WOTC Ask Me Anything On Reddit

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Members of the Wizards team – Mike Mearls, Chris Lindsay and Trevor Kidd – were involved in an AMA on Reddit last Friday afternoon.

Here are some of the highlights of that, be sure to read through the whole thing, as I’m only going to hit on a few things here. There were A LOT of questions and answers!

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Dungeon Master’s Guild

Are you planning to let people create content in worlds other than FR on Dungeon Masters Guild?

Right now it’s Forgotten Realms but we may open the DMs Guild up to other settings in the future. Starting with the focusing on FR and we’ll see where this all takes us. (Trevor Kidd)

 

 

Is there any plan to expand the “DMsGuild” model to other IP like Gamma World or Dark Sun?

That’s definitely something we’ve talked about, but nothing to announce yet. (Mike Mearls)

 

 

 

Do you feel that you will need some sort of quality control regarding what gets uploaded to the DMsGuild, or will you let the market sort itself out?

A little bit of both. Part of the promise of the Guild is that it allows any creator to dive in and take part. A great way to improve quality lies in actually creating. I can tell you, my first few pieces of game design were pretty terrible. So, the reviews and ratings available through the Guild are a very useful tool. On the other side of things, we know that we can provide a lot of advice and insight into how to improve your design and writing skills. For instance, at conventions this year we are planning on hosting panels and discussions on game design to help people skill up. (Mike Mearls)

 

Twitter is buzzing about the lack of artwork protection for works submitted to the Dungeon Master’s Guild. It only seems as though public domain artwork is allowed since once submitted all of the work becomes user created content. Are there plans to allow for more protection for artwork in the future?

The folks behind OneBookShelf.com actually approached us about this exact question earlier this week. They’ve proposed a solution to this issue that looks good, so expect a change to address this issue shortly. (Mike Mearls)

 

Apple’s iBookstore (30%) and DrivethruRPG (35%) take significantly lower cuts of an an author’s sales, and don’t require exclusive distribution rights. What factors went into determining fair compensation to Wizards for providing this marketplace that authors may not be aware of from the outside?

The big thing comes down to the use of Forgotten Realms, which we feel has some real value. However, that percentage also allows us to fund new content for the Guild, host events, and so on. We don’t have anything to announce yet, but building the community is definitely part of our thinking. (Mike Mearls)

 

Dungeon Master’s Guild Permitted Content

As I recall, Kara-tur, Al-Qadim and Maztica are all continents on the same world as Faerun. Would they count as Forgotten Realms content, or not?

It is totally okay if you want to play around with one or more of the other continents in the Forgotten Realms. Kara-tur, Al-Qadim (my personal favorite), and Maztica are totally part of the DMs Guild allowed content. (Chris Lindsay)

 

When creating adventures for the Forgotten Realms. Are we allowed to use anything from the printed materials. Such as FR specific Monsters, NPCs and spells converted for 5E play?

Yes, under the terms of the DMs Guild you can use any FR reference or material that you want. (Mike Mearls)

 

Are creatures that are considered “product identity” (beholders, for example) covered under this as well, even though they aren’t FR-specific?

They are available for use in the Guild. (Mike Mearls)

Can we use iconic FR characters in our work? Can we have Drizzt and Elminster in our adventures?

Yes. (Mike Mearls)

Are WotC IP monsters like mind flayers, beholders, etc., off-limits for specifically DMs Guild content?

Those are part of the Guild. (Mike Mearls)

 

Are we licensed to use the fonts used in official D&D products such as the Player’s Handbook in items we publish to the DM’s Guild?

Actually no. All of the fonts we put into the sample template are usable without having to get a license, and we did that for a reason. (Chris Lindsay)

 
Is there a clear bright line defining what is Forgotten Realms for purposes of the DM’s Guild? A lot of other products (Spelljammer, for instance) had some Realms content, and there things like the comics, video games and novels floating around out there. Is it ALL available?

A good rule of thumb – it’s in play if it is a RPG product with a Forgotten Realms logo on the cover. (Mike Mearls)

 

D&D Adventurer’s League

As it pertains to the Adventurers League; given that adventures are going to be available for home play now, how are certificates for magic items going to be addressed? Are they going to be available to those same home-players or will they remain exclusive to stores/conventions as an incentive to continue the tradition of actual, organized play?

This is the kind of topic we’ll dive into indepth with the campaign admins over the next month or so. We’re meeting with folks at Winter Fantasy and will carry on the plan from there. We have some ideas on what we’ll do, but I want to make sure the admins have a chance to pitch their ideas and work with Chris L. and I to put something together. (Mike Mearls)

I already have all of the Adventure Modules DLd for the first 3 Seasons of (what used to be) Expeditions, as I was the primary DM for them at that store. If we ‘flash back’ and run those modules, would I (or someone else at the store) be expected to purchase them from the DM Guild?

If you already have all of that content because of this, you do not have to repurchase to reuse. That said, I’m sure the authors of those adventures would very much appreciate it if you do not distribute that content. It is important they get paid for their work. (Chris Lindsay)

Any hint as to what your DDAO adventures will be at Winter Fantasy?

I’ll be returning to Belkram’s Fall… a section of Undermountain that I wrote for Expedition to Undermountain back in 3rd Edition. The threat will be nothing short of apocalyptic. (Chris Lindsay)

 

Future Products

Are there plans for paperback books to cover Eberron/Dark Sun/Other playsettings in 5e, or is Forgotten Realms going to be the mainstay?

While we don’t have any new products to announce, we definitely have an eye on our classic settings. The Realms has always been the most popular setting, so it’s a natural starting point for us. That said, we’ve tackled a few of our classic settings via the Unearthed Arcana web articles, and there are fans of every setting we’ve done here on the team. So, nothing new to report, but we’re definitely keeping those settings in mind. (Mike Mearls)

Do you plan on using Unearthed Arcana more for PC stuff, or do you plan on creating UA stuff that is mostly DM focused. Elaborate the world creation process with waay more random tables, or release more higher CR monsters?

For Unearthed Arcana, we’ve focused on PC stuff to start with because that seems to have meet the biggest demand. For this year, though, I anticipate looking at more optional systems for DMs or to tinker with the core game. (Mike Mearls)

Are there plans to release books for other regions of the Forgotten realms(Amn, Thay, ect) like you did with the SCAG?

It’s definitely something we’ve talked about, especially if we can present it as part of an adventure. (Mike Mearls)

When can I buy PDF copies of the core rulebooks? The SRD and basic rules PDFs are nice, but I really want access to a comprehensive reference.

Sorry, no news yet on digital books or PDFs .(Mike Mearls)

Might we be getting splat books? I know the initial thought it that it might bloat the edition, but I’d like to think it only provides more options for players. Books like Arms and Equipment, and Magic Item Compendium were fantastic. More classes/subclasses…feats…just player options in general.

For more content, we’re going to be very judicious in adding material to the game. UA is a good testing ground for seeing how stuff works out. I think we’re much more likely to do a small number of big, comprehensive expansions than lots of small ones. We’ve seen what happens when we do too much content, so the plan is to take things slow. (Mike Mearls)

 

Miscellaneous Stuff
I’d like to tackle a touchy subject in 5e. I guess I’d like to call it: “Numbers vs Role-play”. If you ever stroll over to the /r/dndnext forums, or sat in some Adventurer’s League games, you’d know there are a lot of people playing 5e who seem to kind of play it like a tabletop video game. While min-maxing has always been around, it seems to be more prevalent now than in days gone by, and seems is the operative word.

One of the big things we’ve tried to do with 5e is give everyone the chance to play the game they want to. For some people, that’s building a powerful character. I think that’s always been in the game, it’s just now with the Internet and streaming we can see other people playing. I would say that if you look at why people find Acquisitions Inc. fun, or streaming groups like Critical Role, it lies in the characters, stories, and events at the table. Sure, combat is fun, but I think people are much more focused on who the characters are than their stats. In terms of new editions, it’s way too early to say anything. I think our focus would be on a fairly simple approach – streamline or remove rules that are proving troublesome, make sure character options are fun and flavorful, and improve elements to match what DMs and players want out of them.  (Mike Mearls)

Do you see DMsguild as a means to outsource your splatbooks? I understand you’re looking for adventures, primarily, but as you well know those are hard, and you’re going to get lots of content like Mercer’s Gunslinger and Blood Hunter (hopefully as high-quality). What does this mean for 5e’s apparent “no splatbooks necessary” creed? Are you still wary of feature bloat, or does the fact that it’s essentially third party mean you’re unconcerned?

I’m not concerned – the great thing about the Guild is that it allows players and DMs to dive into a big vault of content to find what they need. You won’t have to reinvent the wheel if you need something that’s outside of the core rules. On the other hand, when we do want to add to the game you can bet that we’ll take a look at the Guild to find the most popular and interesting content. I can easily see us reaching out to creators to contract them to create stuff for us or to revise their Guild material for a published D&D product. (Mike Mearls)

Do you guys know if you or any of the people on your team are going to have a hand in making the D&D movie if and when that happens?

Yes, we have been involved in the process. It’s definitely a collaboration. (Mike Mearls)

 

 

 

 

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