I made some minor speculation in my previous post about the likelihood of a new version of DnD with the assumption that this would happen at some point in the future. I guess this past Monday would qualify as "some point in the future". Over this past weekend several DnD bloggers had stated that on Monday they would be blogging about a big announcement from Wizards and the twitterverse lit up with speculation as to what the announcement might be. A new computer game? A movie or cartoon TV show? Some announcement concerning the usage of PDF's? Most of the speculation was not around a new release because it just didn't seem like the timing was right.
The original Wizards announcement is here. Several points: Wizards is not technically calling the new release "Version 5.0", but is externally referring to it as DnDNext. Wizards intends to have a year or so of public gametesting and feedback and the link above provides the opportunity to sign up to be part of the playtest. There are not a lot of details today, but the DnD Experience (DDXP) game convention (Fort Wayne IN) is scheduled for the end of the month so I am expecting that we will start seeing more details shortly.
Late last year several journalists and prominent DnD bloggers were invited to the Wizards headquarters in Renton WA, ostensibly for a tour and a round table discussion about DnD, but while they were there they were pleasantly surprised to be asked to participate in a playtest of the new version. They had to sign an NDA to not provide to any details, but the embargo on their blog and news articles ended this past Monday when Wizards made their announcement. You can read about this visit here and here, and the article in Forbes is here.
If players are going to be playtesting they will need to be provided copies of the rules, and as time passes and feedback is gathered and the rules are tweaked later versions of the new rules will have to be made available. Paizo had a year+ of playtesting before they released Pathfinder and they publicly released PDF version of their playtest rules for any and all to peruse, so I am assuming Wizards will do the same. DDXP is advertising that they will be running playtest sessions and will be hosting seminar sessions for discussions about the new rules (here), so we will likely have an early draft copy of the new rules as soon as the end of this month.
There is obviously a lot of speculation as to what the new rules are, and everyone seems to have their own specific pet peeve as to what they would like to see ironed out of 4E. Wizards stated goal of trying to bring together the larger DnD family around a version of the game that will satisfy all seems to be a large order. I expect to see a flurry of new blogs pop-up over the next few weeks and months for the purpose of discussing the new version and playtest experiences plus I expect Wizards to be a little more forthcoming from their end, so this should be a very interesting year for DnD.