Sunday, 22 January 2012

Computer Woes & D&D Makes the News

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit.  My old laptop has been consigned to whatever the electronic equivalent of Davy Jones' Locker might be, and it has taken me a little bit of time to get the new one up to speed.  It suffered from Heat Death, and even though I cracked it open and cleaned it, the problem wasn't solved.  Luckily, I was able to move my files to an external hard drive, and am now back in business.  Still, I had to cancel two game sessions because I couldn't access my notes.

In addition to this, as most of you have now heard, (1) Wizards of the Coast finally got around to admitting that they were working on 5e, and (2) WotC also announced that they were going to reprint a limited run of the 1e Player's Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual.  As a result, even after I was up and running again, I spent far more time reading others' news online than working on my own writing!

As for the 5e announcement, I think it has been clear for some time now that 4e didn't perform as expected.  Well, clear to all except a few die-hard 4e fans, to whom no amount of evidence was evident enough!  So, those of us who predicted a relatively short shelf life for 4e are vindicated, those who thought there would never need be another edition are demonstrably wrong, and WotC is apparently moving back to a more "retro" (read, pre-3e) model.  This last point is important, IMHO, because it is some indication that WotC might be interested in producing something I might be interested in purchasing.

One thing that I've learned from the D&D game cycle, though, is that I never want to invest in a game that is going to go out of print in such a way as legally producing third-party support materials for it becomes impossible.  Those who opt to stay with 4e may be able to create a "retro-clone" of it, although the GSL and many changes seem to be designed to negate exactly that possibility.  I hope they have all the 4e support materials they will ever need!

A role-playing game that is tied to the fortunes and decisions of a single corporation no longer interests me.  If 5e is not an OGL game, I will give it a pass.  It could be perfect for my tastes in so many ways, yet fail to meet WotC's expectations, and disappear faster than 4e.  And then where would I be?  Hoping that I had all the 5e support materials I will ever need!  No, thank you.

I am looking forward to the 1e reprints, though, as my original Monster Manual needs replacement, having disappeared into the fog of time.  Also, I think it is a wise decision on the part of WotC to recognize that the community determines the course of the hobby, not a single company, no matter what trademarks they may hold.  That a portion of the proceeds will fund the Gygax memorial seems fitting, to me.

So, kudos to WotC for making themselves relevant to me again, at least for a single print run!

And, if 5e turns out to be an OGL game, which users are encouraged to fold, spindle, and mutilate to their tastes -- and then share that folding, spindling, and mutilation with others -- WotC may even succeed in making their trademark relevant to me again.


The need to be able to post your house rules online, for others to access, is a requirement for online games.  To be able to do so only on the sufferance of WotC means that your online game is only viable so long as WotC says it is.  And, draconian limitations like the GSL's unwillingness to allow you to change what terms mean, prevent potential GMs from crafting an online game that will satisfy their own particular itch.

It may be good business for some products; it sucks beans for RPGs.



See you next time with more sandboxing goodness.


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