D&D 5E 5e most conservative edition yet? (In terms of new settings)

Ah that makes a lot more sense, that was a bit of random-looking claim! :D

Man SAGA was quite a thing. I loved the system in a lot of ways, but I dunno if anyone really loved the later-Dragonlance setting.

Poor old Birthright. If that had come out in like, 1990 or 1991 instead of 1995, I think that could have been absolutely huge. By 1995 White Wolf and other companies were so huge though that "alternative" AD&D settings that weren't deeply zeitgeist-y (Planescape was perfect mid-1990s zeitgeist and Dark Sun was pretty good on that too) weren't going to cut it.

I think that's one thing that sometimes gets lost in the criticism of TSR. WotC has never faced an environment as challenging or dynamic as TSR did. They naughty word up in loads of ways, TSR, but at the same time, the seas they were sailing were massively choppier. White Wolf and other people put huge pressure on TSR by coming up with RPGs that really spoke to a new generation of players in a way AD&D was literally never going to. TSR was stuck on the back foot because 2E was one of the last of an older generation of RPGs, design-wise, something only a new edition could really have fixed, and that itself would have caused big problems in such a turbulent landscape.

WotC bought TSR at exactly the right time and frankly 3E got pretty lucky, because White Wolf had by then lost several key creatives (to various weird spats and so on), and was kind of misfiring. VtR and the nWoD books were more elegant and well-designed (both in setting and rules) than the oWoD, but they didn't capture the spirit of the age in the same way, and they split the audience at a crucial time (I knew a lot of people who just stuck with VtM and so on). A number of other publishers seemed to have big problems of their own, or made really bad decisions (R Talsorian, for example, and FASA), all in part because of our good friend Magic: The Gathering, which was part of the extremely choppy waters, and lead to a lot of bad decisions from others (including doubling down on Dragon Dice from TSR).

So going into the 2000s, WotC had calmer seas, and could release a version of D&D that didn't feel hopelessly dated. The OGL was cherry-on-top genius and I take my hat off to Dancey and the others who came up with that, because it basically steamrolled non-d20 games by strongly encouraging people to try and make something compatible with 3E and get a piece of that pie. RPG stores which used to be diverse as hell, with AD&D stuff being like 20% of what they carried, tops, over a year or three became 50-60% D&D 3E and d20 products. Given that virtually all the real competition had already self-sabotaged, it was easy win, and I think WotC can be over-congratulated for it. A lot of what they did was extremely crude, like just dumping huge numbers of splatbooks 24-7 (and I'm sure they had plenty of bad sellers in there, relatively speaking).

I loved SAGA, but I'm pretty sure 3rd edition Dragonlance ended up being more popular. SAGA Dragonlance was effectively "Spellplagued Realms", ie highly divisive, yet with some interesting stuff in there.
Post War of Souls was basically 5E Realms -the interesting stuff from the SAGA years kept, plus the 2nd edition stuff you liked back in.

SAGA definitely had the best Bestiary of all time, though. And the simple stats meant the era was golden for fluff.

log in or register to remove this ad

That depends on how much you consider stepping on toes 5e official WotC sources are. I'd argue that the Bladesinger and the Eldritch Knight occupy two separate niches that approximate "Warrior-Mage," just as the Battle Master and the Purple Dragon Knight/Banneret both approximate Warlords but from different perspectives.
Hey, remember that time there was a D&D setting about this funky planar city that was divided into warring factions seperated by philosophy, and the peace between them was tenuiously maintained by this all-powerful being?


Crown-Forester (he/him)
Hey, remember that time there was a D&D setting about this funky planar city that was divided into warring factions seperated by philosophy, and the peace between them was tenuiously maintained by this all-powerful being?

I guess I forgot to mention that Sigil is in the DMG, and you could consider it a separate setting. Are you suggesting that it overlaps with another official setting?

I have to agree with Jester David here as the more I learn about the inner workings of TSR the more I'm surprised it took them that long to go out of business. TSR just happened to be one of those fortunate companies able to generate enough revenue to offset their poor management for a number of years.
I think the most profiitable books in the 90s from TSR were the core books, to be honest. They seemed to print those when they needed quick cash.

Also the novels (at least some) pulled in some cash, though TSR abused that by pulling an accounting trick (which came back to bite them in the bum).

I really think it was probably 1994 that was the year that began the death march. So many settings in operation - this was the year Planescape launched, but also the last year of Spelljammer.


Crown-Forester (he/him)
And that's the thing. There's pretty much zero reason for WotC to do a Planescape book now as the hook overlaps with Ravnica and the signature feature (the Guilds) has been done.
I doubt we're getting Planescape anytime soon. It's more useful as a planar backdrop. Would much rather get a full book on the Feywild, or one on the Shadowfell (yeah, I know Ulraunt's Guide), both of which were explored somewhat in 4e but never to a great extent. The Shadowfell Book literally became about Gloomwrought (+Heroes of Shadow) and the Feywild book was dropped in favour of including some of those details in Heroes of the Feywild.

Even then, 5e Shadowfell and Feywild are different from 4e. For example, the Isle of Dread was in the Feywild in 4e, but it's on the Plane of Water in 5e. The Raven Queen's abode has a different name in 5e, and the Shadowfell's story was deeply tied with the more human-like Shadar-kai in 4e, which are now a variety of elf (at least in the core established setting; Raven Queen is still a Goddess in Exandria and Nerath, rather than an Undead-ish Archfey living on the Shadowfell).

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases