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Monday 22 December 2014

A Day to Remember, and Advice for WoTC's Success

So yesterday, I actually used the 5e DMG for the first time.

No, not to run 5e D&D.  I used it for my DCC game.  It was only a very short use, making reference to a couple of random tables, but it will no doubt be the first of many applications in that campaign and others.

So this was worth noting, I think, because it makes a point as to how WoTC should conduct itself from here on in.

I think, if they really want to do well within the RPG market, then part of the trick will be to keep making products that will work in this same way: books that have material that can be used even by people who will not be playing 5e.  The worst thing they can do is a bunch of 5e-specific "splatbooks" full of rules and powers and other stuff that would only be applicable to people actually playing 5e, and even then only to that subset that are constantly obsessed with getting new mechanical stuff.

The best thing they can do is adventures, settings, world-books, campaign sets, and material that supplements not the side of powering-up player characters but of giving the GM resources.  And present that material in such a way that is of course directly useful to the 5e DM, but also easily usable by people playing other games.  Like, oh say, Pathfinder.  Or DCC, or old-school editions, or GURPS Fantasy for that matter.

Make books everyone is going to want to cannibalize for their fantasy games regardless of what system they're using.


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  1. Adventures, yes; settings, world books, and campaigns, please gods no they're always so awful and filled with Mary Sues. Never met a ppublished fantasy RPG setting that didn't suck eggs.

    1. I think that's a bit of an exaggeration.

    2. Funny, I am of the opposite opinion. Adventures always feel limiting. Players will always throw a monkey wrench into any pre-made story arc and suddenly a DM/GM has a choice: do I write up a scenario that puts things back on track, or do I go off-roading and make things up? If you choose the former, you have to railroad your characters into doing what the story needs, if you choose the latter, you may as well have written your own adventure from the beginning and saved yourself some reading time.

      Give me rich campaign worlds and settings. Give me new races and classes, compelling story hooks and amazing fantastical settings. In short: give me Eberron, Planescape, and Spelljammer. WotC can keep Tyranny of Dragons.

    3. My blog entry from yesterday gives some ideas about what I think they need to do.
      I think that it all depends, when it comes to adventures, just HOW you make those adventures.

    4. Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, exaggeration.

  2. I agree with this blog post. The less Wizards cares about publishing proprietary gaming material, the more useful those campaign setting and adventure books will be. That's why the OSR exploded with awesome like it did.

    Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim, the Underdark... these are all highly anticipated by fantasy tabletop RPG fans, even those who aren't running D&D 5e.

  3. Yup, and its the best way to undercut the competition, in this case. Writing compatible content was always clever, but never as much as when you have Pathfinder threatening your number one spot.