Once upon a time the news that a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons was coming would have only been of interest to an elite few, a band of nerds often picked on by other nerds for taking things just too far. Now, it's big business, and the news Wizards of the Coast's plan to develop a new 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons is being reported by Forbes and the New York Times.
Strange days for this Red Box veteran.
But nonetheless, that's the news from Wizards (wholly owned by toymaker Hasbro) overnight. Starting this northern Spring, the game is going to enter an open beta stage, with the aim of making the game's development accessibly to its market from the outset.
"Through our web site, we will release a growing set of rules, classes, monsters and other materials for your study and feedback," said Mike Mearls in a release on the site. "We seek to reach as many people as possible, from the gamer who just started with D&D last week to the gaming group that has been together since the early-1970s. For this process to work, we want to give a voice to all D&D fans and players of all previous editions of the game."
There have been rumblings of discontent over 4E atWizards for some about the last 18 months. For one thing, the last year has been one of the slowest for the brand in decades, with a relative dearth of products hitting shelves, and some canned outright. What's more, when the company took note that a lot of in-house campaigns were using older rules, it realised something must be wrong.
So, hopefully, the new edition will scope out just why even its own creators weren't playing the game.
As a roleplayer myself, this is great news. In my own games I still turn to the 3rd Edition of the rules as a matter of course. I know some of my friends like 4E, but for the most part we all feel the new rules have always lacked a certain openess. Driven to compete with electronic RPGs like World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons 4E felt more like a pen and paper simulation of a computer game than a vehicle for the imaginatiion.
You can sign up for news of the beta on the site. I will be, and if you're at all interested in the evolution of the grand-daddy of not only pen and paper roleplaying, but even a lot of the computer gaming industry, you'll sign up too.