I’m filled with curiosity about 5e, as I’m sure Wizards of the Coast intended with their press release. So far, I haven’t figured out exactly what it’ll look like, but I’ve been thinking about it since the announcement. I seem to have different reactions as I consider the different groups and hats that I wear.

Home Games

The ongoing weekly game that I’m playing in currently is Pathfinder; thanks Jack! It’s fun, incredibly familiar from my 3.5 days, and will probably wrap up long before 5e’s release date. Even if we’re still playing it after 5e is released, I doubt we’ll convert our characters–we’ll finish as we began, with Pathfinder.

My Hanford friends and I play a lot of different games. 4e was… adequately received when we tried it, but a few players didn’t consider it real D&D. A return to the previous 4e campaign, for another chapter, was on the drawing board as an option later in 2012. I suspect that the announcement of 5e might delay our return to that world–particularly if enough things leak between now and then to make it sound like it’d gain more complete acceptance from our earlier edition enthusiasts.

D&D Encounters

Encounters has been a great vehicle for introducing people to roleplaying in general. Pickup and organized styles of play are something that I hope Wizards continues to support–or expand–as they move forward.

I expect to run Encounters tables until 5e is released–and beyond if the program continues. I suspect that the first weeks with every GM being new to the new edition will be interesting–but if we share our discoveries and stumbles, it might make it easier for us than any GM facing the transition alone.

As a retailer

Deciding how deeply to stock 4e and essentials products for the next year will be tricky. I remember late 3.5 products sitting on shelves at local stores once the edition’s “impending death” was announced. I also remember that my old group had already been weighing whether our campaigns were suffering under supplement bloat; it became easier to put off new purchases once we knew they’d soon be obsolete. Maybe others are the same–or maybe I’m much more hesitant than the gaming public in general. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to 4e and Essentials sales.

I do wonder how easy it will be to get new players, particularly from D&D encounters, to pick up the matching rulebooks that will be “obsolete” soon. They’re not plugged into the “what’s coming out” grapevine, but I suspect their fellow players will mention the impending conversion–even if phrased positively, like “you should get at least a year out of it…”

In Conversation

I’ve been a fan of 4e since I first played it, but freely admit that it feels different than older editions in play. Maybe 4e’s announced demise will quiet the edition wars. There’s no reason to rub it in–3e’s victory is pretty total, given its relative longevity, successful descendent (Pathfinder), and vigorous ongoing play. If 5e somehow accomplishes Monte’s goal: “It’s meant to be a set of rules that unites all the previous editions, and the players of those editions,” I’ll be pleasantly amazed.

As a GM

I have one major campaign concept that’s suited for 4e: the Myth inspired endday campaign from Seeds and Kernels. My initial response was to set it aside, undeveloped, but maybe I should use the ticking clock to spur it into existence. After all, who knows how easy 5e will make the development of my flop eared menaces?

What’s Your Response to 5e?

Does the idea of 5e excite you? Do you have a game group divided by editions that will, if Monte’s design magic works right, return to one game table?

If you left D&D due to 4th edition, have you found new games that make you completely unconcerned with what happens to D&D? Are you still curious about what happens to D&D even if you’re happy with another game?

Finally, does your response to 5e depend on what hat you’re wearing at the moment? Do you have different desires as a player, GM, or even as a game publisher?