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D&D 5E Do you think we'll see revised core books in 2024? (And why I think we will)

Do you think we'll see revised core rulebooks in 2024? And if so, which option?


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Not sure about how the other generations are defined, but the Baby Boomer generation is from 1945/46 to 1964/65 specifically because of the boom in baby births that happened between the end of WWII and the start of the Vietnam War. The generation after that was originally called the Baby Busters because of a big drop in the birth rate. But that one only covered the 10 years of the Vietnam War and ended up being combined with the 10 years of Gen X, to make a full 20-year generation.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Wish this was a multiple choice poll.

Editions are controlled by the suits. I don't see them passing by the 50th anniversary without putting out something, so the "no" is right off the table.

What do I think they'll put out? I've got three possibilities.

1. Special 50th editions of the core (and other?) books. Fancy covers, new art, that sort of thing. Maybe some new material, but no changes to existing. You can sit around a table with people with 1st printing (with the errata) and these and not have a single rules debate because something has changed.

2. A "soft partial edition notch up". I think we'll never see a distinct ".5" like 3.5 again - there was a lot of blowback from fans about that. I think we'd more likely see a soft change like Essentials was for 4e. So that you can make a character with the original books and it's 100% (truely 100%) could be made with the 50th Anniversary rules, but those 50th Anniversary rules can also do more - maybe Tasha's ability score changes are baked in, or there are additional subclasses, or they have more variant features for base classes like Tasha's, or whatever.

3. True new edition, 6e. This I think is the least likely with how 5e has been doing and all of the non TTRPG IP coming out that they wouldn't want to rock the boat - again this is a business decision made by suits. But I won't take it off the table. It would be a nice long run, and core book are the most evergreen in keeping up sales.

I'm not sure if I think #1 or #2 is more likely - I think #1 is the least they will do to take business advantage of the anniversary. And if they are also planning movie/games/software/etc around it then it might be enough. A big "Year of D&D" might be a thing.

But WotC, while wildly profitable for Hasbro, has had diversity and social media missteps and may want to push a new more inclusive vision, and that will push towards #2 or #3.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Wish this was a multiple choice poll.

Editions are controlled by the suits. I don't see them passing by the 50th anniversary without putting out something, so the "no" is right off the table.

What do I think they'll put out? I've got three possibilities.

1. Special 50th editions of the core (and other?) books. Fancy covers, new art, that sort of thing. Maybe some new material, but no changes to existing. You can sit around a table with people with 1st printing (with the errata) and these and not have a single rules debate because something has changed.

2. A "soft partial edition notch up". I think we'll never see a distinct ".5" like 3.5 again - there was a lot of blowback from fans about that. I think we'd more likely see a soft change like Essentials was for 4e. So that you can make a character with the original books and it's 100% (truely 100%) could be made with the 50th Anniversary rules, but those 50th Anniversary rules can also do more - maybe Tasha's ability score changes are baked in, or there are additional subclasses, or they have more variant features for base classes like Tasha's, or whatever.

3. True new edition, 6e. This I think is the least likely with how 5e has been doing and all of the non TTRPG IP coming out that they wouldn't want to rock the boat - again this is a business decision made by suits. But I won't take it off the table. It would be a nice long run, and core book are the most evergreen in keeping up sales.

I'm not sure if I think #1 or #2 is more likely - I think #1 is the least they will do to take business advantage of the anniversary. And if they are also planning movie/games/software/etc around it then it might be enough. A big "Year of D&D" might be a thing.

But WotC, while wildly profitable for Hasbro, has had diversity and social media missteps and may want to push a new more inclusive vision, and that will push towards #2 or #3.
Yes, I generally agree with this. Actually, the way you describe the three possibilities further solidifies my view of your 2nd option (which is basically the same as my "5.3 to 5.5" in the poll) because the 1st option won't get the sales that the 2nd would. They already have special edition covers and while some would buy fancy new books with "50th Anniversary" logos, a lot of folks would opt out unless there was actual content change.

So the 2nd option combines relatively low risk and relatively high reward. The first option is no risk but probably low reward. The 3rd option is high risk and not really any higher reward than the 2nd, so why bother? The game is popular as is, but could use a sprucing up due to ten years of play and publication.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Or to put it more bluntly, an orc baby would be very different if raised within (the culture of) Lothlorien than in (the culture of) Mordor. They may still have certain "orcish" traits--say, greater strength and a (biologically-based) desire to eat meat, but their culture and attitudes would be very different.
Probably important to present this, instead, as, “An Orc would grow up quite different if raised in the culture of the Shadow Marches Orc clans of Eberron, vs in a place like Mordor.

Or that classic Eberron meme that shows a Valenar elf riding toward an Orc on foot, and says soemthing like “One of these is a bloodthirsty raider looking for glory in battle, and the other is an Orc.”
 

Mercurius

Legend
Probably important to present this, instead, as, “An Orc would grow up quite different if raised in the culture of the Shadow Marches Orc clans of Eberron, vs in a place like Mordor.

Or that classic Eberron meme that shows a Valenar elf riding toward an Orc on foot, and says soemthing like “One of these is a bloodthirsty raider looking for glory in battle, and the other is an Orc.”
I hear your point, but then I would just shift the comparison to Eberron as those are two different worlds with different assumptions as to what an orc is. I think the D&D game should account for that - different, world-specific, takes. Meaning, an Eberron orc is not the same thing as a Middle-earth orc. So while I think race and culture should be differentiated, I also would encourage different DMs to play with both concepts as they see fit.
 

Not sure about how the other generations are defined, but the Baby Boomer generation is from 1945/46 to 1964/65 specifically because of the boom in baby births that happened between the end of WWII and the start of the Vietnam War. The generation after that was originally called the Baby Busters because of a big drop in the birth rate. But that one only covered the 10 years of the Vietnam War and ended up being combined with the 10 years of Gen X, to make a full 20-year generation.
They're all defined by demographics like that. People mapping on decades or life experiences are just trying to put structure onto what are, at the end of the day, population curves.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I hear your point, but then I would just shift the comparison to Eberron as those are two different worlds with different assumptions as to what an orc is.
I’d probably go with multiple world examples to begin with, since D&D is game with infinite worlds. So,the section on Orcs would have an Orc Druid with Eberron Gatekeeper fluff, and an Orc Warchief with Many-Arrows style FR fluff, and an Orc Reaver with “traditional” evil Orc fluff, and a brief discussion about Gruumsh, and Orcish culture in different worlds.
I think the D&D game should account for that - different, world-specific, takes. Meaning, an Eberron orc is not the same thing as a Middle-earth orc. So while I think race and culture should be differentiated, I also would encourage different DMs to play with both concepts as they see fit.
Either way, it would be vital to avoid saying “orcs wouldn’t be evil if they were raised by elves.”
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Demographers can see the waves pretty clearly. Grouping them by decades is a pretty bad proxy for it.
The usual definition I know of is more like:

1622427874177.png
 

If we use Strauss & Howe, the two folks that popularized generational theory, we get:

Silent Gen (b. 1925-42) - turning 79-96 this year.
Boomers (b. 1943-60) - 61-78.
Gen X (b. 1961-81) - 40-60.
Millenials (b. 1982-2004): 17-39.
Homeland/Z (b. 2005-?): 16 and under.
That's not the model I'm familiar with. The one I see more often goes like:
Silents: 1928-1945
Boomers: 1946-1964
Gen X: 1965-1980
Millenials: 1981-1996
Gen Z: 1997-2012
Gen Alpha: 2013 onward

Can't tell you what the exact sources for those year ranges is, but that's the model I personally see the most.

EDIT: I see that Umbran beat me to it

EDIT 2: to satisfy my personal curiousity, the age ranges corresponding to those year ranges would be:
Gen Alpha: 8 and under
Gen Z: 9-24
Millenials: 25-40
Gen X: 41-56
Boomers: 57-75
Silents: 75-93

So a typical generation under this model lasts between 15-18 years.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
I’d probably go with multiple world examples to begin with, since D&D is game with infinite worlds. So,the section on Orcs would have an Orc Druid with Eberron Gatekeeper fluff, and an Orc Warchief with Many-Arrows style FR fluff, and an Orc Reaver with “traditional” evil Orc fluff, and a brief discussion about Gruumsh, and Orcish culture in different worlds.

Either way, it would be vital to avoid saying “orcs wouldn’t be evil if they were raised by elves.”
I wasn't suggesting that, I was just using it as an example of the difference between race and culture. I mean, it is the same as the "wolf boy" thing. We are, to a large extent, products of our environment, so the point being that an orc would be very different if raised in Lothlorien rather than Mordor. Cuddled, cared for, and drinking birch wine ;).

But your concern brings up another aspect of this, which is that I think WotC should clarify that fantasy races and ideas aren't meant to be analogues of anything in the real world. I assume that your concern is that it might imply that people in our world of a certain race would be more "civilized" if raised in another. I'd rather WotC clarify that fantasy is fantasy, especially when it comes to non-human creatures and things with no direct correlation in the real world. Otherwise we go down this long and unending road, with no end in sight...and that is a road that we don't want to go ever on!
 

I wasn't suggesting that, I was just using it as an example of the difference between race and culture. I mean, it is the same as the "wolf boy" thing. We are, to a large extent, products of our environment, so the point being that an orc would be very different if raised in Lothlorien rather than Mordor. Cuddled, cared for, and drinking birch wine ;).

But your concern brings up another aspect of this, which is that I think WotC should clarify that fantasy races and ideas aren't meant to be analogues of anything in the real world. I assume that your concern is that it might imply that people in our world of a certain race would be more "civilized" if raised in another. I'd rather WotC clarify that fantasy is fantasy, especially when it comes to non-human creatures and things with no direct correlation in the real world. Otherwise we go down this long and unending road, with no end in sight...and that is a road that we don't want to go ever on!
Trying to stop people from making metatextual readings of the text (D&D in this hypothetical scenario) in the way you're describing is never that easy. In fact, I dare say it's downright impossible, and the author (WotC) explicitly trying to discourage readers from performing such analysis on their work may just increase the frequency and severity of such criticisms all the more. I guess if I had to put a name to it, it would be some weird mix of Death of the Author and the Streisand Effect.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Trying to stop people from making metatextual readings of the text (D&D in this hypothetical scenario) in the way you're describing is never that easy. In fact, I dare say it's downright impossible, and the author (WotC) explicitly trying to discourage readers from performing such analysis on their work may just increase the frequency and severity of such criticisms all the more. I guess if I had to put a name to it, it would be some weird mix of Death of the Author and the Streisand Effect.
It may be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't sort of thing, because continually apologizing and adjusting ends up drawing further attention and solidifying these meta-textual connections.

This is not to say that some adjustments and appealing to current cultural views aren't a good thing. But where's the line? Does WotC re-arrange the furniture every time someone makes a connection between a fantasy idea and some atrocity in the real world? It is like painting lipstick on a pig. At some point you have say, "it is just a pig and not meant to be anything other than a pig" and then stand by that, and focus on making fun games.

Or to put it a different way, the underlying goals (of inclusion, etc) are agreed upon by 99% of gamers, but how we get there--and what constitutes non-inclusion--differs depending upon who you talk to. I'd like to see WotC take more of an approach of focusing on what is good, and where we agree--and therefore how we're all included--rather than constant damage control for any grievance that comes up.
 

But your concern brings up another aspect of this, which is that I think WotC should clarify that fantasy races and ideas aren't meant to be analogues of anything in the real world. I assume that your concern is that it might imply that people in our world of a certain race would be more "civilized" if raised in another. I'd rather WotC clarify that fantasy is fantasy, especially when it comes to non-human creatures and things with no direct correlation in the real world. Otherwise we go down this long and unending road, with no end in sight...and that is a road that we don't want to go ever on!
It's not so much about races being a 1:1 analogue, but rather the tropes and situations that fantasy literature (or adventure or sci-fi fiction) use in building their worlds, and the fact that those worlds, no matter how fantastical, are always in some relation to historical context of the author(s). What dnd has often done is very lazy world-building where it just picks up and reuses these tropes, making the PCs into mercenaries operating on a borderland (i.e. a Western where the context is settler colonialism) or as agents of good beating back the forces of evil (i.e. as pseudo-medieval crusaders).

I don't think the solution is to try to put up some disclaimer saying "this is fantasy" as if it were not inspired by real history or even the genre conventions of fantasy that have been articulated up to this point. Rather, do what science fiction does, and take world building seriously. Create worlds with nuance and with characters and societies that have depth and complexity.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
7%! Alright.

This is something where the crowd often gets it wrong, so, so far, so good.

The timing is just too perfetct. And they are telegraphing. More than just a 5.2.

It won't be like 4e. But there would be enough to call it a new edition.
 

pemerton

Legend
I don't think the solution is to try to put up some disclaimer saying "this is fantasy" as if it were not inspired by real history or even the genre conventions of fantasy that have been articulated up to this point. Rather, do what science fiction does, and take world building seriously. Create worlds with nuance and with characters and societies that have depth and complexity.
I'm a bit sceptical of your solution, just because I don't think it's very easy to escape history (for the very reasons you stated in your post).

I prefer an approach of tackling some of the more racist tropes head-on. I think it can be done; though it might require changing some assumptions about what D&D worlds look like and hence how D&D typically plays.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I wasn't suggesting that, I was just using it as an example of the difference between race and culture. I mean, it is the same as the "wolf boy" thing. We are, to a large extent, products of our environment, so the point being that an orc would be very different if raised in Lothlorien rather than Mordor. Cuddled, cared for, and drinking birch wine ;).

But your concern brings up another aspect of this, which is that I think WotC should clarify that fantasy races and ideas aren't meant to be analogues of anything in the real world. I assume that your concern is that it might imply that people in our world of a certain race would be more "civilized" if raised in another. I'd rather WotC clarify that fantasy is fantasy, especially when it comes to non-human creatures and things with no direct correlation in the real world. Otherwise we go down this long and unending road, with no end in sight...and that is a road that we don't want to go ever on!
The clarification you describe is utterly meaningless, though.

Those associations and correlations don’t exist or not by virtue of there being such a clarification or not.

If Volo’s had such a clarification it would have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the problematic nature of the depiction of Orcs. It would be a bad joke, sitting there in the same book as passages about half-tamed savages being a danger to their civilized neighbors even when raised alongside them.

Likewise, if the next Volos Guide presented Orcs as not evil when raised by elves, no clarification you could possibly make would mean a single damn thing.
 

imagineGod

Legend
Whataboutism
Racism in fantasy not a singularly American problem or a white dominance problem. Many cultures are guilty of tropes. And it does not depend only on alignment or lore or stat blocks. Here is the mighty Mr. Popo from the children's Anime called Dragon Ball. Obviously, a different tone was used in revisionist versions. I am curious if the presentation was done deliberately and none of the execs were bothered.
 

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imagineGod

Legend
Tropes are everywhere. Heard about that My Little Pony RPG?

Very likely , some Players will get inspired by My Little Pony cartoons that contain two obvious contrasting stereotypes between Applejack and Rarity. Notice that Applejack is just a simple horse speaking with that Southern drawl of the American heartlands and acts out a simplistic rustic farm-raised lifestyle. On the other hand, Rarity is a white unicorn, speaking with the posh English accent and acts out the rich spoiled lifestyle of British Aristocracy. Both are stereotypes of two segments of the American and British populations.
 


Mercurius

Legend
It's not so much about races being a 1:1 analogue, but rather the tropes and situations that fantasy literature (or adventure or sci-fi fiction) use in building their worlds, and the fact that those worlds, no matter how fantastical, are always in some relation to historical context of the author(s). What dnd has often done is very lazy world-building where it just picks up and reuses these tropes, making the PCs into mercenaries operating on a borderland (i.e. a Western where the context is settler colonialism) or as agents of good beating back the forces of evil (i.e. as pseudo-medieval crusaders).

I don't think the solution is to try to put up some disclaimer saying "this is fantasy" as if it were not inspired by real history or even the genre conventions of fantasy that have been articulated up to this point. Rather, do what science fiction does, and take world building seriously. Create worlds with nuance and with characters and societies that have depth and complexity.
Are you saying that all D&D worlds are "lazy worldbuilding," or just certain ones? Or just the default assumptions?

What you call "lazy world-building," I call creating a context for adventure fantasy, one that suited the purposes of Gygax et al in the 70s. The game has expanded since, and continues to change and offer new approaches to play. But it is just a game, and I don't think you can so easily port over literature-style world-building to a game--let alone accurately simulate reality--or that you'd even want to. Individual DMs can do that to their best ability, and I'd like to see WotC offer different approaches (which they've done and are doing through their different settings), but your criticism seems unrealistic in that you seem to be asking WotC to deep their world-building to a point that is unnecessary for the needs of most gamers.
The clarification you describe is utterly meaningless, though.

Those associations and correlations don’t exist or not by virtue of there being such a clarification or not.
I think you see it that way because it doesn't address the problem in the way that you want it to, which is to acknowledge that the problem exists--whether or not it actually does, or to whatever degree it does, which removes the act of association from the matrix--and then fix the problem according to the ideology of those who make that association.

I am saying that is unnecessary, that there are better ways to address the problem, such as encouraging positive things that most everyone agrees on, like inclusion and diversity, and by differentiating race and culture and expanding the way cultures are presented.

And further, part of the problem is an act of association that is taken as absolute and intrinsic to the phenomena itself (namely, orcs), which can be at least partially be addressed by WotC, the publishers of orcs and other such "problematic" ideas, saying "No, these are fantasy creatures and not meant to represent anything from the real world."

They don't have to stop there, of course, and can present a diversity of orc cultures that are specific to campaign worlds. But I think it is the wrong direction to crystalize the association that orcs are stand-ins for indigenous or people of color in our world.

What concerns me is how those who make that association don't even question or examine it. It clicks for them, and then they go with it as fact and it becomes dogma. But what is in the act of association? It is an act of interpretation, based on a hermeneutical lens. Should we not, at least, expand our range of hermeneutical lenses so that we're not seeing everything from a singular perspective? And further, why does one see it that way, and is that lens of perception necessary or even helpful in any way? In some cases it might be, and allows us to tease out and address things that are clearly problematic (e.g. drow are black skinned because they were cursed), but unfortunately it also leads to more extreme measures by seeing everything from a particular hermeneutical lens.

Again, at the very least, we should address the issue with multiple perspectives, rather than just reducing it to one, as if there is only one way to see it.

If Volo’s had such a clarification it would have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the problematic nature of the depiction of Orcs. It would be a bad joke, sitting there in the same book as passages about half-tamed savages being a danger to their civilized neighbors even when raised alongside them.
Likewise, if the next Volos Guide presented Orcs as not evil when raised by elves, no clarification you could possibly make would mean a single damn thing.

At this point, you seem to be willfully ignoring what I mean by "orcs raised by elves." Again, I did not suggest that they say that in the books. I used that an example of how race and culture are different, and that WotC should clarify that no race is inherently evil as a biological species, but cultures can be.
 

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