Noting that Lords of Waterdeep (LOW) comes with a "Rulebook" that is labeled not merely "Lords of Waterdeep / Rulebook" but rather says "Lords of Waterdeep / Dungeons & Dragons / Rulebook" (emphasis mine), I wonder if therefore the contents of LOW could and should be employed to answer questions about 5e (or 4e) that arise sometimes on this stack, at least questions of the format, "Is X possible in 5e, and if so, by what means?"
As an example, I will use a hypothetical question about owl bears. It would be normal on this stack to ask (and answer) a question such as "Can adventurers domesticate owlbears?". If we were to deem Lords of Waterdeep irrelevant, we would answer by the usual WotC souces (core rulebooks and published modules, etc).
But what if we were to consider Lords of Waterdeep a "governing" source for this question?
Well, then we would notice that there is a Quest Card in LOW titled "Domesticate Owlbears", from which we can derive the following knowledge:
- Yes, it is possible for adventurers to domesticate owlbears.
- Specifically it requires one cleric and two wizards to do so, though it does not require any other adventurers beyond these.
- The result will be that the owlbears are suitable to being used, for example, by the City Guard of Waterdeep.
- After the duration of the process, at least two owlbears would have been domesticated (given that it is plural, not singular).
- Finally, since this task can be completed in roughly the same time as other random quests (which are all roughly speaking side quests, not module-size endeavors), it therefore must not take a tremendously longer time than the average side quest takes to complete. Conversely, that it is a "quest-length" task in the first place means it doesn't take just five minutes (it is not a lot quicker than the typical side quest).
That's quite a lot of things to be settled, but of course it would not settle what level the cleric and wizards needed to be, nor how many owlbears (if any beyond two) could be domesticated together, nor the precise length of time (other than being in the typical range of time that side quests take). But it would help us quite a lot in answering the question.
That is just one example, for purpose of illustration, and I am not particularly interested in owlbears here, just in the validity (or lack thereof) of this approach generally.
Some additional things I believe are relevant, but not immediately obvious how to interpret, are the facts around timing. Lords of Waterdeep was released in 2012, the year that WotC was developing 5e. Lords of Waterdeep was issued an expansion in 2013, when WotC released the playtest packet for 5e. Does this mean Lords of Water deep is slightly "too early" to be considered, and that it should be relegated, if it applies to any table-top adjudications, to 4e only? Or is still "part of canon" in a way that can make it binding for 5e?
Given all the above, can we settle whether it is OK to cite LoW in answering D&D 5e/4e questions on this site?