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Looking at the Past and the Future
Legends and Lore
Monte Cook

I f you haven't already done so, please read this announcement from Mike Mearls.

So, now you have a little better idea what I've been working on. For many of you, what you already suspected has simply been confirmed. In any event, I can't tell you how exciting and challenging it’s been getting this project off the ground—and how thrilling it will continue to be as we move forward.

Of course, I'm not doing this alone. While I am working with a lot of great people at Wizards of the Coast in this endeavor, at this point in the process, I spend most of my time with two excellent designers, Bruce Cordell and Rob Schwalb. It's a team effort to be sure, and we’ll be including more talented designers, developers, and editors as things progress.

In the weeks and months ahead, I want to elaborate on some of the goals that Mike put forth in his announcement. This week, however, I just want to hit the highlights of what I think is particularly exciting about the development of the next iteration of the game.

First and foremost, as Mike said, this isn't another salvo in the so-called edition wars. This isn't an attempt to get you to play Dungeons & Dragons in a new way. This is the game you've already been playing, no matter what edition or version you prefer. The goal here is to embrace all forms of the D&D experience and to not exclude anyone. Imagine a game where the core essence of D&D has been distilled down to a very simple but entirely playable-in-its-right game. Now imagine that the game offered you modular, optional add-ons that allow you to create the character you want to play while letting the Dungeon Master create the game he or she wants to run. Like simple rules for your story-driven game? You're good to go. Like tactical combats and complex encounters? You can have that too. Like ultra-customized character creation? It's all there.

In this game, you play what you want to play. It’s our goal to give you the tools to do so.

This new approach comes out of a single idea. At its heart, D&D isn't about rules. It's about participating in an exciting fantasy adventure. The rules are just the means to enable that to happen. They're not an end unto themselves. The reason most of us play is for the story that arises out of our games. We talk about the green devil mouth in the Tomb of Horrors. The diabolical plans of Strahd in Ravenloft. The cowardly kobold Meepo in Sunless Citadel. These stories bring us together. As D&D players, we shouldn't allow rule preferences to separate us. In the end, we have a lot more in common than we have differences, even if some of us prefer the simple-yet-wahoo style of old school Basic D&D and others the carefully balanced elegance of 4th Edition—or anything in between.

So if this new endeavor is just like your favorite prior version of the game, why play this one? First, we hope you're going to enjoy the distillation of the things that make D&D the game we all love into a single, unified package, with the ability to pick and choose other options as you desire.

Second—and this sounds so crazy that you probably won't believe it right now—we're designing the game so that not every player has to choose from the same set of options. Again, imagine a game where one player has a simple character sheet that has just a few things noted on it, and the player next to him has all sorts of skills, feats, and special abilities. And yet they can still play the game together and everything remains relatively balanced. Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn't want or need. Or vice versa. It's all up to you to decide.

Finally, we're seeking your feedback to help guide us as we move ahead. You can play a part in shaping the direction of D&D. I can't stress this enough. We're going to be doing extensive playtesting and engaging in open discussion about our ideas for this iteration of D&D. We want real feedback from our players, because if the goal is to make a game that all D&D players want to play, it's not going to work unless we actually hear from a wide variety of D&D players. So tell your friends. Tell the guy down the street who still plays OD&D. Tell the girl at the game store who left D&D to play other systems. We want to hear from them too. Spread the word!

*Your email address will be used by Wizards solely for the purpose of notifying you about the D&D playtest and is subject to our Privacy Policy.

In the meantime, you can share your opinions, talk with other gamers and stay in touch with D&D game designers by joining the official group page at: http://community.wizards.com/dndnext.

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