His post about it from ENWorld posted below:
His post about it from ENWorld posted below:
It's funny, because it almost feels like I've won some sort of election. I'm acutely aware of the pressure of the position, the expectations, and the current atmosphere among D&D fans. I think I had a few minutes of ecstasy. Since then, it's been a long week and a lot of thinking.
This is also a new position in the department. I'm taking on a lot of Bill Slavicsek's responsibilities. Bill's responsibilities have broadened to include more things like boardgames, novels, Heroscape, and so on. There's a lot more to D&D than just the RPG. The RPG is my corner to play in, while Bill looks over the entirety of D&D.
Believe me, I realize how difficult this job is. There are far more paths that lead to my screwing up than to my doing a good job. It's the geek equivalent of running a professional sports team. Do well, and everyone loves you. Screw up, and you'll never hear the end of it.
There's something pretty basic to the job, though. The gist of it, when you boil it all down, isn't rocket science.
Way back in the misty days of the 1980s, when I first discovered D&D, I thought Gary Gygax, Tom Moldvay, Doug Niles, Tracy Hickman, and the entire TSR crew were demigods. I loved poring over Dragon magazine, reading through adventures like Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun again and again, and studying the DMG. I devoured the Dragonlance novels. I fought battles across our basement floor with legions of BattleSystem counters. I filled the few, precious pieces of graph paper I had with dungeons. I designed classes and monsters. I loved D&D.
Then, something happened. TSR dropped Gary. Greyhawk was pushed aside. When 2e came out, I was torn. There were plenty of things to like about the game, but the attitude around it was off. It almost seemed like the people behind D&D didn't particularly care for the way I loved D&D. Maybe I was completely irrational, but the game felt changed in some insidious way.
As time went on, that feeling only increased. There were bright spots, most notably Dungeon magazine, but a lot of the stuff TSR put out didn't really speak to why I fell in love with D&D in the first place. I wanted to love D&D, but it wasn't really clear that the company behind D&D wanted to return that love.
I actually stopped playing D&D for a few years. I ran a grand total of one (terrible) campaign in college. I wasn't really sure that D&D was something I'd be involved with anymore. I bought a PS 1 and started playing lots of console games. I ended up sticking with RPGs, but I kept to games like Deadlands and Unknown Armies.
Then something pretty cool happened. In 1999, at my very first GenCon, I sat in the audience as Ryan Dancey announced 3rd edition. It was like a religious revival. One presentation and free t-shirt later, and I was a complete convert. My friend Nate called it a money grab, an appeal to munchkins. I think my exact response was, "**** you dude. This is the best thing that's ever happened to D&D."
For whatever reason, the entire presentation of 3e's announcement felt like it had been directed straight at me. I was a complete D&D goob again. Hallelujah, praise Gygax, my faith was restored.
A year later, my faith had been well-placed. 3e was awesome. D&D felt like the game I always had wanted it to be.
In looking back, I think that my job is fairly simple. I want people to love D&D. I want people to feel like the game is in good hands, that the hand at the tiller is confident, smart, and genuinely interested in the good of the game.
It's easy for me to look at this as the chance for me to make D&D into the game I always wanted it to be, but that would be disingenuous. It'd be the height of vanity, a monument to arrogance. D&D can't be a game that caters to a single person. It's bigger than that. It lives and dies by the collected spirit of every person that's ever picked up a d20, put pencil to graph paper, or leaned close to the table as the last character standing, clutching his last hit point, rolled his attack against the BBEG.
Of course, actually doing that isn't simple, but it helps to have a goal. I can't force anyone to love D&D. I can't legislate the game into popularity, or commission a survey that will tell me exactly what to do.
What I can do, though, is watch, listen, and learn. I can put everything I have into D&D and hope for the best. At the end of the day, you guys get to judge whether I'm doing a good or screwing up by buying or avoiding the products I help make. That gets back to the election thing. You guys didn't put me into office, but you sure as Hell get the chance to kick me out.
If you have any questions, the best way to get in touch is by dropping a line to my work email address (it's my first name dot last name at wizards dot com, or drop a line to dndinsider at wizards dot com). I can't answer everything, but I'll try. I'll also record answers to interesting questions on the podcast. I'm on vacation this week. I like reading web forums to see what's up, but they're not always the best place to answer questions.