5e and the Great Schism

I Smell Trouble Here Boys.. Wait.. Their Phasers are Only On Stun.. Blast em!

My good blogging buddy Anarkieth posted a comment here yesterday in reaction to my post on the constant infighting of the role-playing community:

Mike, I find myself wondering if Fortune Cards and Powers aren’t a taste of 5e as a card-based game entirely. I mean, what if your character was a constructed MtG-type deck? I played a lot of constructed-deck MtG, and except for the collectible/rarity BS, I rather enjoyed it. I felt pretty close to some of those decks. Trusted ‘em. Tweaked ‘em until they were smooth as butter, and had delicious mana curves… OK, maybe I played a little too much. Point being, I find myself wondering if that’s an idea that might be in development. I’d be very curious to try it out.

Anarkieth’s comment got me thinking about a big WHAT IF…


Yesterday the DnD community got a huge bout of news about changes in the WotC business model and services provided. This further makes me wonder where is the Dungeons and Dragons line headed.

Aside: I do have a question. I am not a member of the DDI. I know that some people have stated that Dungeon and Dragon magazine really made the DDI worth the subscription fee, now that it is gone is the fee really viable for just the character builder and the possibility of, as R.M. Walker hypothesizes, annuals Dungeon and Dragon? I am not slamming DDI in any way, I am just curious.

Anyways, on to the What If- What if Dungeons and Dragons moved to a more board game/Collectable Card Game manner? Look at Warhammer 3rd Edtion for example- it is still a role-playing game where players don personalities of their character and go through the adventure(s) the GM creates, however it uses board game and card game mechanics in some areas for play (from what I understand never having played the game myself).

How would the role-playing community react if this type of change would come to pass? Do you think that the schism between gamers would become greater? The Edition Wars have already caused a huge rift as it is in the RPG community. Would DnD becoming more of a TCG model cause a further rift. How are 4e players going to react to this? Will their denouncements of the new system be as visceral as those of the 3.x crowd against 4e?

How do you feel about this? What do you think will happen? No trolling please.


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

5 responses to “5e and the Great Schism

  • Chuck

    You know I was thinking something similar last night. Looking at the time period between editions changes plus recent announcements from WOTC (no more mini’s, products getting pushed back, another board game) that my personal and completely wild specualtion is that late this year or sometime next year there is going to be some sort of major shake up in D&D. Probably won’t be a “new” edition but I have the feeling that there is going to a huge change and it’ll probably be worse than the Edition Wars.

  • Sully

    Personally, I love cards, and have custom-built full decks of powers, feats, items, action points, everything for my game. The DnD4e character sheets were just not functional for my group, and the cards have worked very well. Stacking effects, for example, from feats, items and powers, takes on a whole new meaning.

  • anarkeith

    Brought this idea up with one of the groups I play 4e with last night, and our resident rules mechanic and numbers guru went off on specific examples of why a deck wouldn’t work in an RPG. I held up both hands and asked him not to make so many assumptions and just to ponder the similarities between the attention we lavish on our characters, and (for those of us that played MtG) the time spent tweaking constructed decks. Thinking about deck themes, and the possibilities for tuning, I couldn’t help but think of the active character optimization threads. I bet they’re some of the most active of the D&D forums.

    All that said, I’m not advocating for deck-based characters. Yet. Rather, it’s a thought experiment. From a marketing perspective, if WotC looks at their customers and finds that the majority of active, financially-committed players are into char-op, and the type of play that fit with a character deck, then they’d be foolish not to explore the idea.

    They might even call such a game “D&D”. So what if they did? It wouldn’t prevent us from playing the types of RPGs we prefer. Looking back at 3e, the d20 model was spun off in a zillion forms, but the games were structurally identical. Now we have tons of different types of games that work for different styles of play. None of them is “right” for everyone. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer that you couldn’t find a game for. So, what if WotC rolled out different forms of D&D? Video game, board game, card game. They can put them all under the aegis of the D&D brand, and make a poop-ton of money.

    What doesn’t kill D&D, makes it stronger. The idea of D&D is sitting around a table with friends, having fun. Whether you do it with dice, cards, plastic men, or a console, it’s all part of the same idea. Doing it with all of the above just means you can appeal to a broader audience. You see, it’s much bigger than edition wars. And, it’s a much bigger world out there than just dice and character sheets.

  • That Tim

    You might want to take a closer look at WFRP 3e. It just might be called a card game, although the cards and tokens are only there keep track of conditions. A board game it isn’t. In fact I’d say combat is quite a lot more abstract than previous editions, and certainly more so than in something like D&D (3e or later). In fact if it didn’t say Warhammer on it and used careers with more generic names, it could quite easily be taken for an experimental indy game – admittedly, a very expensive one. So it isn’t a good model for a future RPG/Card/Board game hybrid.

  • The Red DM

    One thing I have learnt in the past three years is that I suck at guessing what Wizard’s is going to do next.

    I would not be totally adverse to a card based D&D game; though I would hope it would still be an rpg, just with cards replacing character sheets and dice. If it ended up being Magic, with D&D named powers, I probably wouldn’t play it much.

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