Sunday, May 25, 2014

What if 5e Leads WotC to Change DnDClassics to Print on Demand, Bringing the Old Adventures Back in Print?

This summer, 5e, the latest and greatest version of Dungeons & Dragons will release. Yes, whenever there is a new version of D&D, it is ALWAYS the greatest edition. It's part of the boiler plate, so bear with me.

What do we know so far? WotC has stated there will be options in the Dungeon Master's Guide to allow DMs to emulate earlier editions of D&D. We also know that the first official adventure released for D&D 5e, Tyranny of Dragons, will be self contained. All the rules needed to play the adventure will be included with the adventure. No Starter Set, Player's Handbook, Monster Manual or DMG required to play. In effect, Tyranny of Dragons is emulating a theoretically unique variation of 5e tweaked for that adventure.

This means that there is no true, one way to run D&D 5e. It can, theoretically, be used to emulate any previous edition of D&D, depending on the dials / twists / adjustments / assumptions the DM sets for the campaign.

Lets take this a step further.

WotC has been releasing products from it's out of print collection in PDF for what, about a year now? Redone PDFs. Reprinted and re-typset AD&D rules, OD&D rules, AD&D module collections and later edition reprints of core rules.

We also know that the Caves of Chaos, from the classic B2, Keep on the Borderland, was the default adventure for the early D&D Next playtests. So, the older adventures are already on the radar for possible conversions to D&D 5e. Or non-conversions, depending on the emulation settings used.

Take the original T1-4, Temple of Elemental Evil. Takes PCs from 1st to 7th or 8th level in AD&D 1e. Tweak it and package it with a version of 5e emulating AD&D 1e. Offer it as a PDF and Print on Demand version at OneBookShelf or / and via Amazon's POD service. Minimal effort, and it tests the waters for more print versions of (A)D&D Adventures. Or do it without testing the waters, and rely on DMs using the DMG to make the necessary teaks

Turn on Print on Demand at OneBookShelf for the adventures and rulebooks that have already been converted to PDF and you have instant library of product for D&D 5e. Ravenloft, Birthright, modules, settings and more. Classic authors. Classic credibility. Little expense or risk.

Almost too good to be true.

What if... the OSR were assimilated?


  1. I would be really curious about the form and status of the contracts for those products. I have no idea if there's royalties involved or what. But I know in the past with some publishers they were able to skirt provisions by releasing products as electroinc editions. But if releasing an actual printed version, I suspect even via POD, might open another can of worms. I don't know. It would be great if they did this, but I wonder what reasons might can kept them from doing so earlier.

    1. I believe all of the TSR work is owned lock, stock and barrel by WotC today (print versions of AD&D, OS&D, A1-4 and S1-4 have already happened)

    2. Ditto. I believe there are issues with earlier articles in Dragon magazine, where first publication rights were purchased instead of all rights, but that doesn't apply to modules or certainly anything from 2e onwards.

  2. If they include any of the boxed sets, it would finally get OBS off their collective butts and support poster-sized printing, because WotC needed that functionality. Probably not actual boxes, though.

  3. Lol. Nice Marvel Reference. What if Conan and Wolverine switched places is still the best issue.

    I have a gut feeling that this 5th edition may be the last print version of D&D we ever get. After this, if the game continues, it will likely be all digital.

    1. I also think that all of the tweaking required is in the DMG and Monster Manual.

      I believe that the the DM would then adjust whatever old adventures they want without WotC having to do anything else.

      So by that regard, you could just buy the old, and usually cheaper than POD adventures and use as is.

  4. I asked Mike Mearls yesterday if the character creator/15% of the PHB pdf will be available at cost for POD on Twitter and he said "good idea - we'll look into it". So maybe...

  5. POD is the future for much of WotC's sales I suspect. Low investment, maximum return, especially with the older edition PDFs ready to go POD

  6. I like this idea Erik.. I know as part of the playtest they released some conversion pdfs for earlier adventures. I would love to see this continue going forward. To be honest I wouldn't even mind paying a small price for a conversion sheet for my favorite old skool adventure statted out for the new version.

  7. Yeah, be very cool. I think we'd like the future where you could do print on demand posters of the book covers, etc., at least the iconic ones.

    Along the lines of Dave's suggestion they could do premium reprint new ones with extra stats and conversions added for the really popular ones?

  8. A Print on Demand book has gone up on D&D Classics! I've written more on The Piazza:

    Is this a one-off, or the shape of things to come? I don't know yet, but if I find out, I'll add it to that topic.


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