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You know, D&D is such a huge part of my life, role-playing games are what made me today and so to have the opportunity to collaborate with Wizards and bring this world that kind of just came from here to an official guide like this and invite people to make what they want of it is incredible... and I think it'll be awhile before it really sinks in. [...] But it's meant to be both for fans of Critical Role and for people who have never watched an episode. It's an entirely new setting to set an entire campaign or more in.

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is a sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition set in Wildemount. The book was written by Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, Chris Lockey, James Introcaso, and James Haeck alongside a team of designers. It was published by Wizards of the Coast on March 17, 2020.[2]

It is the second Exandria campaign setting book, after Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting.

Publisher's summary Edit

A war brews on a continent that has withstood more than its fair share of conflict. The Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty are carving up the lands around them, and only the greatest heroes would dare stand between them. Somewhere in the far corners of this war-torn landscape are secrets that could end this conflict and usher in a new age of peace—or burn the world to a cinder.

Create a band of heroes and embark on a journey across the continent of Wildemount, the setting for Campaign 2 of the hit Dungeons & Dragons series Critical Role. Within this book, you'll find new character options, a heroic chronicle to help you craft your character's backstory, four different starting adventures, and everything a Dungeon Master needs to breathe life into a Wildemount-based D&D campaign...[1]

Contents Edit

Announced Edit

  • 304 pages of material that will help you create your own dynamic campaign set within Exandria's mystery-laden continent of Wildemount.[2]
  • Four starting adventures, set in four different regions of Wildemount, which are full of terrifying discoveries and dangerous secrets. These adventures have been designed to take your adventuring party from level one to three.[2]
  • Three brand new subclasses: Echo Knight, Chronurgist, and Graviturgist.[2]
  • A guide to dunamancy magic, including new dunamantic spells![2]
  • 23 brand new creatures for your heroes to encounter (if they're lucky…or not, depending).[2]
  • Descriptions for brand new magic items and Wildemount's legendary Vestiges of Divergence.[2]
  • A guide to the calamitous history of Wildemount.[2]
  • An extensive breakdown of the Wildemount pantheon, featuring idols and demigods that exist outside of the pantheon.[2]
  • A breakdown of the major and minor factions found in Wildemount and important figures within each faction.[2]
  • A gazetteer replete with locations familiar to Critical Role fans (alongside curious locales only hinted at in bygone lore).[2]

Table of Contents Edit

Preface Edit

I invite you all to come to Wildemount. Wander the dangerous valleys of Western Wynandir, sail up and down the Menagerie Coast, brave the wastes of Xhorhas's scarred lands, and explore the ancient secrets in the regions beyond these war-embroiled realms. Follow the paths of the Mighty Nein or blaze your own trail. This is your Wildemount now.
– 
Matthew Mercer[4]

The preface contains a forward by Matthew Mercer, who describes his personal history with fantasy and make-believe and how it led to the development of Critical Role and, more importantly, Wildemount.

The Preface contains the following sections:

  • Imagination is a strange & wonderful thing.

Welcome to Wildemount Edit

Welcome to Wildemount introduces Wildemount and gives an overview of the setting. The following sections are included:

Chapter 1: Story of Wildemount Edit

Born from nothing, there was something. Light, then thought, then life and fire. We who are born of the will of the gods keep these records to preserve their deeds, their design, and their lessons. We who live by our own will shall keep these records to know where we walk and where not to tread. We who look to our inevitable end keep these records to teach those who succeed our footsteps how to be better than we could.
– 
Archivist Adia Shu of the Cobalt Soul[5]

Chapter 1: Story of Wildemount details the history of Wildemount and Exandria and the pantheon of Exandria, including non-divine deities such as the Traveler. The following sections are included:

Chapter 2: Factions and Societies Edit

Queens, kings, emperors, nobles … beneath the rhetoric, it's all the same. They say they fight to protect your families. They say they fight to enforce your beliefs, your honor. Fight for a better tomorrow. Fight for virtue, for prosperity. Bottom line, it's all about fighting, and it's you that dies fighting for their cause.
– 
Unknown soldier, Collected Tales of the Marrow War[6]

Chapter 2: Factions and Societies describes all of the major political entities and organizations in Wildemount, including each group's goals and relationships with other groups, as well as figures of interest. The following sections are included:

Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer Edit

I've certainly seen much of it, and it is very beautiful. Beautiful, and terrifying, and cold, and humid, and deadly, and joyous, and full of strife, struggle, and hope. It's home, and that's enough for me. Doty, did you get all that?

Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer contains a gazetteer of Wildemount, detailing all major locations in and around the continent; also included are adventure ideas and plot hooks for most of the locations. The following sections are included:

Chapter 4: Character Options Edit

"What makes a hero?" I ask. Is it arms and a will to use them? Is it a certain heritage, a certain disposition? Is it a divine right to victory? I know this to be not true. I have killed many heroes on the battlefield, and I've respected every one. They have many different faces, and deserve remembrance. What makes a hero is their willingness to sacrifice for something they believe in. Anyone can be a hero, once they find something worth dying for.

Chapter 4: Character Options contains information for players, including background information on most player races (and a couple of new subraces), new subclasses and spells based on Dunamancy, new backgrounds, and a section called the "Heroic Chronicle", a new system that allows players and Dungeon Masters to work together to construct a compelling backstory. The following sections are included:

Chapter 5: Adventures in Wildemount Edit

Looking for gold, are ye? Well, I have a deck that needs a mighty good cleanin'. Gold can come easy, if ye look hard enough. Or is it glory ye're really seekin'? Now that's another drive entirely. That, I believe, I can help ye with.
– 

Chapter 5: Adventures in Wildemount includes four new adventure modules set in Wildemount. The following sections are included:

  • Using These Adventures
    • Going Off the Rails
  • Tide of Retribution
    • Story Overview
    • Adventure Summary
    • Setup and Starting Points
    • That Sinking Feeling
      • Earthquake and Sahuagin Attack
      • P1. South Shore
      • P2. West Shore
      • P3. North Shore
      • P4. East Shore
      • Other Flora Isle Locations
    • Seafarers
    • Hunger of the Deep
      • Adapting Your Port of Call
      • Port General Features
      • Bisaft Isle
      • Brokenbank
      • Port Damali
      • Departing for Palma Flora
      • Encounter on the Open Sea
    • Ambush at Palma Flora
    • Concluding the Adventure
      • Defeat
      • Victory
    • Character Advancement
  • Dangerous Designs
    • Story Overview
      • Adventure Summary
      • Setup and Starting Points
    • A Boom in the Night
    • Ascending the Mountain
    • Shahlmast's Lair
      • Steel Door
      • Entering the Lair
      • L1. Turret Cavern
      • L2. Armory
      • L3. Volatile Materials Storage
      • L4. Recreation Room
      • L5. Stahlmast's Workroom
      • L6. Kitchen
      • L7. Prison Cells
    • Stahlmast's Lair (areas L8-L14)
      • L8. Shark Chamber
      • L9. Training Room
      • L10. Ambassador's Bedroom
      • L11. Kobold Barracks
      • L12. Steam Trap
      • L13. Blacksmith's Chamber
      • L14. Smithy
    • Stahlmast's Lair (areas L15-L20)
      • L15. Storage Chamber
      • L16. Infirmary
      • L17. Surgery
      • L18. Stahlmast's Bedroom
      • L19. Clockwork Forge
      • L20. Passage to the Underdark
    • Concluding the Adventure
      • New Lodgings?
    • Character Advancement
  • Frozen Sick
    • Story Overview
      • Adventure Summary
      • Setup and Starting Points
    • Mystery in Palebank Village
    • Croaker Cave
      • Croaker Cave Features
      • C1. Entrance Pool
      • C2. Training Pool
      • C3. Bat Cavern
      • C4. Bandit Camp
      • C5. Old Croaker's Pool
      • C6. Hulil's Cavern
      • Development
    • Jolly Dwarf
      • Development
      • Character Advancement
    • Traveling to Eiselcross
      • NPCs Infected with Frozen Woe
      • Voyage of the Remorhaz
    • Syrinlya
    • Into the Wilds
    • Salsvault
      • S1. Entrance Chamber
      • S2. Ransacked Frigid Woe Laboratory
      • S3. Animated Armor Laboratory
      • S4. Frigid Woe Laboratory
      • S5. Disease Storage
      • S6. North Hall
    • Salsvault (areas S7-S12)
      • S7. Unoccupied Dorm
      • S8. Ruined Dorm
      • S9. Zombie Dorm
      • S10. Ferol Sal's Chamber
      • S11. Kitchen
      • S12. Dining Hall
    • Salsvault (areas S13-S18)
      • S13. Drowned Library
      • S14. South Hall
      • S15. Animated Weapon Storage
      • S16. Golem Laboratory
      • S17. Ferol's Laboratory
      • S18. Drowned Curative Laboratory
    • Concluding the Adventure
      • Character Advancement
  • Unwelcome Spirits
    • Story Overview
    • Adventure Summary
    • Setup and Starting Points
    • Mission in Urzin
      • Buhfal's Boon
      • Preparing for the Journey
    • Exploring Brokenveil Marsh
      • Random Encounters
      • B1. Urzin's March
      • B2. Withered Grove
      • B3. Sunken Boneyard
      • B4. Crumbling Tower
      • B5. Bullywug Cave
      • B6. Ritual Stone
      • B7. Brokenveil Bluffs
      • B8. The Mossback Steward
      • B9. Fort Venture
      • Character Advancement
    • Infiltrating Fort Venture
      • V1. Palisade
      • V2. Tent Yard
      • V3. Commander's Quarters
      • V4. Training Yard
      • V5. Main Hall
    • Infiltrating Fort Venture (V6-V11)
      • V6. Chapel
      • V7. Armory Tent
      • V8. Jail
      • V9. Storehouse
      • V10. Kennels
      • V11. Latrines
    • Concluding the Adventure
      • Character Advancement

Chapter 6: Wildemount Treasures Edit

The difference between power and potential is a curious thing. Everyone seeks to gain power, to use it. Yet the more power you have, the more you use, the more others will try to take it from you. Potential, however, is power unknown, unused. Hidden. Secret until absolutely necessary. I peddle in potential, and I recommend you do too in these times of war.

Chapter 6: Wildemount Treasures contains a list of original magic items, including ones seen on Critical Role, including new Vestiges. The following sections are included:

Chapter 7: Wildemount Bestiary Edit

If the weather, food, and company don't kill me, I can only hope whatever gods-forsaken nightmares live out past the darkness will finish the job.

Chapter 7: Wildemount Bestiary contains new stat blocks, including for creatures seen in the second campaign of Critical Role. The following sections are included:

Glossary Edit

The Glossary contains brief descriptions of terms used in the book, including the names of locations, groups, events, characters, magic, etc.

Credits Edit

"Thanks to the many, many groups of playtesters who helped us get the character options and adventures into their final form. We couldn't have made this book without you!"
– 
A thank-you message to the playtesters.[12]
[!h]

The credits section list everyone involved with the creation, development, and publication of the book.

Reception Edit

Reviews Edit

Reviewer, Publication Verdict
J. R. Zambrano, Bell of Lost Souls "All of that to say, if you're interested in Wildemount, this book is definitely for you. This book adds a much deeper look into the world than we're ever likely to see on the show. If that doesn't sound appealing, this book probably isn't for you–but there's still interesting stuff in the new subclasses or the new spells or monsters. If you're a fan of the show–the book feels more like D&D than Critical Role, for better or worse, but it really shines when they can lean into the things that make the show feel magical."
Cream Teafling, Cream Teafling D&D 5E "I'm relatively sure that, by now, you've deducted that this is a positive review. I expected this book to be good, but honestly I am extremely impressed. The amount of stuff you get for your money here is insane. Given how popular Critical Role is, we could have been given an average book and it would still have flown off the shelves, but this absolutely shows the level of diligence and attention to detail that Matt Mercer is famous for. While he didn't put this together all on his own, his fingerprints are all over it, and not just when it comes down to him having created the setting. Even if you are not a Critical Role fan, even if you are adamantly predisposed towards not wanting to get this because you don't like things that get hyped – I would advise you to put your reservations aside and pick up a copy. Even if you do it just for the final 144 pages of the book because Wildemount doesn't interest you, you will find something in it that will spark your imagination. If this is the standard of sourcebooks to come then I am very excited for what the future holds."
Kevin Coffey, Crit For Brains "Still, there's a lot to like here. Though your mileage may vary depending on your level of Critical Role fandom, the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is packed with a whole lot of D&D material. And that's a good thing."
Alex Meehan, Dicebreaker "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is a lot to digest, so I wouldn't recommend it to Critical Role fans as the first D&D sourcebook they pick up. However, if you are a Critter with a bit of Dungeons & Dragons experience already under your belt, Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is, for all intents and purposes, the perfect sourcebook for creating and playing adventurers in Mercer's world. Even if you aren't a Critical Role fan, this is a remarkable D&D 5E sourcebook that should provide more than enough creative spark for your next big campaign."
Sergio Solorzano, TheGamer

Score: 4/5

"Critical Role has undoubtedly brought new players to D&D, and continues to do so. Critters will probably rush to pick up this book just to support the show. That raises a question, however, in just how many Critters are DMs. Because players might find the few options presented to not be worth $50. Instead, it's the next generation of Mercers, or the DMs who want to walk their own path, that will find the most value in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. This is an inspiring act of creation, and will hopefully help birth more fantastic fan-created D&D worlds."
Simon Yule, GeekDad "Whatever your relationship with Critical Role, if you're a Dungeons & Dragons fan and you're looking for something new to add to your next campaign, or for inspiration for your next character, the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is a perfect addition to your D&D collection. If, like me, however, you're a proud Critter, then the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is more than just that. It’s the perfect companion to your Thursday nights. It's a font of joy and inspiration. It’s one of the few books where even the glossary is exciting. A must have for any fan of Critical Role."
James Grebey, Syfy Wire "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, the latest official Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, adds a lot to the world of D&D. Now you can officially play in the same world as the characters of Critical Role, the hit series in which professional voice actors weave a story by playing D&D live. The new book also adds new subclasses and a new school of magic, Dunamancy. And, perhaps most important, it adds some nuance to one of the most harmful tropes in D&D — and most of fantasy in general, for that matter."
Charlie Hall, Polygon "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount formally brings the Critical Role universe into the pantheon of Dungeons & Dragons, and it's filled with Easter eggs for fans of the "actual play" show. But, as a gameplay guide for regular players, it's an incredible resource filled with tools that can be applied to any setting. Written with a warmth and care uncommon in these sorts of things, author Matthew Mercer's 304-page campaign guide may be the best example of its type yet created for the role-playing game's 5th edition."
Andrew E., SkullSplitter Dice

Score: 9.5/10

"Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is, without exaggeration, the single best 5e setting book Wizards of the Coast has ever released. This is mainly due to the quality of the mini-adventures, plentiful plot hooks around every corner, and accessibility to new players. Sadly, it has little to do with the setting itself, which is a very traditional high-fantasy world. A well-written world, but a rather basic one. If you’re looking for a new and interesting setting, this will just feel like Forgotten Realms 2.0. Regardless, a traditional fantasy world has a lot going for it, and newbies and veterans alike will find a wealth of fun here. Hardcore fans have likely bought the book already regardless of what reviews like mine say, but I'm very happy to report that the quality here goes far beyond hype and branding. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is a triumph, and I hope all future settings follow its example."
Strange Assembly, Strange Assembly "The best part of the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount is the setting. Which is a pretty good start for a setting book. There's an interesting mix of the known that provides a freshness without overwhelming players/DMs with a stack of entirely new mechanical elements. It lets the setting focus on how the players and their story will be affected by a different sort of governmental (and inter-governmental) system than what is usually present in a fantasy setting. I just had to get through the history and factions chapters to think that this was a cool place well worth exploring. The downside, then, is where we didn't get as much of that as I would have liked. The inclusion of a variety of not-really-new ancestries that don't seem important to the setting was puzzling to me, but ultimately that doesn't take up a lot of space. What I did find disappointing was the adventures. Two (out of four) were good, but I had really wanted all of that page count to be a more involved adventure that would better explore the themes of the setting, not just give brief glimpses of some locations (or just one shorter adventure, with another 45 pages handed back to the setting section)."
Brandes Stoddard, Tribality "For me, this is a very good book that, nonetheless, I'm unlikely to use directly. I'm not in a position in my life to seriously consider starting my own Exandria campaign. I'd allow the subclasses and spells in my game, though I'd have some heavy story work ahead of me to fit them into a non-Exandria setting. The magic items and monsters, at least, I'd probably lift directly. The same is true of Ravnica, the upcoming Theros, and other setting books."

Bibliography Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Amazon favicon Explorer's Guide to Wildemount on Amazon.com
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 Critical Role Logo HYPE: Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Our New Campaign Guide from Dungeons & Dragons, is Available for Pre-Order RIGHT NOW! on CritRole.com
  3. D&D Beyond YouTube avatar What is the Explorer's Guide To Wildemount? Matt Mercer introduces a new D&D setting on the official D&D Beyond YouTube channel
  4. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Preface).
  5. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Chapter 1: Story of Wildemount).
  6. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 35.
  7. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Chapter 3: Wildemount Gazetteer).
  8. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 161.
  9. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Chapter 5: Adventures in Wildemount).
  10. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Chapter 6: Wildemount Treasures).
  11. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. ? (Chapter 7: Wildemount Bestiary).
  12. Critical Role Logo Schedule on CritRole.com

Art:

External links Edit

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