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Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:34 pm
by Havard
For every new edition there seems to be a community of fans who keep the torch lit and stay true to the edition of their choice. But how long must an edition be kept in print for its fandom to gain the momentum it needs to exist without industry support? The time between each edition has become shorter and shorter. Maybe its me getting old, but it seems like only yesterday that 4E was the new big thing.

Will the 4E fans simply switch to 5E or are there enough of them to keep playing their edition, like old schoolers of other past editions?

-Havard

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:52 pm
by ghendar
The thing 3.5 had going for it was Paizo taking up the mantle and creating what was essentially 3.75 with Pathfinder. That meant that 3.5 fans had a place to go for new material that could be used with 3.5

Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.










EDIT - for typos

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:09 pm
by Havard
ghendar wrote:Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
OTOH, there are still fan communities for 1st Ed, 2nd Ed, OD&D, BECMI etc. Those didnt have a Pathfinder either. These days there are clones for those, but I think the communties would have existed anyway.

-Havard

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:27 am
by rabindranath72
Well, it is practically yesterday. 4e was published in 2008, and it effectively ended in 2012. That's definitely a negative record of longevity for D&D.
The issue with 4e is the sheer complexity. I don't see clones can be easily produced. Switching to 4e, at least judging from the rabid reactions at rpg.net, doesn't seem likely (although I hope it's just the more vocal fanboys there that produce a lot of noise.)

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:23 pm
by night_druid
ghendar wrote:The thing 3.5 had going to it was Paizo taking up the mantle and creating what was essentially 3.75 with Pathfinder. That meant that 3.5 fans had a place to go for new material that could be used with 3.5

Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
I'd say "no". The way that the GSL was written, 4e dies when WotC says it dies. Paizo used the OGL to keep 3.5e alive, but IIRC the GSL prevents another company from publishing 4e-compatible products once WotC revokes the license. I really don't expect to see a large retro-clone movement for 4e; its lifespan was too short and it wasn't widely received. It'll probably be the 'forgotten' edition of D&D in another few years.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:26 pm
by Havard
night_druid wrote:I'd say "no". The way that the GSL was written, 4e dies when WotC says it dies. Paizo used the OGL to keep 3.5e alive, but IIRC the GSL prevents another company from publishing 4e-compatible products once WotC revokes the license. I really don't expect to see a large retro-clone movement for 4e; its lifespan was too short and it wasn't widely received. It'll probably be the 'forgotten' edition of D&D in another few years.
But to what extent does a fan communty need clones or industrial support to continue to exist? The 1st Ed community existed for decades before OSRIC and such came along...

-Havard

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:33 pm
by night_druid
Havard wrote:But to what extent does a fan communty need clones or industrial support to continue to exist? The 1st Ed community existed for decades before OSRIC and such came along...
Sure, but I think the 1e community had two things going for it: 1) lots of really memorable (and widely available) modules that people play to this day and 2) like it or not, 2e was largely compatible with 1e (as well as basic D&D), so gamers could retrofit whatever they wanted from 2e & BD&D.

We'll probably know in another five years or so if 4e will have a vibrant community of gamers keeping a torch lit for it, or not.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:22 pm
by ghendar
Havard wrote:
ghendar wrote:Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
OTOH, there are still fan communities for 1st Ed, 2nd Ed, OD&D, BECMI etc. Those didnt have a Pathfinder either. These days there are clones for those, but I think the communties would have existed anyway.

-Havard
True, but it took the OSR movement to make new material for those editions appear and flourish. Yes, the communities were making new material but it was scarce and sporadic. Nothing is stopping the 4e crowd from keeping the flame alive I guess, however there are those players who will switch to a new edition regardless. I remember hearing 3.5 players saying they would switch to 4e even though they were still enjoying 3.5

I'm not sure the 4e community is sufficiently large to sustain, especially if some of them jump ship to 5e (and some will). I was big into D&D Minis about 8-10 years ago and we had a great community on Maxminis.com and then later on Hordelings. There was also, of course, the Wizards minis forum. However, the community was small. Rabid and enthusiastic but small. Eventually, it shrunk until it was almost non-existant.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:27 pm
by ghendar
night_druid wrote:
ghendar wrote:The thing 3.5 had going to it was Paizo taking up the mantle and creating what was essentially 3.75 with Pathfinder. That meant that 3.5 fans had a place to go for new material that could be used with 3.5

Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
I'd say "no". The way that the GSL was written, 4e dies when WotC says it dies. Paizo used the OGL to keep 3.5e alive, but IIRC the GSL prevents another company from publishing 4e-compatible products once WotC revokes the license. I really don't expect to see a large retro-clone movement for 4e; its lifespan was too short and it wasn't widely received. It'll probably be the 'forgotten' edition of D&D in another few years.
I'm sure someone will try, although I don't know why anyone needs retro-clones. If you want to play 4e, just play 4e. The same goes for BECMI or 1e or 2e. The main rule books are readily available.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:36 pm
by night_druid
ghendar wrote:I'm sure someone will try, although I don't know why anyone needs retro-clones. If you want to play 4e, just play 4e. The same goes for BECMI or 1e or 2e. The main rule books are readily available.
Two reasons I can think of:
1. Rulebooks become hard to acquire for newer players
2. People like to add their own homebrew rules.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:20 pm
by robertneaves
EBay has been full of 4E books since Next was announced. Getting started or even completing your collection of 4E material (like I've done) will be quite easy for a long while.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:49 pm
by ghendar
night_druid wrote:
ghendar wrote:I'm sure someone will try, although I don't know why anyone needs retro-clones. If you want to play 4e, just play 4e. The same goes for BECMI or 1e or 2e. The main rule books are readily available.
Two reasons I can think of:
1. Rulebooks become hard to acquire for newer players
2. People like to add their own homebrew rules.
1 - The main rulebooks from all editions seem to be plentiful and still either cheap and/or inexpensive
2 - What makes homebrewing the rules in a retro-clone easier than homebrewing rules in the actual edition? (I ask because I truly don't know) After all, Gygax himself said that the rules were only a guide and to modify as needed.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:02 pm
by robertneaves
ghendar wrote:What makes homebrewing the rules in a retro-clone easier than homebrewing rules in the actual edition?
Nothing.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:09 pm
by night_druid
ghendar wrote:1 - The main rulebooks from all editions seem to be plentiful and still either cheap and/or inexpensive
2 - What makes homebrewing the rules in a retro-clone easier than homebrewing rules in the actual edition? (I ask because I truly don't know) After all, Gygax himself said that the rules were only a guide and to modify as needed.
1. Internet has made it easier to procure older rulebooks. Before that, it was much more difficult. Also, location has a lot to do with it; some areas don't have gamestores close by. For many people, the only way to get older rulebooks was to attend conventions with auctions and used book vendors (I'm lucky; I've got gamestores around here that deal in used game books, as well as running seasonal auctions; from my understanding, that's actually quite rare).

2. Its just damned cool to have a printed book *exactly* the way you want it. ;)

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:00 pm
by ghendar
night_druid wrote:
2. Its just damned cool to have a printed book *exactly* the way you want it. ;)
Well yeah, that is cool

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:56 am
by shesheyan
The players most likely to hold the torch will be the players who started with 4E and those more inclined to play wargames. We had the same discussion on our local forum. Most players who started with 4E do not like other editions. For them 4E IS D&D. They don't consider switching to 5E... As I have said before each edition of D&D is a self-contained and complete stand alone game. You can play forever without new material if you have committed players and a motived DM.

Also, its far more easier to find the rules these days. Illegal PDFs can be found without much effort... books are so 1980.. ;)
4E third party expansions and variations are currently available : http://www.diasexmachina.com/Games-NeuroSpasta.htm
Even if WOTC issues a destroy order the PDFs will be (are?) available illegally...
You can't kill a game in the 21st century.

There is also the precedent with Star Frontiers. WoTC allows free distribution of PDFs even if everything is copyright material.

I'm not afraid for 4E players. D20Modern didn't have much success but many people still play it.
Lack of activity on the internet (forums) doesn't mean the death of a community.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Mon May 02, 2016 10:48 am
by Big Mac
Havard wrote:
ghendar wrote:Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
OTOH, there are still fan communities for 1st Ed, 2nd Ed, OD&D, BECMI etc. Those didnt have a Pathfinder either. These days there are clones for those, but I think the communties would have existed anyway.
For me, the unique selling point of 4th Edition is the Points of Light/Nentir Vale theme. You can't get that theme in any other edition of D&D.

There is currently a topic over in the Nentir Vale forum, to see who might be interested in a Nentir Vale fanzine/blog. If there is enough interest in that concept, I would imagine that a lot of the articles would be written in 4th Edition D&D format.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Mon May 02, 2016 11:42 am
by Havard
Big Mac wrote:For me, the unique selling point of 4th Edition is the Points of Light/Nentir Vale theme. You can't get that theme in any other edition of D&D.

There is currently a topic over in the Nentir Vale forum, to see who might be interested in a Nentir Vale fanzine/blog. If there is enough interest in that concept, I would imagine that a lot of the articles would be written in 4th Edition D&D format.
Perhaps it would be an idea to make it a combined Nentir Vale and 4E magazine, opening up for generic 4E articles not connected to the Nentir Vale? Or would that be bettter stuited for a separate project?

In any case, something to give the 4E community a focus might be required.

As Rabindranath pointed out, 4E is the shortest running edition that D&D has had (not counting 5E), running only between 2008-2012 and enjoying only limited support from 3rd party publishers. These are things that a surviving 4E community needs to be working against.

-Havard

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Mon May 02, 2016 6:56 pm
by willpell
I'm not super familiar with 4E, but it seems to have very little in common with 5E in terms of crunch, although both are similarly minimalistic with fluff. The handful of 4E grognards out there might well find that it's difficult to adjust to a new edition in which there are so few published rules, when they come from a background of having everything spelled out in such detail that you practically had to buy reference cards for every character.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Mon May 02, 2016 8:28 pm
by Havard
willpell wrote:I'm not super familiar with 4E, but it seems to have very little in common with 5E in terms of crunch, although both are similarly minimalistic with fluff. The handful of 4E grognards out there might well find that it's difficult to adjust to a new edition in which there are so few published rules, when they come from a background of having everything spelled out in such detail that you practically had to buy reference cards for every character.
Yeah, I would say that 4E is fairly different from both the previous and later versions of D&D. Its main legacies in 5th Edition seems to be the Dragonborn and Tiefling Races as well as the Warlock Class. You dont really need to buy the reference cards, but I could see how that would speed up the game alot, especially for inexperienced players. But I think you are right that people who like 4E's particular setup and focus on tactical gaming are likely to stick with that edition.

-Havard

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 12:15 am
by ghendar
Havard wrote:
willpell wrote:I'm not super familiar with 4E, but it seems to have very little in common with 5E in terms of crunch, although both are similarly minimalistic with fluff. The handful of 4E grognards out there might well find that it's difficult to adjust to a new edition in which there are so few published rules, when they come from a background of having everything spelled out in such detail that you practically had to buy reference cards for every character.
Yeah, I would say that 4E is fairly different from both the previous and later versions of D&D. Its main legacies in 5th Edition seems to be the Dragonborn and Tiefling Races as well as the Warlock Class. You dont really need to buy the reference cards, but I could see how that would speed up the game alot, especially for inexperienced players. But I think you are right that people who like 4E's particular setup and focus on tactical gaming are likely to stick with that edition.

-Havard

It's quite a bit more than fairly different. It's a pretty radical departure from what came before. However, for those that enjoy that aspect of 4e, I agree that they are likely to stick with it for that reason.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 4:09 pm
by Bouv
I think one of the biggest downsides is that the character builder is such a helpful tool in managing and building characters that anything beyond the first couple levels becomes pretty laborious with books and articles on where different powers are. However, I think Wizards is still charging a monthly fee for it, if it's even still available.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:57 am
by JimmytheQuick
Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:
ghendar wrote:Does 4e have that? I don't believe it does.
For me, the unique selling point of 4th Edition is the Points of Light/Nentir Vale theme. You can't get that theme in any other edition of D&D.
I love the Nentir Vale and even if I one day play 5th edition I will be gaming in the Vale. That said I have no interest in playing 5th edition. I really like 4th. I currently DM two weekly groups in ongoing campaigns. Both groups have new-to-DnD gamers in it and are loving things.

I'm a month into a shopping quest to purchase all the rulebooks that I don't have. Second hand through Amazon is bringing up some real gems at bargain prices!

If I can create some writing time then I'd happily write items for the Vale in 4e format.

Jimmy

PS It might be worth mentioning that I am also a Wargamer and I'm a big miniature fan - maybe that influences my love of 4th!

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:54 am
by Tim Baker
I've been thinking about this, lately. I've seen how RPGs have grown over the past four years, and the more people enjoy the hobby, the greater the chance of someone discovering a "long lost" edition of D&D. Tastes change over time, too. What was horribly unpopular a decade ago may become trendy again when a new generation tries it out. With the popularity of OSR games that are either retroclones or try to capture some of the feel and play-style of older games, who's to say that 4e won't see a similar surge in popularity another 10 years from now? Perhaps 5e will support Nentir Vale, and lead fans to discover the edition that served as the setting's origin.

Re: Any hope for 4E fandom?

Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:01 am
by Havard
I think the Nentir Vale is one of the strongest legacies of 4E.
I have also seen new appreciation for certain 4E mechanics such as skill challenges and the minion rules.

-Havard