Failure to Launch

D&D NextI promised a play review of D&D Next this week and I am afraid that I am going to fail to deliver. But this was not through lack of trying. This makes me now wonder have the D&D crew lost too many people now for the Next generation to be a roaring success.

It is hard for me to pass judgement on this. I walked away from D&D 4th Edition after a year of playing and never even looked like going back. I sold books that I had never even opened the cover of to read when I found Pathfinder and decided to make the shift. Now I am in an amusing position of running Pathfinder mainly as my system of choice, a classic system for my sci-fi games and a very successful Indie game called FATE for everything else. I also live in a rural community in Tasmania, Australia which is far from the bustling areas where gamers gather. Honestly, where I live I am lucky to have an in person group.

The thing I do have though is a modicum of charisma and generally if I really want to get a game I can persuade people into it. This week I really wanted to give this game a try. Next looks good but I need to run it to see if it plays as well as it reads. I think this game is a worthwhile addition to the genre and honestly should have been 4th Edition. So there are two things that I can put me failing to get a game running over the past week to.

The first is that my good old charisma is failing me and the ravages of my overwhelming ego are obscuring reality. Some people that know me would certainly have a giggle at that whilst privately believing it. But I seriously think that it is case two. Case two is that the D&D brand is so badly thought of now that few people actually want to give it a run.

The reasoning of why this may be the case is tied up in conversations that I have had this week with individuals online and in person, as well as comments that came on one of the posts on my own blog ( when I posted a little bit more on the detail of the system. Much of the commentary I read was that people who had read the rules of the game are struggling to get groups together that have a desire to play the game! One commenter stated they began to play it but the group fell apart because of apathy and real life!

I do find this hard to reconcile. Most gamers have fond memories of this system and while it has suffered (arguably, I am not trying to troll) in the past few years I would still think there is interest as Hasbro’s bottom line says their role playing division is still profiting away. I announced out my regular Tuesday night game that if the players were keen I would run a game at my work for them on the Saturday and it appeared to interest a couple.

On the Saturday (I work in a service station Saturdays) one of them came in. But just to buy a coke. Apparently he had too much going on in an online MMORPG to come and play. The other that I thought may have come popped in for five minutes to say hello, get some of his pay and go again. It was then that these comments I had been reading began to hit home. The two players are the ones who were super hot on the idea of Next when they heard about it and got me interested enough to do the download the material.

I can honestly say I am a little bit disappointed at the moment with my “failure to launch” a game. I have to say though that this week I fully intend to run a game of Next. I had wanted it to be an in person game but it seems that I may not be able to achieve that so I am willing to run this game virtually via hangout. So I am putting the call out here first. If you are keen to give D&D Next a run for its money this Saturday evening (for our American compatriots) which will be Sunday morning Australian time send me an email direct at mark DOT knights AT gmail DOT com! I make this offer initially to the Iron Tavern readers. I want a crew of four to six players for the game which will run between two to three hours. I will put the request out on Google+ after this post has been on the Iron Tavern for a day.

So, what say you fine sturdy adventurers? Are you ready to find out what happens Next? Until next week, keep rolling!

Mark Knights is  39 year old guy living in a small rural town called Elliott in Tasmania, Australia.  I have been role playing since I was 11 years old playing the original versions of Dungeons and Dragons, MERP, Elric, Dragon Warriors and the like amongst other genre games.  I played D&D 2nd Edition through the 90′s but I ran Earthdawn for my fantasy setting and loved it as a GM.  When 3rd Edition came out for D&D I tried it but found it too heavy on rules.  I ignored the 3.5 edition of DnD in favour of Earthdawn (big mistake) as I thought it was just a money spinner.  When 4th Edition DnD came on my players and I gave it a red hot go but hated what it had dumbed the game down to be.  On a trip to Melbourne to buy some 4E stuff from a hobby store an old mate of mine pointed me at Pathfinder and in a Fantasy setting I have never looked back.