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D&D General If you were made president of D&D, what would you do?


Total hypothetical discussion here, but with the current and recent news and controversy with WotC, I think it will be an interesting discussion. I'll post a response to myself later and links to popular responses when I'm near a real keyboard.

The hypothetical is that a tech billionaire wants the prestige of owning D&D, gets WotC to spin it off (including dnd beyond), and then makes you president of the D&D company. You now have a fiduciary duty to make a profit. You've got 3 years of reprieve before you have to show that profit. You can make small acquisitions and hire who you need to hire to accomplish this. What do you do?

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The return of Dark Sun. A survival videogame of Dark Sun.

Playtest for classes with special game mechanics: psionic manifesters, incarnum soulmelders, vestige binders.. The elementalist with "mystieres" like a reskin of 3.5 shadowcaster.

Videogame of LEGO: Dragonlance where you could customice the heroes of the lance, and an animated CGI show but more focused into comedy.

A real-time-strategy videogame of Birthright.

"Isekai & Xuanhuan", a sourcebook inspired into cultures from far East. "1001 nights" ( = al-Quadim player handbook).

A crossover Ravenloft+Innistrad+Duskmourn. A crossover Bloomburrow and "my little pony".

A remake of "Councyl of Wyrms" where "Io's blood islands" are a cluster of demiplanes within the elemental chaotic Limbo, where enough space to add later all the dragon species from previous editions.

A remake of "Gamma World" recycling a mash-up version of different Hasbro's franchises. A survival videogame of Gamma World.

The world of "Hero Quest" added to the D&D multiverse.

The return of the monster classes.

Rules to change the XP rewards or challenge rating when an enemy can use "special help", for example modern firearms.

Anpanman (child-friendly manga) as a domain of delight within "Witchlight" setting.

An action-live teleserie based in a new domain of Ravenloft with XXI technology, style "Them".

Software tools to can use D&D VTT in the production of machinima videos.

Junji Ito and other horror mangakas hired to create new dread domains in Ravenloft.

The return of the chronomancers.

Alternate timelines of Krynnspace (Dragonlance) to be official. One of these would be like a merger of Dragonlance and Dark Sun.

Crossovers of Spelljammers and mash-up version of sci-fi franchises.


What would I do?

Make 6e, 7e, or whatever we’d be up to at this stage, the overall most amazing edition of D&D. Open everything up, license-wise. Release PDFs of every book from every edition, including the current one.

But then, I’m not beholden to that whole corporate life thing, nor would I ever want to be, so honestly, I’m probably not the most appropriate candidate for pres. ;)


B/X Known World
Huh. A few things, come to think of it…

Fire everyone responsible for the "de-authorization" attempt.

Make OGL 1.0b, a copy of 1.0a with whatever language updates are necessary to make it clearly an irrevocable license. Give ownership of that license to the law firm working on the ORC or the Creative Commons organization.

Release SRDs for every edition under OGL 1.0b, ORC, and Creative Commons.

Keep 5E core in print but let the community of 3PP take care of the rest. Slight rules revisions over time to fix broken things more than new editions.

Approach various creators and 3PP who are interested in more, less, heavier, lighter version of the game and work with them to create the modularity promised during the D&D Next playtest. This might be completely moot now that the 5.1 SRD is in Creative Commons. But still worth a try. More tactical stuff...Matt Colville if he or his team are in any way interested. Hire them to work on it. Lighter, more story-focused and character-driven stuff...Matt Mercer and Critical Role. Hire them to work on it.

Bring everything ever officially printed for D&D up to snuff re: text, layout, etc, i.e. no more bad scans, aka go back and re-typeset the lot. Sell the PDFs of everything and offer them all up as high quality POD. Yes, many are there already but most are bad scans.

Do Kickstarters every year to do print runs of older core books. One Kickstarter a year but cycle through the editions. Don’t leave any behind. OD&D, AD&D, 2E, 3E, 3.5, and 4E. Basic, B/X, BECMI, and RC. If not enough people are interested, it won’t fund, so no problem.

Open all the settings on DMsGuild. Take less of a cut.

Make “ultimate editions” of all of the settings. Gather up all the lore, all the monsters, all the NPCs, all the locations, all the maps, etc from all the editions. Square any contradictions and publish those. That will be easier for some than others. After the initial release, do Kickstarters every few years to keep them in print. Start with Mystara and Hollow World. Next up Dark Sun. Next is Nentir Vale. Go from there. Publish free PDF rules updates for those settings, if necessary.

Hire whatever original creators of the settings are still around and interested. Let them have creative freedom to do as they please with their creations. Legal ownership would be retained, creative control would be handed over. Like Keith Baker. If he's still interested, give him creative control and freedom over Eberron. It's his. If he wants to make an Eberron for Savage Worlds game, go for it. Weiss and Hickman want control over Dragonlance, it's theirs. Do that with anyone and everyone still around. If WotC owns the IP, give creative control over that setting to the original creator(s).

Reach out to and make deals with various 3PP creators similar to the deal with Critical Role and their two books. The 3PP retains ownership of their IP, they create the content, but WotC funds the project and prints it as official D&D products. Set terms to drastically benefit the 3PP.

Give Goodman Games free pick of any old modules to update and make conversions for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Secretly pay the cast of Critical Role to run a short campaign of DCC. Say a five- or six-shot. Start with 0-level, of course. Then one night at each subsequent level, ending at 4th or 5th.

If it becomes obvious this is not profitable and it's going to sink as a company, gift the settings back to their original creators. It's their stuff. Their dreams and ideas. They should own them.

Honestly, whoever is coming next is in a really bad spot.

They're late in the development of 5.5e, which is looking to be received with the biggest 'meh' in DnD history. The virtual tabletop seems to be living in development hell. Most of their most recent books have been received extremely badly. And customer goodwill has been utterly destroyed by the companies recent actions.

Even if they want to fix things (and I'm willing to bet that whoever comes next will be even worse), it's going to be extremely difficult to fix all this in a clean way.

Releasing 5.5e as is, is probably likely to sell extremely badly while splitting the playerbase up between those who run 2014 and those who run 2024. If they put it back in the oven to cook more, they miss the 50th anniversary date which is a big no for them (with no guarantee it will make it sell any better). If they scrap it, they've wasted a huge amount of time and money.


Follower of the Way
Since I know nothing else I say will be met with more than a trace of support...

I would put all of 4e--every last bit of it I could, except the artwork and validly "protected" stuff like "ilithids" and "beholders" and such--immediately and irrevocably in the public domain. Not just OGL--actually public domain. No limitations on what folks can do with the rules. All the gods, the Nentir Vale setting, dragonborn, Arkhosia and Bael Turath, the Dawn War, all the actual rules content of the books. ALL of it.

If WotC won't make more of it, put ALL of it in the hands of new creators. Perhaps then we'll finally get real competition in the TTRPG space, instead of "Hypertraditonalist Apology Edition D&D vs Literally Two-Decades-Old D&D Reprinted With House Rules Baked In."

If possible, I'd put all the previous editions there too. But if I can only pick one, it's gotta be 4e. Everyone else can already make their retroclones and heartbreakers with effectively no issues.

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