D&D 5E Monte Cook working on 5E?


First Post
I doubt you could do it with the GSL; that thing was written with the intent of giving WotC tight control.

However, 4E could very likely be OGL-ified. A lot of stuff would have to be renamed, and the rules text would have to be rewritten in the new designer's own words, but you can't copyright a game mechanic, and I think most of 4E's systems would be impossible to patent due to prior art. The same method used for retro-clones could just as easily create an... ante-clone?

I wouldn't be surprised if there's enough "open gaming" content and other OGL'd stuff floating around, such that it would be relatively easy to clone 4E. (The real work would be in putting it all together).

I suspect by the time an "ante-clone" of 4E is produced, WotC may very well be in the middle of 5E (or 6E). At that point I wouldn't be surprised if they end up turning a blind eye towards a 4E clone, similar to what they have done so far for retro clones of prior TSR editions of D&D/AD&D. (That is, assuming the regime at WotC doesn't become hardline on this issue).
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


I do not view either 3.5 or Essentials to be a new edition - but I do view Essentials as 4.5, since like 3.5 the purpose was rebalancing and clarification. The fact that it was for an edition that I do not like does not change the purpose.
This is exactly right.

Yes, there are notable differences between the approached of 3.5 and essentials. A HUGE lesson learned by 3E and well implemented in essentials is don't REPLACE anything. (Don't call it .5 was a related lesson)

But those important differences do nothing to change the fundamental element that both were attempts to clean up the system now that it had been through the paces in the marketplace.

IMO, 3.5 does a great job of refining and improving 3E. But WotC had not yet learned the *don't replace anything* lesson and there were the unintended consequences of the impacts on the 3PP community. It seems in hindsight that those issues cost more than the value of the improvements. (Keeping the likes of Green Ronin FULLY on-board would have been more than worth keeping Wilderness Lore...)

Neither of these issues apply to Essentials and that makes assessment of the two very different. But the bottom line of "fix the things people complain about" is the exact same.

Though I'd also say that 3.5 was to fix things 3E players were complaining about and Essentials was, in large part, an effort to fix things people who had been EXPECTED to be 4E players but were not were complaining about. And that is a much tougher challenge.

I'm A Banana

One thing that's being a little overlooked here is the lessons WotC undoubtedly learned from the launch of 4e.

Particularly, they seemed to learn the lesson that new editions loose old fans if the new edition doesn't respect the game's history and the way people actually play (as opposed to the way you think they should play). Hiring Monte makes a lot of sense in that light: he's an old-school gamer who has been writing stuff since 2e (perhaps earlier? I only know of his 2e stuff). He brings a lot of historical perspective to the team.

4e, whether you personally like it or not, is now part of the game's history. A 5e may very well reach back for inspiration, but it's going to reach back to 4e as much as it'll reach back to 2e or 1e. 4e's way of doing things is going to be respected.There's a lot of good insights, and a lot of people who really love the system. WotC isn't likely to tell them to shove off any more than its likely to tell an OD&D player to shove off.

WotC likely does not want to hemorrhage players again any time soon. 5e, whenever it comes, I don't think will be such a clean break. Monte may be on the 5e team, but he's one guy in a group of people who currently owe their livelihoods to 4e. He'll certainly influence the direction, but I don't think his say is what goes. Mearls, for one, now probably outranks him. ;)


4e, whether you personally like it or not, is now part of the game's history.
Absolutely right. Genies don't go back into bottles just because you want them to.

A clearly 3E style game at this point, as much as *I* may love it, would be exactly the wrong move. Winning back the fans they lost will be VERY hard. Losing the fans they have now will be MUCH easier.

5E will need to be a real evolution. And that may not even be possible.

5E could also be more of a "tool kit" something-for-every-taste game. But that would also be very difficult to pull off well.

They are not in an easy situation.

But a 5E that looks too much like either 3E OR 4E will just create even bigger problems.


First Post
Genies don't go back into bottles just because you want them to.

They do if Master orders them too. But they usually find a way to sneak back out and cause trouble again.

Let's See what Monte's Cooking

I'd like a 5 that isn't 4
Or 3 + 4 (that's Seven),
And 4 + 1 just wouldn't work
Come water high as heaven,
I'd like to see if something new
Would be a'worth the timing
But something old just for adieu
Might not be worth the priming,
I think I'll wait to speculate
And see what Monte's Cooking
It's fine by me to wait and see
And turn my head from looking,
Yet good enough if hold MacDuff
Until the blow is cutting
For then I'll see if it will please
My fancy then abutting,
For I am weary of the stats
The fights that butcher hours
I play to play and not to spat
O'er Tomes that rise like Towers,
And I have less than joy to test
When every action's counted
For dice are nice but men are best
When actions are recounted,
In building great it's never late
To keep your designs simple
Then let the gamewrights recreate
To balance their own gimbals,
So if it's new just to be new
Or old and sentimental
I find it hard to read the clues
Of much developmental,
I hope if effort is so made
That sport may come of it
But if it's all complexity
Then I will not commit.


This genie has no master.

I'm not talking about what approach WotC takes for 5E. Clearly they have absolute control there.

The "genie" I'm talking about it the market expectations and the fact that 4E is now and forever more part of D&D history. No master can undo that. So WotC might be free to ignore the genie. But they will suffers its displeasure if they do.

5E will need to be a real evolution. And that may not even be possible.

5E could also be more of a "tool kit" something-for-every-taste game. But that would also be very difficult to pull off well.

They are not in an easy situation.

But a 5E that looks too much like either 3E OR 4E will just create even bigger problems.

I often wonder if they take the spell caster classes (wizard, cleric, Druid, Psion, and Sorcerer) from 3e, chop off the top 2-3 levels of spells, then streatch them to fit 30 levels and give a few other small 4e like features, if those classes could sit beside the martial classes from PHB1 (Rouge, Fighter, Warlord)

Could you have a wizard that looks like: the old 2e spell chart for spells per day but start at 3rd level, then give them implments like 4e, but all spells per day. then give then 3e style cantrips as encounter powers(also preped). witch means the wizard has multi dailies and encounter but no at wills (maybe give at wills at higher levels) and that the player chooses combat or utilities per day. Give them the old same spell multi times trick too, and you could start with say a wiard with 2 Sleep spells, 1 Burning Hands, and a Sheild all as his 4 starting dailies, then 2 Magic Missles (move to cantrip) a Prestdgatation, and Resstance each as encounter powers.
It works even better if you move things into rituels (ala 4e) but give spellcasters (in this case wizards) X number of free rituels per day and Y number at half cost.


I realize I'm late to the party, but I think it's awesome that Monte Cook is involved in the next edition of D&D. For all its warts and wrinkles, 3E breathed new life into the game for me. It provided a compelling skill system, interesting character progression, incredible monster customization, and a lot of spit and polish in a system that, for once, felt cohesive and planned, as if the designers had actually considered how the whole thing hung together rather than piecing it together a bit at a time. And it did that while still remaining true to the feel of D&D in many ways. When I look at 3E compared to 2E or 1E, I think the comparison is much closer than comparing 4E to any other edition.

On top of that, I think Monte has always been willing to take risks in pursuit of good game design. His work under Malhavoc Press explored a lot of interesting concepts that addressed some of the biggest criticisms of standard D&D. I expect that we will see some daring new ideas explored with the next edition of D&D, too.

I'm sure that D&D: Full Monte (love it :) ) will draw on some of the lessons of 4e. As much as I can't stand it as a role-playing game, I think there are some solid concepts within the system. At the same time, I trust that Monte Cook has the experience and capability to draw on older versions to hopefully build on the strengths and fix some of the problems in each.

I must say that 4E has been a complete waste for me. I haven't played D&D in any form since it's release. While there have been a lot of reasons for that, I am completely uninspired by 4E. And while I like some of the things Pathfinder has done, I don't think the re-design did any of the re-balancing I was expecting, and I haven't been inspired to play that, either. Now with the news that Monte is getting involved in the next edition, I have something new to look forward to.


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads