The Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Rant

I consider 4th edition to be the “Star Trek: Enterprise” of the RPG world. An utter turd spawned from a beloved franchise,  floating along on the river of  franchise goodwill.

Until it is justifiably flushed…

That sucking sound you hear is the last breath of 4th edition going to a sewery grave.

This also marks the last time you will ever see me discuss 4th edition on this site. Ever.  God, how I hated that game.

Wizards announced today, to no one’s surprise, that there is a new game under development. It is not named, but “5th Edition” is the logical choice so I will use that until something official comes along.

Today is a clean slate for me. “Dungeons and Dragons” holds a special place in my heart and the various articles on the Wizard’s site and the New York Times   indicate that WOTC may finally get a clue.  This brings me endless joy at the thought of  high-quality, well-funded games with a great design.  WOTC’s decision to have a long beta period with comments from many players is a strong selling point for me. At the very least it will kill some of the more glaring bugs in previous editions before it gets out of beta. Gamers are smart and that much collective intelligence is surely a boon to a new game.

The “Pathfinder” comparisons are already flying because of the public beta/design project. I say “so what?” It works and it will produce a better game. I am all for it.  That said, it had better be a truly open beta. Getting feedback from the grovelling sycophants begging to get a look at the new edition or those that have existing relationships with Wizards is a recipe for failure.  This “idea incest” is counter-productive and produces products the greater gaming community does not want.

You should speak with the gamers that shave, get laid without using a credit card and pay mortgages.  These people and their children are the future of gaming. The vocal minority of super-fanboys is a just that, a minority. Respect them but do not let the inmates run the asylum.

Since WOTC is in a listening mood, I think now is the time to make my voice heard.  I am not really concerned about the system or rules because the collective gamer-brain will sort that out. No, I am talking about business decisions that really annoy me.  Here is my list of things WOTC needs to avoid in the new edition.


  • The word “collectable.”  It is an RPG. I am not buying random card packs/widgets/dice. Sell me supplements and, if they are good, I will buy them. Period.
  • Strip-mining 1983 for fluff/campaign  ideas. We do not need another “Forgotten Realms” edition. You know there are people under the age of 30 that have fresh ideas. Find some.
  • Lousy software.  Leverage technology that works and never promise something you cannot deliver. The online game table is in the running for the “Duke Nukem Forever” vaporware award.  Also, subscription models suck. I want to own something, not rent content.

“Dungeons and Dragons” is the most famous and best financed RPG in the world.  It is a critical component of the overall game community’s health.  Wizards of the Coast has a responsibility to the franchise, their shareholders and the fans to get it right this time.

So, please get it right.


Trask, The Last Tyromancer










Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.