While enjoying my morning cup of joe, what should catch my eye but the announcement that Monte Cook is once more teaming up with Wizards of the Coast! Needless to say, the internets are abuzz and ablaze with congratulations, ululations and prognostications. If you are a follower of Dave “The Game” Chalker and Stephen Radney-MacFarland, you can read their very well-reasoned speculations on what this move might mean for the future of Dungeons & Dragons.
But these two gentlemen are juggernauts of the gaming blog industry, assimilating this news and framing a reply so fast it appears to happen simultaneously! This humble blogger could not hope to attain their level of response. Plus, I’m sort of busy today, and since I only have time to give you reasoned or speculative, I’ve chosen to go with the latter. What follows is the best speculation that my brain, a computer and five cups of coffee can provide…
September 20, 2011: Wizards of the Coast announces the return of Monte Cook to its hallowed halls. The internet is rife with carnival-like celebrations, almost drowning out the sound of trolls gnashing their virtual teeth.
September 30, 2011: After a ten day grace period, The Culling begins. Staff members deemed undesirable in the new WotC order are asked to take early retirement; those that refuse are dealt with. In an event that becomes known as “The Night of Long d20s”, 48 interns and staffers are “retired”. Later it is discovered that 43 of those “interns” were just fan-boys lying about working for WotC to impress girls.
October 15, 2011: In a nimbus of golden light, Monte Cook and Mike Mearls appear on the Dungeon Master’s balcony over-looking Gygax Plaza, the traditional location from which all WotC pronouncements are now made. Together they declare that D&D Fifth Edition will release on December 21, 2013, because in their words “…the Mayans can suck it!” They then return inside WotC headquarters, which promptly seals itself from the outside world. Until the release date, nothing enters or leaves WotC except for press releases, posts from forum moderators, and Starbucks barrista-sherpas bearing supplies.
December 21, 2013: With a crack of thunder and paeans sung on high, the seals of WotC split asunder. Monte and Mike levitate out over the Dungeon Master’s balcony, holding glowing copies of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. People present that day claim several miracles: d20 that never again rolled a natural 1; lesser beverages turned to Mountain Dew; and cases of acne and astigmatism spontaneously clearing up. Everyone who purchases a copy of the game reports that the book is always warm to the touch. Some claim it whispers to them in the night.
December 25, 2013: D&D 5th Ed. is proclaimed the best role-playing game of all time. President Obama declares December 21 to be D&D Awesome Day, and steps down after handing the presidency over to Monte Cook and Mike Mearls. A joint task force comprised of the Supreme Court, Congress and Senate repeals the term laws; Monte and Mike are given the title Presidents-for-life. America enters an unprecedented era of prosperity.
February 17, 2014: D&D 5th Ed. has been read world-wide, bringing peace and prosperity wherever it is played. Middle Eastern conflicts are settled virtually overnight thanks to a marathon D&D Encounters session DMed by Hilary Clinton. North and South Korea put aside their differences, under pressure from RPGA members looking for new gamers. The RPGA is made an officially sanctioned branch of the United Nations; D&D 5th Ed. is now standard in all aid packages.
June 23, 2034: Thanks to D&D 5th Edition, the world has become unified under a global government. The planet is now referred to as Oerth, and the continents are renamed after D&D campaign worlds. WotC has improved world-wide distribution of goods and services, putting an end to hunger and poverty. Hasbro, made a subsidiary of WotC, is put in charge of the Global Space Initiative and charged with developing mankind’s exploration of the galaxy. They begin research and production in what is now known as Seattle, Greyhawk.
July 27, 2051: Ptolus One, mankind’s first galaxy exploration ship, launches. Thus begins an age known as the Cook-Mearls Expansion, lasting a little over two centuries. In this time, man meets species from other planets, and D&D 5th Edition is discovered to be part of the common universal language, developed in parallel on several different worlds. Because of this, mankind is welcomed into the larger galactic collective as an equal partner. The peoples of Oerth are assured a peaceful place in the galaxy for eons to come…
…or, you know, they could just come up with some really cool gaming stuff. Either way is fine with me.
Have your own predictions? Thoughts? Comments? Let me know, below.