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D&D 5E Fanbase Next


Well, that was fun
Staff member
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.

Well, with all due respect, I'd have to argue that your feelings of what a fanbase or community is aren't therefore aligned with the reality of the thing. If you simply chose to include geographically local events in your sample, you're only saying "the fanbase right where I am here right now". And, using that metric, I'd respond that, in that case, there is not and never has been a D&D fanbase apart from about 6 years ago when that shop in town opened up briefly for a few months.

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First Post
I think that the D&D fanbase was at its best in the early to middle part of 3e's run. There were diverse playstyles and plenty of niches for online discussion that didn't involve tearing the game to pieces or degrading others.

On a broad level, it seems like the hobby is heading in the wrong direction and it seems unlikely to me that WotC can undo the damage they've done. I think the best thing would be for the license to be sold or the company to be remade from the ground up.

Personally, what I can do is keep the hobby alive. Run my game, revise my rules, talk to people about the hobby, and simply ignore the mess that's come about since said golden years.


It's a tie for me between late 2e and early-mid 3.x. In late 2e the sheer amount and quality of fan-created material that I remember from places like Mimir.net was spectacular, and some of it continues to inspire me now. I regret that I wasn't playing the game during that period and didn't get into writing either fan material or freelancing till later on.

I saw a period of the same in 3.x in various places, including over on the WotC forums and elsewhere, but which waned towards the end of 3.x and utterly died once 4e came out (traffic on the WotC forums took a serious hit compared to 3e, and other places like Candlekeep became desolate after the 4e changes to FR).

That said, I'm starting to see a rekindling of the same with Pathfinder fan material and OGL stuff as well in the past year or two (and 5e might get a boost of the same once it comes out depending on a lot of things, though their OGL or otherwise status is up in the air).

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
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.

Expand your own gaming horizons beyond D&D and introduce other roleplayers to RPGs that they haven't played. Widening the breadth of your gaming experiences will leave you more open to other genres and gaming styles that you might otherwise overlook or deride. And more acceptance by the 5e fanbase will make it better.


First Post
I think it was 3.5 era for me. Tons of choices came with every supplement: classes, feats, spells, variants, races, even new mechanics. People were tinkering with 3.5 like it was an ultimate Lego set, always coming up with new builds and combos. We geeks loved that stuff.
4E kinda killed that for me because it was so well balanced. :)


First Post
I think the 4E/Pathfinder fanbase is pretty spot on for a fanbase that I would want. Creative, open minded, and willing to tell the corporations to go suck it if they aren't happy with scummy market practices.


First Post
Call me cynical, but 3e/4e was the time when the fanbase was at its nadir. With 3e and character customization came the ridiculous character optimization threads, in which the fun of playing D&D became the fun of "winning" D&D. If your druid wasn't eating the fighter and rogue for breakfast, you were playing the game wrong. If your wizard wasn't ending encounters in the first round, you were playing him stupidly. If the cleric wasn't persisting spells with nightsticks and Divine Metamagic, then you were Doing It Wrong.

Then came the edition wars with the lead up, development, release, and denouement of 4e. Between the vitriolic 3e players--and I say this as someone who was part of the problem--and the self-styled "4vengers" who crusaded to prove that 4e >>> 3e.

The fanbase is best when it's you and your friends playing. There's not a period of time for that.

The Choice

First Post
Honestly, considering how entrenched and toxic many "online communities" and fanbases have become (or, perhaps, have always been), I kinda wish WotC could afford to disregard us all.

Or perhaps we could just nuke the internet? "ENWorld by snailmail"... your complaint over [X] edition must be worth at least the price of postage.


First Post
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.

I'm not at all clear what this even means. Great how? Interpreted personally, it's just an excuse for nostalgia. Otherwise, I doubt one generation is better or worse than any other.

However, from a business viewpoint, what matters is what will generate revenue today.

Tony Vargas

This seems like a question that can't help but turn very negative.

But, what do we mean by 'best?' Biggest? Best revenue? Best play experiences? And, what do we mean by community? On-line? Not in the 70s or early 80s (Out on a Limb in Dragon magazine, maybe). Conventions? Groups we actually gamed with at the time?

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