5.5E I think we are on the cusp of a sea change.

Reynard

Legend
I think that we are looking at as big a change in D&D "culture" as we saw in the fall of TSR and rise of WotC era. I'm confident we aren't like to see huge rules changes in 5.5 (I think backwards compatibility will be a thing, for example) but I think there are a lot of thing lining up for WotC to look at, and treat, D&D as a different thing in the very near future.

Now, just because I know some folks are going to make this argument: I don't think that was true of either the 4E or 5E transition.

4E was very much a mechanical sea change but the explicitly stated goal at the time was to "still play D&D." And 5E was a course correction, the exact opposite of a sea change. It drew heavily on GenX nostalgia and was working very hard to say "D&D is still D&D!"

I don't think that is true going forward. I think the intent is to very much alter the way the game is played (story first, etc..) and aimed at a new generation -- and that generation's values -- in a way it hasn't been since Basic and D&D cartoon days.

And just to be clear, this is not a rant by a grumpy old goat. I mean, I am an old goat, but I'm not grumpy. I don't actually care much. I play D&D in general and 5E in particular largely because it has an accessible player base. I mean, I like D&D and 5E, but I like other games more that don't put bottoms in chairs around a table the way D&D does.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Am I off my rocking chair? Is D&D changing again, or is this just 3.5 in a 5E skin?

Thanks!
 

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Oofta

Legend
Whether your guess is correct or not doesn't have any correlation as to whether you're off your rocker. Even a broken old school clocks that you remember fondly are right twice a day. :p

That, and I disagree. Next version is supposed to be backwards compatible. With 5E being as successful as it is I see an evolution being more likely than a revolution. Of course as Yogi Berra supposedly said: predicting the future is difficult, especially when it hasn't happened yet.
 
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Reynard

Legend
Whether you're guess is correct or not doesn't have any correlation as to whether you're off your rocker. Even a broken old school clocks that you remember fondly are right twice a day. :p

That, and I disagree. Next version is supposed to be backwards compatible. With 5E being as successful as it is I see an evolution being more likely than a revolution. Of course as Yogi Berra supposedly said: predicting the future is difficult, especially when it hasn't happened yet.
Backward compatibility doesn't mean that the intent can't change or the assumed modes of play can be revised in a way that is really, really significant at the table. Change how rests work, for example, or what assumed encounter balance is, and you go from a game about 5-8 fights a day to a game about stories and set piece battles (not that a lot of people don't do that anyway; it's just an example). Plus, I agree with you on the word "evolution" but evolution can still be a sea change. Ask Mr mudskipper.
 

Scribe

Hero
I think they will do everything in their power to straddle the fence, and offend as few people as possible, providing a mechanically direct, easy to pick up experience that isnt 'filling', but passes the time inoffensively, and is forgettable from a game design perspective leaving it up to the players and DM to do all the heavy lifting in providing a rich experience.

Backwards compatibility will be a stated goal, and will be 'true' in the strictest sense, but the game will continue to diverge wildly from any nostalgic attempt at reminding older players that its 'Still D&D!'
 

Reynard

Legend
Ok

So you think a big change is coming.

But you don't tell us what that change is going to be, and you don't tell us why you think a big change is coming.

How am I supposed to respond to that?
How would I know the answer to any of those questions? I mean, I made it pretty clear in the title that this is a feeling I have, and further that I am not even sure it's real in my "am I off my rocker" question. And surely I can't tell you how to respond.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think they will do everything in their power to straddle the fence, and offend as few people as possible, providing a mechanically direct, easy to pick up experience that isnt 'filling', but passes the time inoffensively, and is forgettable from a game design perspective leaving it up to the players and DM to do all the heavy lifting in providing a rich experience.

Backwards compatibility will be a stated goal, and will be 'true' in the strictest sense, but the game will continue to diverge wildly from any nostalgic attempt at reminding older players that its 'Still D&D!'
It doesn't feel like they are shying away from offending some portion of the fan base (NOTE: I am NOT one of those offended people; I am just saying they seem to know some rules and lore changes will rankle some and they seem fine with that).
 




I don't think that is true going forward. I think the intent is to very much alter the way the game is played (story first, etc..) and aimed at a new generation -- and that generation's values -- in a way it hasn't been since Basic and D&D cartoon days.
Can you elaborate on the above?
-- How are they going to make the game more "story first" without introducing new mechanics? Do you just mean including non-combat options for encounters in their published adventures?
-- What are the new generation's "values" and how will aiming the game at those values be a sea change? Do you mean non-auto-evil humanoids? A multitude of playable humanoids? Haven't we had that since the 2e humanoid book?
 

I think that we are looking at as big a change in D&D "culture" as we saw in the fall of TSR and rise of WotC era. I'm confident we aren't like to see huge rules changes in 5.5 (I think backwards compatibility will be a thing, for example) but I think there are a lot of thing lining up for WotC to look at, and treat, D&D as a different thing in the very near future.
I think this is inevitable when the demographics of an RPG significantly change.

I feel like D&D's demographics have changed a number of times. The was at the very least:

1) The mass-market explosion of the '80s, which undoubtedly shaped 2E.

2) The shift to other RPGs in the '90s but which also brought in a slightly broader demographic.

3) The massive number of 20-somethings and late-teens that appeared in the early 2000s with 3.XE.

4) The outstandingly huge influx of 16-30 year-olds with 5E, especially 5E after about 2016/2017.

We know 4 is probably the biggest demographic shift D&D has ever seen, too.

Ironically I think this influx may actually like some things some people consider "passé", particular highly-specific/themed classes rather than generic classes, and are highly likely to prefer race/class/etc. to points-buy-based or classless/few-broad-classes systems.

(I note PtbA and FitD align with D&D here re: specificity to a significant degree.)
 
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Reynard

Legend
Can you elaborate on the above?
-- How are they going to make the game more "story first" without introducing new mechanics? Do you just mean including non-combat options for encounters in their published adventures?
-- What are the new generation's "values" and how will aiming the game at those values be a sea change? Do you mean non-auto-evil humanoids? A multitude of playable humanoids? Haven't we had that since the 2e humanoid book?
a) They can introduce relatively minor mechanics that can have big changes in the intended playstyle of the game. Think about the impact of the differences between Attacks of Opportunity in 3.x and Opportunity Attacks in 5E. They are "essentially" the same mechanic, but the relatively minor details between them has a big impact on the tactical game. They can make minor tweaks to the pacing elements of the game -- from rests to encounters per day and such -- that don't disrupt backward compatibility but can potentially have a big impact on play.

b) Yes, I mean those things, but I think it is short sighted to dismiss them as having been around forever. Sure, they have, but the core rule books in every edition has still focused on alignment, particularly inherent "always" alignments, and presented guilt-free stock enemies by race. These are just some examples (cultural representation and sensitivity are also definitely kore important to this generation that the previous ones) of elements in the culture of play that can represent a big shift while maintaining mechanical backward compatibility.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
I think that we are looking at as big a change in D&D "culture" as we saw in the fall of TSR and rise of WotC era. I'm confident we aren't like to see huge rules changes in 5.5 (I think backwards compatibility will be a thing, for example) but I think there are a lot of thing lining up for WotC to look at, and treat, D&D as a different thing in the very near future.

Now, just because I know some folks are going to make this argument: I don't think that was true of either the 4E or 5E transition.

4E was very much a mechanical sea change but the explicitly stated goal at the time was to "still play D&D." And 5E was a course correction, the exact opposite of a sea change. It drew heavily on GenX nostalgia and was working very hard to say "D&D is still D&D!"

I don't think that is true going forward. I think the intent is to very much alter the way the game is played (story first, etc..) and aimed at a new generation -- and that generation's values -- in a way it hasn't been since Basic and D&D cartoon days.

And just to be clear, this is not a rant by a grumpy old goat. I mean, I am an old goat, but I'm not grumpy. I don't actually care much. I play D&D in general and 5E in particular largely because it has an accessible player base. I mean, I like D&D and 5E, but I like other games more that don't put bottoms in chairs around a table the way D&D does.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Am I off my rocking chair? Is D&D changing again, or is this just 3.5 in a 5E skin?

Thanks!

I don't think this sort of thing is possible in a large company. (EDIT: By that I mean Hasbro)
I also think it would be a horrible mistake, at least in regards to D&D's potential for a 7e.

WotC changed the way the game played in a HUGE way with 4e. Look where that got them; knocked down to #2 on the list with Pathfinder/Paizo taking it for a while. I don't think the powers-that-be are going to make that sort of move again.

Either way, for me, I'm most happily not of this "new generation and it's values", so if they DO go this route...it won't be with me. I'll take the road less travelled, like I usually do.

I'm an "old goat" at 52 years old now. Started down this D&D road 42'ish years ago. I've taken a turn here or there, but have always maintained the general heading. They almost lost me at 3e and 4e, but I got back on the main road here at 5e. I've been in the slow lane, to be sure (only core 3 books and no MC/Feats), but still heading down the main road. If 6e DOES turn out to be vastly different in focus and 'attitude', I can always just shift it in to 4-wheel-drive and head off over the hill's I've been passing through. ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 




a) They can introduce relatively minor mechanics that can have big changes in the intended playstyle of the game. Think about the impact of the differences between Attacks of Opportunity in 3.x and Opportunity Attacks in 5E. They are "essentially" the same mechanic, but the relatively minor details between them has a big impact on the tactical game. They can make minor tweaks to the pacing elements of the game -- from rests to encounters per day and such -- that don't disrupt backward compatibility but can potentially have a big impact on play.
Changing the CR model to make it more accurate and able to do 1-2 encounters per day would be a big change within the context of 5, and a much needed one, but not really a sea change. Dungeon crawling procedures are already atrophied in wotc editions and adventures. And arguably point to the success of trad style gaming from the 80s on, so not really anything new.

b) Yes, I mean those things, but I think it is short sighted to dismiss them as having been around forever. Sure, they have, but the core rule books in every edition has still focused on alignment, particularly inherent "always" alignments, and presented guilt-free stock enemies by race. These are just some examples (cultural representation and sensitivity are also definitely kore important to this generation that the previous ones) of elements in the culture of play that can represent a big shift while maintaining mechanical backward compatibility.
Not having auto-combat situations is a hallmark tenant of the OSR and recalls some of the earliest traditions in the hobby. PCs negotiating between multiple factions is evident in Jennell Jaquays's megadungeon designs, for example. So this wouldn't be a sea change, but more of a return to form (and one already revisited in a decade's worth of osr products).

As is often the case, the play styles that appear to be new were there from the earliest days of the hobby.
 


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