The One Dnd Strategy

Stalker0

Legend
So beyond the nitty gritty's of this news and that news....lets talk about the strategy regarding One Dnd. And here's what we know.

A Focus on Physical and Electronic Integration
This is a solid plan. We live in a world of smartphones, people routinely bring laptops to games, and of course the big rise in remote gaming after the pandemic. WOTC has decided to go into this with both feet, and I think that is a solid strategy.

I think the key here will be simplicity. We already have digital tools that people use, what you want to capture are the people that have been nervous to try it or are very anti-tech and so any level of setup complexity is an instant no for them. We need the Iphone of digital tools....something so simple that even your anti-tech grandmother can use it.

An Edition-Less Dnd
To me this is more marketing fluff than anything. We can call this what we want...but at the end of the day its 5.5, or 5.25, or 5.75....depending on the amount of changes. Now if the game was completely electronic, you could try to pull this off. You could just periodically make rules changes or adjustments in your digital books, and have an "ever evolving" game where you can't really say when 5e ended and 6e began, etc. However, with the anchor of physical books that's pretty difficult to do. Eventually WOTC will have milked their monies off of 5e material, and either they work on a new revenue stream to keep it going, or they go with the tried and true....new books with big enough changes to get people to pay more money.

Boardgames
We are in the "golden age" of board games at the moment, its never been a better time to be a board game designer (ok maybe before the pandemic, but this general era). WOTC continues to use its dnd license to create board games, which is a smart secondary revenue stream. The other thing about the board game market is the arrival of "accessorizing". A lot of hard core board gamers are willing to pay good money for special tokens, custom board inserts, improved minis, etc. A $50 board game could get you $200 or more once you account for all the secondary things the hardcore audience will play to make a great game even better.

Backwards Compatibility
This one is a key question mark, and we won't REALLY know what it means until we see the first products. On the one hand, this could be the hand tied behind your back, stifling your designers and chaining them to old ways of thinking. On the other, done well you get a whole bunch of new books sold and maintain sales of your old adventurers too.

Near Term Focus on Adventurers and Settings
This next year especially will see the rise of old settings given the 5e treatment. A smart plan, you have to be careful about releasing crunch until the new core books come out and people see how backwards compatible they are, but you still need to make money. Adventurers and settings are more rules agnostic, so you can publish them with fewer concerns.

Dnd Licensing - What's next?
Probably the biggest one I'm curious to see is what is the next thing to get a dnd stamp on it? We have seen movies, board games, etc. But more than the game, the "brand" of Dnd is your most valuable asset, so how will WOTC leverage that asset for revenue will be one of the biggest strategy questions remaining to be answered.
 

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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
IIRC WotC has been saying this since the D&D Next playtest 10 years ago -- 5E was going to be the last 'edition'.
Yes though at the time they did let slip how close it came to be canned. I think they was not expecting to have a lot of money to invest in new product.
 


Stalker0

Legend
IIRC WotC has been saying this since the D&D Next playtest 10 years ago -- 5E was going to be the last 'edition'.
Sure but at the end of the day that is more of a branding and marketing thing. If you keep the same book cover but swap out half of the pages...its a different book.

If WOTC is saying that 5e is so perfect that in another 10 years we will be playing by pretty much the same ruleset we do now...that might be true, but will it be successful? That would be a big change compared to history, where we used editions as a kickstart for a whole new batch of sales. Maybe that is feasible as WOTC looks at other ways to leverage the dnd brand to generate continuous revenue, maybe we have moved beyond the rules as the money drivers. Or maybe its just a delusion, and in 10 years time when it serves them (and people have forgotten the "no more editions claim", they will hype up a "new edition" to jumpstart staggering sales. Time will tell of course.
 


Reynard

Legend
I'd like to hear if/how the SRD fits in.
They should expand it the way Paizo does with Pathfinder etc, because that is the intent of the thing, but they won't. The DmsGuild works too well for them, I think. I'm not even sure they are going to drop a new SRD for One.
 



UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Sure but at the end of the day that is more of a branding and marketing thing. If you keep the same book cover but swap out half of the pages...its a different book.

If WOTC is saying that 5e is so perfect that in another 10 years we will be playing by pretty much the same ruleset we do now...that might be true, but will it be successful? That would be a big change compared to history, where we used editions as a kickstart for a whole new batch of sales. Maybe that is feasible as WOTC looks at other ways to leverage the dnd brand to generate continuous revenue, maybe we have moved beyond the rules as the money drivers. Or maybe its just a delusion, and in 10 years time when it serves them (and people have forgotten the "no more editions claim", they will hype up a "new edition" to jumpstart staggering sales. Time will tell of course.
We will not be playing with the same rules in 10 years time, we are not even playing with the same rules now. At least not all of us, since some of us are using rules from Tasha's and so forth. But aside from a low production of splat books the other remarkable thing about 5e compared to 3.x is the low level of power creep. If anything the powercreep is wide rather than tall.
I think that WoTC have come to regard splat churn as an unreliable way to do business on the scale they want. They want the ttrpg to pay for itself and to provide fuel and ip for other revenue streams. Digital services, sold on subscription, video and boardgames, TV movies, merch.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
But they should.
Why? What purpose would it serve? All the terminology you need is in the existing one.

They barely needed to do even a 5E one. Theees only a few new game terms in 5E — inspiration, advantage, off the top of my head. Maybe some others.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Why? What purpose would it serve? All the terminology you need is in the existing one.

They barely needed to do even a 5E one. Theees only a few new game terms in 5E — inspiration, advantage, off the top of my head. Maybe some others.
Personally I'd hope that the SRD monsters get updated to the modernized format (eg, the proficiency bonus) and modernized traits (eg, spells-as-powers) so they match whatever appears in the new MM.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
The one concern I have about a D&D Beyond VTT is that there will be no flexibility with the rules. In other words, you'll have to play by the rules that WoTC wants you to play by, and there won't be options to turn certain rules on or off, or even integrate house rules.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Personally I'd hope that the SRD monsters get updated to the modernized format (eg, the proficiency bonus) and modernized traits (eg, spells-as-powers) so they match whatever appears in the new MM.
You don’t need an SRD to format your books for you. An SRD is a tool for third party developers. It’s a legal document. You don’t need permission to put proficiency bonus in your stat blocks.
 

Reynard

Legend
You don’t need an SRD to format your books for you. An SRD is a tool for third party developers. It’s a legal document. You don’t need permission to put proficiency bonus in your stat blocks.
Sure, but you know as well as any of us that the SRD is also a tool for players and that creating an accessible, complete SRD has brand value. WotC doesn't want to because it undermines their DnDBeyond mechanism, but its a little disingenuous of them.
 

I think the "edition-less" nature of D&D is more real than folks are giving it credit as being.

When 3E came out, there was no question that it was a new game compared to 2E a few years ago. It was broadly compatible -- with work, and some parts were a lot more compatible than others -- but no one would be confused which edition they were reading, with two books side by side.

4E, if anything, was an even bigger break with 3E.

And then 5E broke back the other direction.

The "edition-less" D&D means they're going to stop doing that. The basic 5E chassis will remain the same for the foreseeable future, even if there are updates. But it's a system with six stats, a d20 resolution system where high is better for almost everything, NPCs are built differently than PCs and advantage/disadvantage replaces nearly all bonuses and penalties.

If they successfully manage it, being able to pick up the 2034 PHB and run Hoard of the Dragon Queen with it, without any special conversion notes, is a very big deal, both for Hasbro and for gamers in general.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Sure, but you know as well as any of us that the SRD is also a tool for players and that creating an accessible, complete SRD has brand value. WotC doesn't want to because it undermines their DnDBeyond mechanism, but its a little disingenuous of them.
You’re not talking about an SRD. You’re talking about a player resource. These are not the same thing. An SRD is a legal document for third party publishers which outlines what content can be reused in new products. The current SRD is a PDF and of limited use for players.

What you want is a D&D Beyond rules reference tool. Totally different thing.
 

I think the "edition-less" nature of D&D is more real than folks are giving it credit as being.

When 3E came out, there was no question that it was a new game compared to 2E a few years ago. It was broadly compatible -- with work, and some parts were a lot more compatible than others -- but no one would be confused which edition they were reading, with two books side by side.

4E, if anything, was an even bigger break with 3E.

And then 5E broke back the other direction.

The "edition-less" D&D means they're going to stop doing that. The basic 5E chassis will remain the same for the foreseeable future, even if there are updates. But it's a system with six stats, a d20 resolution system where high is better for almost everything, NPCs are built differently than PCs and advantage/disadvantage replaces nearly all bonuses and penalties.

If they successfully manage it, being able to pick up the 2034 PHB and run Hoard of the Dragon Queen with it, without any special conversion notes, is a very big deal, both for Hasbro and for gamers in general.

That why folks call it 5.5e and not 6e, it's a minor edition change, not major, like 4e Essentials.
 

darjr

I crit!
I think it may include as many or more changes than a 5.5 or even a 6e.
However if they succeed it won’t be like a 5.5 or 6e. It’ll be something different.
More like an alternate set of rules than a new edition.
If they can pull it off they’ll have done a great thing.

We are in strange territory and the verbiage of yesteryear is lacking.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
You don’t need an SRD to format your books for you. An SRD is a tool for third party developers. It’s a legal document. You don’t need permission to put proficiency bonus in your stat blocks.
Yes, I understand that. My concern isn't really about individual numbers or layouts, but rather more substantive changes in the rules themselves.

For example, if the lich is updated to using MotM-style per-day powers, that would involve several lines of text changes that can't just be inserted into a 3pp adventure without permission. Similarly, the recent playtest doc suggests a number of non-trivial changes to the rules are on the way. Feats could become integral to character creation; but iirc, the existing SRD describes only one Feat, and does so only as an optional rule. The playtest doc also names Arcane, Divine, and Primal spell lists, distinctions which don't exist in the current SRD. And so forth.

Of course, all that's still on the horizon. But without an updated SRD, rules mods of that scale would mean a large divergence between "official" D&D and some subset of 3pps. I'll grant that might even be WotC's intent, in order to steer creators into DMsGuild. Which, fair enough. Personally, though, I hope they stick to precedent and provide a 5.5e SRD, just as they provided a 3.5e SRD.

tl;dr:
Either way, a definitive "Yes" or "No" on the SRD issue might help any 3pp devs trying to plan ahead a bit.
 

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