D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023

Kannik

Hero
That would have been 3e's revenue continuing indefinitely, as Hasbro bought WotC right around the time 3e was released.

Under your hypothesis, 4e (and, for that matter, Pathfinder) would never have had a reason to exist as 3e and its modest revenue could have just kept on chuggin' along.
Aye, I recognize it is a bit of a chicken/egg situation. W/O the dictum, we may never have gotten the greatness that is 4e. (There might not have been a 3.5e either, if that was also driven by sales necessities.)
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Aye, I recognize it is a bit of a chicken/egg situation. W/O the dictum, we may never have gotten the greatness that is 4e. (There might not have been a 3.5e either, if that was also driven by sales necessities.)
I think we'd have eventually seen what amounts to a 3.5e, similar in nature to 1e's Unearthed Arcana as an update to an existing edition; but it wouldn't have come so quickly and would - one hopes - have been more thorough both in its review of baseline 3e and in its playtesting.
 


Hussar

Legend
That would have been 3e's revenue continuing indefinitely, as Hasbro bought WotC right around the time 3e was released.

Under your hypothesis, 4e (and, for that matter, Pathfinder) would never have had a reason to exist as 3e and its modest revenue could have just kept on chuggin' along.

Really, that’s probably true. 3e would have kept on going on for years. After all that’s what 2e did. Without the impetus of Hasbro, it’s possible that we would only now be a short ways into 4e. Pathfinder only hit 2e a short time ago after all.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Really, that’s probably true. 3e would have kept on going on for years. After all that’s what 2e did. Without the impetus of Hasbro, it’s possible that we would only now be a short ways into 4e. Pathfinder only hit 2e a short time ago after all.
Halfway between, says I. 3e would likely have run longer, sure, with maybe a 3.5 or 1e-UA equivalent around 2007-ish; but if there was to have been a 4e my guess is it'd have come out in the 2011-2014 range; with its attendant update version ("4.5") around 2018-2020 and 5e just about to big-splash release in January 2024 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the game.

That said, I highly suspect the 4e this hypothesis would have produced would have looked a lot different than real-world 4e did, as would its 5e.
 

Red Castle

Adventurer
I concur that Hasbro is a/the big answer. The "50M or die" dictum and that WotC was being led by someone who wasn't a gamer (and instead came from boys toys) was not a great combination for an RPG maker. Especially when it drove unfriendly fan policies (a repeat of TSR's foot shooting, in many ways). Plus, IIRC, I read somewhere that when WotC was purchased, Magic and D&D were considered separate divisions -- had they not been, Magic alone would've carried the division, and WotC could've let 4e's modest (by comparison) revenue continue indefinitively, and let passion rule the day rather than "profits".
I’m curious. I personally own almost all 4e books (except for the adventures) and I wonder, is there really something missing?

Including all the content from Dungeon and Dragon magazines, it looks pretty much complete to me. We have 24 classes, each with multiple subclasses and countless of options, even 3 kind of psionic classes (after almost 10 years, 5e still has none). So many feats that it’s a already a pain to look through. 3 Monster Manuals and easy rules to create your own monsters, plus multiple more specialist monster source book like Open Grave and Demonomicon…

Maybe it could have get more setting books, but quite frankly, those don’t really need to be tied to an edition in particular, they are more about lore than rules…

What book was really missing?
 

Voadam

Legend
What book was really missing?

An epic level focused book. The PH/DMG 3s that were planned but never executed.

I would have liked a book with an essentials warlord. I believe there was a dragon article or something online but it was not really on my radar screen.

I like the Pathfinder alchemist class as a class concept, and gunslingers are fun. I never got PH3 and the psionic stuff directly, was there a soulblade/soulknife type class? That was a lot of fun in 3.5/Pathfinder and could have been better in 4e.

They had Gamma World but no 4e d20 Modern or sci fi stuff.

Dragon and Dungeon were pretty good with specific Ravenloft things, but a whole book to really do the setting would have been nice.

Their modules got better as they went, that would have been nice to continue on that quality track.
 

JEB

Legend
Dragon and Dungeon were pretty good with specific Ravenloft things, but a whole book to really do the setting would have been nice.
There was apparently a "Ravenloft Roleplaying Game" product in the works, but it didn't make it out before they started developing 5E.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
That would have been 3e's revenue continuing indefinitely, as Hasbro bought WotC right around the time 3e was released.

Under your hypothesis, 4e (and, for that matter, Pathfinder) would never have had a reason to exist as 3e and its modest revenue could have just kept on chuggin' along.
That’s not what happened. WotC bought TSR in 1997. Some late 2E products had the WotC logo. 3E came out in 2000. Three years after WotC bought TSR.
 

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