The Stream of Annihilation was an epic two twelve hour days of online D&D. In this case “annihilation” tied in to their new adventure series that was announced, Tomb of Annihilation. It is both an homage and a continuation of the story of Tomb of Horrors. It is available in Wizards Play Network stores on September 8, and the full release is September 19.
I love the beginning. The weekend started with a very strong kick off by Joe Manganiello. This serves as an announcement by those who play TTRPGs that we aren’t a bunch of odd people living in our parents’ basement. We are everyday people who like to exercise our imaginations with others. [I don’t know who Joe Manganiello is, other than an actor in TV shows and other things I haven’t seen. He’s also been interviewed online indicating interest/involvement in a D&D movie based on the Dragon Lance novels.] All of the actors and others invited to the stream, aren’t people invited just because a potential audience might know them, but because they all play D&D and love the game!
One very interesting thing is that for one person, it was the first time they had rolled physical dice to play D&D, since they had only every played online. The world is changing and WotC is trying to stay current. They have acknowledged the value of making PDFs of old rules, modules, and other resources on OBS (One Book Shelf – DriveThruRPG & RPGNow). There are license agreements with Roll20 & FantasyGrounds. The D&D Beyond Tool is a realization that on official online tool is needed, if it isn’t too late. [I don’t know all the free tools out there for helping with 5e character creation and other such things for 5e DMs. I have seen online discussion saying it may be too little too late, and pointing out other efforts that have faltered. I have not seen any reviews for D&D Beyond, and I have not tried it myself. I’m not sure it is something I will need, but I will look into it.]
Other announcements included partnerships with various companies’ that support online play, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and the D&D Beyond tool was announced to have Twitch support. This last bit sort of surprised me, what will this mean for the use of Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds with Twitch games? (I don’t know enough about actually playing a game that is shared on Twitch, so that is impossible for me to gauge. There were also announcements for all kinds of other products, basically commercials between play sessions.
After the stream of annihilation, six official D&D shows on Twitch were announced. Some of the online roleplayers invited to participate in Stream of Annihilation will now be on the official D&D Twitch channel.
It is clear from this that D&D and RPGs in general are experiencing a revival. The popularity of D&D in its use in various TV shows has done a lot to remove the stigma. Recent years have seen the lack of a concerted nationwide effort to suppress D&D, as happened with the 1980’s.
As I mentioned elsewhere, I am looking to get into D&D 5th edition because it is what most new players will know. Any rules system can be played with an Old School style. After all, the 5e DMG says that the DM makes the rulings, just like the editions I have played. I can’t speak to 2nd, 3rd, or 4th editions, but I assume they have similar statements.