D&D Next Petition

Posted: 17 July 2012 in The Hobby
Tags: , ,

So Michael over at Neuroglyph Games has a post up about a petition to WotC to reconsider the path they’re taking with 5th Edition.  Unsurprisingly, he takes his cues from the Open Letter to WotC that was published a couple months ago, and his message is the same: 5e is unlikely to unite the market, and the market doesn’t need to be united.  We like our various rules systems at the best thing to do, for both WotC and Gamers, is to re-release the old systems, continue support for all rules sets, and release content that people will buy.  He notes that there’s loads of material for old systems that never got converted to newer rules sets, and new modules could be written and statted for use with all forms of the game.

There’s a Kickstarter up right now that I think shows a great model for this sort of thing: The Bestiary of the Curiously Odd is a Bestiary book that’s going to bee 200+ pages of monster descriptions and fluff, without any stats; then they’ll publish no less than 3 smaller statbooks, for Pathfinder, OSRIC, and Traveller rules systems.  They just tripled* the market for that bestiary for the cost of a couple small softcovers.  WotC could do the same thing — write up one book with the adventure descriptions and NPCs, and a series of statbooks so that the adventure could be run for 1e, 2e, 3e, 4e…  And with print-on-demand capabilities, you can even avoid a lot of the traditional costs that would be associated with storage, etc.

Michael’s petition is up on Change.org, and since I know a lot of my readers are non-US I want to point out the “outside the US” link on the form as well; I don’t know that it will get noticed by anyone at WotC or Hasbro, but I think it’s at least worth voicing our opinion.

  1. yeah, I’ not even a massive D&D fan – don’t get me wrong, I’ll play it and have a laugh, but i don’t actively seek it out – but the thought of getting hold of some killer source material and putting into a system that runs smoother, and it’s all still D&D, really appeals to me. I hope they take note and keep all the old editions going, preferably making as much bonus material as possible good to be used in any of the editions.

    • Jack says:

      Actually, if they do like the Bestiary, it would make their fluff material more accessible to players of non-D&D systems, too.

  2. Brendan says:

    This would be okay for those of us that already know what we want, but what about new players? How do you market all those old editions to new players?

    And what about organized play? I don’t have any interest in organized play, but I know lots of people like it. There is a reason why software companies don’t like to support more than one version of something: it is expensive. Generating stats for 7+ systems would be a nightmare, and would probably guarantee that most of them were not very well thought out. And what about edition specific features, like the tactical terrain elements of Fourth Edition?

    Which is not to say that I don’t think they should release their back catalog. They should. Given PDFs and print on demand, that is a huge untapped revenue stream (and would garner considerable community goodwill). But there is a place, I think, for a separate “actively supported” edition, even if I would not be the primary customer of such a game, and it seems clear for whatever reason that the company has decided 4E is not appropriate to be that version. So other than selling the franchise, it seems like 5E is their only choice.

    • Jack says:

      I disagree pretty completely. We were all new gamers once; how did any of us get started? In my experience you know a guy and they introduce you to their campaign, whatever it is, and you grow from there. WotC just needs to market it as D&D and, if they take the Bestiary approach, they don’t even need to care what rules set your playing.

      As for organized play, I’ve actually never heard of “organized” D&D, except maybe as Con games. Do they have tournaments? Regardless, the way they’re talking about 5e that’s going to be a problem anyways; they want to make the rules so modular that saying “we’re playing 5th Edition” is essentially meaningless.

      Finally, yes, if they do a crap job writing stats it’ll be crap, but that’s true whether it’s one set of stats or four. We already have plenty of people who understand adventure design for old systems; you lose that brain trust if you roll to 5e. And we’re already talking about essentially different games between OD&D and 4e anyways, so it’s not a problem if the same adventure plays differently in one system vs another. We aren’t looking for a uniform experience, that’s one of the going-in assumptions.

      • Brendan says:

        Organized play:



        For 5E, they will probably pick a set of standard modules for organized play. As I said, not exactly my thing, but lots of people like it. This stuff happens at game stores, so it is exposure for the game to people who might be there for other things (buying collectible cards, etc).

        • Jack says:

          Huh. Who knew. Kind of like how I got introduced, but that was just a local group who used open tables at the shop; not really “organized”.

          Anyways. If they’re just going to pick standard 5e modules I don’t see how that’s any different than picking a standard “organized play” rules set from the ones they already have published. I’m not sure why they can’t set up events for various games as far as that’s concerned, especially if they set up conversion rules (which would be smart for them).

    • Jack says:

      tl;dr, WotC doesn’t need to care if new players buy 1e or 4e, as long as they buy D&D.

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