A mysterious new title from Wizard of the Coast showed up on Amazon last week and now we know it’s the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount! The D&D Team at WotC teams up with Critical Role’s Matt Mercer for an official collaboration on a new book detailing the continent of Wildemount where the second campaign of Critical Role takes place. Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount includes player options such as subclasses, magic items and more along with detailed information about the campaign setting, resources for Dungeon Masters and some really cool sounding new material for 5E D&D.
The unprecedented success of Critical Role couldn’t have been predicted by anyone, including the cast of prominent voice actors whose adventures captivate viewers around the world. I don’t know, maybe Felicia Day had a premonition back when she proposed the idea of the group sharing their game live online. She’s really smart. But aside from that, who knew?
Over the last few years Critical Role inspired an enormous fan community of Critters who create art, cosplay and even musicals based on the stories crafted by Mercer and his friends. Even better, the group has encouraged untold numbers of new players to try D&D for the first time. And speaking of fan art, Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount includes art from the Critter community, something Matt advocated strongly for while developing the book. Critical Role has always shown deep appreciation and admiration for their vast audience and community members, and incorporating art this way shows their integrity and how much value they place in the fans who support their work. Boss move, Matt!
“Critical Role is a great example of why Dungeons & Dragons has been popular for over 45 years: a group of friends getting together, telling stories, and making each other laugh. In this case, the friends are talented performers playing live on camera, but the fun’s the same. We’re thrilled D&D fans and Critters alike can now enjoy playing in Matt’s world, as brought to fifth edition in this lovingly-crafted book.” — Nathan Stewart, VP of Franchise for Dungeons & Dragons.
Here at Nerdarchy we’re big fans of Critical Role too, so it’s awesome to see the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount revealed as an upcoming official 5E D&D book. Nerdarchist Ted and I often share water cooler conversations about the adventures of the Mighty Nein, and just the other day lead writer Steven Partridge and I chatted for quite a while during the most recent episode. The conversation started with “Laura Bailey/Jester is a national treasure.” “Watching Critical Role ATM. You too?” So yeah, we’re Critters.
Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is a 304 page resource opening the door for 5E D&D groups to immerse themselves in any of Wildemount’s regions using introductory adventures, dozens of story-inspiring plot seeds and the new heroic chronicle system — a way to develop a character’s background that deeply ingrains them into the setting and cultures of the region. The book also includes countless secrets about the setting revealed by Matt for the first time. This sounds like a wonderful inclusion that might appeal to Critters who haven’t yet tried D&D themselves. I hope they discover this book through their appreciation for the show and begin their own journey rolling funny shaped dice together with friends.
“I’m sincerely so honored and excited to be working directly with Chris Perkins and this team of talented D&D writers and designers to bring this book to not just our community, but to D&D players everywhere. Dungeons & Dragons has had such a massive, positive impact on nearly my entire life, and I am ever inspired by the endless creativity I see it spark in so many others across the world. To have been able to work with Wizards of the Coast to bring my world to life as an official campaign book is nothing short of surreal. I can’t wait to see what other DMs and players create within my world to make it their own!” Matthew Mercer, Chief Creative Officer and Dungeon Master of Critical Role, as well as lead writer on the guide.
It sounds to me like Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount makes a great addition to anyone’s bookshelf. With a nice balance of crunchy game content and rich setting material I think it will become a great resource similar to Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. For players who want to create adventures and explore the specific setting it’ll be an indispensible guide, but equally useful for a DM like me who can incorporate content into existing campaigns. Xhorhas captivated me right away and while I might not play on run adventures in Exandria, the expansive wastes and turbulent badlands of eastern Wynandir might find a home in my own campaign setting.
Since Critical Role is such a huge entity in the D&D community, Matt took time to post on Reddit this morning to share some thoughts and views on the upcoming book. You can find the post here. I’ve got to hand it to the guy, he remains humble throughout all the success of Critical Role. I’ve met Matt a couple of times, and he even wrote the foreword for our Out of the Box book as a way to say thanks to Nerdarchy for the work we do too. How cool is that? It’s incredible rewarding to see a fellow fan of the hobby enjoy continued success and his enthusiasm for the game as well as the people who play it are infectious to say the least.
Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is available for preorder through Amazon and is scheduled for release March 17, 2020. You can check it out here.
Keep an eye here on the website and Nerdarchy the YouTube channel where I’m sure we’ll be discussing thoughts and sharing ideas inspired by the book. It’s new stuff for 5E D&D and we’re huge nerds. What did you expect? In the meantime here’s a bunch of videos from D&D Beyond talking with Matt about Explorers Guide to Wildemount, and look below for a video where Matt reveals what it feels like to publish the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount for D&D:
- What is the Explorer’s Guide To Wildemount? Matt Mercer introduces a new D&D setting
- Matt Mercer on Dunamancy – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount for D&D
- Matt Mercer’s advice for critters on becoming D&D players and DM’s – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- What is the Echo Knight? – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount for D&D
- What is the Chronurgist? – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount for D&D
- What is the Graviturgist? – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount D&D
- What are the Vestiges of Divergence? – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount D&D
- Matt Mercer reveals new Monsters in the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount for D&D
- Matt Mercer on the Adventures in the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount D&D
What I’m most excited to see? If the Bright Queen and the rest of the Kryn Dynasty turn out to be true to traditional drow elf lore and become major antagonists against the forces of good. I don’t think that’s the case but I wouldn’t put it past an incredible DM like Matt to turn the campaign on its head with a major reversal of fortunes for the heroes. Chroma Conclave, anyone?