... now with 35% more arrogance!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Thoughts on the 5th Edition Playtest

You may have noticed that, while the blogosphere and RPG forums are lit up with discussion of D&D Next, I have been pretty silent. This is not an accident. I didn't sign up for the playtest. Yes, I'm curious as to what it will look like, and it would be nice if it were close to the kind of game I'd like to play (or at least within easy modding distance.) But I don't need it, so I don't feel like getting involved.

I've seen a couple people compare the open playtest is like the presidential election: if you don't vote, you have no right to complain. I could say a lot about that, but I'll stick to this: Products are not Presidents. You don't vote for a product, except maybe with your wallet, and even then, you can choose not to buy a product if it's unappealing.

Of course, my complaints about a product are generally limited to explaining why I don't like it when somebody asks, or comparing it negatively to something I do like, when explaining why I like it. Maybe an occasional snarky comment when someone brings it up in conversation. I don't devote a lot of time to stuff I don't like.


  1. Exactly. I'm still throughly head-over-heels for TSR's game. How, for anyone other than WizBro themselves, is this product *needful*?

    There's already a D&D flavor for everyone out there. So let this one rule or suck or neither. It's a needless product, so what's it matter?

  2. Agreed! I haven't been invested in any D&D edition since TSR held the reins, even though I played 3.5 for awhile and enjoyed it. But like you, I have no horse in this race -- Labyrinth Lord works great for me!

  3. Some bloggers who shall remain nameless (ahem), may have used some hyperbole in certain comparisons between sending in playtest feedback and voting for leader of the nation.

    I do think it's important for those of us on the Old School side of things to make our voices heard, though, even if it's through posting things such as this, stating that you'll just have nothing to do with it whatsoever.

  4. In terms of mechanics, writing tone and implied setting, DnD is very far from being my ideal game. I play 0/1e clones because (a) there's an interesting community of people playing them and (b) for the most part those rule systems get out of the way - I don't have to spend long hours min-maxing with the rulebooks to topiar my character into an effective form and I can get on and play the adventure.

    So if everyone else switches to 5e then I guess I may have to as well, and then I'll take an interest. And if they all suddenly get into character topiary then I guess I'll have to seek out that smaller pool of OOSR players who still don't want to do that. But honestly I expect that most of the folks who are now playing OSR games have already made that choice so after initial excitement I imagine LL and SnW will come back out again.

  5. @Will, Carter, Gwydion: It's not even a case of not being invested in WotC or thinking I will dislike 5e, exactly. Even if it turns out to be a great version of D&D and I eventually buy it, I don't *need* it. Even if there were no clones, I don't need it. Once you learn how to run a role-playing game, you can recreate the rules. The specifics of monsters, spells, equipment costs, and the like can be improvised, or re-written. It's WotC that needs *me*, or rather that needs customers for their product. Assuming they make changes to their upcoming product based on what would please the largest group of playtesters, they are the ones who benefit by taking money from those pleased customers. It's a marketing move. But I feel no pressing need to *give them money*. If they impress me, I may. But I can survive without giving them money.