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WotC will do what you say for 5 years. What are your instructions?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If we're going to support all major version can we please include Moldvay B/X as separate from BECMI, They are different games on so many levels.
Sure.

Rightly or wrongly, I tend to lump Moldvay B-X in with OD&D when thinking about such things.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
1. Keep their current release schedule. Slow and steady keeps production values high, production costs controlled, and long term recurring sales.

2. Not spend resources on 6e except to keep notes of what fans feel that 5e can't accomplish and other pain points.

3. TSR had a lot of financial issues caused by splitting settings, but a lot of fans want other settings. So work out a realistic and moderately profitable way for third party work. Probably a combonation of licensing the IP for some existing settings to 3rd party (which is still a long term win if they were going to make their own, as well as the brand win), and perhaps at a sedate pace releasing an bible and allowing use of that IP on DMsguild (only).

3a. Have another setting search like was with Eberron - a year long visible process to get players involved with where to go next. Take advantage of the marketing aspects to keep D&D in the gamer news cycle, especially with PF2 coming out.

4. Figure out a strategy for updating published mechanics (not typos). 4e would errata whole subsystems and fans didn't (?) in general like it, but the "oh well, Four Elements Monk (or Beastmaster Ranger) misses the mark mechanically, too bad" isn't good either. How do we fix this?

5. Look for additional income producting tie-ins to the D&D brand. One area they don't seem to have a lot in is the free + whales that a lot of video games trade in - where they give away a lot for free but some people are willing to spend LOTS on their bennies.

6. Determine if there is a need for a electronic publishing dimension outside the existing like DnDBeyond and the like. While players might like PDFs (I personaly would), it may be that the market is already saturated and more would just be a glut.

7. I beleive there are some lags internationally due to translation issues. Deal with those. D&D is a global game, need to act like it.

8. Avoid the traditional "Christmas layoffs". Gamers identify individually with the small team, and an institutionalized-feeling regular lay off, especially as such a time, burns a lot of good will towards the company.
 

Count_Zero

Explorer
Over the next 5 years, one adventure and one setting & rules book for 5 settings, opening each setting up on DM's Guild in the process. In no particular order.

1) Birthright (with the setting book having kingdom management rules)

2) Spelljammer (with a more expanded setting)

3) Dark Sun (with psionics and advice on doing Swords & Sandal campaigns)

4) Mystara

5) Planescape

Each provides a very different style of play, and hopefully some unique mechanics to the table from what we've gotten so far. Further, unlike in the 2nd Edition days, DM's Guild provides a way to provide support for these settings at a reduced cost to WotC.
 

schneeland

Explorer
Well, I have LOTS of ideas. But I guess most of them would destroy the D&D brand and I assume that's not what they would hire me for, so I guess I should be a bit more conservative ;)

Most of the things that I would do were I in that position have already been mentioned. To a large extent, I specifically agree with what @Blue wrote. So my main direction would be:

  1. As a pre-requisite for all that follows: build on what's good about 5e , but make it more modular, so that not new subclasses, races, spells and monsters can be added, but also some mechanics can be replaced or added
  2. As part of (1):
    1. Try to cut more fat from the D&D body and remove redundancies in the current design
    2. Try to cater to more play styles ranging from gritty low/dark fantasy, over sword&sorcery to high fantasy, high magic
    3. Judiciously add new (or revised old) mechanics to support these play styles better
  3. Figure out a viable model for 3rd party publishing of well known settings from the past that balances brand cohesion and creative freedom for those who would take them up
  4. For the settings that are kept in house (probably FR + 1), spend some effort on consolidating and pruning setting material from previous editions into campaign setting books
  5. Publish some stand-alone adventures for these settings that can be fit into homebrew campaigns
  6. Bring back the translation quality from previous editions and reduce the number of non-translated words to a necessary minimum
Also, just to cater for my personal tastes:
  1. Have Ed Greenwood work on a consolidated "Grognard edition" of the Forgotten Realms pre spellplague.
  2. Publish PDF versions of the source books.
From a timeline perspective, most of that would start next year, but efforts would only pick up towards 2022/2023, gearing towards the release, or at least the start of the public playtest of D&D6 in 2024 for birthday celebration reasons.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Unpopular opinion...

I would let those who know what they are doing currently keep doing what they are doing.

If I took over I'd kill the franchise by forcing AD&D and BECMI to become the only products being serviced...and that would be BAD for business these days.

So, I'm wise enough to know what I want, and what makes good business sense are two different things and let those who know how to best cater to the modern audiences...do exactly that...cater to the modern gamer.

They are already doing a stellar job, don't see how anything I could truly do would actually be better than what they are doing already.

I DO fully agree with the Essentials Kit...I think that was a great idea. But, that might also be my foolishness in regards to thinking that those types of products are awesome. Overall, I think they are doing the best that can be done with the current game market and the plans for expanding the D&D franchise are moving along in the right directions at this point.

Nothing more that I would be able to do better.
 
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TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
3a. Have another setting search like was with Eberron - a year long visible process to get players involved with where to go next. Take advantage of the marketing aspects to keep D&D in the gamer news cycle, especially with PF2 coming out.
This sounds good to me.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
I forgot: immediately playtest the following options, and get them in the pipeline when they’re ready.

*Gnolls- lean into hyena folklore and give them mimicry, but otherwise look to 4e Gnolls and Eberron Znir Pact Gnolls for inspiration.

*Satyrs- can be male or female. Call them fauns if you must, I don’t care. Goat legged and horned humanoids that like music and athleticism and hunting.

*Fairies- review MM sprites and pixies. Keep it simple and let them have flight, reduced carry and lift capacity, and go from there.

*Dryads and/or treantish folk- tree people. Magical tree people. Full stop.

*New race of small arboreal humanoids with +2 strength, Athletics/climb speed, and ability to brachiate using climb speed or something like that. Not ape-folk, something new. I’d compromise for a +1 Strength Halfling or Gnome subrace.

*Regional adaptation feats. Coastal gets ya Athletics, ability to hold breath for longer, swimming doesn’t cost extra movement, +1 con. High Mountain gets you acclimation to high altitudes and cold weather, ability to ignore disadvantage on perception due to some weather, and ignore difficult terrain caused by snow or steep inclines and rocky terrain? Experiment.
 

Coroc

Explorer
What it says in the title. Somehow you have control of WotC for the next five years. They will make whatever D&D products you tell them to. What is your five-year plan?

(They will only make D&D stuff. No silly “give me a million pounds” or “turn into a law textbook company” — you get the spirit of the question.)
- Keep your hands of Greyhawk.

- Publish usable rules for Psionics, also psionic monsters

- Publish rules / conversion rules for Darksun 5e if you do publish some official then do a reset, most young people do not know the old stuff and the older people will love you for that

- Publish rules / conversion rules for Dragonlance if you do publish some official then do a reset, most young people do not know the old stuff and the older people will love you for that
 

gyor

Adventurer
I have them publish Guide to Faerun, Guide to Kara Tur, Guide to Zakhara, Guide to Maztica, Guide to Katashaka, Guide to Osse, Guide to the Utter East, Elminister's Guide to Theology, Giant Book of Settings, Encyclopedia of the Forgotten Realms.
 
Id use the 5 years to set wotc for a massive surge during the 10 years to follow.

Year 1:
A:
Launch team for analyzing parts of all editions best enjoyed and what editions playstyles and concepts could best be lumped together to create multiple different editions at the same time for vastly disparate player groups. This way instead of catering to everyone wotc's new standard can eventually become catering to everyone in a way they can opt into the right system and sensibilities for them or the one that focuses doesnt focus or focuses just enough on the majority of things they care/dont care to focus on (some people really dont care about politics for instance. And you would definitely find a correlation between that type of player and the type of game they best enjoy). This can pertain to playstyle, rule density, myth density, political sensibilities or lack thereof, and many many other things similar or vastly different.
B:
Launch teams for everything older than 2e to clean up rules and streamline just a tiny bit so that the structure can be kept generally the same with obvious improvements made sparingly so that adventures best played in this general structure will be able to start being advanced again and revisited in the style of play they are best suited for. As well as adding new adventures settings classes feats and spell books.
C:
Attempt to curry more favor with online magazines resembling what dungeon and dragon mag used to resemble to increase likelyhood of 3rd parties bolstering creative process without having to spend so much money. Stop threatening people so much with the fiends of copywright.
D: continue advancing 5e same way its going

Year 2:
A:
Continue as before but expand analysis as per B's new inclusions.
B:
Same as 1B but launch teams for same task in concern with all three 2e and 3/3.5e to be analyzed by a similar dedicated joint team.
C:
Same as C1
D:
Same

3:
A:
Same
B:
Same but with 5e content that has been out a while
C:
Same
D:
Same

4:
Alpha:
A-D:
Same
Beta:
Work on beginning to make 3 different simulataneous release editions called the 6th edition triplet releases or 6et. Analyze which countries would best enjoy which of each. Market accordingly but plan for eventual digital and purchaseable print releases of all three in all countries of reasonable market viability with resources spread accordingly to demand.
The triplets will nit be completely just the prior editions clumped together. They will be sibling editions that have had aspects of d&d which play best according to research put together.

5:
Continue advancing all parts discussed prior and start alpha testing triplets with intention that for the next couple years that would likely continue if you have forced wotc this far because at that point they would have to continue so they could get something back out of it. Too deep to pull out. I assume 5 years after i lost this 5 year control either wotc will have sold to a different company (and maybe the ip's would be even more publically accessable if were lucky enough to have that silver lining) or will have a transformation no one ever thought possible (in a good way)

Afterthought:

Publish joke pamphlet online about how pun pun created a 0th layer of baator for foolish dm's who allowed cheese to get way too far out of hand after getting the creators permission. Letting him pen it if he wants. I dont know. shrug
 
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Wolfpack48

Explorer
Greyhawk. Canon is everything TSR released by Gygyax and Kuntz for Greyhawk begining with the 1983 boxed set t which covers the Folio and most of Gary's Greyhawk articles including the deities. Also included will be the modules not authored by Gary that he allowed to be set in Greyhawk (e.g. C1, C2, S2). Bring in Rob Kuntz and Gygax's son's as consultants.
I'm liking the direction they took with Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and bundling in classic adventures in 5e, adding newer material, and fleshing out the Greyhawk region seems to work pretty nicely. Books I could see:

Hommlet/Temple of Elemental Evil
The Slaver Series
Tamoachan/Inverness
Drow/Kua-Toa/Demonweb Pits
Barrier Peaks
Tharuzden/Tsojanth

I do agree that if they did a Greyhawk book, it would be best if they left it a fairly blank slate, with just some basic regions defined, and instead provide more advice on "building your own Greyhawk" -- I do believe that that aligns pretty nicely with the author's original intentions for the setting.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
If they do Greyhawk, they really need to keep the adventures like they did back then: pretty vague as far as setting goes, and easy to drag and drop into your own campaign worlds. I'd also put a little more effort into encouraging and providing guidelines into campaign development. One of the great things about D&D in the 70s and 80s was how you created your own world. Almost every DM did it. Now? You hardly ever see it.
 

Jer

Adventurer
This would be terrible because I would drive their business into the ground.

But if I were King of Wizards for a bit, the things I'd make them do would be:

  • Get all of their back catalogue - every single game and novel and other print item that they have the rights to - into the proper PDF form so they can be Print-on-Demand. This includes obscure stuff that nobody except for weirdos like me care about - like the old Amazing Engine books or the DragonQuest RPG. Nothing they own the rights to should ever "go out of print" again.
  • Work with the DTRPG folks to develop a print-on-demand option for boxed sets and board games, so they could also release every board game and boxed set they've ever produced as a POD product.
  • Release actual OGL SRDs for BECMI, 1e, 2e and 4e so that folks who want to develop for those systems can. Open up DM's guild so that products for those systems can be published there.
  • Release "edition neutral" books for every setting they own the rights to. And I mean EVERY setting - including things like Gamma Terra, the Galactic Frontier, Dark*Matter earth, Urban Arcana earth, Star*Drive, all of the Amazing Engine settings and so on. These books should contain the maps, geographic and political info, major NPCs and organizations, plot hooks, and big ideas - all of the stuff you get in a campaign setting book except for the rules. And lots and lots of artwork to get the visual feel of each setting. The more niche ones would be PDF only releases, but the major ones (Dark Sun, Planescape, Ravenloft, etc.) would be nicely designed hardcovers. Follow each of them up with a free PDF of rules for using the setting in 5e, and eventual 5e specific companion sourcebook releases for the settings where it makes sense to do so.
  • Open up publication for all of those above campaign settings that Wizards still owns the rights to on DM's Guild. Under any edition of the game.
  • Produce an updated version of Urban Arcana as a Starter Set to be put onto major retailer shelves. Follow it up with an sourcebook/adventure campaign taking characters to level 10-12.
  • Do a search for a new setting. Doesn't have to be a setting search competition like they did for Eberron, but actively work to develop a new setting of some kind.
  • Start publishing novels again.
  • Produce a boardgame version of D&D that is a simpler game than the Adventure System board games. Something along the lines of the old HeroQuest board game that Hasbro/GW partnered to create in the early 90s, but using D&D rules as the basis instead of Hasbro's special d6s used in that game and Heroscape.
  • Also while were at it, put Heroscape back into production.
  • Partner up with smaller game companies to get their games in front of a wider audience. Get a few more RPG boxed sets onto the shelves at Target.

That's about it, I think. Nothing in there that would change their fundamental business models or shake up game design or anything like that - like I've said before, I think the official D&D rules going forward should change about as much over time as the rules for Monopoly or Risk have, and that future "editions" shouldn't change much from 5e.
 

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