D&D 5E 5E without WotC [+]

Reynard

Legend
It is my opinion that while 5E is a pretty good version of the game,WotC has proven itself to not be great stewards of that game in recent times. More importantly, there are LOTS of individuals and companies producing 5E material and so WotC is unnecessary for my continued enjoyment and use of 5E.

I don't really want to argue about that premise in this thread (hence the +). If you feel that WotC is a good steward or is "necessary" for D&D, you are welcome to make that argument elsewhere.

What I do want to talk about here is the practical matter of sticking with 5E while rejecting WotC.

The first major practical matter is simply which version of the 5E rules to use. I am inclined to use LevelUp as a foundation because a) it is out and b) it adds some interesting layers and mechanics. That said, using LU would require buying from potential players as they would have to learn not just a few new rules but whole new subclasses etc.

"Black Flag" looks interesting as well but seems far enough off that it doesn't feel like a practical choice at this time. It appears like it will be similar in complexity to core 5E, as opposed to the nominally more complex LevelUp, but will still require folks learn it's nuances and particulars.

Of course there is always the option of continuing to use 5E as it is with the investments already made (in books, VTT modules,etc). This is perfectly reasonable and certainly easier to get player buy in -- until the 2024 rules come out and players want to be "current." It is a conundrum.

Mike Shea of Sly Flourish has repeatedly made the point that we don't need WotC to continue to enjoy5E. This thread is about how to do that in reality rather than merely aspirationally.

What do you think?
 

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paradisebunny

Explorer
This is a layered question with multiple aspects to it that all deserve their own discussions, e.g. how to communicate with players and providing them with the content in a way that can compete with the comfort of dndbeyond will maintaining clear choices; convincing players to try something new, etc.

I think the most important skill in this context is one that the DM can learn and manage behind the screen, without much knowledge of what mechanics are actually changing under the hood. E.g. learn to convert material from other editions or RPGs, it is really not difficult and solves the entire problem of being beholden to WOTC. I've ran DCC modules, adapted Cthulhu adventures etc pp. it is much much easier than you think to do and the players will never know. In terms of mechanics, just provide some sort of campaign sheet where you list all optional rules or homebrew rules that you intend to use, no need to call this Level Up, Black Flag or whatever. It is all just slightly different compilations of rules, doesn't really matter to the players what your starting point is.

I think we are in a very good spot to play this game for a long time without any direct ramifications of what one specific publisher might do.
 

dave2008

Legend
It doesn't seem particularly hard to me, though I don't have to worry about player buy-in. We play with our homebrew version of core 5e and will continue to do so going forward. We have not needed WotC since the core books were released. Now I treat them as any other 5e publisher. If they make something I like I pick it up and incorporate parts into our game. If not, I don't.

So I guess my answer would be: stick with what you have and add bits from other publishers that you like.
 
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Reynard

Legend
It doesn't seem particularly hard to me, though I don't have to worry about player buy-in. We play with our homebrew version of core 5e and will continue to do so going forward. I have not needed WotC since the core books were released. Now I treat them as any other 5e publisher. If they make something I like I pick it up and incorporate parts into our game.

So I guess my answer would be: stick with what you have and add bits from other publishers that you like.
I am mostly thinking about this with respect to the 2024 PHB. Most players won't care about much of anything else, but if I reject that update I do worry it might be more difficult to get player buy in.

On the GM side I already incorporate a bunch of rules from other 5E sources and elsewhere, and use advanced monster design a la LevelUp and Flee Mortals both in play and when I write professionally.

One particular issue is that when not running at a con (which isn't an issue because I essentially have total control over how the PCs work) I am using Fantasy Grounds and VTT integration of 3rd party products can be spotty or non existent. That's not a huge issue for me but some players get frustrated by the difference between the kind of integration official versus unofficial material gets particularly on that platform.
 

In reality, you buy the Phb, mm, and DM guide in 2014,
and you buy back the new phb in 2024.
that is the minimum link you can handle with Wotc.
 

paradisebunny

Explorer
I am mostly thinking about this with respect to the 2024 PHB. Most players won't care about much of anything else, but if I reject that update I do worry it might be more difficult to get player buy in.

On the GM side I already incorporate a bunch of rules from other 5E sources and elsewhere, and use advanced monster design a la LevelUp and Flee Mortals both in play and when I write professionally.

One particular issue is that when not running at a con (which isn't an issue because I essentially have total control over how the PCs work) I am using Fantasy Grounds and VTT integration of 3rd party products can be spotty or non existent. That's not a huge issue for me but some players get frustrated by the difference between the kind of integration official versus unofficial material gets particularly on that platform.
yeah I feel you are on to something here, it really is a bigger issue when playing online and using automated systems. For example, I found it a huge pain to run Scarlet Citadel on Foundry because of all the Kobold Press Monsters that were not available on Foundry without lots of additional purchases, conversions or stating things yourself. Increasing prep significantly. System agnostic VTTs like owlbear are a huge boon here. I've learned my lesson, I've burned out on that Scarlet Citadel campaign.
 



dave2008

Legend
I am mostly thinking about this with respect to the 2024 PHB. Most players won't care about much of anything else, but if I reject that update I do worry it might be more difficult to get player buy in.
I don't think there will be enough change to be much of an issue, but who knows. I would still treat it as any new addition to my game. If a player (or me as the DM) want to introduce a new rule (or class or whatever) we discuss and make a determination as a group. So, if a player bought the 2024 PHB and wanted to play a revised fighter or whatever, we would review it see if it works for our game. Personally I am pretty much anything goes on the player side.
On the GM side I already incorporate a bunch of rules from other 5E sources and elsewhere, and use advanced monster design a la LevelUp and Flee Mortals both in play and when I write professionally.
I love monster books, but at this point I don't get a lot out of them. I have both LevelUp and Flee Mortals and in general I prefer my own monsters. I did get some good things from levelUp, but flee mortals didn't do anything for me.
One particular issue is that when not running at a con (which isn't an issue because I essentially have total control over how the PCs work) I am using Fantasy Grounds and VTT integration of 3rd party products can be spotty or non existent. That's not a huge issue for me but some players get frustrated by the difference between the kind of integration official versus unofficial material gets particularly on that platform.
I only play in person, so I can't help you there. I think levelup has good support on Foundry.
 
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