By Jason Campbell
Many people who enjoy playing fantasy TTRPGs have been looking towards other game companies aside from Wizards of the Coast. Of course anyone looking for different types of games such as other genres, more narrative, or more “crunchy” systems is encouraged to look at other game systems. But for those looking for other 5e publishers, we’d like to offer this interpretation of the current status of 5e and Dungeons & Dragons.
Until January 2023 things were obvious; “5e” was the current edition of the Dungeons & Dragons TTRPG, published and owned by Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of Hasbro). I suggest that things have been completely different since January 30, 2023 when Wizards of the Coast released the D&D rules (5.1 SRD) under a creative commons license. Now the essential rules to 5e are open to the public, to read, use, change, add on to and even resell. At that point 5e became an open platform with multiple suppliers and Wizards of the Coast is simply the largest supplier. There shouldn’t be a notion of “3rd party publishers” anymore as there isn’t a 1st party publisher, there are only providers.
If a group of players wants to play a 5e game there is no longer a need to purchase anything from Wizards of the Coast. You can get the essential rules for 5e free from many sources, including from Wizards of the Coast. This is not as easy to use as the published books and it certainly lacks the wonderful artwork that Wizards of the Coast commissions and includes. You can also use one of the offshoots of 5e such as Level Up 5e, or the upcoming Tales of the Valiant from Kobold Press. Of course there’s also Paizo’s Pathfinder, which grew from the roots of D&D 3.5e. And the 5e rules are out there for you to adjust as you see fit, even publishing your own version using the Creative Commons license.
We encourage those fans of the 5e fantasy role-playing game to explore what’s out there without fear. We’re all in it to have fun, right?
What do you think of the current state of 5e? Let us know in the comments.