal starting next season, Masters, Historic), the following will also be legal: 

Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

For each Seasonal Campaign, the following will also be legal: 

Player options published in the associated hardcover adventure

For the Masters and Historic Campaigns, the following will also be legal: 

Genasi and aarakocra from Elemental Evil Player’s Companion 

Tortles from the Tortle Package 

Locathah from Locathah Rising 

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For the current Alternate Campaign (Oracle of War), the following will also be legal: 

Player options published in the associated setting product (Eberron: Rising from the Last War)

Presumably, This new rule means that for campaigns set in worlds like Ravenloft, Players will be able to use those campaign settings as well.

And with Wizards of the Coast setting their sights on more classic D&D settings, it feels like that would be a fairly safe mode of offering new storytelling opportunities. And another thing that this might mean is more digital games, or more settlements that offer different storytelling opportunities.

Now does this mean that a 5.5 edition is around the corner? It’s hard to say. The last time we saw a book that changed things up as much as Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has, we jumped from 3.5 addition to 4th edition. The last time Wizards of the Coast pulled out all the stops on release schedules completely we went from 4th edition to 5th edition.

That said 5th edition remains the most popular edition and it seems unlikely that WotC would want to abandon the golden goose while it still has eggs to lay. We might be around the corner from a living edition update kind of like we’ve seen with current “9th edition for Warhammer 40K. After all there’s clearly a distinct era that we’re in now that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has been released.

We’re already going to see this bold new world in the upcoming Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. Clearly, there’s going to be some kind of change moving forward, but as rules become fundamentally different.  From the outset of 5th Edition it becomes a question of how much can things change within a single edition.

Then there’s the question of what other storytelling opportunities we might see with these associated releases. Will it be more anthology adventures, more genre explorations like Candlekeep Mysteries? Time alone will tell.

What do you think the future holds for Dungeons & Dragons?

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