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WotC Ray Winninger Is Head of D&D RPG Team; Mike Mearls No Longer Works on RPG

People have been wondering where Mike Mearls has gone for quite some time. It seems that he has not been working on the D&D tabletop RPG since some time last year, and the new head of the team and Executive Producer is Ray Winninger. Winninger is an RPG industry veteran. Amongst other things, he was co-designer of DC Heroes and Torg, and wrote the Dungeoncraft column for Dragon Magazine. He...

People have been wondering where Mike Mearls has gone for quite some time. It seems that he has not been working on the D&D tabletop RPG since some time last year, and the new head of the team and Executive Producer is Ray Winninger.

Winninger is an RPG industry veteran. Amongst other things, he was co-designer of DC Heroes and Torg, and wrote the Dungeoncraft column for Dragon Magazine. He has worked at a number of RPG companies including TSR, Mayfair Games, West End Games, and more.

Ray_Winninger_at_MIX08_2_crop.jpg



Winninger is Chris Perkins' and Jeremy Crawford's boss. And in further comments, Chris Perkins says that Mike Mearls has not been part of the tabletop RPG team since some time last year.


That explains why Mearls' Twitch shows, like Happy Fun Hour, have disappeared. Although he's made a couple of retweets since, his last tweet on Twitter was February 13th, 2019. He still works at WotC on the D&D brand in some capacity, but not the tabletop RPG itself (he did an interview about Baldur's Gate 3 on Polygon last year).

Ray Winninger introduces himself in the latest issue of Dragon+, WotC's online magazine. "My name is Ray Winninger and I’m the new Executive Producer in charge of the Dungeons & Dragons studio at Wizards of the Coast. In just a few months on the job, I’ve already been impressed by the skills and the passion of the designers, artists, editors, and production staff who bring you our terrific D&D products. They are a uniquely talented group, and it is an honor to work alongside them."
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Why would you expect that from Winniger's background?

The two RPGs he created - Torg and Underground, were anything but tactical, and his columns have always been more about ideas, stories, and good DMing than anything else. If anything, from his background, you'd expect more of a focus on risky/daring settings, and better DM advice (neither of which will actually happen, I suspect, but if we're going by background).

I'm unfamiliar with either game & to be honest can't remember columns by name/author from that far back. Really though it just comes down to frustration with 5e's simplified for the sake of simplification above so much else. Stories/gm advice/etc are not incompatible with each other & can exist in a symbiotic state. At a certain point though there just isn't enough substance to one for it to support the other.
 

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teitan

Legend
I guarantee you he had a few sleepless nights in there after "edgy" humor from a few years back ended up being a problem later on. The fact that it was dredged up by people with a political axe to grind doesn't negate the fact that it was still there to find.

The weekend before my job interview for my current job, I spent several hours combing my Twitter timeline with various tools just to see if anything had been posted that I wouldn't post today. I went a little overboard, zapping tweets with profanity, even if they weren't really problematic. Better safe than sorry.

And I don't have a manager or the financial wherewithal to hire a social media team to do that for me, unlike Hart and Gunn.

The problem with the Gunn and Hart issue is that these things were dug up by conservative pundits because they know how to work these toxic elements of twitter and Facebook into a frenzy, especially after certain elements were elected to offices. Gunn had even already, when the original GotG film came out, addressed the tweets and apologized and it was good enough then for Disney and the community. Fast forward to him being critical of orange faced clowns and boom far right pundits made it an issue again. Never mind that the original tweets in question were jokes about NAMBLA and similar jokes by Dwayne Johnson on SNL were disregarded because he wasn’t the target.
 


teitan

Legend
I thought one of the initial 5e promises was that you could have two players with different build approaches (like narrative vs min/max) and the narrative player wouldn't feel over shadowed by the min/max build.

Yes that was exactly it and it is still in there. People forget that feats and minis and such are all optional rules. We’ve gotten so used to them being there since 3e that we just think it’s part of the game but a player can make a 5e character and never take a feat and make minimal choices for their character and play alongside the guy who feats out their character and no one will notice because largely feats balance with the ability boosts. They aren’t called out as “rules modules” but it’s part of the system. The different modules fill out the DMG.
 


I thought one of the initial 5e promises was that you could have two players with different build approaches (like narrative vs min/max) and the narrative player wouldn't feel over shadowed by the min/max build.

Yeah, that was another part of it. Also, I think if anyone is trying to google old info on this, you need to search for D&D Next.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The DCA stuff is part of that whole toxic community stuff I mentioned in relation to twitter and modern drama. We are so obsessed with what goes on in other people’s bedrooms that what was once just part of human drama is now owned by whole communities who decry it and bring it to the fore in such a way that it can ruin lives. Someone cheated... so what.
Holly and Jared cheating on their spouses together (though from my understanding that’s a vast oversimplification) wasn’t really the issue there. The bigger problem was with Jared’s solicitation of nude pictures from minors and sending unsolicited nude pictures to minors. Heck, Holly probably could have been absolved if she hadn’t defended him. But, this is off-topic.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Pure speculation, but I wonder if his role in giving Zac S the names of his accusers left him in an awkward spot.

I've looked, and while I find a screencap of an email Mearls sent to Zak which people don't like, it does not reveal the names of accusers. And Zak later said Mearls did not reveal the names of accusers to him. So, is there actual evidence Mearls revealed the names of accusers, or is that just one of those rumors which grew into a belief that's what happened over time?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
The problem with the Gunn and Hart issue is that these things were dug up by conservative pundits...

Mod Note:
Please stop.

This thread is about a new head of the D&D RPG team. The general nature of the twitter community is not really in scope. The politics of persons involved in a non-gaming twitter issue is most assuredly out of scope, and beyond the bounds of our no politics rule.

So, folks, please bring this back on topic, and within bounds for this site. Thanks.
 

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