Posted by : David Guyll October 30, 2010

Though I am loathe to link to anything from the "old school" crowd, I'm sure that anyone "in the know" will be able to divine the origins of the query, which ponders the longevity of the fourth iteration of Dungeons & Dragons. In other words, will people still be playing it years from now, talking about it, creating houseruled, marketable variations. For some bizarre reason the inquirer is under the impression that while older, draconic editions have persevered despite the passage of time that newer editions (read: 4E) will not fare so well.


Each edition has its adherents, diehards if you will, who, despite changing times and changes to the game cling to the "old ways". Seeing as how 4th Edition is more popular than any other edition--likely more than several editions combined--I think the answer is pretty clear: at least as much as the next most popular edition on the chain, but probably a lot more. Even when 5th Edition comes out there will be those that stick to 4th Edition, and like fans from all editions some will decry every other edition as fake, as a corporate money grab. Some might go the extra mile to make blogs bitching about 5th Edition or take other...creative measures.

I agree that good games will be played well beyond the point at which the company no longer supports them, with Planescape: Torment being a prime example. 4th Edition is an exceptionally well made game. It is to me for analog action adventure fantasy role-playing games what Planescape: Torment was to digital Dungeons & Dragons games. Will I be playing it in 15-20 years? I don't know. That depends on a lot of factors, such as what--if anything--Wizards does with the brand, what I'm doing, what my friends are doing, etc.

Assuming my gaming circle's schedule remains constant and 5th Edition sucks ass, then I'll stick to 4th Edition until my friends and I run out of stories to tell. Otherwise, I'll move on to 5th Edition and continue to tell the same stories. I think the better answer is if I'll run out of stories in 15-20 years. 

{ 6 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I hope they just keep pumping out more 4E content for me and my group. But when the day comes that Wizards wants to put out a 5th, it might take me a while to get the moneyz to affored a whole nother load of books.

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  2. I look at it this way: Wizards usually ends up costing me $30 to $80 a month, usually in the lower range. This hasn't really changed at all in the past ten years.

    If they put out 5th Edition, likely it will still be the same price range, so it's not like I'm going to be paying more. Besides, I can just sell my 4E books if I like it.

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  3. I know the post of which you speak and I get so frustrated when I read that kind of thing. What kind of answer was that guy really looking for? I think I know and it goes something like, "Oh you are so right! 2e, 3x and 4e are just so so bad! Awful! WotC should apologize to all of us and immediately begin reprinting basic D&D. Shame on them, those dolts."

    Even if 4e stopped being published tomorrow, it would still be played by its fans and that number would still be higher than the entire number of people rocking the dice like its 1980.

    I wish the OSR would play the games that they love and enjoy doing so, but I get really tired of the hate for anything written after the exit of Gary Gygax from TSR.

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  4. I'm not sure where you're getting your information that 4e is more popular than any other editions combined. There are no two editions you could add together that wouldn't have been more popular than 4e.

    Not that it should matter. It isn't a popularity contest, and you shouldn't need the validation of playing something that's popular or current to feel at peace or satisfied.

    I don't know that it will still be played as much as, say, Pathfinder/3e/3.x/3.variant in 10-15 years, for the simple reason that one of those games is OGL and easier to create material for. The other is a much more closed, prohibitive license. But none of us know where things will go in that time, so it's just a guess.

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  5. @Zachary: I did say "likely". I don't know how many people regularly play Basic or OD&D, but for some reason I like my odds.

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  6. I for one hope that 4E continues to prosper AND I hope the OSR continues to create new material for old editions, and everyone continues to play. And I hope the Indie game crowd flourishes, and the traditional RPG crowd as well. And good wishes for the mini gamers, the card floppers, and the kids playing Candy Land.

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