Hell froze over: I’m going to give the next D&D a chance

During the last couple of days and weeks more information about the upcoming D&D trickled in. I was actually very surprised that there will be a D&D Basic box set for a very low price that contains everything you need to run a couple of games between level 1 and 5. I was even more surprised when I learned that this Basic edition of the game will actually be available as a free download. Wow! It seems Wizards has done something right for a change.

I have to admit, that their marketing strategy worked on me. A boxed set for about $20 will not hit my wallet to hard and still allows me to give the game a try. Heck, if I don’t want to give them my money at all, I can still get the PDF version. And if the game is any good I will eventually buy the slightly overpriced full game later. *sigh*

So why do I even bother? The reason is two-fold. For one it’s D&D. It’s the grand daddy of all the other RPGs out there and even though I was never a huge D&D fan, I owned and played all the editions starting from AD&D 2nd Edition on. And some of the things I’ve seen during the playtest didn’t look so bad, so why not give it a chance. It might even be fun. The hefty price of 50$ times three for the full package was definitely putting me off, but you can’t argue with the low price of the Basic set. The other reason is that – as a blogger – I feel I should cover many different games and I shouldn’t leave out the new D&D completely.

So what is your stance on the new D&D? Will you give it a chance or have you already decided to skip this edition? Please share your thoughts below!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

13 thoughts on “Hell froze over: I’m going to give the next D&D a chance”

  1. I’ll be downloading the free PDF of the basic D&D5e, but I’ll wait and see about buying the hardcopy core books. Most role-players in my current groups feel the same way. We spent a lot of time and money on D&D3.x/D20 and D&D4e before drifting to retro-clones and rules-light indie games, so we’re more cautious this time around.

    We playtested “D&D Next,” and it was fine, but it didn’t wow any of us (we range in age from late 20s through late 40s). My current fantasy campaigns are doing fine without the need for a new set of rules. For the record, I’ve typically been an early adopter of new editions, from AD&D1 through D&D4e and “Pathfinder.” I’ll be curious to see what people think….

    1. Yeah, I will definitely get the free download, and I might even buy the starter box. I want to give it a glance and see what’s what. Anything past that, though, is yet to be determined.

      I played red-box, back in the day, and the very short-lived blue-book (not “Expert”, but the blue book basic D&D that was supposed to lead into AD&D). I played 1e AD&D, 2e for a short while, and then came back to the fold for 3e. I bought 4e, but didn’t like what I was reading … and never played it.

      Of all of that, 3e (including 3.5 and PF) was probably my favorite… but it was in conflict with my interest in going to lighter and lighter mechanics. And my infatuation with FUDGE. So, I have been looking more toward a mix of RetroClone/OSR type games, and Fudge/Fate.

      Which is a long winded way to get to: when it comes to playing “the most popular Fantasy RPG” in a mainstream type way, I don’t see any current compelling reason to switch away from Pathfinder. It’s kind of Pathfinder or FATE, for me. D&D 5e is going to have to really give me a compelling reason to actually embrace it.

      Pick up the starter kit and basic reference? sure. Actually buy the PHB, MM, and DMG, much less the long tail of supporting products … not something I currently see as “likely”.

      1. I also started role-playing with the Basic D&D boxed set, and my groups have lately swung from FATE to Pathfinder and Savage Worlds. My latest house rules are a mix of OSR and FATE, but I’m sure I’ll at least look at D&D5e when someone in my group gets it.

        1. Do you have a write-up of the rules and such that you’re using for your OSR+FATE game?

  2. I’m going to try it…which I wasn’t before the recent announcements, so as a marketing strategy I’d have to say it’s brilliant. Down the road, I’m not sure about the “core” books… I’ll wait and see what they add to the mix. More monsters in the MM? Probably want that if I end up playing much. More classes & build options & extra rules in the PHB? That’s kind of what turned me off of 3e+ so it’ll be a harder sell. DMG? Who knows what’ll go in there. I’m a sucker for charts and tables that let me generate interesting content on the fly; I’m probably not interested in shelling out money for generic GMing advice…I can still learn new tricks after 30 years of GMing, but beating what’s available for free in blogs in great abundance is a really high bar to clear.

      1. D&D Basic will contain everything you need to run the game from level 1-20 with the classes Fighter, Cleric, Mage and Thief. 🙂 I will definetly play the Basic version and get the Statrer Set if it is available in german as a gift for friends and family. Can´t argue with free. Maybe it will win me over after 4E completely turned me off and 3,5 burned me out.

      2. as I understand it the starter set will have an adventure, rules and pregens, no chargen. The Basic PDF will have chargen and everything you need for the 4? core classes and 3 races for play up to level 20…

        1. D&D basic will have everything for four races (human, elf, dwarf, halfling) and four classes (fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric) to run levels 1-20. The PDF is going to be expanded over time as more of the core is released, so it’s going to be something of a living document.

  3. It’s not as overpriced as you think. The PHB is available for pre-order on Amazon TODAY for $29.95. I think that’s a pretty good price. The other books are $35.

    The starter box set is the basic rules for characters 1-5 with pregens. The rules are 32 pages and it contains a 64 page adventure and dice. The basic PDF is full basic rules for characters 1-20 and rules for character creation. I’m not sure there are character creation rules in the starter set. I think they assume if you want to create characters, you’ll get the PDF.

  4. I already have the PHB, DMG, MM and Tyranny of Dragons pre-ordered. I’m going to give the game a fair spin with my group, but I know that even if I don’t like the game I will still want it in my collection with every other edition of D&D. Call me a sucker

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