5E Are we in D&D's Golden Age?

Sacrosanct

Legend
For the record, I started playing in 1981, and stuck with AD&D through the 3e and 4e eras. Now I'm almost exclusively a 5e player.

Are we in the golden age of the game?
  • D&D popularity is skyrocketing, and showing up in popular media all over the place.
  • The game accessibility is better than it's ever been, with both paper support and digital support.
  • Accessories are more available than ever before, with everything from maps, to dice towers, to minis, to aps, to game tables. To me, it seems like we're in the golden age of D&D gaming.

The 70s: Age of discovery (birth of the game, imagination skyrocketed about what to include in the game)
80: Age of Controversy (satanic panic)
90s: The dark age (TSR dying and people leaving the game for others)
00-08s: The age of rebirth (WoTC bought the game and completely revamped it)
08-12: The fracturing age (4e fractured the player base, and many left for PF)
13-: The golden age
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
No we are in the second gold rush phase. 80s were first gold rush before the panic came in.
That was my initial thought, but then I realized that the game was still not all that accessible as much as it is today, both with paper products and digital products, and accessories. And it was still a game full of white males, with a huge stigma assigned to the players. It felt like a golden age compared to the 70s, but in the bigger picture of the game's history, there were several factors against it.

For the first time, we're seeing the stigma go away. D&D is mainstream. It's not just a game played by pasty white socially inept nerdy boys. Now we've got Critical Role (which is a group of very attractive millennials). We've got hunks like Joe Manganiello talking about it on the Late Show with another player, the host, Steve Colbert. The players are more diverse than ever. Accessibility is more than ever. Options are more than ever.
 

slobster

Hero
I think to a certain extent this is just a matter of definitions. For me, a golden age implies the first flowering of great creativity, back when the hobby was first growing faster than people could create content for it. So for me, the golden age would be the 70's era when things were first getting going.

That said, to my mind there is no question that D&D is in a better place now than ever before, with more players, more games, more acceptance, and more pop culture penetration than ever. You can call that a golden age if you like, I see the argument, but for me the term comes pre-loaded with a kind of past tense grandeur that doesn't really fit with a current timeframe.

Talk to me in 30 years and I might agree that the 2020's were D&D's second golden age, though!
 
L

lowkey13

Guest
I'd say the late 70s to early 80s were the golden age. If I had to give it an exact time, I would say ....

1977 - 1984

This includes all Moldvay/Cook and the BEC of BECMI, all the best core 1e books (though MM2), and all the truly classic modules. A flowering of talent and a huge boom in popularity. The ability to purchase games anywhere from Waldenbooks to Sears to KayBee Toys.

This is more like ... the platinum age. Comes later, with 5x the value. :censored:
 
I'd say it depends on how you measure it, but we are definitely in a golden age. D&D is an absolutely juggernaut right now, measured by sales and cultural impact. But it's not the first golden age, nor hopefully the last.

Heck, Chris Pratt and Tom Holland are talking about running a D&D game with the rest of the Avengers cast. These are some of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now, throwing off a quick conversation about D&D in an interview like it was no big deal.

But until I can use my D&D bath towel to dry off before working with my D&D wood-burning kit, does it really count? ;)
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
Platinum age? Diamond age?

Having played since 1991... I'd say it's the best age. Web communities and crowdfunding have created a new boom in creativity, with many different voices and perspectives coming into the hobby we haven't seen much of before. The hobby has become much, much more diverse, and I'm no longer terribly embarrassed to say that it's my favorite hobby, at least among people under 40 (I'm still not sure what my bosses would think, as they're from an older generation). The tools we have are ones I only dreamed about when I was in high school - I can run the games I would have liked to then, in the late 90s. We can rapidly build groups through social networking apps, bringing together people of many different backgrounds - my own group, now approaching eight players, is made up of people ranging over 25 years in age, all different careers, lifestyles, genders, sexualities, perspectives... I love it, because everyone brings something different to the table but everyone loves the game.

I'm so happy I got back into it. It's been getting me through a depressing time in my life, closing on middle age, dealing with career stagnation and a feeling of dread about the future.

"I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all... Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?" - J.R.R. Tolkien
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'd say the late 70s to early 80s were the golden age. If I had to give it an exact time, I would say ....

1977 - 1984

This includes all Moldvay/Cook and the BEC of BECMI, all the best core 1e books (though MM2), and all the truly classic modules. A flowering of talent and a huge boom in popularity. The ability to purchase games anywhere from Waldenbooks to Sears to KayBee Toys.

This is more like ... the platinum age. Comes later, with 5x the value. :censored:
I would say it's more like the Sir McStabsalot era. Why? Because it's AWESOME!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The little while back I happened to mention at work that I was DMing a game the upcoming weekend. Two other people said they also had a game scheduled, a third mentioned that they used to but haven't for the past year or so because life just got too busy.

It wasn't that long ago I would have hesitated to mention it, or had people look at me funny if I did. Not that they don't still look at me funny now and then, but at least it has nothing to do with D&D any more.
 

Wulffolk

Explorer
I think that what is being attributed to D&D5e is more the result of social media and our current culture/society than the state of the game. I think that 2e and 3e would have done just as well if this was their time. Both 2e and 3e had many more books to draw from.

However much people think that those editions were more complex we still managed to figure them out and loved playing them, even without being able to get answers from online sources.

I personally see most of D&D's history as one continuous ever-growing golden age, with just the one relatively short tragic era of darkness and uncertainty that was 4e.
 

DwarfHammer

Explorer
I don’t think so. Not enough creative settings imho. When I start seeing lots of player websites that showcase their own creations I will think we are in a golden age. It’s all very commercial driven to me. That’s just my opinion and taste.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
If this now are good times, I hope after the movies and videogames it could be even better. The media titles are the best advertising for the no-English-speakers markets.

New challenges? D20 system with a right power balance if there are modern technology, to allow adaptations of no-medieval-fantasy franchises, for example shooter videogames or superheroes.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I couldn't disagree more. I feel like we're buried in creations right now!
Take a look a the DmsGuild sometime. A quick search found 380 modules. I don't know how many creations anyone could want.

Opening up some other traditional settings might be nice, but I understand why they want some control and baseline over them before opening them up.
 

DwarfHammer

Explorer
Take a look a the DmsGuild sometime. A quick search found 380 modules. I don't know how many creations anyone could want.

Opening up some other traditional settings might be nice, but I understand why they want some control and baseline over them before opening them up.
Can you provide links to non-commercial settings. I would like to read them. I love to read people’s homebrew content and see what they are creating.
 

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