The Fifth Edition Announcement - What do you think of their stated intentions?


4th Edition

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Frog God Games

I would like to start out by saying that I love variety in gaming. My gaming group and I always jumped around systems and were eager to learn new ones.

That said, the two things that jumped out at me as very positive.

1) They want to listen to the fans and do an open beta.

I've heard grumblings along the lines of Paizo having done it before WotC. All that tells me is that there are people among the "powers that be" at WotC/Hasbro who are willing to learn from their mistakes and change their game-plan accordingly. It's simply smart business to recognize a winning strategy by your competitor and adopt it.

2) They want make the game modular. According to the ENWorld article, the next rule set will have a basic system with more rule systems that can be stacked on to that basic system. I have seen this done with a few other gaming systems and it is one of my favorite approaches. My hope would be that the basic system will allow for genre-specific rule modularity.

Dark Archive

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They are saying all the right things right now. But I am curious when it really comes down to it, will they actually be able or willing to do it.

I also really want to know what their stance on a OGL or something along those lines will be. Since 3pp is the main thing that keeps me playing Pathfinder and 3.x before that. I like niche products that only 3pp are going to do.

Frog God Games

I realize that, but I was trying to stay away from speculations and concentrate on what has been said.

I've personally signed up to get the open beta information because.... well, because I'm a huge gaming geek and I want to see what they're working on. ;)


Let us not forget of the early 4e "ze game remains ze same" announcements and the mighty loads of bull they said.

Dark Archive

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I'm gonna be a bit harsh, but bluntly sincere.

Buzzwords. That's what I think of the stated intentions.

Until I see hard data of what 5E is gonna be, I'm going to keep a healthy distance. I've been burned once or twice by hype (in good and bad ways), and I've learned the lesson.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

I'm optimistic. So far I've heard alot that I like and nothing I do not. But solid details are few and the release is probably a year plus away. Things change in that amount of time.

So I'm hopeful. Cautious, perhaps, but hopeful nonetheless.


@Chuck

I agree that gaming fans should give them a chance and I believe that the modular approach is the way to go.

For example, it is very easy to take say Swords & Wizardry and add options via OSRIC with the addition of the new retro-clone for 2e - Myth & Magic to add more options.

Honesty, with OGL SRD and retro-clones, you can tailor a game very well in a modular fashion. I wonder if D&D 5th edition equivalent to S&W will be given away as a free download.

Interesting times from RPGs in general and D&D in particular.

One side note: One of WOTC's problems is the support for adventures. The quality of Frog Games adventures like the Slumbering Tsar Saga, The Black Monastery, and the upcoming Rappan Athuk (I say this with confidence) completely outclass WOTC's offerings.


I pretty much agree with Dark Mistress here. 3PP and the OGL will be very important to me.

As for what I've heard, it's somewhat positive so far, and I choose to remain cautiously optimistic.


On the topic of initial reactions, EN World's Morrus ran a quick Twitter poll earlier today, asking for Favorable/Neutral/Unfavorable reactions to the announcement. The response was strongly favorable (something like an 82% rating if broken down into 100/50/0 scores and averaged). We don't know very much so far, but it seems like people are finding very little to object to.


Of course, it's all unicorns and rainbows now. Can they deliver? That's the real question.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I'm not a 4E fan, but I'm interested to see what they're planning with 5E. I would have to be something pretty fantastic to get me to switch from Pathfinder. That being said, I have some pretty grave concerns about a modular game in terms of rule sets.

If it worked anything like:

Player A - "Hey want to start a group and play some D&D?"

Player B - "Sounds great, I want to try this new edition out for a spin and see how it plays"

Player A - "Cool - here's the character I made, he's an Eladrin Starpact Warlock, built all around maximizing attacks of opportunities on foes."

Player B - "What are you talking about? I read the rules, and there aren't Attacks of Opportunities, pacts, and races act as a separate class, you can't be an Eladrin and a warlock! Are you sure you're talking about playing the same game that I am?"

[/end hyperbole example]
The concern though is that modularity would potentially have a pre-fractured audience, and make finding a group even harder than the 4E/Pathfinder split in the fan base caused. Sure, you can say it's just like having house rules in different campaigns, but when the rules themselves have multiple options, that's a big difference from the GM tinking a bit with their home game. I'd also wonder what convention play would be like.

I'd be more behind a modular concept if the content was modular, but the rules were not. So, you can have a default base of the 3.5 core races, and then a module of new races that were introduced in 4E. However, at that point, it's not really the kind of modularity that I'm thinking is being discussed, it's just a different way to package expansions.


Laeknir wrote:

Of course, it's all unicorns and rainbows now. Can they deliver? That's the real question.

I sort of expected a more negative reaction (or any negative reaction at all, really). The conventional wisdom seemed to be that an edition announcement would be seen as a money grab, but apparently that's not the case.


I think the more customizable approach is a very good direction to go in, and one that they clearly hope will solve some of the problems of a divisive fan base. I'm sure, as always, their goals are to create the best game they can, and one that many people will enjoy playing - and, thus, also gladly purchase. Those seem perfectly acceptable reasons to me.

The big question, though, is whether they will succeed. The design approach they've mentioned thus far will be fantastic if it works, but will be very tricky to get just right.


Dark_Mistress wrote:


I also really want to know what their stance on a OGL or something along those lines will be. Since 3pp is the main thing that keeps me playing Pathfinder and 3.x before that. I like niche products that only 3pp are going to do.

Same here. For me, a big advantage of Pathfinder is that I get access to a huge variety of 3pps that compliment an already fun and high quality core product line. Another huge advantage is that I still can use my large (and expensive) 3.0 and 3.5 library that I amassed over the years.


Scott Betts wrote:
On the topic of initial reactions, EN World's Morrus ran a quick Twitter poll earlier today, asking for Favorable/Neutral/Unfavorable reactions to the announcement. The response was strongly favorable (something like an 82% rating if broken down into 100/50/0 scores and averaged). We don't know very much so far, but it seems like people are finding very little to object to.

Was that poll asking for a reaction to the content of the actual announcement or a reaction to the fact that 5E is officially under development? I think, depending on the intent of the poll, the results have very different meanings.

If the poll was simply asking about the content of the announcement that's one thing, but if the poll were asking about the fact that 5E development is underway I would think an 82% favorable rating would mean only 18% of the participants like 4E, since they found the announcement of the development of its replacement favorable.

Liberty's Edge

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Judging by Hasbro's past performance, I wouldn't trust them as far as I throw a treant. I'm continuing to boycott all their products until they leave the roleplaying industry.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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The real ultimate challenge though is making a bard that doesn't suck.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Scott Betts wrote:
Laeknir wrote:

Of course, it's all unicorns and rainbows now. Can they deliver? That's the real question.

I sort of expected a more negative reaction (or any negative reaction at all, really). The conventional wisdom seemed to be that an edition announcement would be seen as a money grab, but apparently that's not the case.

I think that some of the recent discussions and articles that seem to indicate that 4E wasn't working out from Wizard's point of view might have mitigated that money grab reaction. It's one thing to do a new edition when the old one is strong and healthy to grab more money, but when the current edition is seen by Wizards/Hasbro as not doing so well, your choices are to kill it entirely other than to liscense the brand, or to re-vamp/fix it to meet your goals, which would be a new edition. There's been enough of a critical mass of comments from Wizards employees, and articles like the Escapist ones recently, that I think the general perception had shifted from 4E is a success to 4E is struggling (per Wizards/Hasbro goals at least) and is in danger if the status quo is followed.


cibet44 wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
On the topic of initial reactions, EN World's Morrus ran a quick Twitter poll earlier today, asking for Favorable/Neutral/Unfavorable reactions to the announcement. The response was strongly favorable (something like an 82% rating if broken down into 100/50/0 scores and averaged). We don't know very much so far, but it seems like people are finding very little to object to.

Was that poll asking for a reaction to the content of the actual announcement or a reaction to the fact that 5E is officially under development? I think, depending on the intent of the poll, the results have very different meanings.

If the poll was simply asking about the content of the announcement that's one thing, but if the poll were asking about the fact that 5E development is underway I would think an 82% favorable rating would mean only 18% of the participants like 4E, since they found the announcement of the development of its replacement favorable.

The poll asked how people felt about the news: Positive, Neutral, or Negative.

There were over 250 responses, and only 4 said "Negative."

It had an 82% rating because I weighted the "Neutral" responses at 50. Given that EN World is pretty supportive of 4e, I'd say it's pretty likely that of the respondents only 4 people liked 4e.

I think it's more likely that the sort of person who likes 4e is also the sort of person who is excited about where the hobby is going next. I never saw 4e (or any edition, for that matter) as a stopping point of any kind, and I think a lot of people share that viewpoint. We think that the hobby today is cooler than it was 10 years ago, and that 10 years from now it will be cooler than it is today.


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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Judging by Hasbro's past performance, I wouldn't trust them as far as I throw a treant. I'm continuing to boycott all their products until they leave the roleplaying industry.

The purpose of a boycott is usually to influence decisions in a direction you consider favorable, not to forsake a company entirely based on product decisions. The first method gets results. The second just convinces the company that they made a good decision in choosing not to support your desires in the first place - it's no longer worth trying to cater to you, because you refuse to be catered to.

Now, you could certainly call what you're doing a moral purchasing campaign, but that's a little high and mighty for something that basically amounts to "You changed my favorite game and now I hate you!"


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I refuse to buy any more WOTC D&D products. I stopped at 3.5. I'll let someone else continue to waste their money on new core rulebooks every 4 years or so. The world already has enough fantasy RPG materials. We do not need more of what is already available (older editions of D&D, and non-D&D systems).


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Scott Betts wrote:
We think that the hobby today is cooler than it was 10 years ago, and that 10 years from now it will be cooler than it is today.

The hobby of tabletop RPGs in general or Dungeons & Dragons specifically?

I think the tabletop RPG hobby in general is much cooler today than 10 years ago but I do not think the game of "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically is.


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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
The real ultimate challenge though is making a bard that doesn't suck.

They already managed that in 4E, so.. :)


cibet44 wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
We think that the hobby today is cooler than it was 10 years ago, and that 10 years from now it will be cooler than it is today.

The hobby of tabletop RPGs in general or Dungeons & Dragons specifically?

I think the tabletop RPG hobby in general is much cooler today than 10 years ago but I do not think the game of "Dungeons & Dragons" specifically is.

Both. I was playing ten years ago, and I'm playing today. It's cooler today. And no, that's not entirely due to the fact that I'm cooler than I was ten years ago.


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Brian James wrote:
I refuse to buy any more WOTC D&D products. I stopped at 3.5. I'll let someone else continue to waste their money on new core rulebooks every 4 years or so. The world already has enough fantasy RPG materials. We do not need more of what is already available (older editions of D&D, and non-D&D systems).

If everyone shared your attitude, fantasy tabletop gaming would be a shivering husk of itself in twenty years or so.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

In my opinion, HASBRO should get out of the roleplaying game business altogether. Turning D&D from the iconic pre-eminent game it once was to the 4E failure it has become is a monument to their corporation's ignorance about roleplaying games and its insensitivity to the role-playing community.

Grand Lodge

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
The real ultimate challenge though is making a bard that doesn't suck.

Wow Dale, seriously? You ask the impossible!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:


I think it's more likely that the sort of person who likes 4e is also the sort of person who is excited about where the hobby is going next. I never saw 4e (or any edition, for that matter) as a stopping point of any kind, and I think a lot of people share that viewpoint.

Dont take this the wrong way Scott, While you may feel a lot of people share that viewpoint apparently there weren't enough you that felt or thought that way. Otherwise I dont think WOTC would be contemplating an edition change quite this soon in the lifecycle of the game.

You statement implies that the type of person who isn't excited about 4E is not excited about where the hobby is going next. Again Scott, just because someone doesn't care about or doesn't like 4E doesn't mean that they are not excited about the hobby. If none of us weren't we wouldn't be here right now.


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Scott Betts wrote:
Brian James wrote:
I refuse to buy any more WOTC D&D products. I stopped at 3.5. I'll let someone else continue to waste their money on new core rulebooks every 4 years or so. The world already has enough fantasy RPG materials. We do not need more of what is already available (older editions of D&D, and non-D&D systems).
If everyone shared your attitude, fantasy tabletop gaming would be a shivering husk of itself in twenty years or so.

No, it would be fine without WOTC. Their time is over. They are not the only kids on the block anymore.

Scarab Sages

It's evident that they have tried to lift a few pages of Pathfinder's playbook, and I wonder if by "modular" they mean "we screwed up by abandoning all that third party stuff."

To me, the most important thing for the hobby is that this helps us move forward away from a monolithic way of thinking about RPGs in general. Instead of "D&D players vs. All Other RPGs vs. OSR," we can move to the point of "Oh, you play GURPS? I use Pathfinder. But I use D&D 2nd and 5th occasionally." Now that the world has started seeing RPGing as, if not "cool," then significant, the next step is getting them to understand that RPG does not equal D&D for most of us.

Grand Lodge

I was there at GenCon when WOTC announced 4E. They said all the right things then too. I was so hyped I couldn't stand it.

Then they ruined what I did love about the game.

Over time I think that they have turned 4E into a board game. I have to admit those board games are pretty fun. A great way to kill an evening, once or twice.

Can they manage to turn around the D&D brand and bring it back to preeminence? Yes they can. But it will be one hell of an uphill battle. Do I want them to be top dog again? No. I actually am quite happy with Paizo and Pathfinder being in the catbird seat.

I am reserving judgement until I see the reality of what is planned.

Now I will admit my one big concern... the powers that be in Paizo will look at the announcement with alarm and over react to it and do something stupid to ruin Pathfinder. I doubt that will happen, but it is human nature...


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
In my opinion, HASBRO should get out of the roleplaying game business altogether. Turning D&D from the iconic pre-eminent game it once was to the 4E failure it has become is a monument to their corporation's ignorance about roleplaying games and its insensitivity to the role-playing community.

I agree. I'm really surprised that people keep on chasing this brand. It's best days are behind it.


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ShinHakkaider wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:


I think it's more likely that the sort of person who likes 4e is also the sort of person who is excited about where the hobby is going next. I never saw 4e (or any edition, for that matter) as a stopping point of any kind, and I think a lot of people share that viewpoint.

Dont take this the wrong way Scott, While you may feel a lot of people share that viewpoint apparently there weren't enough you that felt or thought that way. Otherwise I dont think WOTC would be contemplating an edition change quite this soon in the lifecycle of the game.

You statement implies that the type of person who isn't excited about 4E is not excited about where the hobby is going next.

Not so. The sort of person who likes 4e is also the sort of person excited about where the hobby will go next. That doesn't mean that the sort of person who likes Pathfinder cannot also be excited. It just means that I don't think there are a huge number of 4e players who are going to take the stance of "I'm done with the edition treadmill, I don't care what 5e is like."

In fact, I would argue that this is precisely the reason WotC feels okay pushing forward like this - I just saw Chris Tulach (their organized play lead) tweet that he thinks most gamers fall into the excited-about-the-new-and-shiny camp rather than the grognard camp.


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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
In my opinion, HASBRO should get out of the roleplaying game business altogether. Turning D&D from the iconic pre-eminent game it once was to the 4E failure it has become is a monument to their corporation's ignorance about roleplaying games and its insensitivity to the role-playing community.

I can assure you, the people in charge of 4e were neither ignorant of roleplaying games or insensitive to its community. I daresay they have a good deal more credibility speaking about RPGs than you do.


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Brian James wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Brian James wrote:
I refuse to buy any more WOTC D&D products. I stopped at 3.5. I'll let someone else continue to waste their money on new core rulebooks every 4 years or so. The world already has enough fantasy RPG materials. We do not need more of what is already available (older editions of D&D, and non-D&D systems).
If everyone shared your attitude, fantasy tabletop gaming would be a shivering husk of itself in twenty years or so.
No, it would be fine without WOTC. Their time is over. They are not the only kids on the block anymore.

You're wishing for WotC to give up because there are enough fantasy RPG materials. If everyone thought as you do, the hobby would stagnate and die. Do you honestly think it can grow (or even hold steady) without the active support of new material?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Krome wrote:
Now I will admit my one big concern... the powers that be in Paizo will look at the announcement with alarm and over react to it and do something stupid to ruin Pathfinder. I doubt that will happen, but it is human nature...

Yes, my concern is similar. Not so much that I think Paizo Management will do something stupid to ruin Pathfinder. But that if 5E is in fact modular and incorporates Pathfinder (which is OGL) into it then where does that leave Pathfinder as a ruleset?

Will Paizo be forced to create a Pathfinder 2.0 and if they do, if it's significantly different than Pathfinder they'll basically be in the same position that WOTC was with 4E a few years ago with people bailing on Pathfinder to go play an "official" and "supported" ruleset.

Paizo can still and probably will make excellent support and adventures but the shifting / change of the ruleset will be a bit of a blow to their standing and probably revenue.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
In my opinion, HASBRO should get out of the roleplaying game business altogether. Turning D&D from the iconic pre-eminent game it once was to the 4E failure it has become is a monument to their corporation's ignorance about roleplaying games and its insensitivity to the role-playing community.

Actually, I disagree 100%. I think D&D would be much better served if some of the branding experts from Hasbro were MORE involved. Hasbro has an amazing track record of taking it's brands and turning them into money making machines. Hasbro doesn't have a lot of expertise in making RPGs, but they do a great job of marketing. Look at what they've done with Transformers, not only have they created a hugely profitible movies franchise, but those revitalized the Transformers toy line. They've done the same thing with GI Joe (to a lesser extent - the movie was good enough to get a sequel in production), and they've even done it with BATTLESHIP - it's been a joke that you could do a movie about Battleship, but the trailer looks pretty good actually.

I think that 4E could have done a lot better if the marketing gurus at Hasbro were more involved - they a) might have advised against some of the marketing missteps at launch, and b) I think a D&D movie with some of the budget and same treatment that Transformers had would be a hit (certainly far better than the dreck that's been done and is in the can for direct to DVD now.)


Chuck Wright wrote:
2) They want make the game modular. According to the ENWorld article, the next rule set will have a basic system with more rule systems that can be stacked on to that basic system. I have seen this done with a few other gaming systems and it is one of my favorite approaches. My hope would be that the basic system will allow for genre-specific rule modularity.

I really like that part a lot.

What I image they could do is to make many parts of the game optional so the gm can chose to enable or disable them for the campaign.
- AD&D had "secondary profession" or something like that that was a lot like Skills, but the basic rules assumed you didn't use them. If you wanted to, you could just add them to the game. Just make sure skill ranks are not prerequisites for anything else, and you could do the same thing in 3rd Ed./PF.
- Have simple and expanded equipment lists. The simple list has "light armor" and "medium sword" with generic stats, while the expanded list splits them up into "leather armor, chain shirt" and so on and "broadsword, falchion, scimitar, sabre" and such.
- List all spells with a spell point cost. That way you can easily switch between spell slot and spell point casting and can use the same spell descriptions from the basic rules.

You can decide to have either option and even could chose in the running campaign to switch them with minimal need for rebuild on the players side. With the equipment, you just have to pick one of the variants for the generic armor and weapon you have, and when you decide to ditch skills, just never use them again. This could work for lots of other things as well. I think that's what they are aiming for and hope so.


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I view their stated intentions positively.

Modular good. In fact could be great.

Listening to fans is better than not listening.

I am not a fan of pathfinder or 4e. I think each system has some good stuff but overall they are not my cup of tea.

I am mildly concerned with the "listen to the fans" plan. IMO the pathfinder playtest resulted in lobby groups for certain styles of play and even for certain classes (such as paladin) which resulted in the game becoming overly complex and those lobbied classes getting too powerful.


Yeah. Sorry to spit into peoples soup here, but for me Pathfinder is simply the system which I dislike the least about. I dislike even more things about 3rd Edition and 4th Edition, and other games don't seem to provide enough benefits to learn them.
I might play AD&D if there were a more active player base. So all this 5th Edition stuff is really sounding good right now.


I'm very much looking forward to WotC vomiting forth copious amounts of reprinted 4e material (which was regurgitated 3.5e material) for use in the new system. And hey, "modular" is a great buzzword for "lots and lots of expansions we can sell" (see GURPS for the fun of modularity - though I do enjoy a good GURPS session once and a while).

Glad my group boycotted 4e in favor of Paizo and have never looked back and never regretted that choice - we are happy running Pathfinder/3.75 - we know where our gaming dollars are going, and it ain't to WotC.

Paizo has been good for the hobby - keeping it open to 3rd parties, etc. Hasbro, well, not so much from what I can tell. I support the company that has been gamer and industry friendly and bid adieu to WotC years ago.


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The people who are showing up with nothing more to say than, "4e is just the worst, WotC can go fornicate with undesirables, and I hope Hasbro's stock suffers momentary dips!" are only here for today, right? They're just going to post their unpleasant opinions and then leave, yeah?


Maybe this time they do.

That's probability. No matter how small the chance, if it happens often enough, sometime the rare event will happen!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To me it doesn't make much difference.

There were 4 major things that made me leave D&D/WOTC for Pathfinder/Paizo:

  • Loss of the OGL and SRD
  • Single platform computer tools (for a platform I didn't have)
  • Terrible customer treatment and service
  • Complete inability to play some of my current ongoing campaigns in 4E

IF they fix those, then I might wander back and see what they've come up with. Until then, I'll stick to Pathfinder.


golem101 wrote:
Buzzwords. That's what I think of the stated intentions.
Their real intentions were made public in the escapist article that laid out that D&D is expected to pull in 50 Million plus in annual profits to keep Hasbro's Core Brand Strategy happy.
golem101 wrote:
Until I see hard data of what 5E is gonna be, I'm going to keep a healthy distance. I've been burned once or twice by hype (in good and bad ways), and I've learned the lesson.

I'll be waiting until after the first 2 or 3 $upplements come out to judge anything. The First three rulebooks are barely a good indicator anymore. 3E was changed to ridiculous degrees by the $plats. 4e PHB1 actually had a good balance between Feat Prerequisites since they forced folks to choose between having 18's & 20's or having decent feat selections, which went out the window as soon as the $upplements bloated on in.

Shadow Lodge

Dracovar wrote:
I'm very much looking forward to WotC vomiting forth copious amounts of reprinted 4e material (which was regurgitated 3.5e material) for use in the new system.

Let's not pretend that it was original in 3.X. 3.X stuff was reprinted 2e material, and much of that was reprinted 1e stuff.

Liberty's Edge

I can see myself really wanting to be in the playtest OR waiting a good 6 months before buying into 5e. I remember leaping to buy 2e and thinking it was a nice rounding off of the edges of 1e. Then leaping to buy 3e and think "I asked for this? Did I miss a staff meeting or something?", then leaping to buy 4e because they said it wasn't 3e. Time for a more considered approach before I fork out cash this time. In some ways, although PF is 3e based, I like so far what PF has done - a set in stone set of rules (constantly being errata'd but NOT new edition-ed) with modular add-ons (UC, UM, APG etc).

So Paizo are already modular, not seeing WotC's idea as novel. So in answer to the OP - I would say WotC intentions are to replicate what Paizo is doing already.

If WotC followed this idea of keeping a rule-set rather than throwing babies out with bath water every edition I would be happier. What it tells me is the rules they designed are not robust.

Hopefully I'll play-test and make my own mind-up,
S.


Krome wrote:
Now I will admit my one big concern... the powers that be in Paizo will look at the announcement with alarm and over react to it and do something stupid to ruin Pathfinder. I doubt that will happen, but it is human nature...

I understand your concern. I could see some kind of reaction occurring as well but I hope not. I'm hoping the 5E announcement, and subsequent domination of the tabletop RPG discussion, will inspire them to do something awesome. Some of the recent Pathfinder product has drifted from my tastes so maybe this will jolt them back to what brought me to Paizo in the first place.

The Exchange

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I'm optimistic. So far I've heard alot that I like and nothing I do not. But solid details are few and the release is probably a year plus away. Things change in that amount of time.

So I'm hopeful. Cautious, perhaps, but hopeful nonetheless.

Well, I was optimistic about the 4e announcement. That didn't last.

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