Dungeons & Iterations
By Lord Mhor
I noticed some time ago that veteran game designer Monte Cook had quietly slipped back into the Seattle area under the wings of Wizards of the Coast. This seemed odd, given the economy, so I knew they were up to something interesting. The world is now echoing with the recent Wizards of the Coast announcement that play-testing is afoot for the next incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons.
I’m very excited about this announcement. It’s a good thing. The fourth edition of D&D was not as readily accepted as might have been desired and the time for a new iteration of the game is at hand. Many people are looking forward to throwing play-testing ideas into what might bring Dungeons & Dragons more into the center of the very hobby it spawned.
Our hobby has become quite fragmented. Anyone entering a well-stocked friendly local gaming store can easily be stunned by the wide variety of tabletop games available. Even hardened veterans of gaming can easily suffer a moment of disorientation if their entertainment goals are not strictly defined. As in many industries, too much fragmentation is rarely a good thing.
If Wizards of the Coast can successfully consolidate a larger Dungeons & Dragons tribe, it might make life easier on those who stock game stores and organize role-playing conventions, not to mention the huge profits involved. This is admittedly a fairly lame bit of logistics in a hobby fueled by creativity, but it’s always nice to look on the bright side of these things.
Back in 1977, I played my first D&D game. Since then, I’ve collected bits and pieces of every interesting role-playing game that crossed my path. I literally have tons of this great stuff littering my bookshelves, with the less worthy material loitering in the garage. Studying this material has given me a good perspective on this industry, though I have become biased towards fast game systems.
It’s been many years since I have actually played a game using the Dungeons & Dragons system, even though I’ve collected and scrutinized the editions with great enthusiasm. Over the years, the system kept becoming more convoluted and difficult to run. It has become depressing to take over an hour of my life to simulate a combat that would actually be resolved within less than a minute.
I’ve focused on “rules-light” systems instead, since I value my time. The Savage Worlds RPG has defined my gaming focus since 2003, since I can use it to run an extensive adventure at a convention in six hours and still have time to relax. Still, I’m very excited about the thought of play-testing Dungeons & Dragons.
Fixing a game system that was fun back in 1977 and extending its relevance beyond 2012 is actually quite profound. Anyone interested in participating in this ritual need only go HERE and sign up for the open Dungeon & Dragons play-testing announcements.