Monday, January 9, 2012

5e Initial Thoughts

Well, even the old school intarweb is probably going to be filled to the brim today with thoughts about the announcement that 5th edition is rolling toward playtesting. This is particularly true given that WotC is specifically invoking 1977 play as being something that they want to be able to emulate with this edition.

Clearly, the strategy is to cut off the trend toward increasingly powerful splinter groups mainly represented by Pathfinder and (gasp) the OSR. Joe Goodman's game is probably a factor as well, even though that game isn't squarely in the retro-rules camp.

Although no single factor about the OSR is individually large enough to create a blip on the WotC radar screen, I suspect that the volume of posts about the OSR in the mainstream gaming internet has created a cloud of tiny blips that actually register alongside the much bigger rebel battle-cruiser of Pathfinder. Perhaps we're a cloud of x-wing fighters, or something.

In any case, I think WotC has actually realized that the number of people playing the older versions of the game is actually a significant number. I doubt that they actually care about anything other than getting us to buy stuff and to shut up about how you don't have to play the current in-print edition, but it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Or maybe they just twigged to the fact that the people who currently have kids in middle school are the people who played original and first edition D&D...


  1. And the amazing thing is... that eight year old in the house is available for regular sessions-- and unlike his adult counterparts, there are no scheduling headaches or phone tag or stupid stuff.

    (And coincidentally... the Moldvay basic set is an exceedingly good fit for his age level.)

    I got your Old School Revival right here, suckas!

  2. I have no patience for how the business side of DnD has been handled over the years. Aside from a brief period in the 70s and a brief period in the 00s DnD has been run with an eye to wringing as much $$ as possible out of fans while impeding those fans' ability to share ideas, scenarios, and rules. I see this announcement as no different.

    What I imagine is that fan input will mean paying off a few bloggers to publicize the awesomeness of the new edition. I imagine that fan input will also mean stealing the work of others, repackaging it and selling it for (attempt) profit. I imagine that fan input will mean "community" in the DDI sense of pay to participate.

    I get that DnD is a "property" owned by a company, and that publicly traded companies exist to turn property into shareholder profits. I get that. But I'm a hobbyist, not a shareholder. I play boardgames, war-games, RPGs, paint miniatures and tinker with rule sets. Ive played every edition of DnD since the 70s, and MOST of the time have resented how rule sets were changed purely as a means to sell more product, rather than as a means to make the hobbyist enterprise more enjoyable. When I buy a game I expect a complete game. I'm more than happy to buy accessories - cards, maps, 3-d scenery, etc. But I'm sick of T$R and now WotC building in playing it's fans for suckers.

  3. jeffro's and your last comment says much, methinks. I, too, have introduced role-playing to my children using the only edition I've ever known. I can guarantee that it is neither 3.5 nor 4e. I am passing on the torch, old school style.

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