In the nearly 40 years since the release of the original edition of the Dungeons & Dragons pen-and-paper role-playing game, various publishers have released many different versions of the game, pleasing new players and alienating old ones on a fairly regular basis. Now Wizards of the Coast is working on the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and they want to please all of the elven people all of the time.
While I first started playing D&D with the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I consider myself a AD&D 2nd Edition player, with my dice varied and my Warrior decked out with a Swashbuckler kit. I turn up my nose at 3rd Edition D&D players, and there's something seriously wrong with those that have moved on to 4th Edition.
These are my personal preferences, of course, but they are preferences shared by thousands of dungeon explorers that believe their version of the game was the best.
Wizards of the Coast believes they can make a new (5th) edition of the game that fits everyone's play style, whether they throw 20's or a handful of six-siders. The company made its intentions clear in an official announcement today.
"We seek to build a foundation for the long-term health and growth of D&D, one rooted in the vital traits that make D&D unique and special. We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play."
Can this possibly happen? Can Wizards teach the dice-throwing world to sing in perfect harmony? I'll believe it when I see it.
I might see it sooner than later, however, as Wizards is actively recruiting play testers to provide testing and feedback on the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons, planning events throughout the year to help fine-tune this new-old experience.
"By involving you in this process, we can build a set of D&D rules that incorporate the wants and desires of D&D gamers around the world. We want to create a flexible game, rich with options for players and DMs to embrace or reject as they see fit, a game that brings D&D fans together rather than serves as one more category to splinter us apart."
At least they're paving the road with good intentions. Where it leads is anybody's guess. Want to go along for the ride? Sign up here.