The most widely accepted theory as to what killed the dinosaurs is that an asteroid (maybe a comet) slammed into the Earth about 65 million years ago. A big enough rock moving fast enough is all it took to obliterate the largest and fiercest creatures to have ever walked upon the surface of this planet.
Well asteroid Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition has been spotted and it has the potential to be an extinction event for many gaming groups. Unlike a Tyrannosaurus Rex though you probably have opposable thumbs and a chance at surviving this impact.
Track & Discuss
While a lot of gamers will be early adopters not everyone is going to switch to 5e. Maybe you are incredibly happy with the version of D&D that you currently play, or perhaps you do not play D&D at all. That is fine, but it will serve you well to keep an eye on what those maniacal wizards on the West coast are conjuring up even if you do not plan to play the game.
Why? It comes back to size and momentum. Wizards of the Coast is big enough to influence this industry on a scale that few organizations can, and they are getting the ball rolling with the open play testing model that has been announced. So while you may or may not be looking forward to this next generation of the iconic D&D game the rest of the people in your gaming group may have a very different plan than you do.
As a GM it cannot hurt to start talking now to the players in your game about the interest each member may or may not have in 5e. Do not ask them to choose if they will or will not play 5e. It is far too early to tell at this point, but do ask the people in your group what they think of the 5e announcement. You might get insightful feedback like “I hope that they fix the problems with combat being so long.” or maybe “I do not want to have to buy any new books.” These kinds of statements not only give you an idea of what your players want out of future D&D products, but it also gives you an insight into ways to improve your current game (i.e. – keep the combats short, and do not require more books based on the examples used).
Brace for Impact
As the 5e release draws closer and closer start gauging how it will effect your gaming group. If half of the players in your game cannot wait for its release while the other half refuses to even entertain the idea of playing 5e you will have a problem on your hands very soon. Detect it early and acknowledge it before it destroys your group with the madness that is known as the horror of “edition wars”.
Find out who is going to buy copies of the game and who will not. Measure your own interest in the product and determine what you plan on doing yourself. Will you buy the game the day it becomes available to the public, or will you wait for the reviews to come out first? You cannot make an informed decision at this time, but you can do your best to stay informed so that you can make one when the time comes.
Embrace the Change
Even if you do or do not switch to 5e yourself your group might change as a result of its release. Some players may leave the group to join a 5e game or to play a previous edition that they enjoy. At the same time you might absorb new players into your group from other groups feeling the aftershocks of 5e’s impact.
Just like there are still living descendants from the age of the dinosaurs in the form of crocodiles and birds your group can evolve and adapt to the presence of 5e when it arrives. Maybe your group will not alter in any way, or perhaps you will end up with a whole new game with players that you have just met, but as a GM you can benefit by acknowledging what the potential impact 5e can have on your group is.
Agree? Disagree? Got any tips of your own for dealing with the approach of 5e into your gaming world? Share your thoughts and ideas below in the form of a comment for all of us to read!
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