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Giant spider hiding inside new D&D book might have a good point, actually

Make it halfway through The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, the latest campaign book for Dungeons & Dragons, and you’ll find something unusual. It’s a gentle scene featuring a giant spider sitting beneath a dew-dappled web, but it’s a piece of art that’s not actually contributing to the narrative of the book. Instead, there’s a call-out to the reader to head to an online storefront and buy another book entirely. It’s called Domains of Delight, and it’s a 24-page supplement about how to create a setting for your own home game.

So why isn’t this little morsel included in Witchlight? I tracked down lead designer Christopher Perkins to learn more.

“When we were working on the Domains of Delight portion [of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight] we weren’t necessarily sure where it was going to land finally,” Perkins said. “It could have been in the book. It could have been a separate thing. Some of that was based on just how the adventure was flowing.”

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Ultimately, Perkins said he made the call to spin off Domains of Delight to be its own product. In it, players are walked through the process of creating their own region in the Feywild, and a unique Archfey to be its lord. It’s a process very similar to the system used in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, which had a section titled Domains of Dread.

“Ultimately, it was pretty much my call to to keep it separate from the rest of the adventure,” Perkins said, “simply because a section of the adventure that big that doesn’t have anything to do with the narrative of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight seemed a little odd.”

In addition to 24 pages of fresh instruction on creating your own world, Domains of Delight also contains all the handouts found in The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. That includes various cards to keep track of its many non-player characters, and a special worksheet to keep track of the campaign as a whole. So, if you have a home printer it’s actually a handy little way to get copies of everything you need without visiting the copy shop. All proceeds from the sale of the accessory will benefit Extra Life, a games-based charity that provides funding for children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada.

Domains of Delight is available at the Dungeon Master’s Guild, a site built by Wizards of the Coast in partnership with One Bookshelf, the same company that runs DriveThruRPG. Traditionally it’s been a place for fans to post their own community-generated content, and for Wizards and its other partners to host content for company-sanctioned organized play. Perkins says this is the first time that a physical book is specifically directing readers there for additional material.

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This isn’t the first time that Wizards has made what would otherwise be content found in one of its books available at the Dungeon Master’s Guild. In 2017, it also sold The Tortle Package, another accessory whose sales benefited Extra Life. It’s the only place you can currently find the tortle player race, basically a humanoid turtle.

Tortles will become available in a print book starting in 2022 when Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse goes up for sale. That book, revealed over the weekend on YouTube, will be part of a three-volume “rules expansion gift set” and then later as a stand-alone product. Wizards says Monsters of the Multiverse will include over 250 monster stat blocks and 30 playable races, and include content drawn from The Tortle Package, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

So are other online-only offerings in the works for D&D?

“I can’t talk about future plans of course,” Perkins said with a laugh. “All I can say is maybe. I’m sort of hoping that The Wild Beyond the Witchlight makes the Feywild as accessible and as fun a place to explore as traditionally Ravenloft and the Shadowfell have been. […] We’ll see how people react to this adventure. And we’ll see how people react to Domains of Delight, and then we’ll respond accordingly.”

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