One of the greatest moments of my life was in 2016 when I made an educated guess on the next three years of Dungeons and Dragons storylines and Chris Perkins tweeted at me that I was 33% correct! That the Chris Perkins would tweet at me that I was only 2/3rds wrong immediately caused me to melt into a puddle on the floor, yet my sheer joy over the experience created a magical upheaval that resulted in me coalescing into a sentient beard ooze that is now typing up this article with the assistance of mage hand.
My wife says I’m dramatic. But the point is that I love trying to predict the future, sifting through Chris Perkins’ recycling to try and ascertain what upcoming D&D stories might be. And even though it’s pure speculation on my part, I do endeavor to research it as best I can. Further, I even get it correct a third of the time! Chris Perkins said so!
So, let’s try it again, shall we?
Possible Future D&D Storylines
The Red Wizards of Thay go way back in Forgotten Realms lore, appearing frequently in story threads from D&D history even. Dragon Magazine #129 from 1988 says, “The haughty and arrogant Red Wizards of Thay employ their awesome sorcerous powers in their expansionistic and imperialistic policy of swallowing up neighbor states.”
As evidence, the Red Wizards machinations were sprinkled all throughout Tomb of Annihilation, a recent D&D storyline as well as here and there in storylines previous. Indeed, the Red Wizards have been ever-present in 5th Edition storylines, yet never as central characters.
I do indeed believe that this will change and the Red Wizards will carry a key antagonist role in an upcoming D&D storyline. Glance up two paragraphs and read that blurb from Dragon Magazine one more time. If you keep up with trends in literature, you’ll know that today’s central theme in fantasy and science fiction is the deconstruction of colonialist power structures. The Red Wizards of Thay fit that trope perfectly.
Whereas the Red Wizards of Thay provide a possible protagonist and theme for future adventures, Cormyr plausibly provides the richest setting for a future D&D adventure.
Throughout the many decades long development of the Forgotten Realms setting, perhaps no area has more words penned about it than Cormyr has. So while the majority of current D&D storylines have called for adventure along the Sword Coast, Cormyr would take adventures inland, providing a nice geographical change of pace for D&D players.
Plus, Cormyr holds enough story hooks to fill a Bag of Holding, from bickering nobles to powerful paladins to shady Zhentarians. One of those hooks, the Purple Knights of Cormyr, has appeared as a fighter archetype in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, providing some rules mechanics evidence for a future adventure set in Cormyr.
Previous D&D adventures took us to Chult, so why not adventure in an island just north of there, Lantan. Lantan are three little islands filled with gnomes and are the most technology-advanced area in the Forgotten Realms.
Lantan inventions include black powder and steam-powered flying machines, which would provide a plausible setting to introduce a little Steampunk or Gunslinger (Artificer) action to D&D 5e. While fantasy purists might not dig it, a little space and variety would be welcomed by lots of D&D 5e players.
Besides, if Chris Perkins and his team would really want to make things interesting, Lantan would provide a nice jumping off point for a 5e Spelljammer introduction.
Feywild / Shadowfell
Chris Perkins is a fey fan. So it’s not a matter of if the Feywild and Shadowfell are brought into a D&D 5e storyline, it’s a matter of when. Back when I first tried to predict future D&D storylines, I noted the likely inclusion of a fey-based story. That’s yet to come to pass, but I’m convinced it’s just a matter of time.
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist–the latest D&D adventure–has several references to Volo’s Guide to Spirits and Specters. While the references could simply be a joke, it’s also plausible the Volo’s Guide to Spirits and Specters could be another Volo-style D&D hardcover that…well, I’ll just let you read about what it could be.
The Feywild has a rich place in Forgotten Realms lore. It would actually be surprising if Chris Perkins didn’t take D&D fans there in an upcoming storyline.
Tomb of Annihilation took us to Chult, giving us jungle-based adventures. But what if a desert-flavored adventure is also on the horizon?
Chris Perkins loves to polish up iconic adventures from D&D’s past and give them a fresh spin. Desert of Desolation–an old school D&D adventure–is one of Chris Perkins’ favorites. Desert of Desolation is an Egyptian-themed trilogy largely penned by Tracy Hickman, who has consulted on past D&D 5e projects.
Providing a fresh spin on the iconic D&D module would provide an opportunity to provide D&D 5e players a Sinbad-style adventure in the Forgotten Realms land of Zakhara. I’m there for that.
Stick with me here: sometimes companies partner up to provide gaming accessories that make a profit. Shocker, I know.
Wizkids is coming out with a pirate ship miniature in the Spring of 2019. Matt Forbeck also let slip that a future choose your own adventure book features a swashbuckling rogue. What if the timing of these D&D accessories isn’t accidental and the early 2019 D&D storyline is a pirate adventure?
Pirates are popular and fun. Full stop. Further, the Forgotten Realms provides great hooks for a pirate based adventure. While I previously thought they might be centered in the Moonshae Isles, they very well could be set in the Inner Sea region, allowing adventures an opportunity to battle slave trades. Heroic indeed.
Kung-fu in Kara-Tur
Kung-fu adventures is wishful thinking on my part, based solely on my childhood love of the old Oriental Adventures source books. Kara-Tur has the least evidence in current D&D 5e books (as opposed to, say, Red Wizards, who have popped up everywhere), but I’m OK placing one item on this list that is pure wish fulfillment.
For those one don’t know, Kara-Tur is an eastern continent in the Forgotten Realms and it is steeped with influences from eastern folklore, warfare, and customs. It’s very cool and a love letter to any 7-year-old who has secretly pretended to be a ninja.
So, Chris Perkins, how many of these did I get right?