D&D 5E Do we need a Fifth Edition Revival (5ER)?


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Legend
We already have this. D&D always has. We don't need some social movement, some "Revival" for this to be true. One of the true beauties and strength of D&D is that every table, every DM makes of it what they will. They adapt, create and often share. We do it on this site everyday. It's done on YouTube and Discord and a thousand other places.
I get that. I'm at my full of acronyms, so 5ER makes me roll my eyes too.

But is there a value in defining something as a movement?

For example, take the OSR. Describing a game as belonging to the OSR movement gives us a common language – it's far from a perfectly accurate descriptor, but we understand that when someone uses that term OSR, they mean a game style where players look to their creativity/wits first before looking to the character sheet for solutions. Other expectations may arise (not all of them positive), but at least there's a general sense of the game's style being distinct from what is found in modern iterations of D&D and adjacent games.

We also see the OSR market characterized as an abundance of publishers, not dominated by one publisher.

And my personal observation is that compared to what I see being created in the 5e-sphere, designers in the OSR-sphere are more willing to take risks and push the gauntlet of design. Monster books are a terrific example of this.

You're right that 5e has a very active community around it, there is lots of homebrewing happening, and there are an abundance of third-party publishers. But I don't think we've reached that point yet where the OSR community has. For example, when we say "5th edition" we assume a stat block looks a certain way, that spells occupy 50+ pages of space, and that everyone is using Hasbro's books as their foundation. And that's a fine way to enjoy a game – like you said, you don't need to dedicate your life to it.

It's a hard thing for me to articulate, because I've been immersed in the OSR and indie games for the last year or two, so I can feel the difference but hard to exactly articulate it.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Just to follow up, I downloaded Bluestacks on my laptop, accessed the DNDBeyond app on my laptop that way, and downloaded a book shared with me. I then took the laptop offline, and the app worked fine and was able to access that book I had downloaded.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I get that. I'm at my full of acronyms, so 5ER makes me roll my eyes too.

But is there a value in defining something as a movement?

For example, take the OSR. Describing a game as belonging to the OSR movement gives us a common language – it's far from a perfectly accurate descriptor, but we understand that when someone uses that term OSR, they mean a game style where players look to their creativity/wits first before looking to the character sheet for solutions. Other expectations may arise (not all of them positive), but at least there's a general sense of the game's style being distinct from what is found in modern iterations of D&D and adjacent games.

We also see the OSR market characterized as an abundance of publishers, not dominated by one publisher.

And my personal observation is that compared to what I see being created in the 5e-sphere, designers in the OSR-sphere are more willing to take risks and push the gauntlet of design. Monster books are a terrific example of this.

You're right that 5e has a very active community around it, there is lots of homebrewing happening, and there are an abundance of third-party publishers. But I don't think we've reached that point yet where the OSR community has. For example, when we say "5th edition" we assume a stat block looks a certain way, that spells occupy 50+ pages of space, and that everyone is using Hasbro's books as their foundation. And that's a fine way to enjoy a game – like you said, you don't need to dedicate your life to it.

It's a hard thing for me to articulate, because I've been immersed in the OSR and indie games for the last year or two, so I can feel the difference but hard to exactly articulate it.
You’re doing pretty good.

Without the massive fan base and without the brand name, the people in the OSR have to try that much harder, push that much further, take bigger risks, and write weirder stuff just to get any attention at all. It’s a wildly creative scene.
 


I would agree with those that say the 5ER has been underway for several years. In fact, with the OSR fiasco, I think 2023 will be looked back upon as a banner year.
First, you might point to books like EnWorld's A5E or the many Kobold Press products and say we are already there. We already have a thriving third-party ecosystem, and most DMs house-rule to some extent. So, doesn’t the 5ER already exist? I'd respond that the 5E community is still very Hasbro-centric and concerned with playing the "official rules" in the "right way." Anecdotally, third-party products (3PP) are much read and little played. To have a true Fifth Edition Revival, we need many more Dungeon Masters willing to explore and incorporate 3PP, whether published by professionals or amateurs or even rank beginners. More so, we need an active community that shares and cultivates new ideas, mechanics, and experiences in the 5E space.
While I agree that the majority of 5E groups are running "Hasbro D&D," I don't think that relative numbers are a fair measure. Indeed, if you look at relative numbers, the OSR itself is just a drop compared to the 5E tsunami. In terms of absolute numbers I believe that the 5ER is at least as strong now as the OSR has ever been. For example, the million dollar kickstarter list has 21 products that are 5E related and only a couple OSR ones. While this is obviously not the only metric, it is a highly relevant one as it shows the the 5ER community is robust enough to support creators who bring great ideas to the table.

I think there is this pervasive fallacy that everything is either a "D&D Killer" or its a flop. Hasbro can (and likely will) remain dominant while leaving room for alternatives to thrive.
 

You’re doing pretty good.

Without the massive fan base and without the brand name, the people in the OSR have to try that much harder, push that much further, take bigger risks, and write weirder stuff just to get any attention at all. It’s a wildly creative scene.
That's right - and I'd love to see that wildly creative scene emerge in the 5E ecosystem as well. I don't think we are there yet, and it might be because folk still feel tethered to Hasbro and the "official rules". That is the essence of my essay.
 

I get that. I'm at my full of acronyms, so 5ER makes me roll my eyes too.

But is there a value in defining something as a movement?

For example, take the OSR. Describing a game as belonging to the OSR movement gives us a common language – it's far from a perfectly accurate descriptor, but we understand that when someone uses that term OSR, they mean a game style where players look to their creativity/wits first before looking to the character sheet for solutions. Other expectations may arise (not all of them positive), but at least there's a general sense of the game's style being distinct from what is found in modern iterations of D&D and adjacent games.

We also see the OSR market characterized as an abundance of publishers, not dominated by one publisher.

And my personal observation is that compared to what I see being created in the 5e-sphere, designers in the OSR-sphere are more willing to take risks and push the gauntlet of design. Monster books are a terrific example of this.

You're right that 5e has a very active community around it, there is lots of homebrewing happening, and there are an abundance of third-party publishers. But I don't think we've reached that point yet where the OSR community has. For example, when we say "5th edition" we assume a stat block looks a certain way, that spells occupy 50+ pages of space, and that everyone is using Hasbro's books as their foundation. And that's a fine way to enjoy a game – like you said, you don't need to dedicate your life to it.

It's a hard thing for me to articulate, because I've been immersed in the OSR and indie games for the last year or two, so I can feel the difference but hard to exactly articulate it.
Yes, this is very close to what I feel as well. There is something going on in the OSR I'd like to see happen in the world of 5E.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Did you run Margreve? That was good. I mixed it with several other of Kobold's stuff. They really do put out amazing products.

Started reading this thread after flicking through Midgard worddbook and Tome of Beasts.

Next campaign is Midgard after CoS.

5E golden age ended early 2020 with Theros ymmv.
 

Several people have noted that Fifth Edition is far from dead, so it clearly does not need to be revived. To be clear, Riggs talked about the “Golden Age” being dead rather than the whole game. I like the word “revival” because of it’s parallels with the Old School Revival, but let’s not get hung up on the word. We can call it the Fifth Edition Renaissance or the Fifth Edition Refresh or the Fifth Edition Reimagined or the Fifth Edition Remixed. Whatever works.
 

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