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D&D (2024) WotC is right to avoid the word "edition."

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This was my experience too. I never saw a table say “we are only useing essentials” or “we aren’t useing essentials” although on here I do hear it happened.

If I showed up to a new game after essentials came out with my PHB 1 warlord or PHB 3 battle mind I would resnobly be able to assume I could play it.

I however not only didn’t see but can’t imagine showing up to a 3.5 or PF1 game with a 3.0 ranger and the dm just saying “okay”
That doesn't mean that Essentials wasn't a new edition, people could use Basic PC in AD&D or 1E characters in 2E. That's actually.more historical precedent that WotC can make a compatible edition.


I'm like 99% sure that there will be a sidebar saying that any feat printed without a level is a level 4 feat by default. I'm also reasonably sure that most feats are going to be level 4, and higher level feats will be restricted to feats that give access to higher level spells or interact with higher level features.
Yes, it seems thar a series of sidebars explaining the proctor using older material sre likely going to be in the PHB. And having a transfer procedure does not break compatibility.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Thank you, would it be fair to say PF is more compatible to 3.5 than 3.5 to 3.0?

*Not trying to derail this post, just trying to put things in perspective.
I think that's actually fair to say. PF was designed with the idea that you could take any 3.5 material and use them in PF with a few tweaks - and that was generally true and with fewer than were necessary to go from 3.0 to 3.5, in my experience. I used quite a few 3.5 adventures with my PF game. I usually had to add a combat maneuver bonus and defense and very little else.

Now I think UngeheuerLich's list ends up overstating the individual effect of a lot of specific changes. For example, reworking some of the classes wasn't a huge problem - most of them could be ported between 3.0/3.5 with a little reworking - extra skill points, some different bonus proficiencies, etc. Same with the changes in skills and feats.
Bigger changes, in my mind, included changes to damage resistance, weapon sizing, and spell durations. Those made a pretty noticeable impact, particularly on the behavior of players.
But the big issue was just the broad scope of changes overall and I don't think any of the player or 3PP communities really expected how far they'd go or how many changes there would be. Cumulatively, it really made for a lot of little changes all over the place that made it harder to use cross-edition materials and utterly killed a lot of 3rd party 3.0 materials marketability. Also, quite a few of the changes seemed strongly related to an idiosyncratic vision of D&D that may have been held by a few of the WotC staffers at the time. So while I think some of the updates were absolutely worthwhile (updated bards and rangers in particular), I can totally see how a lot of people felt burned by the experience.


OK, thanks. I just don't like the pejorative implications of "planned obsolescence"...it implies more deception than I think was actually involved in WotC's decision-making process, as if they're a used car salesman trying to get a lemon out the door.

My sense is that they released the best game they could in 2000, and then quickly found tweaks they wanted to make. Any artist knows that "tweaking" can go on indefinitely, so most of those further changes were probably just that: "Well, we could also make this a bit better, and tighten this, oh and let's add a bit here..."
They had planned a 4E for 2005, but the 3E product line crashed and burned a bit after launch, which is why there were mass firings and heads rolled in the D&D department and they pushed their next edition up to 2003 and made up some BS about it being a "half-edition."

I don't much use it either, but my understanding is that if you bought the old books you can keep on using those versions.
You can indeed. Notably you CANNOT buy them now, though.

So Volo's and OG Mordenkainen's are just out of commission entirely. You cannot buy them. You cannot buy parts of them. You cannot buy the compendium material (i.e. text). You want anything from them? You gotta find a DM who has them and get them to share with you. So that's a pretty firm line the WotC-owned Beyond are drawing.

That doesn't mean that Essentials wasn't a new edition, people could use Basic PC in AD&D or 1E characters in 2E. That's actually.more historical precedent that WotC can make a compatible edition.
That doesn't prove your claim re: Essentials being an edition at all. I dunno if you actually played 4E (esp. in the Essentials era), I'm getting the vibe that you didn't, but for something to be a new edition, there need to be rules changes, not merely rules additions. And Essentials only had rules additions - specifically new options, which they went out of their way to make sit ALONGSIDE the existing options. Your comparisons so far on this have been very inapt and suggest you're not familiar with the context of the material you're attempting to describe.

There's a reason I don't argue stuff like this about BECMI - I'm ignorant about the period. I'm not saying that's the case with you here, maybe you know tons, but unless you do, maybe consider not arguing something you're unfamiliar with? Not that that ever stopped anyone on the internet!

As I've illustrated, the "stand-alone expansion" is a long tradition in board and video games. That what Essentials boils down to. Material that can stand alone or be used in the main game. It has no rules incompatibilities (literally none).

I mean, not only can OneD&D characters work with 5E characters, they want us to mix the rules within a single character set by the eaybtheyndesigned the playtest.
Just from the 1D&D playtest we know that certain older characters such as the grave cleric won't work seamlessly with the new rules, and we've only seen a tiny part of the rules so far. 1D&D is not "5E essentials".


Here's the web archive of Cook's review of 3.5. The money quotes are,
A few weeks ago, in an interview at gamingreport.com I said that 3.5 was motivated by financial need rather than by design need -- in short, to make money rather than because the game really needed an update. I said that I had this information from a reliable source.

That source was me. I was there.

See, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, which might make you mad: 3.5 was planned from the beginning.

Even before 3.0 went to the printer, the business team overseeing D&D was talking about 3.5. Not surprisingly, most of the designers -- particularly the actual 3.0 team (Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams, and I) thought this was a poor idea. Also not surprisingly, our concerns were not enough to affect the plan. The idea, they assured us, was to make a revised edition that was nothing but a cleanup of any errata that might have been found after the book's release, a clarification of issues that seemed to confuse large numbers of players, and, most likely, all new art. It was slated to come out in 2004 or 2005, to give a boost to sales at a point where -- judging historically from the sales trends of previous editions -- they probably would be slumping a bit. It wasn't to replace everyone's books, and it wouldn't raise any compatibility or conversion issues.

Here I sit, in 2003, with my reviewer's copies of the 3.5 books next to my computer, and that's not what I see.

. . . .

So, one has to surmise that the new business team determined that sales were slumping slightly earlier than predicted and needed 3.5 to come out earlier. One also has to surmise that someone -- at some level -- decided that it was to be a much, much more thorough revision than previously planned. Some of this is probably just human nature (two of the 3.0 designers were out of the way, and one would only work at Wizards of the Coast for about half the design time) and some of it is probably the belief that more revenue would be generated with more drastic changes. The philosophy of 3.5 has changed from being a financial "shot in the arm" into something with significant enough changes to make it a "must-buy." Perhaps they thought to strive for the sales levels of 2000. Perhaps there was corporate pressure to reach those sales levels again.
They jumped the gun for short term sales (both for 3.5 and 4e), but the original idea was 3e in 2000, 3.5 in 2005, and 4e in 2010. As they saw it, the Core Books were the main sellers (one reason why Dance urged the OGL, to let 3rd parties handle the lower performing adventures and supplementary material), so they would come out with new Core Books when sales started slumping.

I do not necessarily fault the strategy. If anything the history of D&D (and RPGs in general) has shown, it's that it's hard to be in the RPG business. I just think the idea of a "half-edition" is silly in the extreme. "Edition" is not really a term suitable to RPGs, at least not in the way WotC has historically used it.


for something to be a new edition, there need to be rules changes, not merely rules additions.
I did play 4E, but Ibwas done with TTRPGs by the time Essentials was annoinced, and am only casually familiar with anything outside of the PHB 1. Just to narrow in on this for a bit, that's part of the definition problem here: in any normal usage of the publishing term "edition," it's a new edition if a different type-set is being used. By puttitogether a radically new presentation of core rules, it is a new "edition" in the same way that "3.5" and "1D&D" are. That you define an edition the way you do here is pretty much exactly why WotC is eschewing there term for marketing rather than publishing logic reasons.


Just from the 1D&D playtest we know that certain older characters such as the grave cleric won't work seamlessly with the new rules, and we've only seen a tiny part of the rules so far. 1D&D is not "5E essentials".
The rules we've seen so far include sidebars to smooth out the seams. It is likely thst will continue. I'm not saying thst Innis Essentuals, but Essentials is precedent for WotC being able to maintain compatibility.

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