June 1st through June 3rd, Wizards of the Coasted a three-day event in Los Angelos called the “Stream of Many Eyes” where various famous household names of the D&D community and industry gathered. Figureheads such as Jeremey Crawford, Mike Mearls, Chris Perkins, and Katie Welch (to name a few), along with notable figures such as Matthew Mercer, Joe Manganiello, and Ed Greenwood (the creator of the Forgotten Realms). Additionally, many other streamers and podcasters made their presence known during the event, such as Aram Vartian and Susana Marie from the Godsfall and DungoenRats podcast for example. It was the penultimate gathering of fans, collaborators, and friends of Dungeons & Dragons.
Across the three days, Wizards of the Coast not only streamed games but also announced the late 2018 storyline focus.
Announcing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist!
Players will arrive at the city of but Waterdeep, also known as the City of Splendors, after being recruited by the eccentric mage scholar, Volotramp (or Volo). There is treasure hoard the players will need to protect from various sinister forces and factions. D&D community contributors James Haeck and James Introcaso assisted in writing this adventure, along with Lysa Chen who wrote a heist-inspired D&D module featuring the City of Splendors. Dungeon mapmaker Dyson Logos contributed over 24 maps for the overall storyline.
Dragon Heist is an adventure set for characters starting at 1st level and expected to progress into 5th level. From the cover, I speculate that some of the factions that may be vying for the treasure hoard would be iconic Forgotten Realms villains and anti-heroes, Jarlaxle Baenre (drow with privateer hat) and the fabled Xanthar (beholder in the far background). As a long time fan of the Realms, seeing these two iconic figures in a written adventure is a treat especially after various testimonies suggesting that Dragon Heist is a module, unlike anything Wizards, has written in the past, claiming it to be “experimental” and “innovative.” Players can look forward to delving into the illustrious City of Splendors around September 2018.
Second Announcement – Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage!
For those unfamiliar with the lore and typography of the Forgotten Realms (specifically the continent of Toril), not far from the city of Waterdeep is the nefarious, criminal-infested town of Skullport, with the looming and foreboding Undermountain behind it. The Undermountain is the fabled lair of the infamous mad wizard, Halaster Blackcloak. Details for Dungeon of the Mad Mage indicate a full campaign from levels 5 to 20 for players, with the narrative leading characters through Skullport with three-levels in the Undermountain.
Veteran fans will recall that Wizards of the Coast has published adventures in the Undermountain in the past and it’s speculated that facets of those earlier printings will help inspire the latest expansion of the infamous labyrinth devised by the mad wizard himself. Let’s not forget the Xanathar, crime boss known to roost in Skullport, collector of various magical artifacts and organizing the vast criminal organization under its watchful eyes. This continuation of the Waterdeep storyline is expected to release around November 2018 to wrap this year’s published releases.
But wait there’s more!
Additionally, in an article published by comicbook.com, Nathan Stewart hinted that more news is on the way, alluding that D&D has been listening to the fans’ desire for new settings. Stewart goes on to state that Curse of Strahd was a model example of introducing the setting of Barovia while still incorporating iconic facets of the Ravenloft setting but without reiterating past tropes. Fans within the D&D Twitter community may have noticed tweets from Mike Mearls talking about reworking psionics, in addition to his “Mike Mearls’ Happy Fun Hour” stream, which was essential aspects for settings such as Eberron and Dark Sun. Last May’s Unearthed Arcana article featured centaurs and minotaurs as playable races, with minotaurs being an iconic race choice in the Dragonlance setting. Chris Perkins hinted a Spelljammer easter egg in possession of Halaster Blackcloak, but also WotC has recently also introduced the Giff race in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes recently. The Giff are anthropomorphic hippo mercenaries from the Spelljammer setting which again points at the possible direction of future releases.
Early in January, the project names these D&D publications were titled “broadway” and “catacombs,” with “marathon” to represent Tome of Foes. Though Stewart mentioned, more details will be revealed later this year, possibly in major events such as GenCon or a PAX in upcoming future. Personal speculation rests on either GenCon or PAX Unplugged (a November PAX event with a strong focus on tabletop gaming).
Are you excited about venturing into Waterdeep? How do you feel about introducing iconic settings through an adventure with plenty of lore to build from similar to Curse of Strahd? Let me know in the comments down below.
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