To say that the 5th edition of D&D has a dearth of campaign setting material is an understatement. Most of its base setting, the Forgotten Realms, are undescribed in this edition so far. Its few forays into other settings, such as the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and Eberron: Rising from the Last War, have been hit-and-miss affairs. Both offering tantalizing looks into their respective worlds, but those looks were similarly incomplete in an effort to create books that were both sourcebooks and adventure guides. So the announcement that there would be a new campaign setting released understandably got people excited. Rumours ran rampant when, in the Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus (BGDA), Exandria was mentioned. This was huge, as Exandria is the world made by Matt Mercer for the famous Critical Role live play. Then the book dropped, and Exandria was welcomed into the list of official D&D worlds. This is the first of a multi-part review of this world.
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The year is 1992, and Rifts is a breakout success. It’s the gonzo RPG experience that no one knew they wanted, and people are screaming for more. The books out are selling like crazy, but the world is still insanely under developed. World Books One and Two, The Vampire Kingdoms (Northern Mexico) and Atlantis respectively, were well received. 1993 is supposed to build on the successes of the last few years, with Dimension Book One: Wormwood, and the third and fourth World Books, England and Africa, planned for release. Things didn’t go as planned.
In the 1980’s, underground comics had a bit of a revolution, and one of the lead, definitely not Comics Code Authority friendly, titles was Eastman and Laird’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. A rough, gritty comic packed with death, violence, and lacking in pizza obsession, it had little resemblance to what it would become as an animated adaptation aimed at kids. This property was picked up by Palladium Books, then an up and comer in the RPG industry, and turned into the now cult TMNT and Other Strangeness RPG (TMNTOS). However, Kevin Siembieda, the head of Palladium Books, had a moment of clarity then. Realizing that licences don’t always last forever, he tasked Erick Wujcik with coming up with an in-house property to use the systems they’d developed for TMNTOS. The result was After the Bomb, a post apocalypse RPG.
For some time now, on my radar but not fully explored, have been the Plane Shift products by Wizards of the Coast. The reason being that they were adaptations of the various worlds created for the Magic the Gathering CCG; and to be honest, I haven’t played that since Ice Age, so I wasn’t tracking much except that the game was still “a thing”. However, a combination of writing about Chult, Maztica, and looking into the Tales from the Yawning Portal has changed my online suggestions algorithm and kicked Plane Shift: Ixalan my way. Time for a new review!
Last year I embarked on the most in-depth, detailed series of posts for this blog to date, as I dug into the Tomb of Annihilation campaign and sourcebook for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Thousands of words in, and with dozens of research hours burned, the end result was a three-part series which can be found here. At the end of it, a reader pointed out that in their experience with Adventurers League (AL) material, that some of the issues I had taken up were expanded on. While I stand fast on my DM Guild works position (they are not canon), AL is canon, and deserved a full examination with the same critical eye.