I know I spent the last couple months doing a lot of holiday traveling and whatnot, but I distinctly remember this celebration of Wizards of the Coast because they were so awesome as to release the Basic Rules as a free PDF. Does anyone else remember that?
Remember how I said, 'hey people: this isn't a complete game?' To which everyone pointed me to the articles on WotC's web site stating that the game was going to be released in installments/updates (along with the hardcover "advanced" 5E volumes) until the end of the year? People around here remember that, yeah?
In fact, what I remember specifically is this quote:
For the D&D basic rules, our initial release will include character creation. It features the human, elf, dwarf, and halfling for races along with the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard classes, all from 1st level to 20th level. As the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide near completion, we'll add to the basic rules with more material to grow into a complete game. Our goal is to continue to make updates to the basic rules for D&D until the end of the year, at which point it will be feature complete.
- from Mike Mearls 6/30/2014 (emphasis added by me)
Yes, I remember also an earlier article (from May 27th) that said the Basic PDF would be expanded in August to include "the DM rules needed to run the game along with the rules for wilderness, dungeon, and urban adventuring." But I figure the June article's later "end o year" timeline was an update to a more realistic release date. That's why we like updates, yeah?
So WTF happened?
I can say this for sure: the last "Basic Rules" update occurred 11/3/2014 and added two new magic items to the "Basic DMG" (Keoughtom's ointment and cloak of elvenkind for those who are curious). We're now in 2015 and there's still no information on how to run a game or build adventures.
At the beginning of December, Mearls announced the end of his Legends & Lore articles, stating that "the process is complete, for the time being," and that "the process of launching fifth edition is over." There is no mention of the Basic Rules or any future updates intended for the PDFs. Nor do I find any other articles or news items on the web site discussing forthcoming changes or new push backed timeframes for the Basic Rules to become a complete game. In fact, other than the additional two magic items added with the 3rd update of the DMG, the main difference I find is the removable of the sidebars that say "Works in Progress!" Apparently, these are no longer WIPs. They're not complete, but it doesn't appear any further progress is going to be made.
Hey! Remember when Mike Mearls wrote:
"With just the Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules, you can play D&D for years."
Fuck you, Mearls. No you can't.
It would appear that I was right when I said this whole thing was a bunch of bullshit, a PR move designed to get a bunch of positive press for a company that was on the ropes, and an enticement to the rubes to shell out yet more money for yet another edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The whole puffery of wanting to get the core game into the hands of as many people as possible...for free!...growing the hobby with a new generation of fans was simply a huge, steaming pile. You can't play Dungeons & Dragons with these PDFs; they have less information on creating and running a game then the original white box edition.
[that's information, by the way...not "word count." For all the lack of real info in the PDF, it's no slack in the extra wordiness department]
But, hey...I realize I may not be the demographic WotC is trying to win over here (the "sucker" demographic?). In fact, I know I'm not, judging by how much new D&D product I've purchased since 2002 ($0 unless you're counting the AD&D reprints which aren't actually "new" product)...if I am their target, then they are really shit at appealing to my wallet.
All right...well, it's good to see I'll be as irritable in 2015 as I was last year. Jeez, JB. I'm going to go take a nap (I'm still a bit under the weather). Hopefully cheerier posting later.