Chris Perkins Ask Me Anything On Reddit

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86perkins

This past Friday, Dungeon Master extraordinary took part in a AMA on the DnD Subreddit.

I’ve complied a list of some of what I thought were the better questions and answer from this.

On Curse of Strahd

I noticed that in Death House there was a mention of using new Backgrounds. Is it possible to expand on that?

There’s a new background in Curse of Strahd called the “haunted one.” It starts off: “You are haunted by something so terrible that you dare not speak of it. You’ve tried to bury it and run away from it, to no avail …” I designed it with Jeremy Crawford’s help, and I love the way it turned out.

He also posted a “preview” of this background

CharacterBackground_HauntedOne_Page_1 CharacterBackground_HauntedOne_Page_2

 

With the release of the DMs Guild and the OLG, and Curse the Strahd seeming taking the adventures in a new direction, would you say that D&D 5th Edition is entering a new phase in its life cycle? If so what would you say the goals/direction of this new phase?

Curse of Strahd represents an acknowledge of D&D’s greater multiverse. We will continue to tell stories in FR, but CoS is a shot off the bow of everyone who professed that Wizards would never go back to its other classic settings. We foreshadowed the coming of CoS in the core rulebooks. The core rulebooks contain lots of clues about the stories we intend to tell going forward.

Gothic horror settings have always had a special place in my heart, ever since I was a child watching my father struggle through the classic Castlevania games on NES and SNES. I am very excited about the upcoming Curse of Strahd, and I have a couple questions as a DM preparing to run it: What (if any) is the recommended player-count for this campaign? The 3D-oriented maps of Castle Ravenloft in the 3.5e Expedition to Castle Ravenloft were difficult for me to interpret and translate to my drawn battle maps. Will the new adventure book have traditional top-down maps?

Curse of Strahd is designed for 4-6 characters. In CoS, the maps of Castle Ravenloft are rendered isometrically, just like the original Ravenloft castle maps. All other locations are top-down.

 

Which other company did you collaborate with for Curse of Strahd the way you did with Green Ronin and Kobold Press for the previous adventures?

Curse of Strahd was created entirely in-house. We did not partner with an outside studio. We did, however, work with Tracy and Laura Hickman.

 

Are there new rules for Powers Checks in the book?

There are new rules in Curse of Strahd, specific to adventuring in the land of Barovia. For example, there’s a rule for “resurrection madness.” No “power checks” specifically, but CoS has something comparable in one of its chapters.

Is there an updated map of the whole Barovia domain (including other towns like Vallaki and Teufeldorf)?

Yes. Vallaki is there. Teufeldorf is not.

Any new mechanics in the Ravenloft adventure Curse of Strahd? Like spells, feats, or subclasses.

Curse of Strahd is an adventure and therefore mostly aimed at DMs. While it contains some content appropriate for characters (including magic items), there are no new spells, feats, or subclasses.

On Other Settings
So far we’ve had Dragons & Factions, Elementals, Underdark & Demons and now Vampires. In the early process of picking these themes, what were you looking for in story elements? What boxes did these stories check that you want all stories to check, and what boxes did these stories check that are now checked and you don’t need to worry about for future stories? And is “provides the stats for an iconic unique creature like Tiamat/Imix/Orcus/Strahd” one of those permanent boxes?

We try to use iconic D&D elements in our stories. Dragons were a no-brainer for the first 5E story. I like to take things that have existed in D&D for a while and put new spins on them. For example, taking the Underdark and blending it with themes from Alice in Wonderland. For Curse of Strahd, we really just wanted to reintroduce a classic villain and show the depth of his evil.

Moving 5E “Outside” the realms
Curse of Strahd is the first official 5th edition module to take place outside of the Forgotten Realms. How big of a risk do you consider that? Is there a hesitance on the part of WotC/Hasbro to go outside the realms for fear of alienating parts of the fanbase?

The 5E core rulebooks call attention to the fact that D&D is a multiverse that encompasses many worlds and planes. Curse of Strahd backs that up. It’s no risk to us.

Various other questions
In Out of the Abyss, what drove the decision to not include any section directly dealing with Orcus? Simple time and space or was there a reason he isn’t featured in the main storyline until right at the very end? I’m DMing it and I’m thinking of putting in something involving him, possibly as a side-adventure before they go to see Bruenor. Any advice you could give?
We were counting on a novel to deal with the Orcus subplot. The novel fell through for reasons beyond our control.
How long do you think before we see a proper full release product of the Psionics that we’ve seen snapshots of in Unearthed Arcana? How goes the playtesting for it?

We’re paying attention to what people think of the psionic crumbs we’ve put out there, but it’s too early to know the extent to which that material will need to change. I can’t say if and when we’ll release a psionics-related game product.

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