OneDnD You own D&D

Well, I hope you all like hex crawls, because there will be a lot of hex crawls ;)

More seriously:

General strategy:
  • Keep the previous strategy of an open core with protected IP on top
  • Increased experimentation with rules and adventure formats
  • Careful digitalization strategy with a focus on broad adoption and the creation of central platform for D&D gameplay
  • Try to further increase market reach and brand awareness through board and card games

For the core product:
  • Get a few good game designers - start more experimentation with rules, preparing for a careful modernization of the core engine and a potential second line (tentatively: one modernized engine with bigger differences to current D&D, one traditional engine for those who love the d20 and the six stats a lot)
  • Introduce a streamlined version of whatever comes out of this for a "young adventurers" line
  • Setting books make a comeback, but with a "reasonable amount of lore" approach (one core book to define the setting, leave white spots on the map for homebrew adventures); also novels (see below)
    • Forgotten Realms no longer assimilates everything
    • Classic settings are brought back with a conservative approach and only careful modernization
    • Complement that with at least two new settings, potentially with another competition like the one that started Eberron
  • Get a few good adventure writers - produce a mixture of longer, linear campaigns, sets of adventures that can be combined into episodic campaigns and sandbox/open world campaigns
For digital support:
  • Scrap plans for 3D VTT - start creation of 2D VTT
  • Clean up the D&D Beyond code and extend with additional functionality
    • Integrate world building and note taking tools
    • Adventures as VTT-ready digital products (potentially offer bundles with printed books)
  • Provide possibilities for integration of 3rd party products, then allow 3rd party publishers to sell their products on the platform for a (small) fee
  • Integrate group matching/finding features
    • Allow paid GMing (again, for a small fee)
  • Once the platform is stable, start integrating classical adventures
  • Once there is enough content on the platform: offer a subscription option that provides access to the entire catalog
Supplementary products:
  • Novels make a comeback, but just like setting books, the focus is on quality, not quantity
  • More D&D comics - tie in with novels and adventures, potentially also collaborate with 3rd party publishers
  • D&D Munchkin - it's already half-way there and there is even a Pathfinder version, so why not have an official D&D version
  • A small number of D&D-themed euro games, potentially also a nice dungeon crawler (with roughly the complexity of Hero Quest)
Movies & series:
  • The movie and series strategy stays largely unchanged - major difference: since different settings are possible, series can deal with more varied themes and audiences
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Probably try to sell it, cause I don’t know the first thing about running an RPG company and I think I would be more likely to lose money than anything. Even trying to hire people to do all the work of actually running the company for me seems like a bigger risk than I would want to take with it.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Let's say you won that 1.5 billion lottery and bought D&D. What do you do with it?
Huh. A few things, come to think of it…

OGL 1.0b, a copy of 1.0a with whatever language updates are necessary to make it clearly an irrevocable license. Give ownership of that license to the law firm working on the ORC.

Release SRDs for every edition under both OGL 1.0b and ORC (depending on the terms).

Keep 5E core in print but let the community of 3PP take care of the rest. Slight rules revisions over time to fix broken things more than new editions.

Bring everything ever officially printed for D&D up to snuff re: text, layout, etc, i.e. no more bad scans, aka go back and re-typeset the lot. Sell the PDFs of everything and offer them all up as high quality POD. Yes, many are there already but most are bad scans.

Do Kickstarters every year to do print runs of older core books. One Kickstarter a year but cycle through the editions. Don’t leave any behind. OD&D, AD&D, 2E, 3E, 3.5, and 4E. Basic, B/X, BECMI, and RC. If not enough people are interested, it won’t fund, so no problem.

Open all the settings on DMsGuild. Take less of a cut.

Make “ultimate editions” of all of the settings. Gather up all the lore, all the monsters, all the NPCs, all the locations, all the maps, etc from all the editions. Square any contradictions and publish those. That will be easier for some than others. After the initial release, do Kickstarters every few years to keep them in print. Start with Mystara and Hollow World. Next up Dark Sun. Next is Nentir Vale. Go from there.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I don't think I could take the pressure of saving D&D, so...

Assuming I had to spend the money on D&D and related things, how much do you think it would cost to not buy it, but only:
(a) Have WotC make 1.0a irrevocable and permanently authorized (although not necessarily having future SRDs work with it).
(b) Have a great 3PP company make a solid e6, e8, or e10 type game using whatever they need from (a).
(c) Make a campaign adaptation of Glen Cook's Garret Files using (b) but also with rules to be workable with basic 3.5 or 5e.
(d) Have WotC license B2 to go with (b) and a great team update it with several plot options and give it super art (Charles Vess?).
(e) Get decent card art for Sigarda, Host of Herons.
(f) Get my 13yo one of those remote control Nerf Guns.
(g) Get my 13yo a bit part in a Power Rangers episode.
 
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Haplo781

Legend
Let's say you won that 1.5 billion lottery and bought D&D. What do you do with it?
1. Bring back 4e as something in between a premium board game a la Gloomhaven/HeroQuest and a full RPG. Products are released in boxed sets containing rulebooks, tokens, cards, poster maps, and dungeon tiles. This is now the focus of the in-house VTT and digital gaming initiative.
2. Update the OGL to 1.0b, changing nothing except the insertion of the word "irrevocable." Make it clear that 5e is going to continue as it has been, a traditional TTRPG for people who like old-school D&D.
3. Push the button on that perfectly functional basic VTT D&D Beyond developed before WotC bought them out. You can still use Roll20 for free or keep using your Fantasy Grounds or Foundry or what have you, but for a minor fee you can upgrade your D&D Beyond account for a bespoke app that's nicer than r20.
 

payn

Legend
My response for D&D specifically, Id butt in on the OGL stuff until some kind of resolution was found. After that, Id leave them to run as is. I'd also set aside a small (by corp standards) amount of money for me to make my own heartbreaker and publish it.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Not sure how much good it would do but:

1) Have 3 TTRP experience: Essentials (basic-OSR-ish D&D with modern maths), Tactic (4e with better maths) and Classic (based on the 5e rules).

2) In-house zine for promotion and publishing articles on the game

3) A contest every year publish a new setting/class.

4) A 2D VTT with large library of assets, music and pre-made maps

5) A world-map builder, a city builder and a dungeon builder for those who cant draw (like me) which can be implemented in the VTT.

6) Reach out to players and creators in other part of the world to see what WotC can do to better fit in their reality: new arts, new rules, new settings or monsters?

7) Remove the 3 core rulebooks and made a single PHB and a single DMG with monsters and alternate rules.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Probably try to sell it, cause I don’t know the first thing about running an RPG company and I think I would be more likely to lose money than anything.
The tone of the OP suggests that once you've bought the game, losing money wouldn't be an issue for you as your winnings would cover it.
Even trying to hire people to do all the work of actually running the company for me seems like a bigger risk than I would want to take with it.
That's one aspect that hasn't come up yet: would the "company" remain as big as it is? Mine wouldn't, on the assumption that if things are in bad enough shape that the franchise is for sale (thus allowing me to buy it with my winnings) nearly everyone's already been laid off. I'd probably want to farm out as much work as I could to third parties.
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
I would invent new mechanics to attack the fans back.

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GreyLord

Legend
Let's say you won that 1.5 billion lottery and bought D&D. What do you do with it?
I don't think I could get D&D for 1.5 billion. I don't know how you'd get Hasbro to even agree to sell it, much less for that low amount.

If D&D was mine to control completely (it hasn't really been that since Hasbro bought WotC, no one has had sole control of it. No one has had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted) AND I didn't have worry about enabling it to make money ever again (I don't think that's ever happened where someone didn't have to worry about appealing to customers and just doing their own things without any worry about how much money it would make)...

I'd cancel every D&D after AD&D, and every AD&D material after the year 1994.

3.X would become D20 fantasy. That's it's official name. No longer would we have a game taking another game's name and using it to sell some other rules. It would be D20 fantasy from here on out.

AD&D rules after 1994's date would be AD&D Compliments, or a line that can compliment AD&D but isn't REALLY AD&D (and you know what, Rolemaster could put there stuff in on this as well if they wanted).

4e would become the D&D miniatures RPG. It's a minatures game which also has a Roleplaying game you can play with it. (Note, these would be the same rules as 4e with errata, BUT development on a pure battles game that used the 4e rules would also be developed). The Roleplaying would also be there still with 4e, but would be expanded. The miniatures portion would be pushed hard with merchandising.

5e would become Basic D20 Fantasy. Like D20 Fantasy, but somewhat simplified.

People would hate me. It would lose money. But AD&D and D&D would finally be the only D&D that had the D&D name recognition. They would no longer be killed by someone else's game that took their name.

As long as you agree to use the new monikers, everything is open content and licensed to use. For D20 and beyond, anything is yours to do with as you want. It's free game. If we like it enough and you are a small publisher, we'll ask if you would like us to publish and promote, but you would only get 25% royalties on that (that's somewhat generous, I know you may not believe it, but if D20 had reach, it could be a better idea for someone who is a very small publisher vs. the larger ones).

We make a full on miniatures battles in tournaments and Weekend nights for D&D miniatures Roleplaying. We also sponsor a living D&D miniatures Roleplaying adventures.

We have a promotion for D&D and AD&D (pre-1994 versions) for those who wish to use it though. It's an open submission. If we like it we will promote it for 20% off the top for us. If we actually publish it we get to keep 60% of the profits at a minimum, but we push it a lot harder. We cut bargains with FLGS's, Amazon, Target, and Walmart for specialized content deals where we release things ONLY to their stores. FLGS's get it first by a month.

AD&D PHB is a combined classes book of the original PHB and UA, along with an optional Bard like 2e and a modified Acrobat class that can be played from the start.

This would probably lose a TON of money. It's a bad business plan. But, if I could control it with no consequences and no worries, and actually HAVE total control (the closest this has really ever happened was with Gygax and almost Williams...maybe), I'd do the above.

It's suicidal from a business perspective...which is why it would never be done otherwise.

PS: If I wanted to make a quick but I might see how much Paizo would want to buy D20 for. It would be for D20 and Basic D20 (3.X and 5e). MIniatures Roleplaying (4e) and the rest of D&D rules would stay with me. I'd be looking for several Billion though, so not sure Paizo could afford it or would even want to own it for that much, especially as all the rules and EVERYTHING would be open content at that point.
 
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mamba

Hero
Fix the OGL 1.0a, fire whoever had the harebrained idea of revoking it. Turn the whole thing more OSR in the core books, making all the racial adjustments and non-core races clearly optional. Bring back Dark Sun, oh man, there is so much to do ;)
 


Dausuul

Legend
So, obviously I'd issue OGL 1.0b with "irrevocable" added to the language, and for good measure spelling out that the license cannot be terminated or deauthorized except by the means described therein. Then engage Paizo and my legal team on the ORC; see if we can get to where the ORC can be authorized as the new and hopefully final version of the OGL.

Then what? Then... well, pretty much nothing that isn't on fire or already in the queue, for at least six months. Spend that time calling in people from all over the company and having them tell me how they see things, what their day-to-day is like, where they see problems, where they see opportunities. Record these meetings if the people I'm talking to are okay with it, but be sure to turn off the recorder at the end in case there's something they want to say off the record. Take copious notes. Pay particular attention to people who interact with customers a lot.

Then order up the data from every customer survey for the last three years and pore over it in excruciating detail, keeping in mind all the stuff I heard in my meetings. Get a big heap of financial data too and cross-reference them. Get a couple other really smart people to go over all this information as well.

The goal of all this information-gathering and analysis would be to develop a long-term strategy for D&D, one which prioritizes the health of the game and the community. That means a solid profit for the owner of the game, but not the pursuit of maximal profit. It probably also means refocusing the company on its core competency -- tabletop games -- and consciously avoiding "empire-building" schemes. Recognize that there are things which can and should be left to the community to produce, and where we conclude that that is the case, think about how to help the community do that.

I'd also set aside a small (by corp standards) amount of money for me to make my own heartbreaker and publish it.
Yes, I would definitely do this. Not because I think my heartbreaker would be any kind of hit, but because it would provide a healthy outlet for the impulses that would otherwise have me telling the designers how to do their jobs.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Let's say you won that 1.5 billion lottery and bought D&D. What do you do with it?

Realize that one person only has so many good ideas, and hire a bunch of people who know game design, development, and product management better than I do.

My professional skillset is fine for managing a bunch of creative people to get stuff done.
 

First, affirm that OGL 1.0a is irrevocable, and that all prior content made under it can be used in perpetuity. Then issue a 1.0b with those words actually in the license. The 1.0b would be placed outside of company control. If the ORC is up by then (depending on terms) I'd reissue the existing SRDs under the ORC and the 1.0b.

That cleans up the current mess. to go further, and as a show of good will, I'd issue SRDs (dual-licensed under 1.0b and the ORC) for 1e, 2e, and 4e. I'd revise the license for DM's Guild to be less terrible and predatory with regards to content ownership.

Then I'd hire a bunch of good designers (at much better rates) and restructure the company as a worker-owned co-op. From there, wed work out next steps to maintain the brand and keep customer engagement high. I don't know what the next steps would be...probably a new edition, designed to be as modular as possible to allow for the varied styles of play people want. I'd do what I can to support my preferred style of play, but I want ALL styles to have support.

I'd also like to sponsor some sort of "DMing Camp" for people, with classes for all the things people usually have to learn on their own.

And then I'd buy a pony. Made of diamonds.
 



Huh. A few things, come to think of it…

OGL 1.0b, a copy of 1.0a with whatever language updates are necessary to make it clearly an irrevocable license. Give ownership of that license to the law firm working on the ORC.

Release SRDs for every edition under both OGL 1.0b and ORC (depending on the terms).

Keep 5E core in print but let the community of 3PP take care of the rest. Slight rules revisions over time to fix broken things more than new editions.

Bring everything ever officially printed for D&D up to snuff re: text, layout, etc, i.e. no more bad scans, aka go back and re-typeset the lot. Sell the PDFs of everything and offer them all up as high quality POD. Yes, many are there already but most are bad scans.

Do Kickstarters every year to do print runs of older core books. One Kickstarter a year but cycle through the editions. Don’t leave any behind. OD&D, AD&D, 2E, 3E, 3.5, and 4E. Basic, B/X, BECMI, and RC. If not enough people are interested, it won’t fund, so no problem.

Open all the settings on DMsGuild. Take less of a cut.

Make “ultimate editions” of all of the settings. Gather up all the lore, all the monsters, all the NPCs, all the locations, all the maps, etc from all the editions. Square any contradictions and publish those. That will be easier for some than others. After the initial release, do Kickstarters every few years to keep them in print. Start with Mystara and Hollow World. Next up Dark Sun. Next is Nentir Vale. Go from there.

This is the way to actually close their business soon. If that is your goal, don't hide it.
 

delericho

Legend
Honestly, I think I'd mostly leave things alone - I've liked most of what they've done with 5e, it's about time for a new version, and the changes seem on balance to be an improvement. Even the things I haven't liked (I disliked Ravenloft, and hated everything I heard about Spelljammer) I would leave alone, since they're done now.

(Though I might be tempted to do a big adventure book for Spelljammer that is basically "Storm King's Thunder" in space - the PCs are the crew of a Firefly-like ship on one of three starting systems, there's an attack by one of the factions of the Big Bad (elves? Vodoni?), the PCs then spend some time travelling the spheres and getting embroiled in the various factions, it then becomes apparent that the Big Bad's command have gone silent and the factions are all jockeying for power, and the PCs then infiltrate that command center and take over.)

Obviously, the big thing is that I believe the OGL is, was, and will be a net benefit to D&D. So I'd issue an OGL 1.0b with "irrevocable" added, and embrace the OGL with OneD&D.

I'd also keep a really close eye on the development of D&D Beyond - my gut feeling is that D&D has probably peaked, so if the project starts getting really late, expenses balloon, there's massive feature bloat, or the D&D bubble in general collapses, I'd very quickly scale back.

I'd open the DM's Guild (only) to materials for all previous editions of D&D. Because why not?

And I'd be strongly tempted to establish an arms-length subsidiary to handle more mature topics - the Star to my Disney+. Then spin off Greyhawk and Dark Sun there - make no bones about the fact that these are very much not for everyone, but provide some support. I'd also reboot Birthright under this imprint, moving it a good bit closer to "Game of Thrones".
 

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