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D&D General Ch-Ch-Changes

Mercurius

Legend
An impossible question to answer definitively, especially given the current state of societal and environmental upheaval. But in the off chance that things continue roughly as-is, or maybe regain some equilibrium, and with likely but moderate technological advancements, there will inevitably be the split of those who go the route of VR and those who prefer "au naturale" (and many who like both). I don't think "organic D&D" will go away, as there will always be a nostalgia component* and it may be that many will simply prefer interacting with real people, rolling real dice, and playing in the realms of real imagination (over virtual simulation). I mean, the rise of D&D's popularity in recent years certainly attests to that.

(*and even as Gen Xers age out, there will be Millenials and Zoomers who feel nostalgia for a time that they barely, if at all, experienced; remember that Stranger Things was created by two brothers who were born the year their show is set in)

Let us also not forget that while 20 years in the future seems like a long way off, 20 years ago was the early days of 3E, which to anyone over 40, seems like just yesterday (2001 was the year 911 happened and Donnie Darko and Fellowship of the Ring came out...it is weird to think that was 20 years ago!). So if we want to speculate two decades hence, we can look back at how the game has changed over the last two decades. And the answer is:

Not that much. Sure, it has changed in lots of ways that rules wonks will want to correct me on. But in the grand scheme of things, they are mostly cosmetic. All of the classic components are still there, if in somewhat altered fashion. You have ability scores, races (new and old), classes, HP, saves, magic items, XP, etc.

So I think we start with that: the core components will still be present. It is just a matter of how they are put together. With regards to that, who knows.

There's also a tendency to go back and forth between stylistic extremes. 4E was a movement towards one side of a spectrum, and 5E a move backwards. We can imagine 6E (by whatever name: Revised D&D, Golden Anniversary D&D, or an actual official 6E) as embodying more of the trends that have arisen out of recent controversies. It will likely swing far in one direction, especially if it comes out by 2024 (the golden anniversary). But given the way things work, there will be an oscillation back: not towards social-cultural regression, but allowing for a greater diversity of play styles, including some that it left behind or de-emphasized.

I think one of the--if not the--great untapped potentials of D&D is the "modular options" and "complexity dial" of the Next era. So while the next iteration of D&D might emphasize tropes that jive with the socio-cultural paradigm that currently dominates RPGs, at some point the political component will diminish, but some of the underlying structural changes will remain: Meaning, it will shift from "You have to embody diversity this way" to "the rules are a core engine and toolbox that offers options to play any way you want." There are numerous ways this could happen, but I could see them further differentiating the campaign worlds to embody different styles of D&D game play. They already do this to some extent, but I think a furthering of "These are the many worlds of D&D, pick one or make your own" will continue to become more and more explicit.
 

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Let's do a thought experiment. Assume that
  • VR glasses exist, are cheap and ubiquitous.
  • We have the technology to seamlessly read facial expressions.
  • We also have perfect voice mapping so the person talking can sound like anyone or anything they want.
  • So basically you can go "into" the world and interact with avatars of your fellow players.
  • AI software can aid a DM in building the scenes, filling in details so that when you're in VR it looks "real" whether it's a dungeon or a busy street. The AI also probably helps some with monsters and so on.
So when the PCs meet in the tavern for breakfast to discuss the day, you're looking at Sue's character, and while her character uses her expressions it sounds like an old human male (or whatever her character is).

That would be pretty cool. But ... and here's the problem ... how do you have your PC take actions? Why are you just not playing an advanced MMO? How do you integrate in rules that look like D&D? Right now, turns can take a few minutes because Joe wants to strategize a bit with Kim and Terri debates whether to try to heal Tom or cast a more powerful spell to try to end the fight. Would it still be turn based? Real time with pause? Do you have to adjust things because combat could be done much, much more quickly?

I would love a VR MMO (especially one with a real DM and not scripted responses) but it's simply a different experience. Part of why D&D is popular now is because of the social interaction. It's an excuse to gather together in a group, swap stories and have some laughs. You don't always want combat to be constant action, people want to enjoy each other's company maybe throw popcorn at Bob when he tells yet another horrible pun.

People are tribal, there's something about gathering around the fire (or game table, which is hopefully not on fire) telling stories.
Ever played in an MMO? I was involved in the original EQ, WAY WAY back when it first started. Obviously no 'VR', but the interplayer and PC/NPC interactions were basically as you describe. So why would you have 'turns'? They simply don't make sense in a game where everyone is doing what they do in real time. There were 'cool downs' or something similar for whatever abilities, and obviously 'hit points' and whatever, but nothing like turns is needed. Any sort of prep work (making items and such) happens on your own time basically, though you might miss out on something else because you're busy.

And turn-based is just a bear when people aren't in the same room. I mean, I have run MapTool and Roll20 based games online extensively as well. It works, but its SSSSLLLLLLOOOOOWWWWWW and clunky. Now, maybe with some REALLY good VR/VTT thing that could be mitigated, but I think the market has already proven that real time kind of play, or semi-real time wins hands down. Frankly I think this is why VTTs bite rocks in heck, because anyone good enough to make one that didn't suck long ago went to Blizzard or wherever to work on software with 500x bigger user based and thus 500x more investment.

So, MAYBE, unproven, there is a market for 'party-level multi-player online' where the structure is like a D&D campaign (small number of players and a GM who play together) where the tech is similar to what is used in MMO today. I'm not convinced, because it is a LOT less social than MMOs and there's a lot of emergent stuff you won't get, but in 20 years the tech might be at a point where that gets viable and isn't beyond the realm of a small team to implement and test out. Maybe.

Another option is just that 'online D&D' is never going to be an attractive investment, PnP everything just basically dies, and the game lands in the dustbin of history, a quaint anachronism like quilting bees and the Grange.
 

we have procedurally generated stuff now I just ued flowscape to generate this 5,120x5,120 pixel bit of terrain & occasionally import flowscape generated stuff into arkenforge but flowscape is very difficult to use if you want much more than a random bit of terrain & can get pretty extreme on system usage
I rarely do it though because it's a lot of work & usually easier to just load an existing map close enough to my current needs
Why need 50mb? The resolution of the thumbnail is plenty good enough to pull into any existing VTT and use as-is. There's no need to crank the res. I mean, I have never used Flowscape, but I would assume lower res has at least SOME impact on the compute resources required. Anyway, putting these sorts of tasks on the cloud is becoming pretty trivial, and once you get out there what counts as 'extreme system usage' on your DT becomes "that cost me $0.02"
 

Let's get spicy

Core designed mean that WOTC or D&D's owner at the time will write them in books with the same emphasis as other core classes and races.
I have my guesses on which ones.

If current trends continue, D&D will focus on selling character options to players and variant rules to DMs. In order to not worry about balance, these will be sold as packages and everything within a package will be balanced against each other but not neccesariliy to those outside.
I agree with all of these . . . for 6e D&D. I don't think that these things are going to be the same 20 years down the line, when we're possibly in 7e or 8e of D&D. Here's what I think you got wrong in your predictions of 20 years down the line (I'm predicting which of your predictions will be incorrect).
Stays the Same
  1. D&D will remain class based
  2. All the current classes in 5e will be in the PHB 20 years from now.
  3. All the current "races" in 5e will be in the PHB 20 years from now
  4. D&D will be heavily into class based subsystems like spells and maneuvers.
  1. I agree. I think this will stay with D&D, as it's one of its defining features.
  2. I'm not so sure about that. Some of them will probably change quite a lot in 20 years. Barbarians might go back to being more primal, like in 4e, and Warlocks might become less "evil" as a base and be opened up a bit more to different themes.
  3. Again, not so sure about that. I agree that the main ones, like Halflings, Dwarves, and Elves, will be in the PHB, and I do think that some the races from VGtM and EEPC will make their way to the PHB, but I'm not so sure about Tortles, Yuan-Ti, Tabaxi, Kenku, Tritons, or Gith. I could definitely see Goblinoids, Goliaths, Lizardfolk, Genasi, and Aasimar being added to the races in the PHB.
  4. Totally agree. If anything, I think the game will lean even more into this. Give everyone two "subclass" choices. Not actually subclasses, but defining parts of your character that you can choose based on your class, completely separate from one another. Like Warlocks, where they get their Otherworldly Patron and Pact Boons. (Fighters have this to an extent with their Fighting Style and Martial Archetype, but it could be more in-depth and mechanically important.)
    For example, an Artificer could choose their Artificer Specialist (subclass) and also choose a "Tinkerer's Path", which would allow them to choose whether they use their magic items to buff themselves, their allies, or debuff their enemies, or something like that. Then, they'd get different benefits and features dependent on that "Second Subclass".
Gone
  1. A tech level designed as default
  2. A magic level designed as default
  3. Attempting to balance things to other things
  1. I'm not sure what you mean here. Could you clarify?
  2. Same as above.
  3. This is very vague, but I'm assuming you mean balancing one pillar of the game with a different pillar of the game. Like how in 5e, WotC tried to balance the Ranger's Favored Enemy and Natural Terrain features (which are of the Exploration pillar) against the combat focused features of the Paladin at similar levels (Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, etc). I do hope that is gone in 20 years, but I can't predict on this matter.
Changes
  1. At least 2 classes will be normalized and added to the PHB (or core design assumption)
  2. At least 2 races will be normalized and added to the PHB (or core design assumption)
  3. The Half races might be devolved into their parent "races" as subraces to fit.
  4. At least one new nonspellcasting class will join D&D as a "core designed" class
  5. One or two new official settings will be created from the ground up with these classes and races in mind.
  1. I think it's going to be more than two in 20 years. 20 years ago was 3rd edition. Think of how many things have changed since then. I could see a lot more classes added to the game, assuming at least a couple editions go by in that time.
    I'm gonna guess that a Psion class will be normalized in order to get it out of the way from the get-go in order to avoid all of the inter-community drama of "this is how I want psionics!" while the edition is out. Artificers are also very likely to be in whatever future PHBs come out. I would also love if there was a Swordmage/Duskblade class added, but it's unlikely.
  2. It's gonna be more than that, IMO. Goblinoids will be normalized by then, which adds 3 races to it already. I could also see Aasimar, Genasi, and Goliaths being extremely likely contenders for normalization, with the same being possible for a few other races.
  3. Could be. There are a few different ways to do this. I'm not saying this is impossible, I'm just saying it's pretty unlikely.
  4. I hope so. I'd prefer Warlord or Psion.
  5. You could be right. This currently seems unlikely, but things can change quickly. In 20 years, I'm guessing we're going to get a few once everyone is tired of old settings and M:tG worlds.
 


tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
Why need 50mb? The resolution of the thumbnail is plenty good enough to pull into any existing VTT and use as-is. There's no need to crank the res. I mean, I have never used Flowscape, but I would assume lower res has at least SOME impact on the compute resources required. Anyway, putting these sorts of tasks on the cloud is becoming pretty trivial, and once you get out there what counts as 'extreme system usage' on your DT becomes "that cost me $0.02"
because there is a slider like so
1610495928472.png


at 1 it gives 256x256 133k. at 20 5120x5120 just south of 50megs somewhere between 20 & 25 it jut exports a blank image & never recovers or it dies on my laptop from resources or something. Flowscape was not originally made for ttrpg use & didn't even support an isometric view till people saw it on reddit and clamored for the creator to support it for ttrpg use.Without resizing it that 5120x5120 pixel image loaded into arkenforge is about 18x18. With resizing to a scale I could still keep expanding... well from top right to bottom left those red dragons are 1x1 2x2 4x4 8x8 & 16x16.
1610497579025.png
Running on a tvbox on the table it's still pretty nice looking even when zoomed in close. I could play with the settings in flowscape so trees and such are sized differently but this works well. I'm not going to even bother counting how many squares are in the map when scaled like(they start merging as you zoom far enough out). That hybrid digital meatspace play works great but once players realized the capabilities of that little box 5e ranges became the bane of my existence as they were no longer limited by the size of a battlemat. Here's a very precovid pic of that hybrid table taken during a potluck break
1610498143484.png
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'm not so sure about that. Some of them will probably change quite a lot in 20 years. Barbarians might go back to being more primal, like in 4e, and Warlocks might become less "evil" as a base and be opened up a bit more to different themes.

I'm not saying the classes themselves will look be the same. I'm saying every class in the PHB nowwill be in the PHB still in 20 years.

Again, not so sure about that. I agree that the main ones, like Halflings, Dwarves, and Elves, will be in the PHB, and I do think that some the races from VGtM and EEPC will make their way to the PHB, but I'm not so sure about Tortles, Yuan-Ti, Tabaxi, Kenku, Tritons, or Gith. I could definitely see Goblinoids, Goliaths, Lizardfolk, Genasi, and Aasimar being added to the races in the PHB.
I mean the PHB races now will still be in the PHB later. And based on my other point, other races will get upgraded to the PHB.

  1. I'm not sure what you mean here. Could you clarify?
  2. Same as above.
I mean there won'tbe a base assumption of the tech and magic level when the races, classes, and items are designed. For example, 5e defaults it's design around a moderately magical heroic fantasy with a mix of medieval and renaissance tech. In 2 editions, tech level and magic level wont be a bolted on the base then tweaked. D&D will be designed nuetrally and have the variants of tech and magic built with the game. DMs will have to choose a tech and magic level and the races and classes will have rules that adjust based on the setting.

AKA there were be dedicated and thoughyfully designed official variants for low and high magic as well pre- and post- "medieval" settings. D&D wn't be able to somplete will RPGs dedicated to specific feels but it would be better suited for setting notserved by patching together well designed variant rules. Rules that will come in the first and earliest books.

  1. I think it's going to be more than two in 20 years. 20 years ago was 3rd edition. Think of how many things have changed since then. I could see a lot more classes added to the game, assuming at least a couple editions go by in that time.
    I'm gonna guess that a Psion class will be normalized in order to get it out of the way from the get-go in order to avoid all of the inter-community drama of "this is how I want psionics!" while the edition is out. Artificers are also very likely to be in whatever future PHBs come out. I would also love if there was a Swordmage/Duskblade class added, but it's unlikely.
  2. It's gonna be more than that, IMO. Goblinoids will be normalized by then, which adds 3 races to it already. I could also see Aasimar, Genasi, and Goliaths being extremely likely contenders for normalization, with the same being possible for a few other races.
  3. Could be. There are a few different ways to do this. I'm not saying this is impossible, I'm just saying it's pretty unlikely.
  4. I hope so. I'd prefer Warlord or Psion.
  5. You could be right. This currently seems unlikely, but things can change quickly. In 20 years, I'm guessing we're going to get a few once everyone is tired of old settings and M:tG worlds.

I was low balling.

I am expecting Orcs, Gobliniod, Goliath, Warforged, and Asasimar to be normalized. Artificer is practically normalized already. I see the Warlord folded into a nonmagical smart guy class with the Mastermind, Inquisitive, and a nonmagical Tinker. And in 2 editions the Psion and an Arcane half caster warrior will get fleshed out as D&D pushes to sliding pieces.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
In 20 years, it will all be digital. The maps, the books, the character sheets, the dice, the Dungeon Master, the players, your table, your neighborhood. It will all be digital, and you will play it. There's not much else to do in cryogenic sleep, after all, and it's still another 233 long years to the new colony on Praxis IV. Fear not; the implants in your head will make certain that arguments are kept to a minimum and that everybody follows The Rules exactly as-written.
 

Why need 50mb? The resolution of the thumbnail is plenty good enough to pull into any existing VTT and use as-is. There's no need to crank the res. I mean, I have never used Flowscape, but I would assume lower res has at least SOME impact on the compute resources required. Anyway, putting these sorts of tasks on the cloud is becoming pretty trivial, and once you get out there what counts as 'extreme system usage' on your DT becomes "that cost me $0.02"
My thought wasn't that it would develop the world, but just a background: A tavern background (like backgrounds on Zoom) with some static NPC in the background. Then the DM would be generated like a pokemon does on the phone. But could choose skins. Add a touch of tavern music and that seems doable. I think?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My thought wasn't that it would develop the world, but just a background: A tavern background (like backgrounds on Zoom) with some static NPC in the background. Then the DM would be generated like a pokemon does on the phone. But could choose skins. Add a touch of tavern music and that seems doable. I think?
I was actually thinking you could generate whole towns with NPCs going about their normal business. Select a general style, wealth and technology level, may be tweak it a bit for flavor. Monsters and whatnot would be the same, take a generic troll but add just enough detail to make each one unique and so on.

But it could all be descriptive, and the DM won't have to do much. I mean, we're already creating fake people that are hard to tell from real, games generate a lot of their environments. If you go to talk to a specific NPC you could have a few canned lines based on general (randomly generated) roles or the DM could step in.

Which would be all sorts of awesome. It's the implementation of things like combat and skills that I question.
 

I was actually thinking you could generate whole towns with NPCs going about their normal business. Select a general style, wealth and technology level, may be tweak it a bit for flavor. Monsters and whatnot would be the same, take a generic troll but add just enough detail to make each one unique and so on.

But it could all be descriptive, and the DM won't have to do much. I mean, we're already creating fake people that are hard to tell from real, games generate a lot of their environments. If you go to talk to a specific NPC you could have a few canned lines based on general (randomly generated) roles or the DM could step in.

Which would be all sorts of awesome. It's the implementation of things like combat and skills that I question.
That would not surprise me at all. I was trying to keep it "different" from a video game, as I feel like their going to have to do that if they decide to marry TT to Video. It seems like it'll need to be more of a DM tool than anything. At least that is how I see it.
And I am with you skill and combat. I don't see the skill or combat happening because people play D&D to be able to do anything, and that includes trying to get swallowed by the purple worm.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Another option is just that 'online D&D' is never going to be an attractive investment, PnP everything just basically dies, and the game lands in the dustbin of history, a quaint anachronism like quilting bees and the Grange.
If that's your optimistic take I'll pass on the pessimistic one, thanks. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not that I necessarily like some of what I'm about to type, but here goes:

What will be vaguely the same:

---six base stats
---different playable creature types and species (but their underlying mechanics will be much more similar to each other than now, any species-based bonuses, penalties and abilities will be gone)
---classes (though somewhere along the way there'll be a big contraction in their number - likely on a new edition's release - before expansion takes over again)
---levels and-or power gradations
---D&D's dominance over the RPG marketplace (it can't be long before Hasbro starts buying up the more successful competitors in order to either adopt their IP or squash it)

Assuming current trends continue, what will be different:

---no randomness of any type in char-gen and very limited randomness in play e.g. pre-set damage amounts (or pre-determined combat and-or check outcomes in general?)
---alignment will be completely gone
---divine magic disappears, with its remnants combined with arcane magic to just have 'magic'
---spell preparation or pre-memorization will be gone as it's too inconvenient
---xp will be gone, replace either by group levelling or milestone levelling; also individual rewards of any kind will be gone
---D&D and M:tG will continue to merge, to the point where we'll see D&D-based card sets; maybe even to the point where WotC develops a true crossover game system with elements of both but different from either in how it plays

What will be new:

---the base game will become so easy on its players and PCs that a reverse movement will arise in a similar manner as today's OSR movement, toward grittier survival-first game styles
---advances in game-related technology will slowly cause a rift in the community between those who can afford it and those who cannot, adding further to an existing rift between those willing to adopt it and those who are not
---the D&D system will be expanded or reworked such that other types of RPGs (space, supers, etc.) can be played using the same rules chassis
 

Voadam

Legend
I'm not saying the classes themselves will look be the same. I'm saying every class in the PHB nowwill be in the PHB still in 20 years.
Betting against the trends of history? :)

No 4e PH Warlords in 5e.

No 3e PH Barbarians, Bards, Druids, Sorcerers, or Monks in the 4e PH.

All 2e PH classes in the 3e PH. (y)

No 1e PH Assassins or Monks in the 2e PH.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Betting against the trends of history? :)

No 4e PH Warlords in 5e.

No 3e PH Barbarians, Bards, Druids, Sorcerers, or Monks in the 4e PH.

All 2e PH classes in the 3e PH. (y)

No 1e PH Assassins or Monks in the 2e PH.
I'm betting with modern money strategies.

In 20 years, the physical book wont be the primary form of the books. They will be digital. So page count and space wont be issues.
Then you have the "buy for what you want" strategy. So offering more would be a way to make more money.

So yeah, 7e might get published with 15 or more classes in it.
 

TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
DnD Future.jpg


We know for a fact that ~1000 years in the future D&D is still played with paper and pencil, Dice, and Mini's, with a DM screen and paper books, by people drinking the closest possible equivalent of Mtn Dew.

Only there will be robots, so, IDK, maybe I wasn't joking about bringing Warforged into all settings.
 

D&D's dominance over the RPG marketplace (it can't be long before Hasbro starts buying up the more successful competitors in order to either adopt their IP or squash it)
Didn't think of this one. This is probably spot on, especially if the market shrinks.

spell preparation or pre-memorization will be gone as it's too inconvenient
I've said it elsewhere, but I believe most changes occur to try and make things easier for the player. This is definitely one of those.
the base game will become so easy on its players and PCs that a reverse movement will arise in a similar manner as today's OSR movement, toward grittier survival-first game styles
Quoted the above prior to even reading this group. I definitely think this will happen.

And one I forgot to mention: The books will continue (I do not know how) to become even nicer. The graphic artists, layouts, etc. are more beautiful than 99% of the books (including art books) out there. They will only evolve to be prettier.
 

jmartkdr2

Adventurer
---the base game will become so easy on its players and PCs that a reverse movement will arise in a similar manner as today's OSR movement, toward grittier survival-first game styles
I've only played a couple of sessions, but Pathfinder 2e might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of bringing back challenging crunchy tactical ttrpgs from the 3e/4e era. I personally hope so for my own sake as a player - I love that style but it's hard to get a whole group together for it.
 


Dude. Keep it friendly.

Sorry Umbran, sometimes I forget with strangers it doesn't work the same way, because I'm not obviously saying in a Q-from-James-Bond voice ("Bond, do try to keep up!") to friends used to it, like I would be IRL.

Please cite some cases in which they've sold off multi-million dollar IP.

Hasbro Interactive would be the primary example, which was sold off, mainly for its IP, for $100m in 2000.

Interestingly, Hasbro clearly regretted this decision, because in 2005, they then bought back a lot of the IPs for $65m. So maybe they won't make that mistake again? But by the time 2041 rolls around, that'll have been 36 years ago, which means pretty much no-one who even worked at Hasbro in 2005 will be in upper management by 2041, so attitudes may change a great deal.

There are probably other examples, but my knowledge of Hasbro corporate history is far from complete, and largely focused on the videogames and WotC. Most of the other big IPs they've lost they never owned though, I think, they were just licensed. That was not the case with Hasbro Interactive.
 

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