D&D 5E Is Monte Cook working on D&D 5th Edition?


Well, that was fun
Staff member
It's been a popular rumour for ages: Monte Cook working for WotC on D&D 5th Edition. Compounded by his handing over of daily work on dungeonaday.com a year ago with no clear major (public) replacement in his schedule, WotC's seemingly reduced release schedule in terms of 4E D&D rulebooks, various rumours floating around Gen Con about cancelled announcements, the tenor of Mike Mearls' Legends and Lore column over the last few months on DDI, and now:

Starting next week, I'm turning this column over to acclaimed game designer Monte Cook. Monte should be familiar to D&D fans for his work on the Planescape campaign setting, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcana Unearthed, the mammoth Ptolus city sourcebook, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.

I've spent the past several months talking about D&D's past and how that relates to its future. It's now time to focus much more on the future of the game. Monte has an unmatched design pedigree in the RPG field, and for that reason we've brought him on board to work with R&D in making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen. Over the next few weeks, Monte will use this column to share his thoughts about the game. As we look to chart D&D's future course, this column will continue to be a place where we share our ideas and listen to yours, and we hope you'll keep reading, discussing the contents, and sharing your feedback and thoughts with us and the larger D&D community.

Still nothing resembling an official confirmation, and Monte's not yet said a word, other than a tweet:

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, kind words, and congratulations. Fun and interesting times ahead!

And a Facebook post:

Yes, I am working for Wizards of the Coast again. It's no big deal. They had some wastebaskets that needed emptying, floors that needed sweeping... that kind of thing. We're still haggling over some things in the contract, though. I don't do windows.

So it could be that he's just joined WotC for future 4E development (but he's not written for 4E before to my knowledge, even in a third party capacity) or - he could be working on D&D 5E as the rumours have been suggesting for so long; or it could be something that they decide not to refer to as a "new edition". Our guess is that he's been involved for quite some time - what else could he have been doing for the last year?

Speculation on a potential 5E is generally regarded as nonsense and gossip by many people, which is why I tend to refrain from (publically/publicly/depending where you are) speculating about what's going on. But at this point, we know something's going on. And absent any further information, given this latest development, I think 5E speculation has moved from "conspiracy theory" territory to "a possibility worth speculating about". Maybe it's wrong, but it's sure as hell not a ridiculous theory any more, especially given all the previous "clues" I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

More as, when, and if we hear it!

[Updated 2nd Oct 2010: Yes he is! Margaret Weis says: "
I've talked to friends of Monte's who are friends of mine and they all say, Yes, he's working on 5e!"]
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My main reasons for not buying the 5E rumours have been (a) it's too soon, and (b) gearing up for a major new release is a time when you hire people, not when you let core team members go; those who saw a portent in the loss of Bill Slavisek, in particular, had things exactly backwards IMO.

With this announcement, reason (b) goes away, or at least becomes much less compelling.

Hmm indeed.


I am always eager to see any effort by a major RPG designer. When you add that this is Monte Cook of 3E fame (amongst several fames), and that he will be working with other top designers on the topics raised in Legends and Lore... that's something I am very eager to see. While the most important part of any RPG is the gamers at the table, and while each designer is a fallible human being working in a context and with a team, I'm still eager to see what will come. Most of all I am curious whether his involvement could help heal some of the edition war rifts that cloud our ability to unify and be positive. That's a tall order, of course, but I'm a positive guy.

At the very least, this is a column that continues to feature a top designer speaking about their craft, our games, and interacting with fans. Awesome.

Bold or Stupid

First Post
I keep suspecting that WotC may plan to make 4e an eternal edition using regular online updates. Mostly i expect to see a 4e Unearth arcana (and arcana unearthed) sometime soon.


Probably more of a 4E1

I see it as a move to start making some tweaks to 4e to try new systems, aka an Unearthed Arcana, that could serve as a sort of 4.1 edition or 4E1. Maybe even a way to truly playtest new ideas, and those that work and have a lot of acceptance, eventually become a major upgrade (4E5).

A 5E would be a completely new edition, which is definitely too early for Wizards to go to all the expense of creating.


(b) gearing up for a major new release is a time when you hire people, not when you let core team members go; those who saw a portent in the loss of Bill Slavisek, in particular, had things exactly backwards IMO.

With this announcement, reason (b) goes away, or at least becomes much less compelling.

Hmm indeed.

Not necessarily. You certainly let team members go if the reason is that the team is why your product isn't doing well (or as well as you'd want).

It is unlikely that he is being hired mid-cycle for a 4e product. If not 5e, then possibly a revamping of 4e/Essentials into a single cohesive product.

Then again, I'm hoping it is 5e and a return to a pre-4e sensibility...

Erdrick Dragin

5E is coming!

I knew it! I called it! 5E within the next year, 2012! Hah! Wow, this is amazing. I called this back in 2008. If it's not 5E, is it Essentials 2? They can call it whatever they want, regarding mechanics it'll at least be a 4.5e (with Essentials being a 4.25e). But I'm sure it's going to be 5e. Man, they want to split the bases 5 ways now? From 1e to 5e? Sad.


Why would I buy 5th edition? I have Pathfinder and 4e failed to interest me. Bringing in Monte Cook indicates they'd like a new edition to resemble their past success, 3.x. Pathfinder already took that option and made it awesome.

I hope Monte's working on something incredibly new and/or different. Otherwise, who's going to buy it? If you like 4e, you'll stick with it. If you like 3.x, you'll probably stick with Pathfinder. If you don't like either, you're not likely to like anything that resembles either.

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