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Philo Pharynx

What Will It Take to Get Old School Players to Convert to 5e? Randall

1) hmmm… It's 4e that has the weird monsters? Really? I have to give the crown to the AD&D era. One word – flumph. 🙂
1) If they want to appeal to both audiences, they will have to have an option for the "by-the numbers" balance. This means that balance will have to be a consideration in the design phase. It's easy to take a game built with some balance in mind and tell the GM that these are guidelines that can be easily ignored than it its to build a game with no design balance and bolt on a balance system after the fact. But I agree it doesn't have to be as rigid a balance as 4e.

2/3) Agreed.

4) If you are going to have an online generator, you need to have a certain set of assumptions. You can't reasonably have a working generator and have all errata be optional. Otherwise they'd have to test every possible change with all errata versions of every rule. It would be impossible to do with timely updates. The best case would be a generator that allows you to customize something back to an older version. Of course, if the game is usable without an online generator this problem is lessened.

5) Preach on, Brother!

6) It's going to be interesting how they format the rules. People who want a more old-school experience would probably like a core rulebook with the basic options only and expansion books with the optional stuff. New-school people would want the optional rules to be placed near the rules they are used with. I don't think they'll do it, but I hope that whichever style they do, they publish PDF's in both styles.

I think it will be hard to design a working game with the flexibility they are asking about. Making a good game under these constraints is going to be much harder. I can't see a lot of 4e people converting to the game they are talking about either.

@Andreas, I'm not so sure that just booting the 4e people will make other people happy. Also, by the best numbers we have, 4e is about the size of Pathfinder in numbers. That's a big chunk of market to alienate. If they can't convert enough OSR/Pathfinder players, this is going to tank big time.

@instantapathy, Organized play is a way to help the FLGS's with something that can't be bought on Amazon. It's also a way to attract people interested in gaming and keep a few lapsed gamers. We have a niche hobby and this is advocay for it.


"They won't do it by rehashing the shit I already have."

Which is part of the catch 22 for WotC, in regards to the OSR. OSR folk tend to lambast them for not doing the old stuff, but then say "Well, I already have this old stuff so I won't buy what I already have." It doesn't leave a lot of room for them.

As for organized play, I don't doubt that the are thinking about it. It's a big part of the business plan, but it also is about people who don't necessarily have long stretches of time to dedicate to gaming. An hour here, a couple of hours there. If they can cater to a level of casual gaming like that they have a market to sell to.


You hit the nail on the head here. There are so many really good games I'm not playing, in addition to my favorite.

The only real question isn't if I'll play 5e, but if they'll produce a single book that will pique my interest. They won't do it by rehashing the shit I already have.


You have a well thought out list here but I just don't think Hasbro can pull this off. Pathfinder just did too much damage to their customer base and have built too loyal a following, so the 3.x crowd is gone forever. That leaves the vast majority of current D&D players being 4E players, which means Hasbro can't just abandon them to support "old schoolers". 4E and 1E/2E are just too far apart in spirit to ever co-exist.

The best Hasbro can do at this point is to keep the 4 players happy and make 5E look close enough to 1E that it grabs some lapsed old school players. That's it.


Personally, the talk of the "One Hour Game Session" makes me think they are definitely designing this with organized play in mind.


I think you can summarize most of those points with "reverse most of the changes done during the 4th ed era".

That is the odd one out that breaks all expectations of the fans of all other editions.

Interestingly, unless WotC have hard numbers to prove that they brought in serious amount of new customers with that edition, they are the easiest ones to boot if all others can be kept happy.

In general I think your points are good ones. I have heard too many times people who should know talk about how "Organized Play" have created substantial value for me hoping it going away. Personally I have never seen the benefit of it.