D&D 5E 5E without WotC [+]

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I can only comment on my experience. But I didn't, at that time, encounter any players who were determined that they would play 4e and nothing else.

It is, of course, entirely possible that if I'd stuck with 3.0e then my players may have rejected that. It just wasn't a problem I encountered.

As regards the 2014/2024 split, we don't actually know yet what will happen. Maybe the 2024 release will be so obviously superior that everyone converts. Maybe it will be a damp squib and nobody much converts. Most likely, it will be somewhere in between. But one thing that's unique about this version change (and hasn't been true since the very first) is that for the vast majority of the player base this is their very first version change. Which means that the old "rules" about how it will go don't apply any more. We'll just need to wait and see.
That's an important point: a lot of 5E players weren't even born in 2008.
 

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SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
Fascinating thread! Thank you!

First of all, I myself still pay for WOTC products (I have the collectors versions of Shattered Obelisk and Planescape sitting 5 feet away from me right now). But I do think it's very important that we not tie our happiness and the future of our hobby to the whims of any one company.

Luckily, with 5e in the CC and multiple big publishers making variants (Level Up Advanced 5e, Tales of the Valiant, and Cubicle 7's C7D20 being the ones I myself am keeping an eye on), I think it's very possible for us to enjoy 5e without having to depend on D&D.

That said, from a perspective of not giving WOTC money, you can buy your books used and that does the trick. There are millions of copies of the Player's Handbook in the world and thousands you can get used. $16 + shipping seems to be the going rate on Amazon in the US for used copies.

And you can play 5e for the rest of your life with just three books: The PHB, DMG, and MM. This is what scares WOTC the most and has scared D&D's owners since D&D was owned by TSR.

Recently, the most success I had playing D&D without playing D&D was my Shadowdark RPG campaign. My players love it. I love it. It's definitely different and there are a few things I'd want to house rule, but it's a great lightweight system that really captures the old school feel without stepping on itself to stay "pure" to the old school mechanics.

But as far as 5e goes, digital tools are definitely a bigger concern for me. D&D Beyond feels like the monopoly WOTC wants for D&D. By my last poll on YouTube, 38% of surveyed D&D DMs and players use D&D Beyond regularly. That's a big hunk of the community (assuming the poll is accurate to the actual population of D&D players and DMs...yes, I know how self-selected surveys fall apart, no need to tell me).

There's some good news on the digital tools front, though. Roll20 has lots of material from different publishers, including Level Up Advanced 5e and soon Tales of the Valiant. Shard is a really strong VTT that's partnered with Kobold Press so it'll soon have Tales of the Valiant. I like Shard because it has a mobile character sheet external to their VTT. Roll20 is supposed to have one too. Foundry has lots of stuff too. And Demiplane says they're going to have variant 5e systems as well.

I've been working with the folks at Open5e to try to structure as much open 5e material as we can. It's hard to do and hard to quality control. I was super happy to have Level Up Advanced 5e monsters in there only to discover none of them have bonus actions. Oops.

I would love to see more publishers work with groups like open5e to make digital structured versions of their open material available to help jumpstart other smaller VTTs and character builders. As an example, a plugin to Owlbear Rodeo called Clash brings in over 2,000 monsters from various 5e sources straight from Open5e. It's only as good as the quality of the underlying data, of course.

So there's lots of great things going on. 5e is super strong right now – even outside of WOTC and the 2024 books. We're in a fantastic spot for the hobby.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Fascinating thread! Thank you!

First of all, I myself still pay for WOTC products (I have the collectors versions of Shattered Obelisk and Planescape sitting 5 feet away from me right now). But I do think it's very important that we not tie our happiness and the future of our hobby to the whims of any one company.

Luckily, with 5e in the CC and multiple big publishers making variants (Level Up Advanced 5e, Tales of the Valiant, and Cubicle 7's C7D20 being the ones I myself am keeping an eye on), I think it's very possible for us to enjoy 5e without having to depend on D&D.

That said, from a perspective of not giving WOTC money, you can buy your books used and that does the trick. There are millions of copies of the Player's Handbook in the world and thousands you can get used. $16 + shipping seems to be the going rate on Amazon in the US for used copies.

And you can play 5e for the rest of your life with just three books: The PHB, DMG, and MM. This is what scares WOTC the most and has scared D&D's owners since D&D was owned by TSR.

Recently, the most success I had playing D&D without playing D&D was my Shadowdark RPG campaign. My players love it. I love it. It's definitely different and there are a few things I'd want to house rule, but it's a great lightweight system that really captures the old school feel without stepping on itself to stay "pure" to the old school mechanics.

But as far as 5e goes, digital tools are definitely a bigger concern for me. D&D Beyond feels like the monopoly WOTC wants for D&D. By my last poll on YouTube, 38% of surveyed D&D DMs and players use D&D Beyond regularly. That's a big hunk of the community (assuming the poll is accurate to the actual population of D&D players and DMs...yes, I know how self-selected surveys fall apart, no need to tell me).

There's some good news on the digital tools front, though. Roll20 has lots of material from different publishers, including Level Up Advanced 5e and soon Tales of the Valiant. Shard is a really strong VTT that's partnered with Kobold Press so it'll soon have Tales of the Valiant. I like Shard because it has a mobile character sheet external to their VTT. Roll20 is supposed to have one too. Foundry has lots of stuff too. And Demiplane says they're going to have variant 5e systems as well.

I've been working with the folks at Open5e to try to structure as much open 5e material as we can. It's hard to do and hard to quality control. I was super happy to have Level Up Advanced 5e monsters in there only to discover none of them have bonus actions. Oops.

I would love to see more publishers work with groups like open5e to make digital structured versions of their open material available to help jumpstart other smaller VTTs and character builders. As an example, a plugin to Owlbear Rodeo called Clash brings in over 2,000 monsters from various 5e sources straight from Open5e. It's only as good as the quality of the underlying data, of course.

So there's lots of great things going on. 5e is super strong right now – even outside of WOTC and the 2024 books. We're in a fantastic spot for the hobby.
If I go for any VTT, it'll be Foundry. They seem to be the favored choice for both of my favorite games (Level Up and ACKS).
 

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