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D&D General Adam Bradford, Lauren Urban, Todd Kenrick Leave D&D Beyond

They join lead writer James Haeck, who left a couple of weeks ago. Adam Bradford is the D&D Beyond co-founder, and VP of Tabletop Gaming at its owner, Fandom. Lauren Urban is DDB's Community Manager. Todd Kenrick is the company's Creative Manager.

D&D Beyond, launched in 2017, is currently owned by Fandom (previously known as Wikia), after it acquired the company in 2018 from previous owner Curse, a Twitch subsidiary.

DDBeyond.png





According to Cam Banks, creator of DDB owner Fandom's Cortex, all three received offers elsewhere which they could not turn down.


 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

elawai

Community Supporter
I'm pretty sure them leaving has been in the works for awhile. Lauren and Todd were part of the Silver and Steel campaign on the DND Beyond that just ended just last week. I follow the DM for that game, and at the beginning of January she became aware that the game was wrapping up - with 3 weekly sessions still to go. So, whatever is happening, started at the beginning of the year. However, since they were allowed to stay on for a month, it doesn't feel like this is an issue of bad blood between DDB and the staff leaving the company, or they wouldn't have stayed around so long.
 

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I find it hard to believe that WotC would want to come out with a new edition of the game in 2023 and then turn around and have a big anniversary edition in 2024. For one thing, there's a lot of people who wouldn't repurchase the three core books twice in two years.

They can release 6E in 2024 with a special "limited edition" cover, sewn in bookmarks, all that good stuff, and get aaaaaall the money, and then release an "unlimited" edition for the regular price in 2025 instead.

A year or two just doesn't make any sense, especially since WotC's development style throughout the lifespan of 5E has been to do lots of public testing. If 6E was coming out in late 2022, there would be a lot of signs of that in the public testing realm and there's not.

I do agree that absent other factors, 2024 is likely for the official launch of a 6E. I'm curious why you think they'd do an overpriced fancy edition in 2024 but delay a normal-priced edition to 2025. That would cause absolute rioting from the fanbase. No-one would think it was okay to force people to buy a price-gouge over-the-top edition to get a new version of the game the year it came out. That would seriously damage the D&D brand. So that won't happen. However, a special edition and a normal edition both in 2024 does seem very plausible.

I would also personally anticipate that as discussed in another thread, if they create their own DDB, which seems likely if these guys turn up at WotC, they do some kind of "early access" to 6E with it. What form, exactly, that will take, I don't know. The obvious model would be to make all playtesting of 6E go through their DDB-equivalent, instead of sending out PDFs and so on which get distributed across the internets, so you'd get double-duty playtesting, both of the new edition and of their new DDB. And they could do an "early access" model where people could join the "beta" by pre-purchasing digital copies of the 6E books, but that may be a bridge too far. I wouldn't be surprised to see that in 2023.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
I do agree that absent other factors, 2024 is likely for the official launch of a 6E. I'm curious why you think they'd do an overpriced fancy edition in 2024 but delay a normal-priced edition to 2025. That would cause absolute rioting from the fanbase. No-one would think it was okay to force people to buy a price-gouge over-the-top edition to get a new version of the game the year it came out. That would seriously damage the D&D brand. So that won't happen. However, a special edition and a normal edition both in 2024 does seem very plausible.

I would also personally anticipate that as discussed in another thread, if they create their own DDB, which seems likely if these guys turn up at WotC, they do some kind of "early access" to 6E with it. What form, exactly, that will take, I don't know. The obvious model would be to make all playtesting of 6E go through their DDB-equivalent, instead of sending out PDFs and so on which get distributed across the internets, so you'd get double-duty playtesting, both of the new edition and of their new DDB. And they could do an "early access" model where people could join the "beta" by pre-purchasing digital copies of the 6E books, but that may be a bridge too far. I wouldn't be surprised to see that in 2023.
Totally agree with this. I think it is inevitable that WotC will have their own VTT.
I think either
  1. WotC bought DDB and perhaps these guys and gals don't like the direction, and are leaving because of it.
  2. WotC didn't buy DDB, but hired these people away to start something new, probably a VTT.
  3. This DDB shake-up has nothing to do with WotC, but the Wizards will still end up with their own VTT eventually. And 6e is a great opportunity.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Should we just start labeling every thread about "Speculate when we're getting 6E" or is it just an assumed sub title now?

Last time I checked, DndBeyond is not owned by WOTC. This is kind of like a movie where people hear thunder in the distance and that old lady who is completely incoherent most of the time looks up and says "6E's a' comin'." Nah granny, it's just a thunderstorm.

So nah, the odds of this having any connection to anything going on at Hasbro or 6e is about as likely as my winning the mega-million lottery that I don't buy a tickets for.
 


jgsugden

Legend
I'm betting we'll all have a clearer picture Monday.

From D&DBeyond's perspective - this type of shakeup shakes the confidence of their customers. It could be bad for them in the long haul if they do not reassure their customers with high quality service and people stepping into those roles that have the charisma to reassure people.

As to whether this is a sign of some big shakeup - that is possible. If these people see signs that D&DBeyond is going to be sidelined when WotC pulls the license, or creates their own service, they may think now is the right time to leave. Or, Fandom may have given them a choice of a paycut or exit, and they may have taken the exit. Regardless, time will tell.

I enjoyed watching these people, but I do not know them. I'm more concerned, right now, that my investment in D&DBeyond will continue to pay off. I am 90% sure it will - but if they axe it in the next year, or stop releasing new content for it, I will be very disappointed.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Last time I checked, DndBeyond is not owned by WOTC. This is kind of like a movie where people hear thunder in the distance and that old lady who is completely incoherent most of the time looks up and says "6E's a' comin'." Nah granny, it's just a thunderstorm.
The old granny turns out to be right more than 50% of the time, though.
 

Yeah - actions tend to speak louder than words. They were also leaders of the site. This gives me concerns that perhaps we're headed towards a reduction in service. They'll need to be on their game in the next few months to shake the concerns that people may be having about whether D&DBeyond is dying. They've been slower to support elements of the game, stopped supporting Critical Role, etc... not good signs for a company that should be benefiting from the downturn with more people doing more things virtually.
To be fair, they've probably made all the money they can off of CR for the time being and whatever sponsorship agreement they have probably only ran its course temporarily. They'll probably get together again when they start a new campaign to try and capitalize on incoming D&D players who come to the show.

And as far as I'm aware, 2020 only had three book releases, which isn't surprising given the current state of affairs the whole world over, but I would assume the speed at which they implement book content is based on suply/demand with people having to sign hefty NDAs to get to be the ones to port the content that we see on launch day digitally.
 

darjr

I crit!
To be fair, they've probably made all the money they can off of CR for the time being and whatever sponsorship agreement they have probably only ran its course temporarily. They'll probably get together again when they start a new campaign to try and capitalize on incoming D&D players who come to the show.

And as far as I'm aware, 2020 only had three book releases, which isn't surprising given the current state of affairs the whole world over, but I would assume the speed at which they implement book content is based on suply/demand with people having to sign hefty NDAs to get to be the ones to port the content that we see on launch day digitally.
They. Still. Sponser. Critical Role.
 


BadEye

Chief Development Officer at Demiplane
So much speculation in this thread - some of it has been entertaining, some head-scratching.

I'll set the record straight on a few things:
  • The decision for the three of us to leave was 100% voluntary - no one was let go. We all found new opportunities at roughly the same time, and Fandom decided to simultaneously share our departures with the public.
  • I can't speak for Todd and Lauren, but we are not all going to the same place.
  • I believe that Todd and Lauren are gong to be sharing more in the next week or two. It will be a little longer than that for me because of announcement timing.
  • Although I can't go into detail yet about where I'm going next, I’m terribly excited to be getting in on the ground floor at a technology startup in the tabletop space. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and the family.
As I started thinking about life after Fandom several months ago, I knew for whatever I did next, I wanted to set my family up so I can spend my last fifteen to twenty years of working doing whatever I want to do - self publish comics, open a pub, or start a theatrical production company - and this opportunity has a great chance of getting me there. So, it was nigh impossible for me to say no. And I'll also still be moving and shaking in the TRPG space in some exciting to work on ways.

Starting D&D Beyond, creating and driving the vision, and leading the team over the last few years has been a true privilege. We succeeded at digital support in a way that no one has yet been able to do, which will absolutely make things better for future attempts to support these games we love so much.

Cheers!
 





Should we just start labeling every thread about "Speculate when we're getting 6E" or is it just an assumed sub title now?

Last time I checked, DndBeyond is not owned by WOTC. This is kind of like a movie where people hear thunder in the distance and that old lady who is completely incoherent most of the time looks up and says "6E's a' comin'." Nah granny, it's just a thunderstorm.

So nah, the odds of this having any connection to anything going on at Hasbro or 6e is about as likely as my winning the mega-million lottery that I don't buy a tickets for.
This is awfully "the lady doth protest too much", Oofta man. You got some skin in this or something?

Your earlier post was spot-on. The most likely explanation is just that the business has reached a point where they don't want to work there any more (not out of some real hate, but like, it's getting too corporate or they're restructuring or whatever, or maybe they just don't like Fandom - a lot of people don't, I understand).

But the next most likely explanation is that some competitor has hired them.

And the most likely competitor, in my opinion, would be WotC themselves.

And if it is WotC the most likely reason is that they're working on their own DDB-type offering.

And if WotC is working on a DDB offering, that will almost certainly coincide with a new edition or at least some kind of serious revamp of the current one. Which also matches up with a lot of stuff that's going on.

I know someone was saying earlier that it was uncool if it was Hasbro, but you and I actually work in jobs where we see this sort of thing (if I'm understanding your posts correctly), and frankly, people get hired from "friendly" companies into other ones all the bloody time. I mean, I got headhunted myself a year or so ago by a friendly company to where I was working. It's not uncool or weird or creepy to do this sort of thing, it's pretty common and usually doesn't make anyone angry so long as it's not really critical/irreplaceable people.

Anyway, BadEye cleared it up whilst I was writing this.
 

I do agree that absent other factors, 2024 is likely for the official launch of a 6E. I'm curious why you think they'd do an overpriced fancy edition in 2024 but delay a normal-priced edition to 2025. That would cause absolute rioting from the fanbase. No-one would think it was okay to force people to buy a price-gouge over-the-top edition to get a new version of the game the year it came out. That would seriously damage the D&D brand. So that won't happen. However, a special edition and a normal edition both in 2024 does seem very plausible.
You're probably right. My primary objection was to an anniversary edition/5.5E/6E coming before 2024, which I cannot imagine happening, unless Hasbro starts hemorrhaging cash, which they are not.
I would also personally anticipate that as discussed in another thread, if they create their own DDB, which seems likely if these guys turn up at WotC, they do some kind of "early access" to 6E with it. What form, exactly, that will take, I don't know. The obvious model would be to make all playtesting of 6E go through their DDB-equivalent, instead of sending out PDFs and so on which get distributed across the internets, so you'd get double-duty playtesting, both of the new edition and of their new DDB. And they could do an "early access" model where people could join the "beta" by pre-purchasing digital copies of the 6E books, but that may be a bridge too far. I wouldn't be surprised to see that in 2023.
Yeah, this is not the WotC of the 4E era. This seems like a service they could take on themselves, although there's certainly arguments in favor of leaving it with contractors or licensors, too.
 


Jacqual

Explorer
IIRC, they've been quoted as saying that the first Aberrant Mind was too icky, Psionic Soul was too normal. So I'd guess this one will be somewhere between those too.

Should we just start labeling every thread about "Speculate when we're getting 6E" or is it just an assumed sub title now?

Last time I checked, DndBeyond is not owned by WOTC. This is kind of like a movie where people hear thunder in the distance and that old lady who is completely incoherent most of the time looks up and says "6E's a' comin'." Nah granny, it's just a thunderstorm.

So nah, the odds of this having any connection to anything going on at Hasbro or 6e is about as likely as my winning the mega-million lottery that I don't buy a tickets for.
All topics are henceforth subtitled 6E release date, Planescape, Darksun, and Spelljammer confirmed, Dragonlance dropped forever due to it sucking
 


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