There is a lot of buzz about Dungeons and Dragons Next. At the same time it is both a source of intangible hope and possibility and very concrete and malleable piece of gaming design. The players and game masters have been invited to weigh in on its construction, to offer feedback and input, to help shape the next generation of Fantasy gaming materials. Were we to look back we would see how such reinventing can play out.
3rd Edition was an invigorating shot in the arm of the genre, streamlining a clunky 2 nd Ed which had you going down to find up and up down. 3rd Edition gave way to 3.5, further tightening and honing the system. 4th Edition not so much. It seemed to lean too much away from the table and more towards the screen. The response was Pathfinder, a retelling of 3.5 to bring it to the height of the current market, and the mainstay at my table.
5th Edition holds the potential to embrace the positive of past system and eliminate the negative. It can be a bastion of innovation, introducing all manner of compelling and interesting content. It can bring in a host of new gamers and a new sense of public respectability to the hobby. It can be the end all of tabletop gaming systems. Yet, ultimately, it is completely unnecessary.
Pen and paper roleplaying games have, at their most basic level, needed little more than those two things. Add in some people and some imagination and any game, regardless of setting or edition or book, can come alive and thrill it’s participants for hours and hours and session after session. We are not bound by the latest patch or newest expansion, as with the online computer scene. Simply because it is new does not make it necessary or important for us to continue our fun. Any edition will do.
I hope DnD Next proves to be a success, but whether it is, or isn’t, my group and I would never notice. Our dice roll on.
About the Author
Sir Andrew of the Strong Arm, not known by this name to anyone, combines his passion for adventure, theatricality and education to offer an out of the box view on just about everything. He was once quoted as saying ‘I don’t even know what the box is’ as he wandered away with a confused look on his face.
Andrew lives in Colorado Springs where he divides his time between educating the next generation and devolving the current one. He best enjoys Fantasy settings when around the table and is currently running Pathfinder. Outside of gaming he also dabbles in voice acting, music and video production. Much of his “work” can be found on his YouTube channel, layered amidst his ramblings on gaming topics and videos of his tabletop group LARPing Monty Python.
For more from Andrew, check out the Dawnforged Entertainment channel on YouTube!