On August 16, 2014, at Gen Con in Indianapolis, I gave the following speech to a gathering of seven hundred D&D players. They had just completed an epic adventure that was the climax to several days of D&D events.
This weekend has been a celebration of the relaunch of D&D—a journey that began over three years ago at Wizards of the Coast.
Filled with hopes for the game we love, the team at Wizards dreamt of what a new edition could be: an edition faithful to its legacy yet contemporary in its design. We delved into past editions, and we played all of them. We pondered why this game has appealed to millions of people for over four decades. We wrote rules, we argued, and we shared stories of D&D games we had played in the past.
Then we did something unprecedented: we let the public join us. We asked you, our fellow D&D fans, to consider the steps the game should take next. Should it become even more elaborate? Should it become simpler? So many questions to consider. And you did join us. You gathered your dice, your enthusiasm for D&D, and your imaginations, and you asked the question, “Where next does D&D go?”
We then all embarked on a journey together. Rules rose and fell, as hours of D&D were played and thousands of lines of feedback were submitted. At Wizards of the Coast, we pored over every line of that feedback, adjusted our design, and debated the best ways to meet playtester expectations while also making the game with the most beloved parts of previous editions.
We labored more. You played further. And bit by bit, the game we now call fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons came into focus. Then, after writers, editors, artists, graphic designers, and a host of others poured out hours of their lives and oceans of passion, the Player’s Handbook and the Starter Set were born, with their siblings—the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master’s Guide—soon to follow.
We now wait with bated breath to see whether we have succeeded, to see whether we, the design team, and you, the playtesters, have together formed an edition we can all love. The words so far have been excited, even congratulatory. I dare to hope that, yes, we have done it, that we have successfully continued a journey that began four decades ago with Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson—a journey that has led to many slain dragons, many TPKs, many evils righted, and many beauties restored. But most importantly, that journey has involved friendship: the friendship of elf for dwarf, of fighter for wizard, and, best of all, of player for player. For many of us, D&D has meant friendship, and often bonds that last a lifetime.
So, in closing, I call you my friends. The new edition is now yours. Tell wondrous stories with it, laugh with it, even shed an occasional tear with it. And above all, let us continue together to build a community of heroic adventure and friendship. Here are some words I gave at Gen Con upon the launch of the new edition of #dnd. https://t.co/o1HYWDs2Nh
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) August 24, 2014