D&D General Dan Rawson Named New Head Of D&D

Hasbro has announced a former Microsoft digital commerce is the new senior vice president in charge of Dungeons & Dragons. Dan Rawson was the COO of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

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Hasbro also hired Cynthia Williams earlier this year; she too, came from Microsoft. Of Rawson, she said "We couldn’t be bringing on Dan at a better time. With the acquisition of D&D Beyond earlier this year, the digital capabilities and opportunities for Dungeons & Dragons are accelerating faster than ever. I am excited to partner with Dan to explore the global potential of the brand while maintaining Hasbro’s core value as a player-first company.”

Rawson himself says that "Leading D&D is the realization of a childhood dream. I’m excited to work with Cynthia once again, and I’m thrilled to work with a talented team to expand the global reach of D&D, a game I grew up with and now play with my own kids.”

Interestingly, Ray Wininger -- who has been running D&D for the last couple of years -- has removed mention of WotC and Hasbro from his Twitter bio.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
It’s more than just a simple license, though it is indeed a license. WotC has branding all over it and see this.

View attachment 263791

I do think that hachette is probably taking most of the risk on it.

The above trademarking is pretty much a textbook example of a standard licensing deal. I'm sure WotC is interested to see how it does, but this is definitely something Hachette approached WotC about, and paid for the rights to do. It's not "more" than that.
 

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I get that. I do wish it had more along those lines.
I remain somewhat confused on what 'niche' both this and the upcoming Dragonlance are filling - WotC seems bent on figuring out a way to do Campaign Setting and Big Summer Adventure as one product, and I don't have the impression that either of their attempts so far, Strixhaven and Spelljammer, have been all that well received.
Also a friend wrote an adventure with me as “co-author” that’s going up soon, mainly play test and gave feedback.
Oh neat! What's it called?
 

darjr

I crit!
I remain somewhat confused on what 'niche' both this and the upcoming Dragonlance are filling - WotC seems bent on figuring out a way to do Campaign Setting and Big Summer Adventure as one product, and I don't have the impression that either of their attempts so far, Strixhaven and Spelljammer, have been all that well received.

Oh neat! What's it called?
It may change, but for now it’s “Let’s Rock!”

I ran it at NukeCon publicly for the first time.
 

darjr

I crit!
The above trademarking is pretty much a textbook example of a standard licensing deal. I'm sure WotC is interested to see how it does, but this is definitely something Hachette approached WotC about, and paid for the rights to do. It's not "more" than that.
Yea, I’ll concede the point.

Also the “testing” seems standard in part works? Maybe?

Post in thread 'Hachette D&D Adventurer partwork (UK)'
Hachette D&D Adventurer partwork (UK)
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
I remain somewhat confused on what 'niche' both this and the upcoming Dragonlance are filling - WotC seems bent on figuring out a way to do Campaign Setting and Big Summer Adventure as one product, and I don't have the impression that either of their attempts so far, Strixhaven and Spelljammer, have been all that well received.

I mean I don't know this, but on the face of it, the idea with these "hybrid" books would seem to be to make sure that the "only buys settings and splatbooks" audience buys the book, and the "only buys adventures" audience also buys the book, as opposed to creating a product that only one or the other group would buy.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Yea, I’ll concede the point.

Also the “testing” seems standard in part works? Maybe?

Post in thread 'Hachette D&D Adventurer partwork (UK)'
Hachette D&D Adventurer partwork (UK)

Could be a test by Hachette to see if it's worth paying WotC to get the rights to scale it up somehow.

But could ALSO be a test of Hachette by WotC (like, if you make a good product that sells well and reflects well on D&D, maybe we'll broaden the deal and let you do more stuff. If this tanks, we'll pull the license).

But if I was WotC I would certainly have my eye on it just to see how this sort of D&D product does in 2022 - even if the idea didn't originate with WotC, and WotC is probably only collecting a flat licensing fee on it.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
On the whole, I am hopeful that the Planescape slipcase product will be stronger than the Spelljammer one (which again, I think is good but flawed) because Planescape doesn't really call for a lot of new system mechanics. I'm hoping the focus on lore, adventure, bestiary, and player options, all of which seem to be strengths right now, and less on mini-game mechanics, which - from ship rules to wilderness travel to downtime to crafting - is not something that official 5E has ever done well (mainly because I don't think those are things the 5E leads are particularly interested in).
 

ehren37

Legend
2e came out in 1989 and stopped being made in 1997, so 1995 when those books came out was near the end and tacked on. There was no balance to them at all and a lot of them were pretty darn broken.
So like all of D&D before them. It's not like multiclassing didn't exist where you got to slap a whole new suite of abilities on your character for at most 1 level difference. The only way 1/2E could be construed balanced is because we had RIFTS making it look better by comparison.

4E was the first and last time D&D was reasonably balanced.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
The new Starter Set, as mentioned above, was a product requested by Target, who also paid for a 3-month exclusive to sell it, because the previous various box sets for 5E were big sellers. That is why that product exists. WotC did try to widen the net on it to older players by using the characters from the 80s cartoon in the artwork (not in the actual adventure) because nobody ever went broke selling Gen X their childhood back to them.

The UK magazine isn't something "WotC is trying". It's not made by WotC. It's made by a UK-based company who paid to use the D&D license, and who are assuming the risk on it.

I like the Spelljammer set a lot. I think the adventure is fun and the bestiary is good. The character options are good except for the hadozee which is obviously total head-shaking debacle. The rules (or lack thereof) for actual Spelljammer travel, combat, and encounters are pretty pathetic. I mean, basically they didn't even try. I like the adventure and the monsters enough that I don't care, but in terms of presenting a "setting", those "mechanics" do let it down.
I bought the monsters on D&D Beyond, transferred them to a Word document, and happily ignored the rest of the product.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So like all of D&D before them. It's not like multiclassing didn't exist where you got to slap a whole new suite of abilities on your character for at most 1 level difference. The only way 1/2E could be construed balanced is because we had RIFTS making it look better by comparison.
Yes and no. Yes, 1e and 2e were not terribly balanced. But to take that unbalanced edition and hire a giant to stomp on one end of it made it a lot more unbalanced, which is my point. The skills and powers books amplified things to an incredible degree and nobody I knew then allowed any of the stuff to be used.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
5e was explicitly a big departure from 4e. One D&D is not. Which makes using the term 6e an accusation of dishonesty towards the designers.
You aren't showing me the link between "not a big departure" and "accusation of dishonesty". I couldn't tell you 5 words the designers have said about the new project, I just use 6e because.

1. It's easier to type on a phone.
2. It's not confused with the already in use OD&D which is the commonly used abbreviation for the version predating 1st edition.

Neither 1 nor 2 reflect on the design goals or stated intent of any of the designers. And also when I say 6e people know what I'm talking about...and have since the idea of a 2024 anniversary version was floated years ago.
 

Staffan

Legend
Yes and no. Yes, 1e and 2e were not terribly balanced. But to take that unbalanced edition and hire a giant to stomp on one end of it made it a lot more unbalanced, which is my point. The skills and powers books amplified things to an incredible degree and nobody I knew then allowed any of the stuff to be used.
I used a bunch of stuff from the Player's Options books. It's been a while, but as I recall:
  • Non-weapon proficiencies from Skills & Powers. I liked that these provided a lower base, but one which you could gradually increase with level-based points.
  • Most of the stuff from Combat & Tactics.
  • New spells from Spells & Magic. Also, in theory, the variant specialist wizards and priest variants (e.g. Crusader or Shaman), but no-one ever bothered with them when the much stronger Faiths & Avatars specialty priests were available (many of those would have cost hideous amounts of points to build with the S&M system, but that was mainly because S&M charged a LOT of character points for 1/day spells, and F&A priests had a lot of those).
I also had a plan about using the priest design rules in S&M to build priesthoods for some setting that didn't have much in that way (I can't recall if this was Planescape, Spelljammer, or Savage Coast), but never got around to it.
 

So like all of D&D before them. It's not like multiclassing didn't exist where you got to slap a whole new suite of abilities on your character for at most 1 level difference. The only way 1/2E could be construed balanced is because we had RIFTS making it look better by comparison.
funny thing, I started playing Rifts before D&D
4E was the first and last time D&D was reasonably balanced.
true
 


I prefer asymmetrical balance to symmetrical balance.
there is an argument for both, but I don't feel 5e has either (it's not as bad as 3e/3.5/PF1 before that gets brought up) but it still isn't. Now giving everyone the exact same powers and just refluffing them is the easiest way but I do think it is better to make separate but equal options... I even have been convinced there is a market for NOT balanced on the low side classes sometimes called 'simple' classes and as such I am fine with keeping simple options if you ALSO have a complex balanced option to choose.
 

there is an argument for both, but I don't feel 5e has either (it's not as bad as 3e/3.5/PF1 before that gets brought up) but it still isn't. Now giving everyone the exact same powers and just refluffing them is the easiest way but I do think it is better to make separate but equal options... I even have been convinced there is a market for NOT balanced on the low side classes sometimes called 'simple' classes and as such I am fine with keeping simple options if you ALSO have a complex balanced option to choose.

I can't disagree here.
 

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