D&D General 50th Anniversary- Are You Not Entertained?

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
Yes, I decided to invoke Betteridge's Law ... because, to date, I am decidedly underwhelmed by the 50th Anniversary of D&D.

Let me start by saying that I am most certainly not a hater of a D&D, 5e, or the planned revisions to D&D. I can certainly understand that there is a lot on their plate right now, from the upcoming major revisions to 5e to the D&D Beyond / VTT, and I am sure that this is consuming time and resources. And yet, as someone who previously speculated breathlessly about what we might see this year ... I am beginning to think that the ambitious plans for revamping 5e and the VTT this year have come at the expense of a once-in-a-lifetime* opportunity to celebrate the game.

*Speaking for you. As someone who still intends to live forever, I can't wait to see what they have planned for the 500th Anniversary!

Let's start with the ... if not great, then the not-bad. The announced books for this year (as of PAX Unplugged) include:
1. A new PHB. This will most assuredly drop this year, with the publication of the other core three being in the more ... nebulous categories.
2. Descent Into the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. The classic 1982 module updated, and will include a tournament-style scoring system!
3. Vecna: Eye of Ruin. You see, most APs, you know, will be playing at fifteen...Where can you go from there? Where? Twenty. This one goes to Twenty. That's five more.
4. Quests from the Infinite Staircase. A collection (eight?) of older adventures updated to 5e.
5. The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1976. I mean, it's not like we don't have plenty of other great historical account already. Ahem.

None of these are bad, per se. Obviously, I am concerned that the history book will have to be "sanded down" and "corporatized" to make sure everyone is happy, and won't have the truly interesting (and controversial) information that you can get from other books like Game Wizards. I suspect it will be nice, pleasant, and redundant for those who are familiar with the history.

Two of the entries (Tosjcanth and Infinite Staircase) can basically be boiled down to, "Updating Nine Older Adventures." While I think that including tournament-style scoring in Tsojcanth is a great idea, I have a feeling that it will be a one-and-done; if they don't make further competition modules, what's the point?

So other than their plans to continue conquering the world (new 5e, VTT), we are left with Vecna. It's good to see Vecna, of course, but that's it for published materials for the 50th that aren't just rehashes of their old modules. Sure, I bet that there will be 50th merchandise or special covers, but ... that's not what I was hoping for.

Where is the setting? A reboot of Greyhawk? Or a real FR setting? Either with an actual map? Or something as simple as special, 50th Anniversary hardcover (or boxed) reprints of their classic rulebooks (such as 1e and B/X, or even all of them?). Heck, put those aside ... how about something that thrills and excites? I love Vecna as much as (if not more than) the next person, but Vecna is a well that they've gone to a lot. For the 50th, it's nine reprints, and Vecna. Yay?

Again, not trying to be a nattering nabob of negativism, but I've been decidedly unthrilled so far this year. Between the ad experience here (ahem) and the lack of exciting things, there just hasn't been much to capture the imagination and drive me to celebrate D&D. Maybe this will change when I see the products. Maybe I'm discounting the revision to 5e. Maybe I wanted too much for the 50th.

But overall, as I reflect on my level of interest ... I am, most decidedly, not entertained. What about the rest of you ... is the 50th Anniversary living up to your expectations?
 

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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
You know, I get that maybe there isnt the resources to devote to anniversary products. Why not a Hasbro pulse for some of these oldie goldies and foil wrapped 50th anniversary core books and such? It really feels like just another year which if it was the 9th year, or the 23rd year, etc... who cares? Though 50 should be something to celebrate.
 

aco175

Legend
I think they could do a lot, but the crunchy side of me says that the bigger the company, the less fun they are. You are right in that everything is filtered to appease and not upset any one group which makes for a bland taste overall. No new worlds, no new campaign path other than the Vecna thing trying to bring in other settings and super-powers to make what they think people want while getting you to want to buy more setting stuff.

Maybe they are outsourcing a lot of the fun in the golden anniversary. Partner companies are making the swag bags to give away at events at conventions and the FLGS. Maybe Adventure League is going to be run by Paizo to make it better run and more able to understand. Maybe they have Etsy elves making cool dice bags and minis that can be given away with the PHB at your FLGS.
 

mamba

Legend
Let's start with the ... if not great, then the not-bad.
I am somewhat underwhelmed too, not sure what I was expecting, but this amounts to mostly just another year, doesn’t help that some core books won’t make it in 2024 (most likely) or that they abandoned several good changes in the name of not rocking the boat

The announced books for this year (as of PAX Unplugged) include:
1. A new PHB. This will most assuredly drop this year, with the publication of the other core three being in the more ... nebulous categories.
the one I am least interested in, now that they backtracked on so many playtest ideas…

2. Descent Into the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. The classic 1982 module updated, and will include a tournament-style scoring system!
Would like something grander along the lines of Tomb of Annihilation, not a 4 hour one-shot, but still the most interesting one for me this year, which is not a good sign for this year’s lineup…

3. Vecna: Eye of Ruin. You see, most APs, you know, will be playing at fifteen...Where can you go from there? Where? Twenty. This one goes to Twenty. That's five more.
not interested, I don’t want tier 4, don’t like planar travel (SJ, Planescape), decidedly not for me

4. Quests from the Infinite Staircase. A collection (eight?) of older adventures updated to 5e.
will keep an eye on it, so far I don’t think it has a theme (unlike Saltmarsh) and takes modules from different worlds, which make it a hard sell for me

5. The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1976. I mean, it's not like we don't have plenty of other great historical account already.
more interested in the new Jon Peterson myself

So yeah, not exactly whelmed…
 

Oofta

Legend
I don't really care much about modules or the VTT, I don't have a lot of need for either. I'm also not going to bother getting the super deluxe gold embossed ... well anything.

On the other hand I'll probably get the new core rulebooks because even if I do that D&D is still an incredibly cheap hobby. I'm also spoiled by DDB, so I'll keep that active.

Beyond that? Not sure what else they could do. I'd rather have them invest in making the revisions as solid as possible, but it's just a game. I'm sure they'll announce other things to try to get money out of us, although I wouldn't expect much notice ahead of time.
 


MGibster

Legend
Where is the setting? A reboot of Greyhawk? Or a real FR setting? Either with an actual map? Or something as simple as special, 50th Anniversary hardcover (or boxed) reprints of their classic rulebooks (such as 1e and B/X, or even all of them?).
I find myself in a rather odd position I've never been in before. I truly believe 5th edition contain the best set of rules I've ever used for D&D. But I find 5th edition as a whole to be underwhelming. While I've run and participated in a few campaigns, but I haven't played it nearly as often as I would have expected. I haven't been interested in most of the campaigns they've published, I believe they've done a poor job on their released settings, and I haven't had much interest in their other books like Tasha's.

I don't see anything exciting coming down the pipeline for D&D. Which is especially odd since it's the 50th edition and they're, well, not releasing a new edition <wink, wink>, but they're at least updating the rules. I was excited when I learned about 3rd edition, 3.5, even 4th edition and of course 5th edition. These most excited thing that happened since 5th edition was released was Curse of Strahd and then Baldur's Gate 3.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'm looking forward to the history book. I expect that it'll be candy coated in its treatment of the history, but they also have access to a lot of inside materials that other authors haven't had. I'm hoping there will be a lot of historical photos and images. Make it a fun to browse coffee table book.

I'm also hoping the documentary they'll be putting out is good. I'd love to see a DnD documentary with top-notch production values.

The only thing that I can think of that would be something that would be very fitting and would get me exciting, even if I couldn't go, is a 50th anniversary party. Basically a one-time game convention focused on D&D with panels on the history and future of the game, shows by popular streamers and pod casters, panel and signing with actors from the movie, some Baldurs Gate III tie-in events, and having lots of games run in every edition of the game. Have a temporary history exhibit. There is a lot they could do and they could steam a lot of the sessions and run on-line games for on-line attendance.

They've had more cool, interesting, and fun launch parties for adventure books in the 5e era than anything I've seen announced for the game's 50th anniversary.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I have to wonder if the corporate turbulence at Hasbro is impacting their ability to be in a celebratory mood.

I mean, with the 10 years of huge success of 5e, the game being more recognized than ever after 50 years, the mood from the company should be triumphant and maximalist. But the mood around the currently scheduled releases always comes across as tentative, like we're tiptoeing through a graveyard.
 

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