In my mind, 4e is a re-imagining of D&D. For whatever reason, WotC has made D&D their baby, unique from anything seen under Gygax or TSR. Maybe to put some distance between D&D and d20 spin-offs like Pathfinder? Now, with DDN, I can’t help but wonder if WotC feels they’ve went too far and now want to recapture (for lack of a better word) some of the legacy of D&D (rather than leave it in the hands of a game like Pathfinder). Maybe?
The next iteration of D&D will be the 40th anniversary edition of D&D. That’s a perfectly good excuse for bringing the D&D community (back) together I think. That’s good. These rambling thoughts are all basically a lead in to this question: What will be the legacy of 4e?
I’m mean for years and years, the lore of the game was carried over from edition to edition. Then, things were re-imagined with 4e; WotC seemed to say “Okay, let’s make this game our own”. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s their prerogative after all.
For instance, we had the Great Wheel cosmology in 1e (Manual of the Planes), 2e (Planescape), and 3e. Then, in 4e, the Great Wheel was supplanted by the World Axis cosmology. That’s the most obvious example of re-imagining that took place with 4e. Another example is the re-imagining of Tieflings as a core race in 4e, or even Aasimar as Deva.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining here. I’m actually a fan of the new cosmology, and 4e Tieflings are okay ;). I’ve really enjoyed the re-imagined aspects of 4e. For the first time in a very long time, the lore of the game feels fresh and new to me. I can’t help but wonder however what will be the legacy of 4e? Has the re-imagined world of 4e really been around long enough to have a claim to the D&D legacy? I wonder if the designers will carry it forward in some manner or if they’ll simply let it fade away. I doubt it but I wonder how it will all 'mesh' with D&D lore in the long run.
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What do you guys and gals think? I'm curious.