I love blogging. It’s been a huge part of my identity and part of my profession from 2008 to the present day (with the largest exception being the first few months of pandemic furlough). D&D blogging is in an interesting space – most of the conversation is happening on reddit, via video, or sectioned off into various closed systems like Patreon. And most of those conversations are about the happenings at a specific table, not the broader game.
With Wizards of the Coast bringing back the official Dungeons & Dragons blog that may shift, even if just a bit. There’s so much fuel for longer conversations that do not translate well to modern social.
This first blog entry in the resurrected kingdom of D&D blogging is from Ray Winninger, and the focus is on the D&D Studio and what it does. tl;dr – it is in charge of the tabletop game, and works with other versions of D&D to make certain that they maintain the flavor and notes that make D&D D&D.
But, hidden within each of the section are a bunch of interesting notes about the structure of the team, how they design products, and what they are working on.
These are all from internal submissions. No outside personnel participate. Those projects that move forward get a Product Lead. The current Leads are Jeremy Crawford, Amanda Hamon, Chris Perkins, Wes Schneider, and James Wyatt. From their past works within 5e we know what types of primary products most of those work on, and by the end of the year we’ll have an example for each.
- Crawford – rules expansions
- Perkins – adventures
- Schneider – horror
- Wyatt – world building
- Hamon – an upcoming product not yet announced. Her experience with Kobold Press could mean magic or setting while her experience with Paizo could mean space fantasy. Or it could be something different. The conversation fuel is great.
By design, we develop almost twice as many products as we publish. Developing more projects than needed allows us to pick and choose based on how those projects progress; it’s a strategy we use to boost the odds of bringing only the very best concepts to market.From the blog
Within those glassed-in halls of south Renton are a couple dozen near-finished projects that sit in dark dungeons guarded by dragons.
Five Major Releases in 2021
- Candlekeep Mysteries is already out. I’m avoiding most of the adventures because I expect to play in a few one shots. Still, I own the book because I wanted to support the new creators.
- Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is coming out in mid May, just in time for my birthday. As someone who doesn’t know the Domains of Dread beyond Barovia, I’ve started to expand my knowledge through The Black Dice Society.
- Unannounced summer adventure with Perkins as lead.
- Unannounced Wyatt lead project that is a Winninger pitch.
- Unannounced Hamon pitch and project, her first on the team.
A book project takes 12+ months to go from pitch to release. They’re also working on developing more leads. The growth of the game spurred by 5e and supercharged by the pandemic is leading to a higher output of product than the early years of 5e indicated would happen.
With this first entry being from the head of the D&D Studio there’s a lot of high level information. Since, by nature, a blog is throughput from the passions and mind of an author to their audience, each entry will be a reflection of the primary author, carved and shaped by their editor.
Not only will the official blog provide inspiration for further conversation among fans, it is another route to learning about the people behind the game. For those of us that are readers it is a piece that helps us use a second screen while other things are on the primary one (whereas video streams tend to need to be the primary screen).
What’s up next? We can only guess and talk about our theories.