Posted by: NiTessine | January 11, 2012

D&D 5E Announced

So, Wizards of the Coast has done the entirely expected and announced the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, a mere three and a half years after the release of the fourth edition. (Okay, 5E isn’t what they’re calling it – not yet, at least – but until they give us a real name, we’re gonna do the logical thing and call it the edition that comes after the fourth.)

Okay, admittedly, I didn’t believe it was going to be 5E until I saw the announcement. I thought the “big announcement” would be bringing back PDFs or hype for Dungeons & Dragons: Book of Vile Darkness, or something. Turned out that instead, it was vindication.

Because, well, if there’s something we can get out of this, it’s that 4E wasn’t doing very well. It means there was something to those Icv2 reports that Pathfinder RPG was outselling it, after all. Basically, it means I was right or mostly right all along.

Also, the best quote that’s come out of this, thus far:

“4e is broken as a game and business and it needs to go away.” – Scott Rouse, former D&D Brand Manager

It’s not as harsh as it looks when you read it in context, but man, I just want to frame that and put it up on a wall.

But enough of that. There will be time enough for schadenfreude and gravedancing later.

We don’t really have much to go on at this point. What is known is summed up on EN World’s 5e news page. The most interesting and concrete things we have this close to the announcement are that they’ll be taking a page out of the market leader’s book and doing an open playtest, and the statement “The Forgotten Realms has a rich history and we will support all of it. It is for the gamers to decide which time they would enjoy playing in”, which has generally been interpreted to mean that they’ll do a timeline-independent Forgotten Realms. The new game is being designed, among others, by Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell, who aren’t known for half-assing things.

So, it looks like they’re not setting out to fail right out of the game this time around. Will it be enough? Time will tell. For my part, I’m willing to give the game a shot as a player. WotC still has a long way to go before I’ll actually buy anything from them. Besides, I already have Pathfinder RPG and some 200 different D20 books to fulfill all my crunchy D&D needs and Lamentations of the Flame Princess and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia for the old school.

Well, good luck to them. They’re going to need it.

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Responses

  1. 4e never had my support as a DM, only as a casual player. It will indeed be interesting to see where they go with 5e and as usual I’ll be wary of how they treat FR as a test of how other game worlds might get mangled.

  2. Warmachine/Hordes had an open playtest that did really well. As we know miniatures games that are built for competition are way more tightly worded then say RPG’s. The better part is this playtest will be free versus Pathfinder having people pay for their playtest manual.

  3. The Pathfinder playtest documents were primarily free downloads – I still have all of them on my hard drive. The dead tree edition was made available due to popular demand.

  4. I have played AD&D 2nd and D&D 3.5. When I started as a Player in a 4E Campaign, it felt more than WoW or a Tabletop framed by roleplaying sequences. And to make it completely unfitting for me, there where not propper Tieflings in 4E, only a strange new race, which shared the same name, but not much more.
    So a new Edition that would have more in common with the old D&D-Classics and miniature-move-about in favour for more role playing action, I would welcome it.

  5. “D&D Next” is an incredibly stupid name for this new 5E system. So it “5E”. Why? Because each of those names imply a next system after this new one, which means more money to spend, more rules to learn, etc. They should call it “D&D Universal”, since that’s what the designers have said they’re trying to create.

  6. What’s in a name?

    For me, I was never “unhappy” with “the Rules” to begin with. I didn’t need 3.5, though that’s now what I play mostly, along with Pathfinder.

    4e never had a chance with me. I read many game based stories on it. Never liked the way things “worked out” for the players in that edition.

    5e is just an opportunity to sell me more books. Like NiTessine, I have no need for more books, or the expenditure they would cost me.

    I’ll stick with what I already have.

  7. The problem I see with 4th Edition and from what little I have seen of 5th Edition is that they are “dumbing down” the game to appeal to/attract younger players. While I agree making the game easy to learn is important, I was severely disappointed by the fact that on the 4E rules the martial oriented classes benefited far more than the spell using characters who suffered greatly from a sharp reduction in what they could do. The mess created by how powers could be used was reminiscent of how they screwed up the old Star Frontiers and Marvel Super Heroes games. The old system of checks & balances for each class worked far better.Now some of the ideas from the older editions worked very well indeed. The key for WOTC in making 5E a success is learn from past mistakes, LISTEN to the players, and use the best of what has gone before in earlier editions


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