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D&D’s next edition begins with Vecna in 2024

The upcoming Planescape reboot will also play an important role

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D&D’s Vecna and his eponymous Hand, a magical item from the world of the Forgotten Realms. It is gold with red jewels. Image: Wizards of the Coast
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The next version of Dungeons & Dragons kicks off in 2024, and publisher Wizards of the Coast has finally revealed how it will begin: with Vecna, the undead villain who has been the focal point of many classic adventures. Developers also revealed on Tuesday, during the D&D Direct livestream, that the world of Sigil — the centerpiece of the beloved Planescape setting — will play a major role. In addition, the publisher firmed up its timeline for 2023, giving release windows for four major pieces of tabletop content.

Vecna is a lich, a powerful undead monster born of a corrupted sorcerer. He was introduced to D&D in 1976 with the publication of Dungeons & Dragons Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry, written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume. Fans of Stranger Things will be familiar with the name, which was borrowed for the Netflix show’s season 4 villain.

During the livestream, developers hinted that the new Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse (now confirmed for a release in the fourth quarter of 2023) will set the stage for Vecna’s return. Sigil — the “city of doors” that connect D&D’s multiverse — will provide the setting with more “interconnectivity” than ever before.

Also mentioned during the livestream were the Red Wizards of Thay, which play a prominent role in the upcoming film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Joining them will be the League of Malevolence, which previously returned to the D&D canon with the release of The Wild Beyond the Witchlight in 2021, and Vengar, the antagonist of the 1980s D&D cartoon.

A slide intended for Instagram that shows the release cadence for D&D content in 2023. Items include Bigby Presents (Q3), Phandelver and Below (Q3), Planescape (Q4), and The Deck of Many Things (Q4). Image: Wizards of the Coast

Additional release windows on the roadmap include Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, a supplement coming in the third quarter of 2023; Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk, a campaign-length expansion of the tiny adventure included in the original 5th edition starter set, also dropping in the same time period; and The Deck of Many Things, an exploration of one of D&D’s most iconic magic items, pegged for the fourth quarter of 2023.

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