Wizards of the Coast Invites Creators.

The OGL Scandal of 2023 continues as Bob World Builder gets an email invitation to the first ever Content Creator Summit; a gathering of elite, cherry-picked YouTubers who talk about D&D. They get to hang out at WotC HQ, meet with the team, and eat on the company’s dime. Woot! Who wouldn’t want to go?

On March 8th, Bob World Builder received an invitation to the first ever “Content Creator Summit.”

Here’s Bob’s video in case you are wondering.

I gotta say, I’m pretty jealous. I mean, who doesn’t love to be wined and dined by a large corporation? Who wouldn’t want to go and hobnob with the D&D creative staff and/or the “Creator Relations Team” as they’re now calling it? Bob is right. The chance is too awesome to pass up.

I’m sure Bob won’t be the only one. Ginny Di is no stranger to WotC HQ. I wouldn’t be surprised if the other Kyle Brink interviewers get to go. I suspect Guy from How to Be a Great GM will be there given he’s basically on WotC’s payroll already. There will probably be a few other guests we don’t know about yet. Good for them, eh?

If WotC truly wants to get to know the whole community, they’re still not trying hard enough.

Obviously I’m just a guy with a blog. I have a small, but loveable number of readers. (*I love you all.) I’m pretty sure if Wizards decided they wanted to fly me out to Washington where I’ve always wanted to visit, put me up in a nice hotel, fed me, and let me hang out? I wouldn’t have to think twice. My suitcase is already packed. I’d even start a YouTube channel just for them.

We all know it’s not likely to happen. It’s kind of a shame they’re only limiting themselves to YouTubers so far. Does WotC know their fanbase extends beyond YouTube and Twitter? Obviously they never read my blog. (Prove me wrong. I DARE you!) In fact, my guess is they ignore the blogosphere and the hundreds of articles written about them the same way they pretty much ignore conventions.

If they were doing everything right, the Creator Summit would be completely superfluous and unnecessary.

I’ll echo the sentiment of a few others. If WotC was still sending a team to conventions and mingling with us peasants, they wouldn’t have to wonder what the TTRPG community thinks of them and some of their nonsense. People are dreadfully honest at conventions sometimes. WotC might actually *gasp* hear something “negative” about what they’re doing. (I think I just heard half of Kyle Brink’s team pee their pants in fright just now.)

Honestly, I don’t handle criticism well, either. I get it. For a dude with kind of a big ego, I really am pretty fragile and sensitive when it comes to criticism. Gonna have that chat with my therapist later again today. So I get it that WotC doesn’t want to hear the critiques of thousands of fans.

On the other hand, WotC is a large, faceless, unfeeling corporate entity under the thumb of an even larger, scummier corporation. We don’t really see much of a human face on anything they do despite the dozens of names in the credits. They’re only as good as the McPropaganda Kyle Brink is told to spew by the PR people. (Yeah, someone has to pick on Kyle a little. Mercer can tell you I’m a big softie, though. LOL!)

WotC can handle a bad review. They aren’t going to go belly up if a sourcebook or adventure flops. (All three core books selling like it was 4E all over again might be bad?) It’s like WotC has no concept of what it was like when they were starting out. This new team of leaders seems pretty daft when it comes to the history of their own products, much less the history of the hobby. Tis truly sad.

I’d run D&D in a castle if WotC asked.

I’d contribute to their books. Heck, if they want to send me a check, I’ll never speak about them again if that’s what they wanted. And mind you, I’m the guy that completely holds contempt and loathing for large corporations. I guess I can dream. I’ve said many times how cool it would be to actually work on official D&D content. Or any game, really.

Seriously. I want to be a game designer when I grow up. Please, pay me to write cool stuff for your game. Any roleplaying game, really. No joking. I’d love to have paid projects, convention visits, give interviews, write magazine articles, and so on. They’d probably have to tranquilize me and drag me out of the office at night. Security would have to boot me out of the hotel at the end of conventions.

Isn’t that sort of the definition of “dedicated fan?” Isn’t that sorta what being a content creator for D&D is all about? Honestly I haven’t published anything on DMsGuild or DriveThruRPG yet. In fact I’m not printed anywhere yet. I’m too fussy about my own work and there are attachment issues. (Talking to therapist about OCD and attachment disorder. 😅) It’s going to happen someday, though.

Am I any less dedicated? No. Am I any less of a content creator? No. Trust me, my filing cabinets, folders, and Word files attest to my content creation efforts.

WotC doesn’t get it. There are thousands, maybe over a million fans out there that actually do appreciate them and want to see them do well. We wouldn’t be critical of their efforts if we didn’t care and just wanted them to fail. WotC execs and designers would know that if they’d come down out of their corporate tower and mingled with non-corporate people for a change. But D&D Executive Producer Kyle Brink says he actually plays the game, so they must have some sort of clue what they’re doing. Right?

I’m going to send WotC an email.

Will it get anywhere or be seen by anyone before it gets deleted? Not holding my breath, but I’ll keep you posted. I want Wizards of the Coast to understand that they need to speak with more than just a cherry-picked cadre of YouTubers who are going to probably going to tell them what they want to hear. It’s readily apparent there are plenty of people in the corporate office who believe the WotC narrative. How about inviting some truly objective non-YouTube fans?

Where’s the rest of the “community,” WotC? Legit question. I want to know. Who else has Kyle Brink spoken to outside of YouTube? Anybody?

I promise I’ll be nice. I have gone this whole article without saying one four/five letter word or calling anyone specific by my nicknames for them. It’s been a challenge, but I made it.

Wish me luck. Thanks for stopping by. More on this situation as it develops.

Dear Wizards of the Coast…

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sh🦆t if the game itself dies.

A letter almost as “Open” as the Open Game License 1.1.

Dear Wizards,

First off, let me just beg you, please don’t sue me. Thank you. Not appearing in court any time soon is high on my bucket list.

Second, let’s chat a bit about this tragedy called OGL 1.1. See, you might not realize the gravity of what you’re doing to fans, players, and content creators. Oh, not to mention you’re offending the heck out of Dungeon Masters. Some of us depend on third party OGL content for livelihood. Others like that content as consumers.

When you don’t put out enough quality content in a given year to keep us all interested, we like to pick up third party OGL content. As a DM, I particularly enjoy monster supplements. The new OGL 1.1 will have provisions crafted into it that will simply cause a lot of third party creators to simply vanish. As much as you hate competition, you’ll also be killing the game of Dungeons & Dragons. Not to mention causing even more unemployment.

See, I know it’ll sound crazy, but some of the third party content creators are big enough to employ one or more artists, editors, and additional designers. I understand corporate giants like Hasbro do this, but smaller companies don’t tie their employees up in endless meetings that only result in a more mediocre product. The OGL forces licensees out of business because they can’t afford the royalties you’re asking or just plain wipe them out using completely unreasonable legal terms or conditions. Hence more unemployment.

Not that you care. Not that anyone @Wizards_DnD reads this or anything else the fans are trying desperately to tell you. Out of curiosity, do you think Hasbro is going to be okay with their stock prices plummeting steadily until 2024 when you bring the abomination that is One D&D out to a hostile fan crowd? Your “lifestyle brand” won’t mean sh🦆t if the game itself dies.

But the fans love Wizards of the Coast, right?

After the shenanigans with the OGL? No. NO, the fans do not love you. You’ve single handedly managed to unite separate parts of the D&D fan base into one giant mob with pitchforks and torches. See, some of us have family and friends who are content creators and you’re royally screwing them over. Needless to say we think the terms and conditions in the OGL 1.1 are ridiculous and unacceptable.

You say you’re “under monetized.” You want more money from players. Did you stop to consider what the DMs think of this plan? Clearly no.

See, we don’t just spend time fixing all the mechanical errors and filling massive gaps left by your overpaid staff designers. Some DMs like to collect third party content. Some DMs like to produce third party content because the pittance we make covers the new content we consume. Don’t tell me you hate that plan, too?

Right now, the message we fans are getting is pretty clear. You are asking us, players, DMs, and content creators, to basically hand you free material to publish. I understand you want to squash the competition like Microsoft or Hasbro would, but it’s clear you have no actual clue what you’re doing in the TableTop RPG industry.

I’m just getting started. I’m mad. I’m not going away. I won’t be silenced.

More on this topic tomorrow. Thanks for reading all you non-WotC family. I find this topic of the OGL quite upsetting.

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:

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 sh🦆t 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:


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.

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!


August 19, 1982 Gen Con XV saw the release of T$R’s Science Fiction Classic: Star Frontiers.

40 Years Ago at Gen Con saw the birth of an new Science Fiction game called “Star Frontiers.”

August 19, 1982 Gen Con XV saw the release of T$R’s Science Fiction Classic: Star Frontiers. Within the first four months, it went on to compete strongly with Traveller, the other big name in sci fi games at the time. The game featured four brand new alien races and a unique percentile dice system. The skill system for the game was also new and unique.

While it has not made it to a second edition yet, the races would later be reprinted for D20 Modern/D20 Future. Several fans have done extensive add-ons and fan magazines for the game. Wizards of the Coast currently offers the game, expansions, and all officially published modules on DrivethruRPG in reprint at prices comparable to the originals.

The base set was rebranded Alpha Dawn once modules began coming out.

While T$R eventually abandoned the game to focus even more effort into D&D, Star Frontiers never died in the hearts of the fans. Tom Verreault at Tabletop Tap Room on YouTube is one such fan. Bill Logan, formerly from DwD Studios was another such fan. DwD did an RPG tribute to Star Frontiers called FrontierSpace.

If one were to scour the Internet for Star Frontiers info, thousands of blog posts, reviews, articles and fan sites pop up. While T$R would go onto publish other sci-fi games, notably Alternity and Amazing Engine: Galactos Barrier, Star Frontiers was probably the most notable one.

As a side note, T$R’s Gamma World RPG was a sort of spinoff of Star Frontiers. Gamma World was a sort of post apocalyptic setting where a planet similar to Earth was ravaged by nuclear war and hundreds of years later was repopulated by mutants, robots, and bunker-dwelling survivors. While it would later go onto earn accolades and reprints of its own, its origins are still with Star Frontiers as a planet one could visit on the frontier.

Fans would later convert Star Frontiers to various other systems including D&D 5E. It’s pretty clear that the setting, the core races and the game itself are going to be around for a very long time to come. Although Wizards of the Coast has not officially announced any plans for the intellectual property as of yet, interest from the fans and community around this product is on the rise again.

Long live the Frontier!

Brought to you by OSR: Only Show Respect in gaming.

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What Do We Do When the New Edition Comes?

It just seems like they’re a little conflicted. Maybe it’s a great business strategy? Strike while the iron is still hot. Start hyping up the new game with the old one still on everyone’s minds. Every RPG has its high and low trends, like any business. Maybe WotC saw the downhill slope starting and decided to act before it dropped too far.

Am I throwing all of my D&D 5E books out the window or what?

If you ever thought this one caused a stir…

I’ve been around since the old days and I have yet to throw out a gaming book, much less a whole set, so probably not. I’ve seen editions of the grandfather of all RPGs come and go. I’m still here. They’re still here.

I remember when 2nd Edition first came out. My group was only in high school and we had the old guard refusing to get on board. I was a little leery at first, but I came around as soon as I read through some of it.

The same effect occurred with pretty much every edition and revision after, too. I’m not comparing titles and I certainly don’t want to rehash the edition wars of Interweb fame. For the record, I love pretty much every edition of D&D. Each has its own merits and inherent flaws. I particularly enjoyed Basic (Rules Cyclopedia,) 2.5 AD&D, 3.5 D&D, and 5E. The other editions are fun and all. I’ll love 1st Ed AD&D forever. They are my most cherished collection of books.

It sounds as if 2024 is going to be the year of the Dungeons (& Dragons.)

Wizards of the Coast is sort of teasing that the new edition of D&D is going to hit in 2024. I’m a little puzzled that they’re telegraphing the punch this far out with 5E still riding a massive wave of success. I know some have pointed to the anniversary, and maybe that’s it.

It just seems like they’re a little conflicted. Maybe it’s a great business strategy? Strike while the iron is still hot. Start hyping up the new game with the old one still on everyone’s minds. Every RPG has its high and low trends, like any business. Maybe WotC saw the downhill slope starting and decided to act before it dropped too far.

Every edition has its life cycle of supplements.


Pathfinder 1E really stretched the limits of what a fantasy RPG could do in terms of supplements before moving onto another edition. 3/3.5E D&D did much the same. I literally have an entire book shelf and a half jammed full of 3.5 books, adventures, and even a couple of boxed sets. Every edition of D&D seems to evolve through three or four full length player’s guides, a handful of official monster books (or more,) a handful of campaign settings, and some interesting add-ons (Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide for example.) Starting with 3.0 and again in 5E, we also have innumerable amounts of third party sourcebooks and supplements.

Then there’s the troves of homebrew and fan sourced material for free on blogs such as this one. Magazines, either online or print are even further edition fuel. But most editions of D&D start to decline about where 5E is in 2022. It’s the longest running edition of the game, but still maintains about the same number of official core books as some of its predecessors.

New editions tend to cause as many issues as they solve.

Kits -> Subclasses. Evolving concepts.

I know WotC has expressed an interest in the way races are treated in the game. There has been more than enough outcry over the way certain base mechanics work (i.e. short/long rest, overland travel, and death saves.) The way monsters use spells is due to change. Every edition of the game finds a way to streamline something.

Remember THAC0? Remember having six or seven different saving throw types? How about Comeliness? What about d%00 for Thief/Assassin/Acrobat skills? Kits? Prestige Classes? Attacks of Opportunity anyone? Sometimes streamlining the rules is a very good thing.

It seems like they always manage to edit some of the good stuff out, too. Psionics is a debate for another time, but some would point to it. I miss the robust weapons tables in 3.5 and prior editions, including exotic weapons. At least one cool campaign setting or more seems to vanish between editions, possibly to never be seen officially again. At times some of us fans feel like they proverbially throw the baby out with the bathwater.

What will the newest version of the OGL look like?


My biggest concern any time Wotc even breathes a word about a new edition is what will the OGL look like? I’m not afraid of it cutting into my personal profit margin, but I know some people are relying on it for income. I was around for 4E and the OGL or lack thereof. The best legal advice on third party 4E supplements I recall hearing was, “Don’t.” And I think that hurt the game and the company.

DMsGuild might be one of the best ideas anyone has ever had. It gives people an outlet for homebrew material and a real sense of community. Not to mention a bit of side credit to buy more books. It’s also very encouraging to see other people immersed in the hobby.

It would be absolutely tragic if WotC does a repeat of 4th Ed’s version of the OGL. It would hurt almost as much if they hold their breath for too long dealing with a new OGL/SRD. My biggest concern is that they would go back to actively discouraging the fanbase from contributing new ideas to the game.

What will the new edition bring?

I still have 4 projects in motion aside from 5E.

My biggest question is still what will happen in terms of retro-compatibility with 5E? A lot of people started or even discovered roleplaying on the current edition. What about all of the mountains of third party books still coming out? Will this edition have the success of 3rd Ed, or the curse of the even numbered editions in terms of sales? (That last one is a bit superstitious on my part, but I’ve seen it happen.)

I still have plenty of irons in the proverbial fire and a ton of other RPG interests to keep me going for years to come. Power Rangers, anyone? Monster of the Week? OSR, specifically Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is sort of a byproduct of other D&D editions in a way is on my list. Heck, I might even build a few one-shots for ICRPG, FATE, or GI Joe. Transformers RPG is coming, too… Hmm.

All this and more remains to be seen. I’m going to keep my 5E game going with my family until the kids go to college, at least. I’ll invest in 6E (*Or whatever they call it,) when I have the money. If nothing else, I’ll give it a good look and write a review. Every edition of D&D ends up being special in some way.

Thanks for being here. Have fun gaming in whichever edition of whatever game you love. It’s better to spend the energy on what you love, not on hating the things you don’t. Stay hydrated. Have a great week.

A Tumultuous Time for Part of the RPG Industry.

Then there’s Star Frontiers: New Genesis. I really don’t want to give this product or this company any free press. There are literally hundreds of RPGs that I’d rather invest my time and effort it. Yeah. It’s that bad.

I’ve been following the recent news about a game company that many of us in the community had a world of love and respect for back in the day.

I was genuinely excited when I heard someone was bringing back Star Frontiers. Taken at face value, it’s one of the coolest things to happen since D&D 5E! Freakin Star Frontiers! It’s back. YAY!

Here’s the Bell of Lost Souls article.

The original Star Frontiers cover art by Larry Elmore.

Did I mention it looks awesome on the surface?

I keep my somewhat banged-up copy of the original with my D&D boxed sets. I’ve kept up with the game on and off. It’s a really amazing classic Sci-Fi RPG. It’s been available in reprint form on DrivethruRPG. That in and of itself is enough for some of us old school gamers.

Then there’s Star Frontiers: New Genesis. I really don’t want to give this product or this company any free press. There are literally hundreds of RPGs that I’d rather invest my time and effort it. Yeah. It’s that bad.

There are two notables among many out there fighting the good fight.

In case anyone wonders, I always type it out as T$R to honor this old logo. It’s a dragon, not a dollar sign.

Tom (Jedion) at Table Top Taproom on YouTube has been embroiled in an ongoing conflict with the person behind this revival version of T$R. Another soldier in this battle is Tenkar of Tenkar’s Tavern. They have both been up to their proverbial eyeballs in harsh trolling on Twitter. (Gonna leave those links alone, because it’s pretty brutal.) They have both been making videos in support of one another and are very critical of these guys at the “nuTSR.” From what I’ve seen between Tom and Tenkar, there’s no way I’ll touch the new Star Frontiers.

In fact, from all of the internet brawling I’ve seen over Star Frontiers: New Genesis and other “nuTSR” properties, I won’t touch anything the authors do. Ever. Please note, it takes a lot for me to be openly offended this way.

I’m just peeking in on this insanity that is “nuTSR.”

The old T$R had its flaws before and after the Lorraine Williams era. Gary Gygax, (Rest in Peace) had his own personality quirks and flaws that people have called out. It’s all water under the bridge now, but we do owe Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and others credit for putting RPGs on the map.

There are so many award winning authors and RPG designers who passed through the hallowed halls of old T$R, I can’t name them all or we’ll be here all day. Some of the luminaries from the T$R golden age of prosperity and even a few of the later hires are still HUGE names in the RPG business.

Despite the popular culture overtones of the time, many of the games from the 1980’s and 1990’s are still thriving in one form or another. Some of them are five, maybe six editions in. (It happens.) Many old campaigns and modules in reprint now come with a disclaimer from Wizards of the Coast.

The disclaimer as it appears on DriveThruRPG and DMsGuild.

I would bet my collection of Polyhedron magazines none, absolutely none of the old T$R crew would sign off on anything these “nuTSR” guys have been doing. From everything I’ve seen, most conscientious gamers won’t touch the stuff these new guys are putting out. We feel bad for the ones who have.

It’s not just Star Frontiers, either. This “nuTSR” has acquired the licenses for Dungeon Crawl and Cult of Abaddon (module.) Apparently they have not shipped as promised. Seems a bit suspicious at best. At worst, it’s awful customer service. (*Here’s a thought- don’t screw people who are giving you money in exchange for your product!)

Crowdfunded efforts unfulfilled. Designers/Writers blasting fans publicly on social media. One incident on social media involved threats against someone’s family. Star Frontiers: New Genesis is a hot mess from what we hear. Lore and backgrounds aside, it is rumored the editing is a total disaster. The museum and several old T$R intellectual properties are on the line, too. Oh, and apparently WotC has issued a Cease and Desist order and set their crack ninja death squad of elite hit lawyers on the perpetrators from this “nuTSR.”

Trauma and drama aside, the true disservice is done to the fans at this point.

No offense to Tom and Tenkar, but that’s what hurts most about this entire debacle. There are some real Dungeon Crawl fans out there. If there was a successful, well thought-out, well edited remake of a classic game, who knows how many fans could have been introduced? The same can be said for Star Frontiers.

Old school T$R fans from all over are shocked and appalled at what has gone down with “nuTSR.” No matter how freaky and controversial the old guard T$R might be, they would never have stamped their imprint some something shoddy, undeliverable, unedited, blatantly offensive, or promised but not delivered. Then to go on social media (*sorry, not much 1980’s or 1990’s comparison,) and treat fans and buyers like absolute dirt? Ouch.

My humble advice regarding “nuTSR.”

I sincerely hope this all dies down soon and we can get back to gaming. Star Frontiers really was a good game. Please, my advice will always be, put your energy toward that which you love, not creating more hate. Love Dungeon Crawl. Love Star Frontiers. Please give Table Top Tap Room and Tenkar’s Tavern a listen over on YouTube.

My other earnest advice, from someone who used to be somewhat anti-WotC, please watch the manufacturer listed on the product! If it comes straight from Wizards of the Coast or old T$R via WotC, then you can reasonably assume it’s authentic. I also find that knowing a little of the product history helps when I’m looking at older modules. There are plenty of other companies reprinting or revising old T$R modules and they’re fine.

Good times are on the horizon. Please stay hydrated. Stay safe. Thanks for being here. You are appreciated.

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