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DnD’s next quest book has an LGBTQ+ Romeo and Juliet story

An update to Dungeons and Dragons adventure Beyond the Crystal Cave takes star-crossed lovers to the Feywild for a Shakespearean romp.

A young human woman wearing a lavender dress, and a young red haired elf woman embrace in a beautiful garden

A modern reimagining of classic 1983 DnD adventure ‘Beyond the Crystal Cave’ will take inspiration from an even older source – Shakespeare. A new video trailer from Wizards of the Coast reveals some of the Shakespearean influences in the modernised adventure, including a Romeo and Juliet love story with two Juliets.

Beyond the Crystal cave will be published in Quests from the Infinite Staircase, a book of adventures coming in the July DnD release schedule. It’s an adventure compilation full of modernisations of classic modules from the earliest DnD editions. Senior Dungeons and Dragons designers Justice Arman and Chris Perkins explain what players can expect in the video below:

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Beyond the Crystal Cave sees the player characters hunting for a pair of runaway lovers, whose parents don’t approve of their union. A classic Romeo and Juliet story – though judging by the illustration of a tomb that shows up in the video, they might be destined for the same dismal fate.

A sculpted white coffin lid, showing an elf woman and a human woman lying side by side holding hands - illustration from the DnD adventure Beyond the Crystal Caves

We hope that’s just an illustration of how events might unfold. It’s lamentably common for gay couples to get killed off in fiction – see the TV Tropes article on the ‘bury your gays‘ trope to learn more about that – but this is DnD, where the events of the story don’t have to be set in stone.

The adventure takes place in the Feywild, in the Eternal Garden. The original 1983 adventure was set in a demiplane with plenty of feywild vibes, but was written before the feywild was formalised in the DnD multiverse.

The DnD Archfey The Gardener, a blue-skinned humanoid in a cape of green leaves and garland of petals, from the adventure Crystal Caves

This domain of delight is now controlled by an archfey known as The Gardener – we have to wonder if there’ll be a new option for the Warlock DnD class that let players pick the Gardener as their patron.

This is “very much a roleplaying adventure”, Perkins says in the video, with combat “downplayed” in favour of “socialising and coming to an understanding with the creatures that you meet in order to get what you want”. This preserves the design of the original 1983 adventure, which had a then-unprecedented number of non-combat options for resolving the player’s quest.

A strange DnD monster from the Crystal Caves adventure, the Barkburrr, a shelled creature with three long tentacles, climbing down a tree that was once a dwarf

That isn’t to say there’s no fighting – the video reveals that the Barkburr, a niche DnD monster species that debuted in the original Crystal Cave adventure, will return. These tree-climbing mollusc critters have the nasty ability to ‘lignify’ their victims, turning them into wood. We have to wonder how that interacts with inorganic DnD races, like the Warforged…

We’re big fans of modules that reimagine early DnD weirdness with modern DnD sensibilities and production values. As well as the upcoming Infinite Staircase book, Wizards will soon publish a massive tome containing the unpublished first draft of DnD. We have an advance copy and we’ve been pulling out some surprising facts – did you know DnD almost had a stat for how hot your character was?

Make sure you check out contributor Gab Hernandez’ great article about LGBTQ+ characters in DnD. For all the latest Wizards of the Coast updates, bookmark our DnD news page and follow Wargamer on Google News.