Everything coming to Dungeons & Dragons in 2022: Classic settings Spelljammer and Dragonlance are making their return
It’s been a busy year for Dungeons and Dragons, with a mountain of new book releases — and more D&D books are due before the end of the year. January brought us the release of the D&D Rules Expansion gift set which included the new Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse book, which compiled many monsters and races into one volume, with updates. In March, there was the Critical Role-themed Call of the Netherdeep adventure, and May had the standalone release of Monsters of the Multiverse. And most recently, July brought us Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, which includes series of adventures set in a brand new a location — the titular Radiant Citadel, a multidimensional crossroads that could be used as a setting in any game.
So we’ve already had a fair amount of new content, but we still expect two more books from Wizards of the Coast in 2022. We only have a firm release date for one book, while the other is only set to come out sometime in 2022, which could mean anything from September to December at this point. But no matter when the exact release date is, we still have a lot of content coming from Wizards of the Coast in the last half of 2022.
Let’s talk about the final books coming from Wizards of the Coast in 2022, as well as what we may see next for D&D.
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
Release date: August 16
We found out at D&D Direct 2022 that we’d be seeing the return of Spelljammer in a three-volume set. With a release date of August 16, this set is literally just around the corner, bringing swashbuckling space adventure back to the multiverse to D&D 5e. The original Spelljammer was a cross-setting space opera-esque line of adventures and sourcebooks that brought magical space travel to what was then known as AD&D, and it came with a lot of baggage like outdated and somewhat strange concepts from the 17th through 19th centuries, like phlogiston and crystal spheres. The new edition eschews that approach for one that interlocks more closely with the current multiverse approach of D&D 5e.
While some concepts from earlier versions of Spelljammer won’t be found this time around — the aforementioned crystal spheres or phlogiston will not appear in this set — we will likely see races and feats from both the Travelers of the Multiverse and possibly Wonders of the Multiverse Unearthed Arcana playtests. Astral Elves, Giff, Thri-Kreen, and Autognomes may well make their appearances in Spelljammer.
Each volume in the set is a 64-page hardcover. The three books are:
- The Astral Adventurer’s Guide detailing the places you’ll go and the things you’ll do in the Astral Sea and Wildspace. It’s a guide for players and for DMs
- Boo’s Astral Menagerie, essentially an astral sea monster manual with over 60 entries.
- The adventure Light of Xaryxis intended to take players from levels 5 to 8.
- There’s also a double sided poster map of the Rock of Bral, which will serve as a campaign hub, and a DM screen.
I’m extremely excited for this release. My only concern is that 64 pages per hardcover feels a trifle small. Combined, that’s 192 pages total for the entire three books compared to 228 pages of Journeys through the Radiant Citadel. But that feels a bit like I’m being a touch nitpicky. I’m very excited to see the Rock of Bral make a return in this new version of Spelljammer and of course Minsc and Boo being involved — finally, a star role for our favorite miniature giant space hamster.
Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
Release date: Late 2022
Dragonlance was a setting for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons born out of a series of novels and a line of published adventures — then called modules — By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Set on the world of Krynn, the modules and novels told the story of the return of Dragons and their god Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness. This led to a war across the entire continent of Anasalon between the evil Chromatic Dragons and the mortal races, with the Metallic Dragons sitting it out for reasons that became clear only after a group of heroes began unraveling what Takhisis’ plan really was. It’s an epic old school fantasy adventure setting, but it hasn’t had a proper release since 3rd Edition, and that was as a licensed product.
But right now, we only know a few things about Dragonlance in D&D 5e. We expect to see Shadow of the Dragon Queen, which will be both a 5e campaign setting for Dragonlance and also an adventure similar in scope to Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus or Rime of the Frostmaiden. There’s been mention that the adventure takes place during the early parts of the War of the Lance but in a different region than what we’re used to seeing, and of course it will likely feature Takhisis, the titular Dragon Queen. It’s possible that Fizban — the fellow who wrote Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons — will make an appearance, too. He’s… let’s say acquainted with Paladine, Takhisis’s opposite number who takes the form of a massive Platinum Dragon and who is sometimes known by a name that rhymes with Shahamut.
I am curious to see what this adventure brings and if Takhisis remembers the events of Tyranny of Dragons, since she’s canonically the same being as Tiamat. Where on Krynn will this adventure be set? What will the players be doing, since they’re likely not performing the same role as the Heroes of the Lance from the original Dragonlance novels and adventures? And man, when is this coming out already my greedy talons want to sink into it already.
But there’s also Heroes of Krynn, a tactical battle game which can be played on its own or used as part of the Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure — which we talked about this a bit during our Tavern Watch interview with Greg Tito from Wizards of the Coast. When you’re playing the adventure, which is set during the War of the Lance, and the mass battles that the setting is famous for break out you can resolve them with the Heroes of Krynn tactical board and rules, if you prefer. You’re not required to so so, it’s an optional use of the game.
What’s next for D&D?
This is all we know about for 2022, and considering we’re more than halfway through the year I don’t think we’re likely to see another D&D release this year — but who knows, Wizards of the Coast has surprised me before. But looking further out, we know that there’s a new edition of D&D planned for 2024 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the game, with three new core rulebooks and full compatibility with existing 5e content.
While Spelljammer and Dragonlance are two classic campaign settings making a return, we’ve heard there’s an additional classic setting getting a “cameo” of some kind in 2023. And Ray Winninger at Wizards of the Coast has said the company is working on two brand new settings — presumably one of these was the recently-released Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, but that would still one new setting we haven’t seen yet, but may be getting soon. (Winninger also cautions it’s possible these may not all make it to publication.)
But for now, nothing is officially on the release schedule. But we’ll keep our eyes peeled and add new books here as we learn about them.
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