What Third Edition does right, part one

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13 Responses

  1. You awesomely wrapped up what OGL is about.

  2. Guillaume says:

    I think that “Without OGL for 3.x, 4e would have been a real success” is at least as believable as your thesis.
    Without OGL, there would have been no way for disgruntled players to continue to play 3.X (and get new books). No Pathfinder.
    I don’t think we’ll see again 3E-type OGL (with a SRD and so on). Something less restrictive than GSL, maybe..

    • drow says:

      i’m optimistic. i know the next designers understand the value of the OGL, and i’d guess that even the penny-pushers have noticed the thundering failure (with ongoing damage) of the GSL, relatively.

      • Guillaume says:

        I think the penny pushers have above all noticed that : 2e without OGL => 3e success, 3e with OGL => 4 (relative) failure

        Because nobody can say for sure that OGL was able to sold a lot more 3E than a limited/noOGL 3E , but it’s obvious that the main problem for 4e was OGL-related competition

  3. gruevy says:

    You’re a freaking moron if you think that anyone’s gonna buy a ruleset that only takes you to level 5.

  4. David Margowsky says:

    And a lot of freaking morons bought the Dragon Age box set, and a lot of freaking morons bought the D&D red box set. Which really puts the ownership of the freaking moron title in question.

  5. Orphansmith says:

    I agree with everything except the part about named the high crunch “advanced” and having an essentials. I think one of the better decisions by Wizards was to drop the advanced moniker. What’s a new game going to think? That they should buy the essentials, advanced or basic? You’d assume basic, but maybe his friend the DM has essentials or advanced so he thinks he should buy one of those and gets confused, then stops playing.

    If I were Wizard I would do something similar to Pathfinder. Save the level 1-5 adventure stuff for free RPG day and online PDF downloads. Have a Rulebook and a Dungeon Master’s Guide. The Rulebook is essentially the Essentials book you mentioned and the DMG is a boxed set and the AD&D book you mentioned.

  6. Jim says:

    Once 4e got Character Builder, third party developers were at a huge disadvantage. As GM, I could buy a third-party module, but my players simply wouldn’t look at anything where they had to do their own calculations. (That may have been just as well, considering how much trouble they had, even when Character Builder did all the work for them). Basically, if it wasn’t in Character Builder, it didn’t exist — no new character classes, no new magic items, no new mechanics that affected the character sheet. If my players were typical, I can see why third party developers gave up on 4e and went with Pathfinder: Character Builder was a very effective lock-out mechanism.

    I imagine the dynamic will be similar with 5e. It will have character-building software, and the software almost certainly won’t allow third party add-ons. That will tilt the playing-field against third parties, and make it that much harder for third party folk to turn a profit.

  7. I really like your suggested roll-out for a new edition, but that is probably the soft, nostalgic side of me feeling all gooey and warm. :) It is more likely that a “core” set of rules will be released (whether it is titled “essentials” or anything else), followed later by a “basic set”. This is because WotC will be looking to appeal to current players (or at least those familiar with the concept of roleplaying) more immediately. As much as I could deal with an “Advanced D&D”, I don’t see that happening as you will inevitably get people seeing them as two different games (in the same way the the core 4E books are seen as something different to the essentials books). The suggestion that 5E will be more modular makes me think that the need for a distinct “advanced” set of rules will not be necessary.

  8. The OGL is top of my 3.x list too – I loved Monte Cook’s Malhavoc stuff, the Freeport adventures from Green Ronin, Bluffside, the early Necromancer Games modules, Atlas’ En Route supplements and more!

    For dndnext, starting with Red Box/basic set sounds like a good idea but I don’t think the A in D&D should come back.

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