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5E What will 5E's "signature line" be?

This thread is inspired from the Ryan Dancey interview in which he was discussing the success of Paizo and how the adventure paths have fueled it. It made me think that what really distinguishes Pathfinder are the adventure paths - which I'd call their "signature line." The rules, the splat books, the setting material - all of that is shared by other games, other editions of D&D. But the adventure paths really stand out as the signature line of Pathfinder; sure, there have been some in other editions and games - but not to the extent of Pathfinder, and not as successfully.

This got me thinking: What will be 5E's "signature line?" What will bring it to life? What will characterize it and lead it forward?

In AD&D it was the adventures - I mean, modules. The great and classic one-offs, from Tomb of Horrors to Vault of the Drow, etc etc. These modules really brought the game to life.

In 2E it was the settings - from exotic to traditional, old and new, from Dark Sun to Planescape to the Forgotten Realms. 2E was the edition in which the D&D worlds really shone brightly.

In 3E it was the options as exemplified by the countless hardcovers, from setting to splat to theme books. 3E, like 2E, had some of everything - but the wealth of options and themes to choose from really stood out.

In 4E it was...hard to say. Nothing stands out as the defining, signature line. Perhaps D&D Insider, in particular the Character Builder?

In 5E it will be...what do you think? How will 5E define itself? What will its signature line be?
 
4e to me was about combat and balance and everything they could do to make it more interesting and varied. I believe it would have been excellent if they had marketed it as a D&D Tactics instead of plain D&D.

5e... I mean, we can't really be sure yet, can we? I feel like everything points towards adventures again. They've constantly talked about adventure paths and what they are going to do with those, with less of a focus on splat books. I think it'll be a focus on adventure and roleplaying, with many of the options being about flavor rather than interesting mechanics.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
From what I can tell 4e's lasting image, if you like, is "balance and control".

Jury's out on 5e and will be for a long time yet, I think.

Lanefan
 
Well what I meant by "signature line" is an actual product line or type of offering. "Balance and control" or "combat and balance" are qualities of the rules - which isn't quite what I was getting at (although interesting in its own right).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well what I meant by "signature line" is an actual product line or type of offering. "Balance and control" or "combat and balance" are qualities of the rules - which isn't quite what I was getting at (although interesting in its own right).
Ah.

Then for 4e it'd probably be the minis.

Lanefan
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Maybe something along the lines of "The game you always wanted to play," because of the customizability and being a "best of previous versions."
 

Stormonu

Hero
4E was very much about the encounters and balance.

I think 5E's tag line is going to be "Play it your way". I have a feeling it's going to be a DM's paradise, where the DM can customize the game via rules modules to his heart's content.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
5E is about the stories.

That's where Wizards are coming from, at any rate. The rule system? It's there to enable the adventures, but the adventures are also being told in computer games, novels and comics.

Cheers!
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Surely 5e is going to be known for 'modularity'.

I think 4e will be known for 'mechanics everywhere' - and contra its critics it had mechanics for social situations and exploration - not just combat.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
5E is about the stories.

That's where Wizards are coming from, at any rate. The rule system? It's there to enable the adventures, but the adventures are also being told in computer games, novels and comics.

Cheers!
Hear! Hear!
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Surely 5e is going to be known for 'modularity'.

I think 4e will be known for 'mechanics everywhere' - and contra its critics it had mechanics for social situations and exploration - not just combat.

2nd ed kind of has settings and modularity though.
 

Hannerdyn

Explorer
Campaign series; whole campaigns that -over time - reveal setting and rules elements. The catch will be the requirement to buy in to a whole series of a campaign to get all the rules for a particular setting.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Sorry, but I haven't had that problem with any version of D&D.
You don't have to be sorry. It's OK.

By stories, he means periodic published meta-plot which crosses over into multiple entertainment venues, building the stories as brands and expanding the range of comics, video games, toys, events, maybe even TV etc. He's not referring to your own homebrew stuff.

To use a somewhat tired buzzword: "transmedia".

The first being Tyranny of Dragons, of course.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
4E was very much about the encounters and balance.

I think 5E's tag line is going to be "Play it your way". I have a feeling it's going to be a DM's paradise, where the DM can customize the game via rules modules to his heart's content.
And yet, they are ramping up a lot of organized play - which said organized play is exactly the opposite. Even most of the already released options are off the table.

And it's not just Encounters — your home game can, based upon the wording in the guides, participate in Adventurer's League play.

Organized play needs a consistent ruleset. It's helped by being a not overly complex one. I think 5E will be the edition of "The Adventurer's League"...
 

Warbringer

Villager
You don't have to be sorry. It's OK.

By stories, he means periodic published meta-plot which crosses over into multiple entertainment venues, building the stories as brands and expanding the range of comics, video games, toys, events, maybe even TV etc. He's not referring to your own homebrew stuff.

To use a somewhat tired buzzword: "transmedia".

The first being Tyranny of Dragons, of course.
As an advertiser, trust me I'm as tired of transmedia almost as much as I am of omnichannel!!

I always considered Dragonlance as the original transmedia D&D with modules, novels, comic books minis and even a could I spin off games.

Hopefully the metaplot doesn't take centre stage this time.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Hopefully the metaplot doesn't take centre stage this time.
I have a feeling you'll be disappointed. If you look at the product lineup going into 2015, everything but the core rulebooks is linked to the current or next metaplot, whether it's miniatures, a DM Screen or a book of new player options.
 

Ragmon

Explorer
"I don't aim to offend." - Billy Connolly

5 is trying to be friendly with everyone while still trying not to offend anyone. But it succeeds at offending a fair amount of people, like me.
 

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