I Read Some Things: Week of January 5, 2015

I read some things this week. After the jump, you can read them, too.

Wizards of the Coast created an online version of the D&D Basic Rules. It’s better than nothing, and definitely better than DungeonScape nee Codename: Morningstar. It doesn’t compare to the 3.5 or Pathfinder SRDs, but its really not meant to.

ENworld discusses the content of the DM Screen. I haven’t used a DM screen in a long time, so I couldn’t tell you if this is good or bad. Based on the comments, the reviews seem mixed, but then, they would be. I imagine new DMs will find it useful. Old DMs can never be appeased anyways.

The Orr Group–the team behind Roll20 virtual tabletop–released its latest (Q4) report on the tabletop industry Roll20 usage. There are almost 26,000 active campaigns on Roll20. That’s a big deal. The share of D&D 5E games on the platform nearly doubled, from 12% in Q3 to 20% in Q4.  That’s a bigger deal. Also maybe a big deal? Pathfinder, D&D 3.5E, and D&D 4E all declined as a percentage of active games, though Roll20 is growing in popularity such that it would be difficult to call this cannibalization. My reckless prediction: the next edition of D&D will be “optimized for virtual tabletops,” or at least include a section on considerations for running virtual games, in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was part of the second or third DMG in 5E.

It looks like Paranoia is getting another edition via Kickstarter. The Kickstarter campaign is closed because I’m over a month late on this one, but I’m a fan of the original, just learned of the 2004 edition, and am definitely going to keep tabs on this.

3 responses to “I Read Some Things: Week of January 5, 2015

  1. I’d personally like to see a partnership between Roll20 and WOTC.

    I feel Dungeonscape took the wrong route with their product. If you look at their kickstarter (that failed miserably, perhaps predictably) it involved a bunch of people sitting in a dark room, flipping through their tablets and barely making eye contact. Who wants to play DND like that?

    When an online product like roll20 allows for better social interaction (through voice/webcam functionality) than using Dungeonscape in real life, you know something’s wrong.

    If a Roll20/WOTC partnership ever came to fruition, I’d really like to see Adventure Paths directly implemented into roll20. They already have some Pathfinder ones, I believe.

    I’m imagining buying an Adventure Path, and never having to draw out maps, create specialized tokens, or flipping through the MM to reference stats. It’d all be right there, ready to be used.

    Maybe involve some sort of means of online organized play as well.

    • I hope so. I think that will depend on what kind of third party license WOTC settles on with 5E. Unfortunately, WOTC has a history of antagonizing those kind of products (DnDtools.eu, for example) rather than partnering with them, but I have my fingers crossed.

  2. Well, a few of those modules were redmae in other editions, such as Tomb of Horrors and Ravenloft, which could have impacted the voting. But it does also point to the noticeable lack of quality modules from 3E and 4E. I’m not a big fan of running encounter-based modules myself I’m a big story guy. Just my opinion, but the format for many 3E and 4E modules also felt to me like it had a lot of wasted space. Certainly the main reason I chose to start playing PF was because I had a lot of confidence in Paizo’s adventure paths. And I started running their adventure paths after reading the Curse of the Crimson Throne’ session summaries on this website, so mxyzplk is partially responsible for that decision

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