Of all the Dungeons & Dragons editions I played, I probably owned more third edition books than any. Regrettably, I sold off those books about three years ago. But I still have fond memories of some of those whacko books.
Recently, I was recreating some monsters from third edition’s Libris Mortis and I got to thinking: there’s no way this book would ever be recreated by modern Wizards of the Coast in this capacity. Modern WotC is a little more “family friendly” than third was.
Here is a quick list of 10 Third Edition books unlikely to be remade into Fifth Edition books:
#1 – The Book of Vile Darkness
Oh yeah, you knew this one had to be the top of the list. Not only was it full of all sorts of gross body-horror stuff, but it also had some truly awful spells in it, too. Plus, demon codpieces. It even came with a warning on the cover!
#2 – Libris Mortis
The book of undead was a cool third edition book. I’ve already recreated a few of the creepy monsters from it here on the blog. But it’s also got some icky spells and rules for running undead. I highly doubt we’ll see this one remade for Fifth Edition.
#3 – Greyhawk Gazeteer
As of this writing, there are only two campaign settings for Fifth Edition: Forgotten Realms (which is the default setting) and Ravnica, the Magic: the Gathering cross-selling campaign world. Chances are Eberron is getting a reboot for next year, too. However, I doubt we’ll see Gary’s playground of Greyhawk see a reboot in Fifth Edition. It’s just too close to Forgotten Realms to warrant its own book and a lot of the characters and monsters have already been assimilated into Fifth.
#4 – Epic Level Handbook
This entry might be a little controversial, but I doubt we’ll see another Epic Level Handbook. At least not in an official capacity. The game feels like it’s designed for players to start losing interest in campaigns/characters around 15th level (notice how a majority of the adventure settings top out at 15?). Plus, there’s the epic level boons that gets mentioned in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but it feels so haphazard that it’s clear there isn’t a lot of interest in providing material beyond 20th level.
#5 – Individual Class Handbooks
The super nichey class handbooks from third edition (like Song and Silence and Tome and Blood) I don’t think are likely to be recreated. Since Wizards is only putting out 3-4 books per year, it’s doubtful they’ll use one of those releases for a book that focuses on just one or two classes. If anything, we’re more likely to see books like Xanathar’s rereleased.
#6 – Monster Manual 2, 3, etc.
I love the Monster Manual. But more and more I think we’re seeing that monster books will be less DM-focused and more “everybody” focused with class options, fluff, and more to expand the markets. Granted, companies like Kobold Press have put out strictly monster books, but I think if Wizards had to choose between a book of just monsters and one with half monster and half new player races, they’re going to do the latter.
#7 – Ravenloft Campaign Setting
Back in third, we got spoiled when White Wolf picked up the licensing rights for the whole Dread Realms shebang. However, I think all the official Ravenloft we’re going to see in Fifth is going to be Curse of Strahd. Which is a shame, because Ravenloft offers so many cool realms and BBEGs.
#8 – Savage Species
This one is actually kinda hard to say. I get the feeling that Fifth Edition doesn’t want people playing monsters. However, there’s such a high demand for it from players (I can definitely tell you as someone who makes a lot of my own Fifth Edition stuff people really want to play monsters), Wizards might cave and do it anyways.
#9 – Lord of the Iron Fortress
To be clear, it’s not that I don’t think this module will get a reprint in some form or another a la Yawning Portal. I just don’t see it, or any high-level adventure module, getting printed at all. All of the newer adventure settings have allowed for players to more-or-less walk into the game and work their way through the entire campaign setting. At most, adventures are starting at 5th level, and even then, they’ve got notes on how to start at 1st level, too.
#10 – Dungeons & Dragons “5.5”
3.5 felt like a bit of an embarrassment. Not to say the rules were bad (not going to start that argument), but they essentially said, “Boy, we messed up on a lot of stuff with 3.0, so you guys are going to have to replace all your books.” And with Fifth Edition being the most popular edition ever to come out, I’d be really surprised to see Wizards try to get everyone to repurchase their stuff again so soon.
Thanks for reading!
What books did I miss? And which don’t you agree with? Let me know in the comments below.
See you soon.
Art by Wizards of the Coast.