The 2021 edition of D&D Celebration is over, and it brought some big announcements. The event took place as a series of livestreams over 3 days, so even the most dedicated viewers were bound to miss something. So to keep you up to speed, here are the most important happenings of D&D Celebration 2021.
An Update To D&D 5E And… SPELLJAMMER CONFIRMED!?
This one came at the end of the last day but created the most conversation. Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is getting some kind of update! It was called an “evolution” so it probably won’t be a 6th Edition or even 5.5E. This update will be released in 2024 to mark the 50th anniversary of D&D and act as an update to the core rulebooks. Wizards of the Coast is using recent surveys to create this evolution, which they promise will be backwards compatible with the books you already own.
Until then, we’re getting a look at how 5E is evolving with new book releases. Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse will begin this dive into the new D&D with a premium bundle in January and on its own later in the year. It will give a sense of how the 2024 book will play out by presenting 250 old monsters and 30 playable races with rebalanced and streamlined stat blocks. The example given was a new way of writing spellcasting monsters/NPCs. Important spells will be listed as actions instead of all falling under a “Spellcasting” trait, giving DMs a more straightforward sense of what a particular spellcaster was designed to do. This is supposed to make spellcaster monsters easier to prep and better live up to their CR.
Meanwhile, there’s still that WotC statement from a while back saying that three classic settings will get a 5E update. One was realized in Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft. The other two are coming this year, as well as a bonus in 2023. Here’s where some fans will don their tinfoil hats: the stream ended with a Hydro74 sketch of Boo the miniature giant space hamster. It looks like one of Hydro’s famous alt covers, but for what book? By using Boo as a mic drop tease, it feels like WotC might finally be making the memes come true: Spelljammer could very well be one of the upcoming classic settings. So basically, Spelljammer was confirmed!
DM Challenge Champion Crowned
Right before the big “future of D&D” announcements, WotC crowned the first ever DM Challenge Champion. Over 600 Dungeon Masters entered their ideas for complex traps to the contest, from which 10 finalists were chosen. The finalists were then tasked with creating an element of a Feywild domain each week, with one being eliminated every round. In the end, it came down to three finalists: Andrew Bishkinskyi, Brad Thompson, and Sergio Solórzano (yours truly, and a DM here on StartPlaying!).
The final challenge was for each DM to run a session, but the twist was they were using each other’s creations. The players were the judges themselves, a panel of WotC designers and beloved D&D streamers, along with guests Matthew Lillard and Krystina Arielle. Clips of the games were shown before the results were revealed live on stream. The winner: Andrew Bishkinskyi using Sergio Solórzano’s domain of Potassio! Congrats to Andrew on the momentous win, and be sure to keep an eye out for the winning content's debut on DMs Guild!
More Info On Strixhaven And Fizban’s Treasury Of Dragons
The future of D&D looks bright with the upcoming releases and talented DMs from the challenge. Yet our chance to really see these people and products shine is still far off. Fans will have two 2021 releases to bide their time: Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons and Strixhaven, A Curriculum of Chaos.
Fizban’s is supposed to expand the lore around the game’s iconic dragons, from their gods to their role in the multiverse to how players might incorporate them into their builds. D&D Celebration previewed how a lot of this will look in practice. From this ,we saw how Metallic dragons as a playable race, the drakewarden ranger, and Moonstone dragons will perform in terms of mechanics.
Strixhaven will start classes in November, so the previews were a bit more vague. Teased were the importance of NPC relationships and the boons they might give you. Attached to this are options for extracurricular activities such as working as a barista and joining a LARP club. WotC also revealed Owlin as a playable race for Strixhaven.
Games Galore, Including The First-Ever D&D Musical
But of course, the best thing about D&D is playing the game. There was a lot of that going on during Celebration, including the debut of two new adventure modules centered around Wild Beyond the Witchlight. They work together with the hardcover to introduce players to the Witchlight Carnival, and maybe set them on their path into the Feywild…
Even more fun was had on stream as many star-studded groups got together to play D&D for entertainment. One of the big events was the first official D&D Musical, “The Circus of Sound.” It, and all the other games and announcements, can be caught on the D&D YouTube channel.