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Fourth Edition

In the last week, some big news spread across the RPG hobby ether, news that I think many had been halfway expecting for a while. Wizards of the Coast, publisher of roleplaying games, colelctibe card and miniatures games, finally announced that it will release a fourth edition of the grand-daddy RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, in mid 2008. As with the previous two editions (well, technically, edition and a half), this new edition will consist of three core rulebooks: the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual. If the third and 3.5 editions are anything to go by, each of these books will be at least two hundred and fifty glossy, full colour pages long, with hard covers.

Now, I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand I own the 3.5 editions of all three rulebooks, plus the Eberron Campaign Setting. In total, these cost me around $170, and I find myself a bit sore at the thought of these books made redundant in one fell swoop.

On the other hand, these books have pretty much sat on my shelf and gathered dust ever since I bought them, barring a period of a couple of weeks around the time of last year’s Reefcon convention, where I created a character to play in the Living Greyhawk modules being run there. Readers of my blog and others will know of my increasing preference for independently published RPGs over the few years; my last recent RPG purchase was the independent pulp action RPG, Spirit of the Century. The D&D books could probably keep sitting on my shelf, or I might even donate them to the local library.

But then, you see, there’s the third hand, the mutant hand that grows out of my chest, the one that constantly shakes a handful of assorted polyhedral dice. No sir, that's not catarrh, I'm just always ready to roll. On that hand, I find myself thinking: Okay, so I bought all the 3.5 core books on sale with the idea that I’d need them all to be involved in the Cairns RPG scene. That turned out to be incorrect; I only ever really hauled the Player’s Handbook out for Reefcon. So instead of getting cheesed or throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I could try flogging my set of books for whatever I can get and using the funds thus raised to buy just the 4th Ed. Player’s Handbook when it’s released, plus maybe the 4th Ed. Revision of the Eberron Campaign Setting (I’m sure there’ll be one sooner or later; Wizards has invested too much in the world of Eberron to not put one out). Thus, I could get involved in the planned reboot of the Living Greyhawk campaign from the ground up, which will give me a chance to meet and game with quite a few more fellow hobbyists. It’s still a tempting thought, even if my tastes are theoretically different; there’s part of me which still says, Rob, you haven’t really played enough to know whether it’s your thing or not. So how about giving D&D a serious try before writing it off?

I kinda like that third hand.

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The online stuff might actually help out your isolation situation too, right?

Actually, in the case of Cairns, finding D&D players isn't much of a problem. Most of the local gamers I've met, and I've met a few want to know what level my LG character is, not even whether I have one (ut's just assumed). The isolation problem comes from trying to find people who're willing to give something different a whirl.

So yeah, maybe I need to lose a few layers of snob myself.

D&D is becoming like software vendor. They are going to keep coming out with new additions to continue generating revenue. Like a software user, I only upgrade when I need to do so. I suspect that they will use 4.0
as jumping point where there are complete D20 line will get a revamp. So my suggestion would be to go ahead and get the 4.0 stuff and to sell off the 3.5 books now while you can still get good money for them. If you end up needing something before 4.0 comes out, there is always PDFs that you can get from various sources which I would know nothing about.

Well, fromn the looks of things, the only time I'm going to need them any time soon is the Spring Revel event, which is early October. I'm also thinking about grabbing SW Saga Edition, whch I've heard good things about, so I might flog the lot as a package.

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