July 14, 2015

Why 5E is the Last Edition of D&D

I know I'm going out on a huge limb here, but I am telling you that 5E is the last edition of D&D. This is both literal and figurative.

D&D has nowhere to go now as a system. Throughout the various editions D&D has slowly changed with the times. The first edition and the various iterations of that gave us the core concepts of role-playing games and what D&D is...including the concepts of variability and additive systems that can be attached to the core system. Future editions gave us further enhancements and refined ways of doing things. 2E gave us a more streamlined system and near its end more sub-systems. 3E took the concept of additional material/systems to the max. 4E added in system balance. D&D has been ever evolving and showing us new things with each edition.

5E stated that would be a modular system. A simple core that would allow for additional systems to be added in seamlessly. They actually gave us that (much to my surprise). 5E can take the abuse of new support material...but it also can play lite. There is no reason to release a new edition, 5E allows for new concepts to be added onto its core design. If someone has a radical idea 5E can handle it, just release a support book with the radical idea and detail how to integrate it with 5E. Whatever evolutions in game design emerge can be handled by the modularity of 5E.

Of course, some of you are thinking that there will eventually be a 6E, if only as a money grab. And that might indeed happen. However, this brings up my second point. A new edition of D&D will die. It will be a non-factor, a non-issue, a non-game system. People will ignore it as nothing but a money grab. They will see no need for a new edition. In essence, 5E is the last viable D&D edition.

D&D never needs a new edition and people won't want a new edition. Between those two points, 5E is the last edition of D&D.


Matthew Reilly said...

I think 5e is certainly the end of an age for D&D, but it won't be the last edition that sells well. I came into the hobby during that tiny window between 3.0 and 3.5, so I've seen two and a half editions worth of development aimed at satisfying players in my generation as well as previous ones. 5e has succeeded in being a you-do-you style capstone that the majority of past and present D&D players can get behind. But to stay relevant, WotC will need to release a new version that young millennials will connect with. I have a much younger brother who I've played D&D and other RPGs with, and while he enjoyed it somewhat, I could tell that his idea of a good time wasn't being fulfilled within the scope of what these games provided. 5e will be the last of OUR D&Ds, but in 10 years or so there will be a 6e that tries its best to bring RPGs to the new (and different) players.

Nicholas Bergquist said...

Have to agree with Matthew....D&D will have an edition for a future generation; 5E might be the last edition for our older generation, though.