If this makes me seem a little "late to the party" with respect to the whole "Old School Renaissance" thing (what with its having bloomed to full flower and then all but burned out by now), so be it. I would never go back to playing 3rd edition, and there's not a snowball's chance in hell that I'll ever pick up 4th, but there was always a slim chance that I could have switched to 5th. If it had been a better game, I would have switched. But it's not a better game. It's a good game, it's a decent iteration of d20 D&D, but it's not in any objective or subjective sense better than OD&D.
So that's it. Having already long since purged my bookshelves of all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition gaming materials (and never having owned any 4th), this preemptive exorcism of 5th edition gaming stuff renders my home both AD&D and WotC free. All that remains (for the moment, anyway) are OD&D (including Basic, Expert, etc., etc., etc.) materials published by TSR and various OSR-compatible offerings. In fact, right now, I don't own any other RPGs at all (unless you count Retro Phaze)—only classic D&D.
But it's a weird feeling, for two reasons. First, this week, WotC is going to close down its D&D forums permanently. That makes this whole mess seem like the end of a misbegotten era that began way back when I was just starting high school, back in 1998. That was when I got deep into AD&D 2nd edition, then equally deep into 3rd edition after converting in 2000; and when posting on the wizards.community forums was a big part of my life. Granted, I haven't been active on the WotC forums since the Gleemax debacle, so the loss of those forums now has no impact whatsoever on my life today. (And I'm given to understand that the WotC forums have been a 4venger-haunted shithole ever since the post-Gleemax reboot, so it's no great loss to the world either.) But still, it feels like a bookend to nostalgia.
Second, I remain deeply ambivalent about D&D generally. I appreciate how great it is for running sandboxes and dungeon-crawls: it does the Elder Scrolls meets Diablo thing better than any other game out there. But it doesn't do much beyond that, and sometimes I want to do something, well, beyond that.
I'm pretty well resigned to the fact that I'm just going to have to finish designing my own game (the Decimus Engine system) if I want to have and play my ideal RPG. But in the meanwhile, while I'm still in school and don't have time to work on it seriously, I have to search for other offerings. Already tried and rejected: Savage Worlds, FUDGE, FATE, Barbarians of Lemuria, RuneQuest/BRP, and WFRP. Still on deck: WEG d6 and Victoriana.
I'm going to have to save the details for a later post, but in looking for a new go-to game to tide me over until I finish mine, it basically comes down to a battle between the d6 System and Cubicle 7's Victoriana 3rd edition. I love d6: it pretty much does everything right. Except its magic system. And the fact that there are no steampunk rules for it. Meanwhile, Victoriana has everything I want—steampunk, magic, elves and dwarves and hobbits—but it does everything wrong. Dice pool mechanics, fate points, narrative mechanics, point-buy character creation. More on that next time.