D&D 5E Fanbase Next

FireLance

Legend
With a new edition on the cards, perhaps it's also time to consider rebooting the fanbase?

Let's try this little thought experiment, everyone.

Think back to a time when you thought the D&D game had its best fanbase.

Tell us what you think made the D&D fanbase so great at the time.

Then tell us what you think you can do to help make the 5e fanbase just as good, or even better.

Yes, you. Not WotC, not the other posters on ENWorld, not any other people.

Just you.

All contributions welcome, no matter how small. Think of it as crowdsourcing the development of a new fanbase for 5e.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

slobo777

First Post
With a new edition on the cards, perhaps it's also time to consider rebooting the fanbase?

Let's try this little thought experiment, everyone.

Think back to a time when you thought the D&D game had its best fanbase.

Tell us what you think made the D&D fanbase so great at the time.

Then tell us what you think you can do to help make the 5e fanbase just as good, or even better.

Yes, you. Not WotC, not the other posters on ENWorld, not any other people.

Just you.

All contributions welcome, no matter how small. Think of it as crowdsourcing the development of a new fanbase for 5e.

Even though my favourite edition is 4E, I think the 3E fanbase was best. The enthusiasm for the new version in my local game club was obvious, and it brought back people who had drifted off from AD&D (myself included).

The best thing about it at the time? Having a large pool of people that knew the rules, and who wanted to play something familiar. The D20 rules stood up to customisation, so even if we weren't playing canonical D&D, everyone got up to speed quickly and could get on with playing. We could get games, and also had people joining the group (many of whom I still play both 3E and 4E with). And I think a big driver for re-enthusing such a large number of people was the D20 SRD and the OGL.

What can D&D Next do to re-capture this? Open-source the core rules. The open playtest is pretty close to that, and I think will be a big win for them.
 


Chris_Nightwing

First Post
Definitely 3rd Edition. I don't know if it was because of the nature of the game itself, or simply the ability to discover and discuss it online suddenly coming to the forefront. It was the first WotC edition, the first edition that really involved fans at all, given the voracious appetite for information online, and it was the first edition to actively encourage the fans to make their own stuff, to even publish their own stuff and share it with the world.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I am skeptical of the idea that there was a halcyon period of D&D fandom.

I think the best way to approach this to think about fan bases in plural as DDN has done. DDN is first up starting from the position of initiating a discussion with D&D fans (good way to start) then accepting that there are very different ways to play and support the game - different fan bases.
 

ComradeGnull

First Post
Definitely 3rd Edition. I don't know if it was because of the nature of the game itself, or simply the ability to discover and discuss it online suddenly coming to the forefront. It was the first WotC edition, the first edition that really involved fans at all, given the voracious appetite for information online, and it was the first edition to actively encourage the fans to make their own stuff, to even publish their own stuff and share it with the world.

My memory of 3e is also of the 'community' being the strongest, but I have to mention that with a cautionary note- 3e was also the first edition where there was a 'the community'- prior to 3e, we had a lot of little, balkanized communities because the internet was not yet a mass phenomenon. Yes, I played in 2e PbP games and swapped house rules and stats online, but it was very limited in scope- I was a Prodigy subscriber, and what was going on on AOL or Compuserve or among university folks who had regular Usenet/Gopher/whatever access might as well have been happening on another planet. From that perspective, I don't know that we can recapture the feeling that accompanied 3e; ironically, the OGL and everything that took place with Pathfinder and 4e means that now there is much less a sense of there being a single community or a single center for that community (WotC's own boards, for instance, feel much more impoverished today than they did during the high water mark for 3e in terms of the volume of posting, number of subscribers, etc.)

I think Wizards needs to accept that the community has spread out beyond what a single site or a single focus can encompass- encourage OSR and Pathfinder and everything else that can, by squinting right, be called D&D. Build that as a D&D-derived ecosystem rather than trying to consolidate. Be very liberal about fan sites and highlight good fan materials and discussions that are being posted on places that aren't wizards.com. For instance, it would be great if they would do cross promotion with Paizo, or highlight people using 5e or 3e rules to create and run old school content (like Dwimmermount).

I kind of doubt that this would happen, as it runs counter to the received wisdom regarding how to create a 'web portal' for a brand, but I think we are at a point where a lot of the community is beyond needing that, and if 5e is going to be as embracing of multiple styles of play as Wizards claims, there is going to need to be some differentiation. In an ideal world for me, Wizards runs a community site focused on D&D/RPG 101, and then highlights cool 3rd party sites that are focused on particular aspects of the game or playstyles. I already have communities or sites that I read for specific things that I am already interested in that I don't see myself abandoning in favor of a 'new' Wizards 5e community, but on the other hand I would check the Wizards D&D site often if I thought that the chances were good that it was through them I would find something new and exciting that changes the way I see the game, like Pathfinder or OSR.
 

slobo777

First Post
I should add that I completely ignored online communities for D&D, beyond downloading the SRD, and using e-Tools, until after 4E was launched. Relevent fact: I have worked in the web development industry since 2000. I know what a forum is (and indeed how to create one from scratch in multiple programming languages).

I *started* posting on WotC's boards when I was DM-ing 4E. I don't really feel that as a fanbase in the same way as my local clubs and friends I play with and meet.

So my feelings of what a "fanbase" or "community" is seem to be separate from online forums, and that was not due to any ability or opportunity to access them.
 

Wepwawet

Explorer
3.5, because for me there was no online fanbase. Just me and my friends playing a game we enjoyed.

After a while i started reading some stuff online about optimizing PCs, but that was it. No edition warring or whatever. I'm sure there was, but i had no interest in that.
 

the Jester

Legend
The fanbase was at its best in mid-3.0, IMHO- at a time when there was an active effort to encourage people to create and publish their own material under the OGL, when an old edition had played out (and really gone downhill, thanks to the Players Option books), when a new edition that was mechanically superior (IMHO, again) still had the shiny on.

The best thing any of us can do to encourage such a fanbase is to remain positive, dive in with both feet, create and share our own material and- this one is VERY important- not badmouth other editions or playstyles. Nothing makes a fandom look worse than internecine fighting over minutiae and differences that outsiders can't even understand.
 

JeffB

Legend
For me it was the late 70s/early 80s. D&D was everywhere,groups were everywhere and if we did not like something we just changed it. We didnt complain or nerd rage over everything as the trend has been the last 15years.

If I came into the hobby today and my first exposure to other fans was this board or others like it, or some extremist geeks I have experienced in game shops, Id probably quit. Seriously. I am old enough and experienced enough now to just ignore all the BS, but if we are talking fan base these days, it is about as friendly and communal as politics.

I dont think anyone can fix the problem including WOTC. . If more people would just play what they like instead of spending so much time trying to convince others how horrible their version of make believe elves and princesses is, it may start to right itself.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top