Chris Metzen’s new D&D setting Auroboros makes bards badasses

In 2016, after 22 years with Blizzard Home Entertainment, Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft co-creator Chris Metzen stepped far from computer game. On Tuesday he revealed his next experience: a brand-new, self-published project setting for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons called Auroboros: Coils of the Snake. The setting has a variety of intriguing functions, consisting of the reality that the bard class is extremely hard rock.

As historian Shannon Appelcline keeps in mind, the bard class very first appeared in a tabletop setting in The Strategic Evaluation, a zine-like newsletter produced by TSR — the initial publisher of D&D. It was amongst the video game’s very first status classes, something that gamers needed to make through ability, luck, and decision. The bard class wasn’t simply something you might select ideal out of eviction, like you can in the present model of the video game. Making things more difficult, naturally, is the reality that the earliest variation of D&D was far more ruthless than it is today. Character development was more difficult, and death was a far more typical incident.

A dwarf reaches out with his hands, energy arcing from his head down into his hands. A finger sits on his right temple.

Art for a brand-new Monk subclass, called Method of Eminence, that will be consisted of with Lawbrand: Worldbook.
Image: Warchief Video Gaming

Metzen developed Auroboros in the 1980s with his good friends in southern California. They started by playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which was almost as lethal as the initial video game. The culture of music was an important part of their life, therefore it ended up being a huge part of their characters’ lives also. He states that culture has actually been developed into the video game’s very first book, Worldbook: Lawbrand, concerning Kickstarter on April 20.

Metzen explains the area of Lawbrand as a collection of loosely associated merchant states that are locked together in a virtuous cycle of trade. However, similar to the world of Warhammer 40,000, their production output comes at the expense of specific liberty.

A female dwarf covered in tattoos wearing furs, her red hair flowing and an axe on her shoulder.

A Desert Dwarf, among the brand-new races introducing with Lawbrand: Worldbook.
Image: Warchief Video Gaming

“Under the surface of Lawbrand, with its strict codes of behavior needed for keeping the factories and commerce moving between these trade cities, you have this new youth movement,” Metzen informed Polygon in an interview. “It’s really very much a rock-and-roll-type movement, where bards and bands and this emergent music scene are really core to the vibe of the place.”

In the cosmopolitan world of Auroboros, trolls, fairies, human beings, and a lot more races brand-new to the D&D multiverse cohabit. They work in the very same factories, their kids go to the very same schools. There’s dispute, to be sure, however there is likewise order — and a brand-new generation that is pressing back versus it.

“Of course, this is all born of most of my friends when we were in our teens,” Metzen stated. “We were all musicians, we were in bands. Music was a huge part of how we related, and it completely bleeds into this setting in a lot of interesting ways.”

While the very first little bits of art reveal placid, nearly idealized cityscapes, Metzen states that the underbelly of Auroboros is “kind of like Dragonlance meets Black Sabbath’s 1973 U.S. road tour.” Envision tattooed fairies running around in dirty bell bottoms, dwarves in leather stetson, all rolling down a desert highway towards a middle ages Burning Guy.

“We would do a gig, and then we’d play some D&D,” Metzen stated. “Then we’d get in the car and, drive into the Mojave desert for an off-road race. […] Our off-road races became, in Auroboros, off-road chariot races. These big crazy exotic chariots pounding 100 miles across the desert in no-holds-barred combat.”

A scaly man with tentacles for hair stands in battered parachute pants on a crate.

An Atsaad, among the brand-new races introducing with Lawbrand: Worldbook.
Image: Warchief Video Gaming

Metzen stated there’s even a Coachella equivalent. It’s a yearly occasion called Bard-In, where all the huge rock star entertainers and bands assemble and magic flies through the air. Hill giants function as bouncers, using the Auroboros equivalent of yellow security t-shirts.

“It’s not necessarily the highest concept thing you’ve ever heard of,” Metzen stated. “Any of us can point to a hundred fantasy settings that are all just amazing that we grew up with. This one, if you could say that it has a charm, it’s in its nearness [to our world]. It’s not an allegory, but there’s a lot of elements of it that I think speak more to what are actual experiences.”

Anticipate to hear more about Auroboros, and Worldbook: Lawbrand, in the weeks to come.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.