My first introduction to Dungeons & Dragons was through the D&D Basic Set in 1984. It wasn't until about 2 years later that I came across Greyhawk ... I was sold, hook line and sinker.
I wasn't only sold on Greyhawk, but I was sold on Dungeons & Dragons as well. It wouldn’t remain so, with the release of third edition, I was like, "What the hell are you doing!" The game became one bloated system and it didn’t play well in my opinion. So I stuck with my older editions, a hybrid of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and 2nd Edition. It wasn't until the release of 3.5 version of the game did I start looking at the new rules, but by then D&D 4e had been released. I thought that I would never again see a published rule set that I liked, being published by WotC. The question is will this remain true or will D&D Next (5e) be the answer.
Did this concern me? Not really. Why? I had a wealth of books from my previous editions sitting on my shelf, that would keep me busy for years to come. It was something that I had read some time ago, in either the first edition Dungeon Masters Guide or it could have been a quote by Gary(?), that stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of, “You don’t need the rules to run the game, all you need is your imagination.”
Although I did not like what D& 3.x was all about, I had purchased the core 3 books of both versions, in case someone convinced me that I was deluded, which happened late in 2009. I am still not 100% convinced ... But by then I was looking at Pathfinder and found that I liked where they were going with the game and as a company they were listening to their target market.
They proved that they were a good company to back and I happily bought into the new rules. I didn't feel like I had to buy everything and focused just on the core rules. I also like the rate at which Pazio was releasing their books and I felt that the books were well priced for what you were getting.
My love of D&D/AD&D has never dwindled, in fact I could say that it has been further fortified by seeing the re-emergence of all the retro clones over the last few years. We all know deep down, we are DUNGEONS & DRAGONS players. Even though we play Pathfinder, Castles & Crusades, OSRIC, etc. Whenever someone asks hey what you doing there? We never answer I am playing OSRIC, but rather we say we are playing Dungeons & Dragons or D&D. Only if asked, “What’s that?” Then do we divulge further detail about the current system that we are playing.
Now where does this leave me with D&D Next? Well honestly I don’t know, I would have to say I have an open mind to what they trying to do and in all honesty I hope it works.
I would like to see Wizards to release 3 different variants of D&D 5e, or as it is now called D&D Next (I hope that doesn't stick). Firstly I think the name should get back to basics. My suggestion for the 3 variations of the core system would be;
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Basic
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Advanced
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Tactical
I would like to see the books released as hardcovers with an optional 3 ring binder for print outs. What WotC needs to do is release a "unique code," with the purchase of every book. This will allow you to unlock a digital copy of the book from their website for download encrypted to your WotC profile.
But do we really need change? Are the editions warranted or could we still happily be playing what we started with? I think, we could, but as a society we want to see the newest, the latest and as always moan about it.
New is not necessarily better, but then again change is not necessarily a bad thing either.
I would like to end off with this … Give the power back to the Dungeon Master! Use your imagination, that after all is the most important rule of all.
I will be sure to let you know more about the happenings on the 5e front, but I will reserve my final thoughts once I have had a look at the beta rules.