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SYFY WIRE Dungeons & Dragons

New D&D book explains why dragons are so important that they’re half the game's name

By James Grebey
Fizban's Treasury of Dragons

Dragons are an essential part of Dungeons & Dragons — they’re 50 percent of the name of the game, in fact. So, it’s about time that D&D gives dragons their very own book, and this October, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons will reveal exactly why dragons are so important that they’re deserving of title billing. And, we’ve got more information about another upcoming D&D book, the feywild adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight

“This is not that same old dragon book that’s been published for D&D in the past,” D&D’s executive producer Ray Winninger teased at a press briefing attended by SYFY WIRE ahead of the book’s official reveal during the D&D Live 2021 event, which takes place today and tomorrow. Fizban’s, he promised, “explains why dragons appear in the name of the game, what makes them more important than other monsters in D&D cosmology.”

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons

While some of the dragon-centric playtesting material that Wizards of the Coast released (known as Unearthed Arcana) had fans suspecting a revival of the classic Dragonlance setting, Fizban’s is designed to fit into any D&D setting, official and homebrew. (Wizards did tease that they’re reintroducing “two of the classic settings” in 2022.) This book introduces a story about the creation of the very first world that all other possible D&D settings spring from, and reveals that dragons have an innate connection to the material plane, as they were there when it all began. Fizban, a character from the Dragonlance setting and an avatar of a dragon-god himself, provides color commentary throughout the book. 

In terms of what players and dungeon masters can expect from the book itself, the Wizards team says that about a third of the book will be geared towards DMs who want to build a campaign around dragons or who are just interested in additional lore to help make these mythical beasts a more fleshed-out aspect of their tabletop world. 

Another third of the book serves as a bestiary. Fizban’s reintroduces gem dragons to D&D’s Fifth Edition. These more neutral-leaning counterparts of the good and evil dragons of the D&D world (metallic and chromatic dragons, respectively), come in five varieties: amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire, and topaz. They have new abilities and breath weapons that use the less-common damage types of radiant, necrotic, thunder, psychic, and force. Fizbans contains stat blocks for gem dragons at different ages and challenge ratings, same as the dragons in the basic Monster Manual

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons

Other types of dragons get new beasties in Fizban’s as well. Dragon turtles are getting different age and challenge rating varieties (the “standard” dragon turtle is the equivalent of an “ancient dragon”) and the book’s introducing an even more fearsome variety of dragon. Greatwryms are dragons that harness the “echoes” of themselves throughout various planes of existence, and as a result, they’re far more powerful than even ancient dragons. These epic foes use the “mythic monster” rules introduced in last year’s Mythic Odysseys of Theros.

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons

The final third of the book is full of player options, most of which should seem familiar to anybody who kept up with Unearthed Arcana over the past year. The dragonborn race is getting three new gem dragon subclasses, so players can choose to be a sapphire, amethyst, or emerald dragonborn. There are two new subclasses as well, the Drakewarden class for rangers and the Way of the Ascendant Dragon for monks.

Above all, Wizards says Fizban’s is highly adaptable and is meant to offer a bunch of “tools” for players to use or ignore as best fits their table. “Our job is to give you as many tools as we can, so that if you can imagine it, you can pull it into your D&D,” Winninger said.

D&D The Wilds Beyond the Witchlight

At the same press preview, Wizards also offered up some more details about the previously announced The Wild Beyond The Witchlight, which hits shelves in September. The book will take players to a fantastical, plane-hopping carnival called The Witchlight Carnival. The circus can appear anywhere in the material realm, so the adventure is “designed to launch from whatever world you as the DM consider to be the homeworld for your campaign,” according to D&D’s senior story designer Chris Perkins.

The carnival, which is run by two Shadar-kai elves named Mr. Witch and Mr. Light — who also have connections to another carnival featured in the horror-themed book Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft — is “more of a springboard than a hub.” The bulk of the adventure takes place in the Feywild propper, and the book introduces the ideas of “Domains of Delight” as a counterpart to Van Richten’s “Domains of Dread.” It’s a much more lighthearted adventure setting, as evidenced by the fact that players can, per Perkins, “take custard damage” at one point. 

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight D&D

The Domain in question, Prismeer, shows off what the feywild has to offer, but in a contained way, which helps “keep the campaign from getting out of hand,” Perkins explained.

Two new playable races will debut in The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, both of which previously appeared as Unearthed Arcana. The fairy race and the harengon race (called rabbitfolk in the UA) will soon be playable options. (Another race from that batch of UA, the hobgoblin of the feywild, is actually intended for an as-yet-unannounced book, Perkins said.)

The adventure runs from levels 1 through 8, and it plays with the concept of time — including bringing unexpected things back from D&D’s own history. Perkins teased that players may run into a character or two from the old 1980s cartoon.

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight comes out on Sept. 21 while Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons will arrive on Oct. 19. D&D Live 2021 takes place today and tomorrow, so tune in for exciting new announcements (and check SYFY WIRE again tomorrow for more details about another upcoming D&D release).