Posted by: markfender | February 14, 2012

D&D Next

Fifth edition D&D is coming! Who’s excited?!

I will never tire of this picture

Not I. I’m fine with 4e. I’m playing some 4e now. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

But I do understand the complaints about 4e. It went “back to the dungeon” to the exclusion of all else (Not to say there weren’t non-dungeon bits in it. Skill Challenges, Rituals, etc. but those were also the most mechanically obtuse sections of the rules and were, after fighting with them for months, eventually ignored). And it went back to that dungeon in style. 4e is a really fun dungeon-romp game. But it was lacking in support for other types of play.

So, I imagine that D&D Next (please don’t call it that. Please) will try to broaden its appeal towards other types of fantasy gaming. Which is cool with me. I played in and ran some really enjoyable 4e games, but they were all pretty much the same kind of game. And I guess this is the nostalgia kicking in, but I would like to see some of the old TSR settings be able to be supported by the rules. Things like Al-Qadim, Planescape, Birthright, and, hell, even Spelljammer were (varying degrees) of fun and their equivalents have not shown themselves on the market yet. Because I don’t need Forgotten Realms again. I can play Forgotten Realms in any fantasy game ever. But those other, out-there concepts emboldened in those old settings haven’t been reproducible in recent editions. And I’m always touting cross-overs with Magic: the Gathering (over $200 million last year – How has this not happened yet? You’d think the Hasbro overlords would be demanding cross-overs.) and I’d love to see some of those settings reproducible in an actual D&D game.

But, I can’t get too excited. Yet another fantasy game will be available to purchase. Yay. I’m pretty set on those, thanks. D&D was not my first game and so its never had a hold on my heart like it does everyone else. I appreciate the game, its roots, and what its done for the hobby (like, you know, make it a hobby), but if something else is better – I’ll go use that other thing. And why can’t all this design space that’s been dedicated to D&D over the years be dedicated to some other genre? I’m still looking for that one cool sci-fi game.

So, I’ll be looking at this new open playtest with all the interest I had in the Pathfinder open playtest. That is, saying to myself “Oh, the Pathfinder open playtest has begun. I wonder what it looks like? Oh, I gotta register on their site? Never mind.”



  1. Everything I read about the plans for 5e makes me think “That sounds like Fantasy Craft, I already have Fantasy Craft”.

    • I generally think that too. And then I think “but I bet if 5e is like Fantasy Craft, it’ll have books come out for it.” And then I’m torn.

      • Yeah, that’s definitely fair. I was prepping for something that may or may not happen, and went to see what books I’ve missed in the last year.

        Turns out I haven’t missed much.

  2. We’ll see if the can manage to make it less of a miniature game and more o a role-playing game.

  3. I’m certainly interested in where 5th edition is going. I’ve played the game for the past 25 years or so, but with the proliferation of RPGs these days and the relative ease with which new games can enter the market and by which players can find these niche games, I just don’t think anybody’s going to have the kind of market dominance that D&D enjoyed back before the internet went mainstream.

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