D&D Beyond to delist two books next week.

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Torque2100

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I suspect the long range plan is to move as close to "rpg as a service" as they can. The more they can update things and supersede existing books, the more pressure some people will feel to stay subscribed to their service, either for fear of missing out on things or because whoever they game with insists on only using the newest "official" stuff. That won't work with all players, but it will with a certain number of them.
My thoughts exactly. This is precisely the direction WotC are moving in and not one I am interested in following. It's kind of annoying to me that these books aren't available anywhere else. What if I want to use the older lore and rules?

Oh well, there's always the OSR.
 

David Johansen

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Oh, it's one of those situations. No wonder David Johansen David Johansen was being cryptic. Here I was imagining that Volo was being removed because Forgotten Realms was falling out of favor, or he was tied up in intellectual property disputes, or something.
At the risk of being political I will offer one cryptic word of clarification, "colonialism."
 

Ladybird

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It's not a conspiracy. WotC made it clear that a lot of the lore in those two books were problematic in their view, so they released errata that they pushed digitally (unless I am horribly mistake about the "pushed digitally" part) and released a print book to replace those two books.

All in the effort to make 5e as fluffy and harmless and homogeneous and boring as fuck as possible.
Multiverse isn't intended to replace just those books, iirc it's a combination monster manual / errata for playable races / preview of 5.5's designs.
 

Bunch

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Multiverse isn't intended to replace just those books, iirc it's a combination monster manual / errata for playable races / preview of 5.5's designs.
Well that's a bit confusing because they seem to be dropping those books because Multiverse is out.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.
 

sharps54

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At the risk of sounding like a dick I’m still surprised at the number of people that think they “own” anything when they pay for an item on D&D Beyond, Kindle, a digital movie from Amazon and so on. You are effectively doing a long term rental and they can pull the product anytime they want. Full stop. Read the small print.

PDFs are different as are movies and things you can download and store locally.

Again I don’t mean to be cold but you don’t “own” these things, read the small print.
 

Shipyard Locked

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At the risk of being political I will offer one cryptic word of clarification, "colonialism."

Yeah, that's too direct for this site, so let's seal this box of pain right now, before it gets any worse.

tyslBjO.gif
 
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Bunch

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At the risk of sounding like a dick I’m still surprised at the number of people that think they “own” anything when they pay for an item on D&D Beyond, Kindle, a digital movie from Amazon and so on. You are effectively doing a long term rental and they can pull the product anytime they want. Full stop. Read the small print.

PDFs are different as are movies and things you can download and store locally.

Again I don’t mean to be cold but you don’t “own” these things, read the small print.
Well to be fair the button saying "Own it!" On amazon does add to the confusion....
 

sharps54

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Well to be fair the button saying "Own it!" On amazon does add to the confusion....
No argument here! To me it is all but false advertising on their part to use terms like “buy” in relation to these transactions.
 

burbles

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My thoughts exactly. This is precisely the direction WotC are moving in and not one I am interested in following. It's kind of annoying to me that these books aren't available anywhere else. What if I want to use the older lore and rules?

Oh well, there's always the OSR.
History is seeming to be repeating itself here.

WOTC pissing off people by removing electronic purchases years ago (early D&D stuff from DriveThru).

If my memory serves correctly, the last time they did this it resulted in a movement called the OSR.

Ultimately WOTC changed their mind and restored at least some of them.

In my case it was the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

Anyone want to write a 'not' 5th edition?
 

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It occurs to me the issue might just be a matter of licensing. What if D&D Beyond is only license to publish digital versions of books with ongoing print runs? Assuming the two books will end there print runs that would explain why D&DB would drop support
 

TJS

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WotC really need to make up their mind.

They had an edition that relied a lot on digital tools and constant iteration. They scrapped it for one that was much lighter and was supposed to be based on GM rulings and common sense interpretations - then almost immediately they went back into making legalistic rulings through sage advice. Then they started rewriting and replacing rules again.

There's perhaps a place for rules that regularly iterate, especially with digital tools available. It least it means that someone is looking at the rules and making sure they work as they were intended to work - and if you're going to be throwing out legalistic rulings about RAW then you do have to be willing to do that. Ideally playtesting would be good enough that you wouldn't have to do that, but it's never going to be.

Alternatively if the printed book is the last word on rules then make that the last word. If something turns out to be ambiguous in play, then leave it up to the GM to decide, don't then go making additional rulings that create a para-text of additional rulings and official interprations that undermine those GMs you're supposed to be empowering, and don't go re-releasing rules with subtle updates years down the track that aren't even necessarily clear to the casual player.

But it kind of really needs to go one way or another.
 
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carpocratian

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Few things are a durable as a good book but even those don't last forever. I get I could hope we find a publisher who will use clay tablets because their still reading Sumerian gossip letter written in that stuff.

They don't have to last forever, but I want them to last as long as I may want to read them. I have just about every rpg that I have ever bought, going back 40+ years now. I have books that were printed almost 200 years ago (not rpgs, obviously). Some of the books have never been reprinted, and were only originally put out in very limited print runs. I can still sit in my chair next to a window and read them the same way someone in the early 19th century did, though.
 

carpocratian

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I suspect that D&D has reached the peak of its growth curve, now that people aren't stuck indoors all the time during Covid lockdowns. Most ttrpg companies would be thrilled to have a steady, predictable profit each month, but being a part of Hasbro and having to answer to investors and an aggressive board of directors is going to keep the pressure on WotC to show ongoing sales growth. Regular players (as opposed to people who also GM) might be willing to continue to pay a monthly subscription price, but there is only so much WotC will be able to charge for that and retain those customers, and only so many things that you can sell players beyond that once they have access to the basic books. It is going to be interesting to see how WotC approaches those issues, and how it all plays out in the long run.
 

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I suspect that D&D has reached the peak of its growth curve, now that people aren't stuck indoors all the time during Covid lockdowns. Most ttrpg companies would be thrilled to have a steady, predictable profit each month, but being a part of Hasbro and having to answer to investors and an aggressive board of directors is going to keep the pressure on WotC to show ongoing sales growth. Regular players (as opposed to people who also GM) might be willing to continue to pay a monthly subscription price, but there is only so much WotC will be able to charge for that and retain those customers, and only so many things that you can sell players beyond that once they have access to the basic books. It is going to be interesting to see how WotC approaches those issues, and how it all plays out in the long run.
I have no clue if we're at a peak. What I see is a relatively cheap hobby. Buy some books(few if you're just playing). Buy some dice. Maybe if you play online pay a VTT subscription if you GM. Playing is pretty inexpensive. Even Gaming isn't that expensive compared to many hobbies.

I think COVID accelerated the trend to play D&D but since it's equally enjoyable for many in person of virtual I don't see the end of lockdowns doing anything. I suspect neither does WotC since they are investing in digital. That to me suggests they see more money in the online realm. It does solve a lot of their problems. Finding players who can match your life schedule is so much easier online.
 

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They don't have to last forever, but I want them to last as long as I may want to read them. I have just about every rpg that I have ever bought, going back 40+ years now. I have books that were printed almost 200 years ago (not rpgs, obviously). Some of the books have never been reprinted, and were only originally put out in very limited print runs. I can still sit in my chair next to a window and read them the same way someone in the early 19th century did, though.
Yeah books are sort of the exception though, not the rule. Lots of stuff has sort of had a technological death. I don't have anything to play my player piano rolls, my 8 tracks are dead. CDs are kinda dead, cassette dead, lots of games I have owned on early C64, PC are unplayable currently.

I mean in 7 years the State of Washington is I believe going to stop allowing gasoline cars to be registered. Maybe my horse and buggy will make a comeback.9
 

burbles

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Yeah books are sort of the exception though, not the rule. Lots of stuff has sort of had a technological death. I don't have anything to play my player piano rolls, my 8 tracks are dead. CDs are kinda dead, cassette dead, lots of games I have owned on early C64, PC are unplayable currently.

I mean in 7 years the State of Washington is I believe going to stop allowing gasoline cars to be registered. Maybe my horse and buggy will make a comeback.9
I'm not completely convinced by that argument though. You still have the actual objects.

To me, removing something previously available online that you had purchased is equivalent of the company that created your CD or whatever sneaking into your house and stealing it back.

Now it may be that the wording on the 'purchase' may make such actions legal. If D&D Beyond only allows you 'access' to said item, subject to certain conditions, they could remove it at any time and be technically valid (I've forgotten what the wording is, but I've noticed it on a few sites recently).

As an example, I've noticed that that Tome of Adventure Design is not currently available for purchase from DrivethruRPG (I think because its kickstarting a second edition), but I can still download my purchased copy from my library.

On the other hand, a course I'm studying has some unit's text books only available online for a certain amount of time. But at least I've been informed of that, so I know its going to happen. I'd be peeved if I'd purchased the same electronic textbook online from the publisher though - whilst they do actually state that you are only getting access to the text, you have to do a little digging to find this fact out. If I hadn't known about it beforehand (ie from the course provider) I would have missed it completely on the textbook providers site. Something like $80 for a physical copy and $40 for a electronic year's rental.
 

carpocratian

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Yeah books are sort of the exception though, not the rule. Lots of stuff has sort of had a technological death. I don't have anything to play my player piano rolls, my 8 tracks are dead. CDs are kinda dead, cassette dead, lots of games I have owned on early C64, PC are unplayable currently.

I mean in 7 years the State of Washington is I believe going to stop allowing gasoline cars to be registered. Maybe my horse and buggy will make a comeback.9

There was a time when it looked like records (LPs) were rapidly disappearing, then they made a sudden comeback. CDs aren't really dead, either. I still buy them and play them in my computer. They still sell fairly well online and in used bookstores, particularly when you consider that there are electronic alternatives. I could go grab a cassette player pretty inexpensively if I wanted to, even.

I still have VHS tapes that I can play, and have digitized some of them. Many of them are commercial movies, collections, etc. that have never been put on DVD or Blu-ray, and a few are things that I haven't seen digitized anywhere, even at low quality. I also have old family videos and such, like a lot of people. Not everyone still has VCRs, but there are still a lot of them floating around, and you can still buy them. Some VHS stuff sells for decent prices on eBay, even.

The only media I have that I don't have the right equipment for are a handful of 8-tracks and a wax cylinder recording. Even so, you can still buy the equipment to play those things, and some people do. I ran across a guy at a local flea market a few years ago that had a really big selection of old, refurbished, working wax cylinder players, even. It takes a really long time for most things to reach the point where it becomes difficult to get the equipment to play them anymore.
 

CRKrueger

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They put out a new version and still sell the old, who's buying the old? Not many.
They put a "Get It Before It's Gone Forever" sign on it, how many will they sell? A fuck of a lot more.

They how know completionist their fanbase is.
 

Bunch

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There was a time when it looked like records (LPs) were rapidly disappearing, then they made a sudden comeback. CDs aren't really dead, either. I still buy them and play them in my computer. They still sell fairly well online and in used bookstores, particularly when you consider that there are electronic alternatives. I could go grab a cassette player pretty inexpensively if I wanted to, even.

I still have VHS tapes that I can play, and have digitized some of them. Many of them are commercial movies, collections, etc. that have never been put on DVD or Blu-ray, and a few are things that I haven't seen digitized anywhere, even at low quality. I also have old family videos and such, like a lot of people. Not everyone still has VCRs, but there are still a lot of them floating around, and you can still buy them. Some VHS stuff sells for decent prices on eBay, even.

The only media I have that I don't have the right equipment for are a handful of 8-tracks and a wax cylinder recording. Even so, you can still buy the equipment to play those things, and some people do. I ran across a guy at a local flea market a few years ago that had a really big selection of old, refurbished, working wax cylinder players, even. It takes a really long time for most things to reach the point where it becomes difficult to get the equipment to play them anymore.
They're pretty much dead. The two combined make up less than 10% of the market. Sure some people still use them but if you have to decide what to put something new out in that's not going to be where you do it unless it's as a gimmick.

The thing is it's cheaper in pretty much every case to format shift or rebuy it in the new format than try to keep the old equipment going forever.
 

Voros

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It's not a conspiracy. WotC made it clear that a lot of the lore in those two books were problematic in their view, so they released errata that they pushed digitally (unless I am horribly mistake about the "pushed digitally" part) and released a print book to replace those two books.

All in the effort to make 5e as fluffy and harmless and homogeneous and boring as fuck as possible.

Source?
 

Tommy Brownell

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The...errata they released a couple of months ago where they cut out the lore?

There was various discussion about the why on Twitter and message boards.

The last line is admittedly editorializing on my part.
 

Voros

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The...errata they released a couple of months ago where they cut out the lore?

There was various discussion about the why on Twitter and message boards.

The last line is admittedly editorializing on my part.

Looking at the Volo's errata they basically removed alignment and references to it.

The biggest change is the addition of these paragraphs for several monsters:

“When you’re roleplaying a ______________, the following tables contain possible inspiration. They suggest characteristics that a ___________ might possess."

I don't really consider that 'lore' and it seems clear considering the history of the game all such 'lore' is optional (c.f. the massive lore changes in Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Birthright, etc.).

I don't see the big deal. What I see online is mostly overheated speculation and even projection.

I mean I get why this would throw people into fits of rage:

Yuan-ti Mind Whisperer (p. 204). The creature’s Wisdom score is now 14.

As to Volo and colonalism, which I realize you didn't raise, the errata in no way removes Volo or touches on that, there is a simple note that Volo is an unreliable narrator, is largely limited to FR and the GM can change it as they see fit. Considering how many people complain about in-character narration in 2e and the few light touches of it in 5e, even if they did remove that in future books I'm failing to see the issue.
 

arjunstc

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LOL "blame it on Volo". Never knew my man V was such an R-word. Got to get me a hardcopy then.

Somewhat related: The "Wolves of God" RPG rules are written from the point-of-view of a Saxon monk, and as a result the text is intentionally racist. I guess they are using the same defence for Volo now.
 

TJS

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I think there are probably two reasons for wanting to supersede the older books like Volo's.

One is the desire to deal what are perceived as mechanical issues with the monsters.

This is the only one they're likely going to state publicly.

It's a more than reasonable inference, given the whole politics issues over the last few years, that they're also taking the opportunity to supersede existing books that are garnering them criticism as problematic.

It would be very hard to prove the latter, however, as WotC are not entirely stupid.
 

Voros

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I think there are probably two reasons for wanting to supersede the older books like Volo's.

One is the desire to deal what are perceived as mechanical issues with the monsters.

This is the only one they're likely going to state publicly.

It's a more than reasonable inference, given the whole politics issues over the last few years, that they're also taking the opportunity to supersede existing books that are criticised as problematic.

It would be very hard to prove the latter, however, as WotC are not entirely stupid.

Not seeing how those two particular books are anymore 'problematic' than what is in the PHB.

Also not sure when alignment, easily one of the most disliked and widely ignored elements of D&D, often completely ignored in most OSR rulesets, became such a sacred cow.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Looking at the Volo's errata they basically removed alignment and references to it.

The biggest change is the addition of these paragraphs for several monsters:

“When you’re roleplaying a ______________, the following tables contain possible inspiration. They suggest characteristics that a ___________ might possess."

I don't really consider that 'lore' and it seems clear considering the history of the game all such 'lore' is optional (c.f. the massive lore changes in Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Birthright, etc.).

I don't see the big deal. What I see online is mostly overheated speculation and even projection.

I mean I get why this would throw people into fits of rage:

Yuan-ti Mind Whisperer (p. 204). The creature’s Wisdom score is now 14.

As to Volo and colonalism, which I realize you didn't raise, the errata in no way removes Volo or touches on that, there is a simple note that Volo is an unreliable narrator, is largely limited to FR and the GM can change it as they see fit. Considering how many people complain about in-character narration in 2e and the few light touches of it in 5e, even if they did remove that in future books I'm failing to see the issue.
They cut the lore section about Fire Giants taking hostages.

They cut the roleplaying a kobold section.

They cut the orcs as underlings section.

They cut the section on cannibalism and sacrifice for yuan-ti.

Qualifiers, unreliable narrators, and the like are fine and should even be assumed (but we're back to a new generation of gamers who request specific permission from publishers to change anything at their table).

The rest of the changes to the races are debatable. I think the orcs' "Menacing" trait for more interesting and fitting than Primal Intuition, for instance.

I don't care about the alignment stuff, personally, because a) I've never held a PC to an alignment restriction unless it was Class related, not Race related, b) alignment really is meaningless in 5e anyway and c) I've never needed permission to change around alignments in my game before.

Now...the only thing I'm accusing WotC of? Is making D&D bland, boring, and homogeneous. For my money, they are succeeding.

Your mileage may vary.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Considering how many people complain about in-character narration in 2e and the few light touches of it in 5e, even if they did remove that in future books I'm failing to see the issue.
Missed this, sorry. For my part? I fucking love that shit. Hook it into my veins. I want Elminster's view of the world, or Volo's. Some of my absolute favorite RPG books are the Van Richten's Guides which, before the much blander 5e one, were written exactly that way...and I loved the 3e Ravenloft Gazetteers for much the same reason.
 

TJS

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Not seeing how those two particular books are anymore 'problematic' than what is in the PHB.
Shrug.

Then do some digging as suggested if you want to see what was being said.
 

Voros

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Shrug.

Then do some digging as suggested if you want to see what was being said.

What I've read on the TBP, RPGSite and Reddit strikes me as hyperventilating nonsense.

People with hammers seeing nothing but nails.
 

TJS

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What I've read on the TBP, RPGSite and Reddit strikes me as hyperventilating nonsense.

People with hammers seeing nothing but nails.
All I was saying is that it is reasonable to infer that WotC are partly motivated by response to criticism.

Whether that criticism is well-founded or not doesn't really seem to be the point (or something we can discuss within the rules of this forum).
 

Voros

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...but we're back to a new generation of gamers who request specific permission from publishers to change anything at their table...
...

Now...the only thing I'm accusing WotC of? Is making D&D bland, boring, and homogeneous. For my money, they are succeeding.

Your mileage may vary.

Don't think that those 'but it doesn't say that in book!' types are a generational thing. I remember friends like that as a teen and you can find them all over the Dragon letter columns and Old-school D&D-only forums to this day.

Babymode does seem to be a direction they may be heading but I'm not expecting a huge corp like Hasbro to get provocative in such a puritan time either.
 

TJS

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Don't think that those 'but it doesn't say that in book!' types are a generational thing. I remember friends like that as a teen and you can find them all over the Dragon letter columns and Old-school D&D-only forums to this day.

Babymode does seem to be a direction they may be heading but I'm not expecting a huge corp like Hasbro to get provocative in such a puritan time either.
I agree it's not surprising, but it's disappointing to see given it's not that long ago that they were making a lot of noises about making D&D your own and encouraging house-ruling.

But I've come to suspect that element was almost entirely coming from Mike Mearls who doesn't seem to be involved any more.
 

Voros

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Missed this, sorry. For my part? I fucking love that shit. Hook it into my veins. I want Elminster's view of the world, or Volo's. Some of my absolute favorite RPG books are the Van Richten's Guides which, before the much blander 5e one, were written exactly that way...and I loved the 3e Ravenloft Gazetteers for much the same reason.

Yeah I think done right it is fun and a lot better approach than pages of mediocre in-game fiction.

Can't remember who, maybe someone from Hydra Co-op, who said they'd like to see more OSR releases to explore such use of in-character frames.
 

raniE

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Yeah, I'll just keep my actual physical books and keep not bothering with D&D Beyond then. WotC still doesn't have the authority to come round my house and take my now superseded books from me.
 
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