I Feel Sorry for Renegade Studios.

I WAS a huge fan of Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPG before big brother Hasbro ruined the TTRPG industry for many of us by causing the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License debacle. I can’t support anything owned by Hasbro any more. Wizards of the Coast can’t be trusted right now. Hasbro can’t be trusted right now. @renegadestudios falls under the Hasbro umbrella. Sorry, family.

The fallout of the Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License disaster will probably affect it’s Hasbro cousin.

Renegade Studios makes RPGs and Board Games for a myriad of settings. They’re the current producers of Vampire, Hunter, and other World of Darkness properties. They make board games for Power Rangers, GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and more. I used to be a huge fan of some of the RPGs listed.

Power Rangers RPG was my jam this time last year. I loved running solo and small group RPG adventures in the Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign I was building. I’d even go back to it if I weren’t conscientious of the fact that Renegade is owned by Hasbro. The hobby and game industry, in which I participate is already being dominated by this huge corporation. Why do they want life to be hard on their potential customers?

It sucks that Renegade, who were off to such a great start, have to suffer because of their bigger cousin.

Wizards of the Coast is doing the best they can to appease Hasbro. I get it. All these little subsidiary companies have to earn their keep or be absorbed back into the larger corporation. Or worse- shut down completely. We went over three decades without Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs. (Official ones, anyway.) Their losses are going to be mourned.

Vampire? Hunter? Now we’re into what used to be big names in the TTRPG industry. I could kind of see World of Darkness surviving via the Storyteller’s Vault courtesy of OneBookShelf. But new official material would probably go away unless Hasbro got the bright idea to do something with the Intellectual Property.

Hasbro is being boycotted right now. I would even go so far as to say canceled by outraged Dungeons & Dragons fans. The OGL 1.1 scandal sent massive shockwaves through the TTPRG industry. The message is clear: We, the fans, can no longer trust Wizards of the Coast or parent corporation, Hasbro.

The people at Renegade have to be feeling the pain, too.

If you’ve been in the roleplaying game space long enough, you get to know people. You meet fans, make friends, even lifelong companions playing games. Friendly Local Game Stores, conventions, friends from random pickup games online can be spread out all over the place. It seems like most of us know someone that works for a game company from social media, or wherever.

The people that make up Renegade Studios are like that, too. Many of them are not new to the industry. Very likely they know some Wizards of the Coast employees and Third Party Content Creators as well. Many of these creators are probably in contact with one another. I’m guessing all of these folx, WotC employees included, probably know freelancers in the industry, too.

Freelancers and small time TTRPG content producers are probably getting hit the worst by this OGL flap. Until a new OGL is, umm, ratified? Approved? Rammed down our throats by WotC if I had to guess. Until there is an official new OGL pick-a-number, a very large number of game companies hang in the balance.

I’ll say it again. Use your own discernment over who to support in the industry.

My personal preference is to let Hasbro and both of their TTRPG siblings twist in the wind. I won’t spend a dime with them until things change dramatically. We might be talking about 7th Ed D&D before I’ll buy another WotC product. My kids will all be getting board games and TTRPGs from every company that’s not associated with Hasbro in 2023. (I was looking forward to the relaunch of Axis & Allies from Renegade. Oh fcking well.)

I think the financial crunch Hasbro was already finding itself in at the end of last year was already hurting Renegade. Personally, if I had Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers RPGs? Y’all would be sick of hearing about sourcebooks and adventures for all three. I mean an egregious number of sourcebooks. I’d be begging Hasbro to let me put WotC to shame right now.

But, alas there are no Movie Universe Sourcebooks, vehicle guides, adversary sourcebooks, season sourcebooks, adventures like crazy or even a fan content policy. The GI Joe and Transformers RPG could have the crossover sourcebook from Hell if they wanted to. Renegade could be doing crossovers the fans have wanted to see for years, and they’re dribbling out little board game releases and fairly inconsequential adventure books for all these Hasbro licensed properties. Tis sad. The OGL debacle and heat from Hasbro is not helping at all.

I am sincerely hoping things turn around for Renegade in the coming year.

I would love to go back to writing Power Rangers stuff for FREE. I had some GI Joe adventures in the outline stages for this year. I so want an excuse to run Transformers with my kids. None of this will happen until the OGL disaster gets straightened out. Hasbro can my and themselves while they’re at it. I’m ing mad!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep fighting the good fight. Please keep the OGL battle fresh in everyone’s minds.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE emphasis on “DONE!”
#BoycottHasbro
#BoycottWotC

Reaction to Wizards of the Coast 1/18.

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

I dunno about you guys, but I’m still not impressed.

For those late to this party, we’re talking about the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License for the Dungeons & Dragons game. This is their latest attempt to placate the community. Personally, I’m not convinced of the sincerity or veracity of anything coming out of Wizards of the Coast D&D department.

Below is the post from D&D Executive Producer, Kyle Brink:




Let me stop here for just a minute. Sorry, Mr Brink, but your apology rings a little hollow for all the people who may have become unemployed because of your corporate nonsense. Yeah, ya got it wrong. Maybe if this had been your corporation’s first attempt at an apology, we’d be more receptive.

It’s nice that WotC propped up a guy who has actually played the game as far as we know. It’s a real mystery as to how he can stand their plans for One D&D? How are you an executive and a D&D fan if you’re willing to subject us to $30/month? Are you nuts?

You were silent for an entire week while the TTRPG industry burned trying to figure out how to go forward. I’m really curious what your core values and McCorporate culture really looks like on the inside. I have a feeling it’s something to the effect of “Crush anything we can’t absorb or scare off.”

Open conversation?!? Like when employees at WotC are getting fired for voicing honest opinions that you asked for? Where’s the open conversation there?

What are you going to do when the feedback doesn’t blow smoke up WotC’s butts? We’re going to tell you things you don’t want to hear. Then what, Kyle? What’cha gonna do, Kyle? What’cha gonna do when thousands of negative opinions come crashing down on you?

“More frequent and clear communications?” Did we forget that the OGL 1.1 was a leaked final document, NOT A DRAFT!? Hasbro/WotC almost got away with it, too. If it hadn’t been for those darn meddling fans- especially the content creators you were planning to screw. If you’re sorry, it’s probably because y’all got caught with your hands in the cookie jar, buddy.

Yes. Yes. You’re going to be clear from now on because you know all eyes are on you. If you try to get squirrely, it’ll probably get leaked anyway. This way WotC can spin doctor anything that happens. We’re already onto you.

Yeah, WotC will “listen” to the fans. And then turn right around and do whatever they were going to do before. Those surveys are pretty much intended to pacify us with the notion that our opinion matters. The only opinions they’re going to listen to are the ones saying, “You guys are doing great. Yay WotC. Yay D&D. We’ll sign whatever.”

I hate to tell WotC this, but a LOT of us aren’t going to go for anything short of leaving the OGL 1.0A alone. There are going to be innumerable dissenting opinions no matter what WotC does. The whole #TTRPGCommunity isn’t going to roll over and agree with you just because you apologized and say you’re going to listen, Mr Brink.

Let’s move on, shall we?

It’s another Friday info dump coming up. These little tidbits we get on Fridays aren’t all that frequent or clear by way of communications. You guys go out and play golf while half the industry burns. Monday, you come into a bigger mess. Wednesday you issue this weaksauce apology.

What’s next? A live video? Oops. Looks like that was cancelled. You’re absolutely terrified of what we’re really going to say. Right, WotC?

As far as surveys go, I think it’s a really poor attempt to pacify the masses. They want us, the #ttrpgcommunity to honestly believe our opinions matter. See, public relations people do this sort of thing when there are angry keyboard warriors gunning for them. Now you theoretically have a say, a vote, or an outlet for your opinion. The reality of it is not as rosy.

Sadly, WotC already knows what they’re planning to do. Those surveys will not matter by my reckoning. WotC execs don’t care. Our opinions? 40,000+ canceled subscriptions to D&D Beyond. #StoptheSub and #DnDBeGone are the opinion they care about.

To further prove my point about surveys, this was posted by @DnD_Shorts and verified by sources from @itsginnydi and @nerdimmersion on Twitter yesterday.

My next point is the past tense used in regards to OGL 1.0A content.

I pointed out on Twitter that Mr Brink is being very vague and somewhat evasive about sales of OGL products going forward. This letter also skirted around the potential deauthorization of the OGL 1.0a. All we really know is all of the stuff previously published is safe and that WotC’s army of lawyers won’t come after any of the older stuff. But what about new product?

Am I still going to be able to publish 3.5 or 5E content going forward? Our ability to make dice, minis, etc is uncompromised. Okay, we knew that. But it didn’t mention pdf files or printed material. According to the statement, the ownership of our own content in unaffected. Good. Good, but still no mention of things printed next year or the week after the OGL 2.0 goes up.

I wasn’t worried about the VTTs and YouTube to be totally honest. Most D&D YouTubers are likely already in WotC’s back pocket OR completely enraged at WotC over the whole OGL thing. Old School Renaissance YouTubers straight up don’t care anyway if I had to guess.

The bit about the DMsGuild could be written off as a footnote, really. However…

So, here’s a winner of a transparency issue- What is the plan going forward for the DMsGuild, exactly. If the OGL undergoes a dramatic change, isn’t the DMsGuild going to be dramatically affected, too? I think there’s more going on behind the scenes at DMsGuild than we’re being told. But, that’s another article.

The comment itself about the DMsGuild sounded overconfident to me. It’s like, “We already own them, so who cares?” The DMsGuild Community Content Agreement is a slightly different animal and WotC is already in for a cut of the profits. As greedy as WotC seems to be these days, why aren’t they trying for a bigger cut of the DMsGuild profits? Hmm.

Royalties.

This was probably the most offensive part of all of the things in OGL 1.1. WotC was asking for a very large chunk of money from anyone making money off of D&D. The agreement took the biggest chunk of money out of anyone making $750,000 or more per project. Paizo, Kobold Press, Troll Lord Games, Goodman Games, and several other renowned ttrpg companies would have been devastated. The whole move was originally designed to target those companies specifically.

Personally, I found the revenue reporting requirement of OGL 1.1 to be too invasive. The rule that was being proposed was anyone making over $50K per year on D&D products would have to declare it through WotC. I really didn’t care for that plan and I’m happy if they never go through with it.

I noticed things were left out.

There was no mention of a signatory clause, meaning we might still have to sign off on the new OGL for it to be valid.

Just because we’re not reporting income doesn’t mean we don’t have to declare our project to WotC for approval.

They never truly addressed pdfs and print products specifically going forward. Glad those dice are safe, though. Whew.

We will retain our old content with no license back agreement- I can only see where that applies to the OGL 1.0a. There’s nothing to indicate what that looks like going forward.

This statement was also pretty vague regarding DMsGuild content. They could still change the Community Content Agreement. Maybe that’s where the money is going to get funneled. I’m still not convinced WotC won’t try to create a major profit funnel somewhere in this whole OGL process.

There isn’t any language indicating that the OGL 1.0a won’t ever be deauthorized or made irrevocable. All that was indicated was that the stuff already in print under OGL 1.0a would be safe. At least they chose not to open that can of worms. However, it’s still no indication of the terms in the new license. The last one was 9,000 words. They can slide a lot of shenanigans into that kind of legal document.

The bottom line is:

For Hasbro: More money. More players. AI DMs. Big subscription money. Heck, we don’t even know if WotC is going to print physical books at this point.

For WotC: Serve their Reptilian Hasbro Overlords, make tons of money, and try not to get caught and called out by thousands of fans because they lied. Try to salvage as much digital sales as possible. Promote the lifestyle brand as possible. If all that has been said is true, we the fans are still just an obstacle between Hasbro and our money.

For Fans/Players/DMs/Writers: We just want OGL 1.0a left alone. No big, shiny, new, slimy OGL that’s going to totally wreck our way of doing things in the TTRPG industry. Enough harm has already been done all around.

We want to be able to trust WotC again. I’m not saying whether or not it’s going to happen. Especially if things continue to trend the way it looks like they’re going to. WotC can’t apologize enough for some of us.

Yes, we all want inclusive play as much as anyone at WotC. If NuTSR (Justin LaNasa and Dave Johnson) hadn’t attempted to squat on the Star Frontiers IP with their racist, hateful nonsense, that might not have even come up. #Hadozee was just as big of an embarrassment for WotC. It’s kind of a non-issue in some regards.

Final thoughts on this one.

This whole apology from Kyle Brink, D&D Executive, is very simply public relations trying to salvage some kind of relationship with the thousands of people who cancelled D&D Beyond and get that precious revenue coming in again. This was all to address OGL concerns.

While the OGL is important, I think them threatening big changes was more than enough to damage the #ttrpgindustry. They still aren’t showing a heap of empathy toward anyone they hurt. I’d still love to see a list of their “core goals.”

Damn right the last couple of weeks have been hard on everyone, especially the fans. I know so many people have poured their artistic souls into the D&D game. I know I have. I don’t know if I can ever trust WotC again. They’re going to have to grovel for a very long time before I’m convinced they’re not a malevolent corporate entity. (*We all know how much I absolutely hate corporations at this point.)

It’s not over. WotC still has a lot going on past OGL issues. One D&D or #DnDONE as I call it, is still being developed. Or rather it has been developed and the surveys are just to affirm that they’re right about everything. As long as we tell WotC exactly what they want to hear, all is well. Dissenting opinions are a different animal entirely for WotC as they have shown.

I also suspect Hasbro/WotC are far from done trying to own the entire TTRPG industry or shut down anyone who doesn’t join. There are far more evil schemes than just tinkering with the OGL. There are a lot of NDAs, side deals, and corporate scheming that we haven’t really seen yet. Just wait. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Thanks for being here as always. Keep fighting the good fight. Be kind to one another including WotC employees. They can’t help that they have to be involved in this for the sake of feeding their families.

#OpenDnD
#DnDBeGone
#StoptheSub
#DnDONE

Wizards of the Coast- FAIL!

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

You think they’d learn.

They’re slapping the fans in the face again. The plan for the digital platform was leaked. $30 subscription fee? Death of the OGL. Banned homebrew at any tier?! Oh, and I was right about the AI Dungeon Master?!? Fer cryin out loud.

I know Hasbro/WotC see the fans/players/DMs as “obstacles to their money,” but this is NOT the way to go about it. Maybe if it was an action figure line aimed at nine year olds, sure. That’s how GI Joe and Transformers worked. But D&D? That’s absurd.

Confirmed by multiple sources on Twitter, etc.

It’s pretty damned obvious they don’t know what they’re doing.

Dear WotC/Hasbro:

Have you clowny bastards ever met a Dungeons & Dragons player? Ever actually seen the game? Do you know what the Dungeon Master does? Do you have any clue whatsoever what the Role Playing Game market looks like? Are you really this unbelievably fcking stupid?
Signed,
Angry Fans Everywhere.

Screw their subscription fee. I wouldn’t pay it if I had the money. It’s the rest of the bullsht that royally pisses me off.

I get that Monopoly is a Hasbro thing. Trying to Monopolize the entire RPG industry is complete lunacy. Hasbro might own some of its biggest competition with Renegade Games. But that model of Vampire/World of Darkness being the number two game in the industry is very 1995. Y’all missed the boat.

Trying to destroy the Open Game License 1.0A is just stupid at best. All WotC is doing is creating more and more competition. The game of D&D sparked a cottage industry. Hate to tell your bosses at Hasbro, but WotC is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the RPG scene. How about WotC goes back to peddling Magic: the Gathering cards? Maybe leave the RPG market to people who actually care about it? Just a thought.

No homebrew? WTAF is wrong with WotC?

The game is going on 50 years old and apparently the company who currently makes D&D has no clue what homebrew content is? Or how it works? Or they’ve been living in high-as-Hell McCorporate boardroom land way too long and have no actual clue how being a DM actually works.

Hate to tell you this, WotC, but fans built the game on homebrew. That red boxed set we all used to have? That was a toolkit and nothing more. The Player’s Handbook that you may have heard of? Toolkit. Dungeon Master’s guide? Toolkit. Monster Manual? Parts store.

See, the original creators of D&D never intended for the books to be all encompassing. AI DMs will NEVER be as good or as creative as live human beings. D&D is NOT a video game. It never was. WotC is stupid if they think we’re not going to continue to create our own worlds, adventures, sourcebooks, maps, and monsters. That’s what the game was built on!

I was right about the AI DM thing since before the OGL debacle broke.

I knew it was coming. The stuffed suits at WotC are more than predictable. Want more “players?” Eliminate DMs. (Because that’s where the money is made currently. DM shortage got ya down? AI is here to fix everything. Ffs. My conspiracy-laden article is here:

So WotC/Hasbro’s evil scheme is to totally monopolize the TTRPG market by destroying the OGL and eliminating those pesky Dungeon Masters. No more homebrew, no more problems. Right?

Nope. Not even close. Okay, we know Hasbro wants to treat D&D like a video game. And it might even transition for some of the kids that came in under the Critical Role banner. Good for them? I guess.

But the rest of us aren’t fooled so easily. I occasionally play a game of Fortnite. It’s not a TableTop Role Playing Game. It’s not even close. Unfortunately, Hasbro’s vision of the future is awful for many of us. It looks literally like Fortnite. We keep trying to tell WotC and Hasbro and they just. Don’t. Get. It.

The future of One D&D was supposed to be in the hands of the fans at one point.

I hate to say this, because normally I’m a huge fan of player input in game design. I’ve crafted tons of in-game ttrpg items by consulting my players and finding out what they want. The One D&D playtest even sorta started out seeking honest input, I guess. Maybe? But if WotC isn’t going to listen, they don’t deserve any input. #DnDONE.

But Hasbro and WotC have shown their very shtty true colors once again. It’s bloody obvious they do not care what the fans think about anything. They’ve had this plan to railroad One D&D down everyone’s throats from the beginning. The surveys are just a distraction tactic.

It may come down to WotC pitifully selling our Player’s Handbook via microtransactions on the new D&D Beyond site. (Whatever they’re calling it.) Looks like World of Warcraft to me. AI storytelling, outrageous subscription fee, microtransaction add-ons such as mounts and in-game cosmetic items. Looks like Fortnite, too. That’s not D&D. It never was.

Here’s what I see happening if Hasbro very ignorantly ignores all of the people trying to save the game. Screw WotC. We want D&D.

See, we technically have more than five prior editions of the game. Hasbro can’t run out and burn everyone’s old stuff. D&D is going to keep going as a game no matter what. We can do it without a new edition or the “One” edition or whatever. We’re going to still be playing older editions of D&D because it’s a game we enjoy. We don’t need shiny new phone apps to play a TABLETOP GAME!

Sure, make it so you think we can’t sell homebrew.

In case you’re oblivious, Hasbro, half of the #TTRPGIndustry has already started a rebellion. Congratulations, you just created more competition for WotC by monkeying around with the OGL. Not to mention the amount of damage done by talk of changes to the OGL.

Oh, that never crossed the minds of Mr Cocks and Ms Williams, I bet. OGL dependant projects cancelled. RPG company staff laid off. Freelance artists not commissioned. WotC actually hurt the industry they helped build up. And thousands upon thousands of angry fans cancelling subscriptions already. #DnDBeGone really chafes. Right, Hasbro.

So, maybe we don’t sell D&D 5E supplements and adventures going forward. Hello. Have you met a lot of DMs and writers for OGL products? They’re going to keep making cool stuff and probably even sell it right under your noses, WotC. Hasbro/WotC doesn’t have enough lawyers on Earth to track down every distinctive likeness and every copyright violation. Alternative products and alternative names are already well in the works.

#ORCLicense. It’s going to be a thing. Best get used to not being the only game in town, WotC. Paizo had your number when 4th Ed flopped, and they have it again now. Get used to being number two or three. Kudos to Kobold Press and others for doing the right thing.

Final thoughts.

Someone on YouTube mentioned it. Bloggers like me are NEVER going to let Hasbro/WotC live any of this down. We’re a vocal and unforgiving lot. D&D YouTubers and bloggers have a very, very good memories when it comes to things like the OGL, corporate shenanigans, and outright disrespect.

WotC, we tried to fix all your little screwups with 5E and you didn’t listen.
WotC, we the fans tried to save you the pain of the OGL debacle, and you didn’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro, we began #StopTheSub and #DnDBeGone to the tune of 40,000+ cancelled subscriptions last I checked, and you still won’t listen.
Heck, a lot of well-meaning fans like me are actually trying to help save the game of D&D and you’re not listening.
Hasbro, we tell you the demands on WotC, the price points, and the OGL are stupidly unreasonable. You don’t listen.
WotC/Hasbro- you issue ignorant statements. We, the fans get leaks of even more ignorant statements and get a huge, fiery reaction that you still won’t hear.

We, the fans, are passionate about TTRPGs and D&D specifically. WotC is never going to corner the market on creativity. They’re never going to corner the market on fun, shared, storytelling experiences with dice. When are the stuffy old suits at Hasbro/WotC going to figure it out?

Some big, stupid manupid new Unreal Engine digital platform that’s overpriced and riddled with microtransactions is just going to drive the TTRPG Community further from your reach, WotC. Hasbro and WotC are going to continue to bleed money until they figure out they can’t just tell the fans what to do and vacuum money from our pockets. Especially while they’re working hard on the other end to ruin several people’s livelihoods. When are they going to get a clue?

That’s all I’ve got for now, family. I love my #ttrpgfamily. I eat, sleep, drink, and breathe RPGs from the moment I get up in the morning when I’m not dealing with my kids. I love nothing more than to see good, kind hearted independent creators doing what they love. Please, let’s all keep it rolling.

Dear Wizards of the Coast (Part 3)…

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I grew up playing D&D, reading Marvel comics, and watching professional wrestling.

Would you like to know how I’d really like to end this dispute? Steel cage match between myself and Chris, the Punchline Writes Itself, Cocks! To quote the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage, “We’re doing this right now. Somebody ring the bell!”

Alas, my kung fu skills and pro wrestling moves will not be put to the test this day. I wasn’t kidding about Chris Cocks. His Hasbro bio is linked here if you don’t believe me. We’re all trying so hard to restrain ourselves from the obvious dck jokes and other juvenile puns around this man’s last name. Glad he’ll never read this.

If 2022 has taught me anything, it’s the power of Grognard.

Back to the wrestling analogy- “Cocks! I’m gonna be doin this until I’m a hundred and two years old. I ain’t goin anywhere. They’ll have to pry my dice from my cold, wrinkled, old hands. Roll for Initiative!”

Oh, oh crap. Is “initiative” a trademarked term? Is it cool under the System Resource Document? Is WotC’s hit ninja lawyer squad going to charge the ring? <gasp> Oh noes. I might have violated OGL 1.1 in all of its assanine glory and gotten myself thoroughly cancelled. Only I ain’t signed nothin, brother.

See, I’ve been a roleplaying gamer since about 1982. You can take away OGL 1.0. Sure. Great. Whatever. You can enstate some sort of long-winded legal bullsht. That’s fine. I’ll still find an RPG out there to play and enjoy. It just won’t be D&D. WotC can kiss my butt.

And, sorry to tell you this, Ms Williams and Mr Cocks, but there are thousands of guys just like me out there who will be shouting down your One D&D brand as well. Much of the ttrpg industry WotC is trying to control or squash was propped up on the OGL. Your lifestyle mega brand plans for One D&D are probably going to be pretty weak at the rate you’re going. May as well call it, “D&DOne.”

Someone may have misled you to the delusion that all the D&D fans are somehow the young crowd that the antics of Critical Role brought into the game.

Only problem is, the game of D&D, (the thing the crafters of Open Game License 1.1 seem to have forgotten,) is much older than 5E. I was running D&D when Matt Mercer was still a twinkle in his mommy and daddy’s eyes. Y’all at WotC better figure out real quick that yes, there ARE other editions of the D&D game. Cripes, WotC even sells them over on the OneBookShelf sites. Ya ought to know by now. You should know better by now.

Wizards of the bloody Coast wasn’t even a company when some of of started running D&D games. Yeah, Adkinson got some clout with Magic: the Gathering back when and acquired T$R when it was most vulnerable. I promise you. No matter how much the erroneous fools at WotC think they understand D&D in terms of demographics? They don’t know enough. They don’t know the TTRPG industry.

If D&D goes the way of OGL 1.1? Does WotC have any clue what’s going to happen next? Entire game companies have already stated they have new, non-WotC OGL games in the works. One D&D is going to have so much competition on the market that WotC better pray they sell a lot of D&D t-shirts, because their D&D game is going to be in the dumpster fire faster than 4th Edition.

You want more player money because D&D is “under monetized.”

Yes, we want D&D to make money. 5E was due for an edition change. Okay. We, the fans, understand that WotC employees are people with families to feed, too.

But for God’s sakes, why did WotC have to be so awfully ruthless with OGL 1.1? Did they really foresee wiping out half the industry and putting dozens of independent writers out of business with it? Was that the evil plan all along?

Does anyone at Wizards of the Court/Lawyers of the Coast remember the last time so much ill will was shown toward the fans. 4th Edition? Fans and writers being taken to court right and left for Intellectual Property disputes? No, no one at WotC nowadays seems to have any clue. That’s how we got here with OGL 1.1.

I dare say WotC is going to have to do a LOT of fence mending and spin doctoring to get fan trust or even loyalty back. Even then, a lot of us old guys, the ones who regularly talk about the Old School Renaissance movement, are never going to trust WotC again. (In fairness, they might not have before.) What’cha gonna do, WotC? What’cha gonna do when the OSR runs wild on you?

A regular network of OSR gamers has sprouted up around the OGL 1.0. Yes, many of them have blogs and YouTube channels. One such channel even seems to think they don’t need an OGL and are telling people to keep rolling without it. I wish them well in the future. BUT, the OSR is a strong TTRPG subculture and a force to be reckoned with.

Say what you will about the #OSR movement, they do have some things going in their favor.

WotC should really have done some research before they OGL 1.1 was written. The OSR movement has built some really great D&D style retro clone games. The best part is- many of their games are free downloads or really cheap in print form. OGL 1.0 is the reason the OSR was started in the first place. The OSR will still be distributing a game similar to D&D (without signing any agreement) for FREE for decades to come.

Would WotC like to know the difference between 5E and the OSR? I bet they would know if they ever played the game before 5E. See, a lot of OSR style retroclones are built on the old B/X Moldvay D&D. Oh, WotC doesn’t see editions? Well, wish you’d sure as hell seen that one. Because old school Basic/Expert D&D is far simpler, far easier to grasp, more adaptable, and easier to introduce new players to the game. Y’all kids don’t get it.

I can literally make a Basic style D&D character almost from memory with a few minor exceptions in less than 5 minutes and be ready to play. Try that with 5E. A basic style character takes fraction of the effort to make and can still be just as dramatic.

What’s that, WotC? One D&D characters are going to be all online? Like Fortnite that uses the same Unreal Engine? Hmm. It’s almost like WotC doesn’t understand the TABLETOP part of TTRPG. Wonder if dice are even still going to be part of the character creation process. What about character sheets? Or do we just buy skins like in Fortnite.

Shredding the industry by ruining the OGL and all of the good faith that came with it is just going to cost WotC a bunch of money.

Good luck with the witch hunt to find out who leaked OGL 1.1, btw. They did the industry a favor. They might have done it as a part of a cunning plan at WotC. I’m not sure what cheesing off thousands or even a million fans would do to make more money. Gawrsh, I sure hope Mr Cocks has been briefed on the plan.

Making a smart move look dumb is exactly the kind of thing an evil mastermind might do divert attention from true genius. Or whatever plan WotC had for OGL 1.1 was just plain stupid and evil to begin with. But maybe that’s what an evil genius would have us think? We’ll never know for sure.

WotC is digging a hole so deep with OGL 1.1 that they don’t even realize it yet. All of the tons of OGL 1.0 licensed product is never going away just because we can’t legally produce more. I’m not going to burn all of my dozens of third party 3E and 5E books just because we can’t sell new ones. The older editions of the game aren’t going away just because some new, shiny video game D&D gets released in 2024.

What’s the best that can happen, WotC?

WotC has yet to release an official statement as of yet. There was a Tweet from DnD Beyond that they would be making a statement… super helpful, guys. I’ll have much more to say about the statement by WotC and the OGL 1.1 document itself after I finish reading it and all of its legalese corporatized jargon. RPGs are sometimes like learning a new language. RPG legalese is like learning a dead language in reverse.

Thanks for stopping in. More to come. I can’t believe the last few days have really happened.

Warm Handaxe.

The axe also comes with a bit of personality. First, it has been known to cause random items to burst into flames. It will allow itself to be left outside of libraries, manor houses, and art galleries.

The pyroclastic origins of this item are the subject of much speculation in taverns where adventurers gather.

For use with Dungeon Crawl Classics and similar D20 system RPGs.

This Fiery Handaxe is often the bane of forests and wooden buildings. Its very presence in an area of dry wood or grass could be the start of conflagration. The axe is tame as long as it remains in its special sheath. However, in the hands of a bonded (attuned) user, it is capable of defeating large numbers of enemies in a single fight.

This +1, (+3 vs Corporeal Undead and Trolls) Hand/Throwing Axe deals an extra 1d4 Fire damage on a successful hit. A successful hit will ignite the target for 1d4 Fire damage per turn for 1d3 turns unless extinguished. It also has a 15% chance to ignite nearby flammable objects on contact.

When not in use, the owner may speak a command word to put the axe out so it may be stored. When lifted from its sheath, another command word ignites it again.

The axe has four minor powers that it will reveal to its bonded (attuned) owner.

  • When ignited, it acts as a torch.
  • When sheathed it keeps the owner warm and dry down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit as if they were standing near a campfire.
  • Returns to the user with a command word when unsheathed (as a Free Action.)
  • Can be used to start any campfire or other small fire magically even if the wood or other suitable material is wet. Also suitable for candles and torches.

The axe also has a special power:
Once per turn command, the axe can be hurled toward and enemy as it turns into a miniature fireball that travels in a straight line and strikes one target unerringly dealing 3d8 damage + 1d4 burning for 1d3 rounds. The target may make a Reflex (Dex or Spell) Save at DC 12 for half damage and no burning effect. The little fireball travels up to 60 feet before returning automatically. If used in this manner, the axe returns to the wielder red hot, doing 1d4 Heat damage when caught. It stays red hot for 1d3 rounds. The owner can refuse to catch it until it cools.

This special power may only be used 3 times per day (long rest.)

The axe also comes with a bit of personality. First, it has been known to cause random items to burst into flames. It will allow itself to be left outside of libraries, manor houses, and art galleries.

Second, while it has never spoken it does seem to be listening to its owner’s conversations If it doesn’t like what it is being told to do, it might not ignite or grant use of its powers. On the other hand, it is aggressive- almost zealous anger toward corporeal undead and trolls.

Last, it absolutely hates being wet. It is best cleaned with oil and a cloth before and after use as long as there is no water. It may refuse to function as a weapon in torrential rain, underwater, or heavy snow. It will always keep the owner warm and dry, however.

it is speculated that there may be a companion piece of some sort to this item. It might be a cold pick or another fiery axe of some kind. The blacksmith that forged the axe may even still be alive somewhere in a northern climate.

Wizards of the Coast Wants More Money.

Apparently, the nice people that run the corporate end of Dungeons & Dragons see all of us as walking dollar signs. $$$ Allow me to speculate on what might be coming in 2024.

A December 9th articles says Dungeons & Dragons, “…is really under-monetized.

This is the link to the article on Comicbook.com. You can find similar coverage elsewhere. I’m not going to rehash the entire article here, but I want to comment on one thing I think a lot of RolePlaying Game pundits are missing. (*Spoiler Alert: I am NOT going to say “Oh, just play Old School Renaissance.”)
Here’s the link to the article:
https://comicbook.com/gaming/news/wizards-of-the-coast-presidents-believes-dungeons-dragons-is-really-under-monetized/?s=09

WotC wants/needs to make more money for parent company, Hasbro.

This may come as a shock to some, but WotC is Hasbro’s property. Dungeons & Dragons, as much as we all truly love it, is no different to Hasbro than Hungry Hungry Hippos or Acquire. They won’t give a second thought about dropping it like a hot rock if it stops making the kind of money they want to see coming in. That’s the underlying foundation of what this meeting with Hasbro and the article is really about. This was WotC basically trying to wow the Hasbro stockholders.

The recent dip in Hasbro stock prices was largely pinned on Magic: the Gathering and D&D sales declines. If I had stock in Hasbro, I would be nervous, too. Long time gamers have seen what we thought were perfectly healthy companies in the industry fall apart seemingly overnight. D&D isn’t being threatened with extinction yet.

If WotC doesn’t show that they can produce? D&D could be gone. Or WotC could be downsized. Or D&D could get handed off to Renegade Games, the other Hasbro RPG company. By the end of Fiscal Year 2024, D&D could look a lot different and I don’t just mean the edition changes.

The other thing I think we’re overlooking.

I understand what they’re doing with the four quadrant brand. They want us drinking from our Taco Bell promotional D&D cups, wearing the latest shirt with a beholder on it, while watching the new Forgotten Realms TV show before we hop online and play the RPG or whatever Baldur’s Gate MMO video game that just came out. It’s nothing new, really. Look at what they have done in the past with My Little Pony, for example.

It’s good that they want to make money. As much as I chastise them about their practices, I get that WotC employees have families to feed. I’d want to make my brand, my company’s game the hottest thing on the market too if I was getting paid by WotC.

But here’s the thing we’re overlooking: WotC is wanting to put all the money in their own pockets. They don’t want to hand money off to game distributors, game stores, third party Virtual TableTop licenses, websites such as DriveThruRPG, and Amazon. Odd for a game that is played mostly in person, but they’re looking to change that.

They have specifically said that Dungeon Masters are 20% of their profits. They aren’t worried about us DMs and the rabid fanbase that buys every book and boxed set without question. They want more “players” spending money on D&D products. They seem to be disregarding the DM: the person that puts the session together.

Look at what they don’t seem to be concerned with.

They’re not worried about basic things like, the game itself. I really got the impression they’re solely concerned with the brand. They want to blow D&D up into a fad. While we’re headed into see the newest D&D movie, let’s pick up our D&D scented toilet paper.

The game? There’s a roleplaying game? Ohh you must mean the video game. Or their VTT/video game that uses the Unreal Engine. Have you seen latest the Elf Sorceress skin in the shop? She’s cool, but her back bling is pretty mopey. (*That’s what microtransactions look like in Fortnite, btw.)

WotC seems less concerned about the actual RPG than they are about getting money flowing in from merchandise, video games, and movies. This also means they could give a rip less about what goes into the actual RPG. All avenues lead to their (subscription) website which will be D&D Beyond with a different name. I suspect the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual might be buried behind some sort of paywall and the print copies with seem novel because of the canon rules changes online. (*That’s just speculation, though.) They want players especially to be coming back for more.

What they’re not addressing speaks volumes.

The other thing WotC seems to be dodging the issue of the Open Game License. I realize they wouldn’t mention it to stockholders, but I think it’s becoming more and more obvious. They don’t intend to have an OGL for the next edition. The current (5E down to 3E) will still remain. One D&D will likely not if I have to guess.

I really get the impression that they’re aiming to have no one outside of WotC and their licensees to be making D&D content and selling it. They will literally control everything and all funnels flow straight to them. They want players spending money on officially licensed D&D products, not the DMs Guild or a third party site. Just my take, though. Nowhere in the discussion of quadrants did we hear anything about fan based products.

Basically, if you want to make D&D content, it’s going to be like the pre-OGL days of T$R. You can make new D&D content for free and distribute it privately. If you want to do things for older editions the OGL will still be valid and sellable, but it won’t be useful for the One D&D and all of its digital hoo-ha.

I’m not trying to dis WotC. I mean, yay D&D. Right? We still love the game. It’s what the folx at WotC are counting on. We’re all walking dollar signs to them.

One last thought before I go.

Has WotC stopped to consider the people that run their RPG? No, not the writers. Have they thought about Dungeon Masters? If we’re a solid game-buying crowd and they begin neglecting us in favor of other avenues of income? They think there’s a DM shortage now, just wait.

They also don’t seem to be concerned about game content, which is odd. They can only promote the equivalent of a Christmas ornament for so long before the fans realize the thing is hollow. If there’s no content and fewer DMs driving that content, what are they thinking is going to happen?

I guess if we thought the AI art craze was bad we’re really going to sht bricks when the AI DM craze takes off. Don’t think they’ll do it? They want more players spending money. D&D is becoming a virtual tabletop experience using the Unreal Engine. There’s already supposedly a DM shortage. I dunno. What if?

The AIs could be trawling the Internet looking for me.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. If I suddenly turn up missing, we’ll know my theory about AI DMs hit too close to home. (LOL!)

This Can’t Be Real

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

This job would be a dream come true for someone.

I’m still not 100% certain this isn’t a hoax or some kind of ruse to get people hyped up about One D&D. Something seems terribly off to me about this. My other thought is that they’ve probably already made their selection, but had to post the position publicly as some sort of McCorporate legal formality.

It’s been suggested by a former WotC employee that the public posting is just a formality and that the post is already filled. As a former employee of a big, scummy company myself, I’ve seen this type of behavior already. I feel it’s somewhat sickening. Why torment potential job seekers in this manner? It borders on cruel, even sadistic.

Here’s a link to the full posting:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/wizardsofthecoast/jobs/6517250002?fbclid=IwAR100Ed4L65Rxva5bnenZryLFn1FlikyBPAwNlbK0rbDKG2GYFNuI0dkFNM&mibextid=S66gvF&s=09

The posting describes a lot about the job, and some of what they’re planning for One D&D.

I’m fortunate in that I’m a small blog, of no real consequence to Wizards of the Coast or Hasbro. I doubt they’ll notice a tiny mite like me nipping at the heels of the McCorporate mega giant that they are. It’d be just short of a miracle if I hear back on the application I sent. I’m sure I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands of would-be applicants.

I wonder if they even blinked before they deleted my application. I mean, tell me they didn’t already have this filled. And what tabletop gamer in his/her/their right mind wouldn’t want this job? Here: put together One D&D and possibly a bunch of stuff to go with it.

The last bullet point on the list makes me crazy above all the rest. I’m sure every Old Grognard in the gaming community probably thought much the same. Tell me you’re discriminating based on age without actually discriminating based on age.

“Grow and evolve our IP to attract new audiences, including younger demographics…

Maybe my grasp of McCorporate speak is rusty, but that sounds a lot like they don’t want anyone over the age of 35 in charge of this thing. I’ll be curious to see who they had picked out for this thing. I’m sure it’ll be a fresh young face, right? Maybe I’m old and going a bit daffy with age, but I really don’t feel like I’d be a good fit.

That line about “Create a team and IP that is rich, diverse and constantly evolving…” made me laugh, too. In other words, they don’t just want the same old white guys doing the same old medieval European stuff we’ve been doing for the last almost 50 years. Which is great, but in terms of a hiring qualification? WotC was an Equal Opportunity Employer last I checked.

It’s the Internet, I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

But wait, there’s more:

If the job description wasn’t nauseating enough, you should see what they want for qualifications. Dear God, they practically want someone ready to step in as head of Hasbro, much less D&D. You know what they say about the Internet- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This is a fabulous example:

The thing I find most incredulous about this whole list of requirements is that they want qualifications that none of the original founders of T$R could have possibly possessed. It almost sounds like they want a PhD in Business and 10+ years in charge of a Fortune 500 company and oh, have you maybe heard of Dungeons & Dragons 5E. (*Notice not a word about prior editions.)

It sounds to me as if WotC doesn’t want anyone they haven’t already groomed for this position within their own ranks. Disgusting, if you ask me. McCorporate favoritism or even nepotism at its most nauseating. It’s almost as if the “Creative” part of the job is the furthest thing from their minds.

If this is what WotC wants for their company, that’s on them. It’s their call to make, sure. What I find most disturbing about everything in this job listing is what it says for the game. To me it sounds like screw anyone who isn’t totally up-to-date with their corporate mindset, culture, and part of the new generation of D&D. (*Again I say tell me you’re discriminating on basis of age without telling me you’re discriminating on basis of age.)

Damnit. It’s about the game. The GAME of D&D.

I’m passionate about TTRPGs in general and D&D as well. I eat, sleep, breathe, and write about gaming every day. Every. Day. I make no pretensions about being qualified for any position at WotC, much less this one that’s posted.

Do I really want to see D&D go down the path it’s currently on? Hell naw! Basically, they’re telling us they want something that looks vaguely like D&D only completely integrated as a phone app, social media platform, website, and PC game (*possibly console, too.)

They might be willing to put out rulebooks? Maybe? But fear not, they’ll only sell the physical books and electronic copies through their exclusive website. One D&D is starting to sound a lot less like D&D all the time. (Just my nutty take, though.)

IF there’s an up side to any of this, it sounds like someone might finally give us a new setting for the first time in decades. Maybe, just maybe someone will finally abandon Forgotten Realms as the main D&D setting. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if they put out something completely new? Bring exploration back to the game.

Parting shots of a defeated old guy.

I understand now, probably more than ever, why so many older avid roleplayers are shying away from D&D than ever before. I am starting to understand the amassing heaps of criticism and negative banter about Wizards of the Coast and D&D in particular. This job posting, with all it indicates about the company’s attitude, is part of what makes me want to go back to retro clones and other editions of the D&D game. Or just go back to focusing in gaming, period.

I’m a tabletop gamer first and a businessman last. (*Or not at all business anything.) Sure, who wouldn’t love to be at the reigns of the next rendition of D&D? Seriously. How many of us dreamed for years of filling the shoes of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, or Ed Greenwood? (*I’d even say Monte Cook, Sean Reynolds, or any other noteworthy T$R/D&D alumni.)

Yes, I’d rather be running a game or writing one. Sure, who wouldn’t like a big ol’ salary and an office. That’s what we’re told is the dream in capitalist society at a very young age. It’s just not my particular jam. But this job is supposed to be “Head of Creative (Dungeons & Dragons.)” For cryin out loud, the last three words in that title say it all. Creative. Dungeons & Dragons. That’s my dream.

That was my dream, anyway. I’m working on coming up with a slightly newer improved dream for myself. I’m always going to be a TTRPG guy for however long I’m still on the Earth in this adorable, loveable, physical form.

I hope whoever gets the big title at WotC does right by it. I’d be low key impressed if I heard back from WotC on my application, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s really a neat idea for a job, no matter how far-fetched.

I’m still working on that million dollar idea. I’m still innovating and creating here. Maybe I’ll hit Gygaxian status someday.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good week. Good luck if you applied at WotC for anything.

More Culture/Subculture Clash in D&D.

I’m going to try to break this down and get into why inclusivity is important in the Dungeons & Dragons fan community and the larger tabletop RPG community as a whole. Bigotry needs to stop. Gatekeeping needs to stop.

How did I not see this coming?

Of course Wizards of the Coast announcing the change of “Races” to “Species” in One D&D has caused an absolute uproar among the Old Grognards and edgelords in the #ttrpgcommunity. Why not? It’s one more thing to freak out about. We couldn’t possibly have a nice, calm, quiet, pleasant holiday season without some kind of major uproar in the gaming community. Could we?

This is me.

It’s a little hard for me to chime in on this given I’m a.) older; b.) White; c.) presumed cishet since I have 4 kids; d.) presumed conservative; and e.) presumed Christian (*Because I’m a white guy in Iowa. You’d think we non-Christian liberals would have all fled the state by now.) I find it makes it a little hard to chime in when the TableTop RolePlaying Game Old School Revival/Renaissance/Re-whatever subculture starts popping off of the latest changes in Dungeons & Dragons.

News Flash: Wizards of the Coast owns Dungeons & Dragons.
Let that sink in for a moment. It’s well known fact. It’s their game. It’s their intellectual property.

WotC is free to do as they please with their intellectual property. We can cry all day about the changes. It’s not going to matter.

We can change anything we want at our own tables. There are no D&D nomenclature police that will come to your house and tell you how to run your game. Use whatever terms you like at home with your group. WotC does not care what you do at home in your basement with your group. WotC changes official rules, terms, names, etc. You never have to use them in your own private gaming group if you don’t want to.

It was inevitable that changing “Races” to “Species” would cause an uproar in the D&D and RPG communities.

I think it took all of seconds for people to go barking mad about the changes. We got to hear the litany of:

You can’t tell me how to run my game.
I’m just going to play older editions.
Stupid woke kids and their stupid woke game.
It’s not even D&D any more.
Everything since Third Edition is just garbage.
Liberals are ruining the game.
If you can’t handle it, you should make your own game.
Just play Pathfinder.

It makes me laugh because these kinds of comments come from roughly the same bunch of people every stinkin time. You see it on social media, YouTube, blogs, and in comments on other peoples’ posts too.

There’s been some positive feedback.

I have seen some constructive comments aimed at WotC by people who mean well for the game. Whether WotC is listening might be another story for later. Overall, the D&D fans seem to be of the consensus that “species” is okay, but origin, ancestry, or legacy might sound better.

Really it doesn’t matter what they end up calling it. As long as we know elf from human from beholderkin, who cares? WotC and a large part of the D&D fan base have all agreed that the term “race” had to go. We have too many issues involving race in the real world just among humans.

Some Sociological/Anthropological perspective.

I’ll put up a more detailed table somewhere down the road, but here’s how I kinda break it down:

The tabletop RPG community as a whole is a culture unto itself. We all recognize the common trappings, items, language, common customs, smaller social groupings within the whole, and so forth. Right?

From there we get circles within circles that make a standard Venn diagram look like someone was testing a bingo dauber. It gets a little complicated quickly.

Let’s take what I call the D&D subculture as a large grouping underneath the TTRPG community. There are still a LOT of people still within this group. D&D turns 50 years old soon. At this stage, anyone who participates in or identifies with any edition of D&D or its various retro clones can still be considered a part of the D&D fan community.

So far nothing exclusive or cliquish has come up. It’s till a fairly large group that you could find at a convention, on social media, or even on a Saturday at the friendly local game store. We all love RPGs. We all like or have at least played D&D. Then from there it starts getting tricky.

(*I don’t have definitive numbers nor have I done any kind of official study on this subject, so please be kind.)

More on this tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by. I promise there’s more to unpack on this topic.

Where 5E of the World’s Most Famous RPG Loses Me. Part 3.

I’m not doing anything to try to get hired by WotC. Not sure I’d take that job if it were offered. Yes, they need input from one of us “Old Grogs” as we’re called online these days. Someone needs to provide WotC with feedback that’s not focused on the younger, new player demographic. They don’t seem too interested.

This article is not part of an open letter to Wizards of the Coast, but for my own peace of mind.

WARNING: Long rant ahead. Sorry. Big topic to cover.

I honestly hope someone at Wizards of the Coast at least noticed the previous two articles. While I’m not 100% sure they did, I honestly did intend to give some feedback. I guess we’ll see what happens.

I know I’ve said a lot about D&D 5E and One D&D. The game has gravitated away from some of its roots and pillars. I’ve seen a lot of cases as a Dungeon Master where the game is not longer oriented toward exploring the wilds; searching out vast underground complexes; battling monsters; and bringing home big piles of loot.

Instead, what we seem to be getting (officially) is a lot of really deep; overly dramatic; intense emotional; statistically advantaged characters. It’s like going to acting class with dice. There’s so little DM crunch and challenging involvement that it’s like going to a movie with my DM screen in front of me. It’s not quite the game that it used to be.

I wanted to make it clear to WotC that I’m not doing this for my own personal gain.

I’ve been running D&D and other RolePlaying Games for 40+ years. I was born in 1972. Coincidentally, so was D&D. I wish I could have gotten involved sooner, but <confused elementary school kid noises.> Still, I’ve seen a lot of gameplay. I’ve spent a long time behind the DM Screen. I’ve also been forehead deep in other RPGs that wouldn’t even exist were it not for original D&D.

I’m not doing anything to try to get hired by WotC. Not sure I’d take that job if it were offered. Yes, they need input from one of us “Old Grogs” as we’re called online these days. Someone needs to provide WotC with feedback that’s not focused on the younger, new player demographic. They don’t seem too interested.

Furthermore, I don’t think you could pay me enough to hang with all of the “big corporate teams” in all of their meetings. The feedback they’re supposedly getting from fans right now? To me it looks like they’re just seeking a bunch of head nods and hand waves on their new ideas. If I had to bet, the thing is already in the can, ready to go.

We know I don’t do corporate anything. I probably wouldn’t touch Paizo, Wizkids, Fantasy Flight, Catalyst, or any number of other fairly large RPG/Wargaming producers either. I just don’t like the mentality. I get that all businesses want to make money. Their growth is good, but it’s not in my value set the way it is in corporate <gag!> culture.

My last job was at a Fortune 500 company. Unfortunately, not as a writer. But the mentality of the people in charge made me physically and mentally ill. Still to this day I absolutely refuse to put myself in that type of situation ever again. I’m not joking when I say I have PTSD over that sh*te.

Disclaimer: Statements expressed in this article are strictly my opinion. If you disagree or have a different opinion, that’s okay. I’m not an expert on everything. I’m not always right. I’m just writing from my experience as I know it. Your mileage may vary.

Their (WotC’s) new One D&D approach is to supposedly integrate all editions, emphasis on 5E.

Let’s be clear about race, age, etc. I don’t honestly care who they get to provide feedback from a more Old School Renaissance approach. OSR is based on original D&D whether WotC likes it or not. Some of us (Old Gamers) really love those fast and loose older rules sets.

5E just doesn’t have the same feel to it that older editions had. Death does not lurk around every corner for the characters. Everyone seems to want to be all Critical Role Actual Play podcast. That’s great if that’s what you’re into. (Again, MY opinion.)

5E/Critical Role has been wonderful for introducing new players to the hobby. That’s really wonderful. (No sarcasm intended.) I think the innovations in the hobby over the last 10 years or so have been amazing. Virtual TableTop games, video conferencing, and cell phone apps are great. 2020, the year best left unnamed, gave us a greater sense of internet gameplay. Cool.

Here is where one of my biggest concerns about One D&D comes in.

IF/F (If and only iF) everything D&D goes virtual and all distribution of physical product goes strictly through their website, as has been suggested numerous times by WotC, Friendly Local Game Stores are going to evaporate. IF/F VTT D&D using the Unreal Engine becomes the preferred method of gameplay because the books, character avatars, dice, and everything else goes virtual- in-person gameplay is going to dry up. Conventions are going to dry up. WotC does not care.

Hooray for profits. Remember all of those little game shops that ran events and put you (WotC) on the map? No? It shows. I wish Hasbro cared more. All they’re seeing is the bottom line and not the people or the game. Someone is sitting in their office right now thinking, “Yeah. But think of all those profits.”

I think it’s pretty sad, but what do I know? I’m just a guy with a blog. I’m just a guy who liked D&D up until August 2022.

I have one last article in this series that I want to discuss. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you!

Game World Creation Journal Revised

And I have a TON of ideas. Heck, I’ve got ideas for getting more ideas. Creativity fountain for days. I have that in spades, hexagons, even. Heh heh… makin up my own card suits. See?

I won’t lie. I start a lot of projects. I don’t necessarily finish them. I get sidetracked rather easily. Okay, more like derailed. No promises on this one, but it’s a set of ideas that’s been brewing for ages now.

And I have a TON of ideas. Heck, I’ve got ideas for getting more ideas. Creativity fountain for days. I have that in spades, hexagons, even. Heh heh… makin up my own card suits. See?

My latest venture, among others, is creating my own Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign world. I have some challenges to overcome. I also have a ton of cool stuff I want to do, probably more than I can fit into one book or even one world. I get really excited because they’re all things I’ve wanted to do for years and years.

I have all these cool plans for kingdoms. Challenge: Mapping. I’m building it as open sandbox for now. I’m having my own little group of characters explore random hexes as we go. The cities, settlements, and kingdoms will be there when they’re discovered.

I have all these neat ideas for various race/culture combos. Challenge: Fitting everything on a map and still having characters discover them. Races have been controversial as of late. Do we even call them races any more? This is mostly an OSR issue. Maybe it’s time to borrow a page from Pathfinder 2e and D&D 5E?

I want to add a bunch of game mechanics including new classes, spells, deities. Challenge: Players are going to freak out. Possibly in a good way, but still. Am I literally trying to reinvent the wheel here? Maybe. It’s like Advanced Dungeon Crawl Classics or something.

Classes are one of my favorite things to tinker with. Challenge: How will players and Judges react to certain traditional classes and items being tossed out? I want to bring some old school D&D rules in. How’s that going to go over? Moreover what’s already been done before. DCC has a long and rich history.

I think world design and campaign design should break certain rules and go outside the guidelines. Creativity isn’t about stressing over who’s getting offended today. Maybe coming up with new ways of NOT stressing the audience out, sure.

So my plan here is to simply start the damn thing and see it all the way through. It may take me 20 years and be published after my death, but hey- we’ll get there. More to come as I develop it. Prepare to be freaked out, possibly.

Originally, I was going to do this with D&D 5E, but… where’s that edition going to be one year from now? I think I’m backing off of 5E until the dust settles a bit. Let’s be honest, that particular market is getting oversaturated anyway.

Thanks for stopping by. There’s a lot more coming. I appreciate you!

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