Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monte's Out, 5e Open Playtest Starts and 3.5 Reprints?!?

Monte's announcement. Some highlights:
"However, I want to take this time to stress that my differences were not with my fellow designers, Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell."

"Due to my non-disclosure agreement, as well as a desire to keep things on a professional level, I have no intention of going into further detail at this time. (Mostly, I just hate drama, and would rather talk about more interesting things.)"
Not mentioning Mike Mearls in the "goodwill disclaimer," speaks volumes.

Mike Mearls is saddened and surprised. He also announces May 24 as the start of the open playtest.

Joethelawyer has some interesting B&N pre-order links. 3.5 Core books, with errata.


Now, 3.5 core books sells like hotcakes on ebay. I sold a spare set of the three core books last week for $75.

$65 to $100 is typical. Consistently typical. A PH alone has been averaging about $35. Discounting odd outlying results, $25 to $45 is usual. And has been for the past year that I've been keeping up with 3.5 auctions. And we're talking a lot of auctions, every week.

Hell, the HC splats go for around $20+ a piece. This isn't just "collector's" scarfing these things up. I wonder how many non-Pathfinder customers have been playing 3.5? And spreading the game?

I think WotC may be hedging their bets. I wouldn't be surprised to see an OD&D anniversary type set and maybe a real BECMI box.

It is not a good sign, when one of the main designers of your new edition, jumps ship right before the open playtest. Especially when that designer has the profile of Monte Cook.

Good luck, Monte.


  1. I think the jammed foreward the date of the open playtest because Monte jumped ship. I keep hearing that at Pax east they were talking about being months away from the open playtest. This has all the earmarks of a Greek Tragedy in the making. Next thing you know and Monte will be lost at sea for the next 10 years trying to make it home.

  2. Definitely interesting that 3.5 has been moving in the secondary market for such a high price tag. My FLGS holds a used gaming auction twice a year (sellers get store credit type of thing) and the 3.5 books were definitely going for decent prices, but nowhere near that high. I wasn't interested in using 3x for anything more than inspiration and to supplement my Microlite game, and was able to score all three 3.0 core books for $1.

    Yes, a dollar. And nevermind all the other stuff I took home. Filled a bookshelf ranging from B/X, Keep on the Borderlands to 3X stuff for $105 total. Good day.

  3. Interesting developments indeed! I have no intention of buying D&D Next, but this sure is weird news.

  4. Wow, what the hell is going on?!

  5. The 3.5 books disappeared from B&N's catalog, but (joy of joys) the Dungeon boardgame "refresh" is not only still live at B&N, if you do a search on the ISBN, it's all over the place. This one may be legit and if so, I'm definitely buying a set... or 3.

  6. My sense is that Cook's had an intense year in his personal life and was in a manifestly shitty professional situation (hey monte dogg, please design your dream game with the following TEN BILLION irritating constraints and btw we've oversold the fucking thing so badly you're gonna very publicly plotz, good luck, also we can't pay much just like always).

    I imagine this will have little long-term impact on anything that is important in the world or even D&D 5e. If you for some reason didn't think the whole 5e project was weird and slightly fucked from the jump, I refer you to the note of desperation in the words 'open playtest'...

  7. I couldn't help but read Mearls's comment "Personally, I can’t count how many friends I’ve made through D&D" ironically. Because he hasn't made any? On the other hand, how many enemies has he made through D&D?

  8. Personally, I'm happy that Monte Cook isn't going to be involved further in 5e. I know a lot of people consider him a great game designer, but I've always found his stuff to be over-fiddly and overly rewarding of min-maxing. I wasn't happy when I found out that he was brought back for 5e, and I'm happy he left. Monte Cook's dream game has never been one I wanted to play.