Yesterday Wizards dropped a new D&D Next packet. This featured the addition of the Druid, Ranger, and Paladin. Along with rules for exploration.
So why vindication at last? Truth be told it is nothing major just a pet peeve of mine that has been finally rectified after 30 years. See in Dragon #39 the Anti-Paladin was presented. After reading it I thought the whole concept was shaky. To me a anti-paladin is Lawful Evil a champion of of Order at any cost. The idea of any type of Chaotic Evil "Order" was stupid.
From that I developed a Lawful Evil Myrmidon class which was my version of a Anti- Paladin. So when I started reading the Paladin class in the new D&D Next packet I found they added three themes; Paladin, Warden, and Blackguard. The description of the Blackguard is very close to what I describe my Myrmidon to be; a divine champion that promotes order regardless of the cost.
The Warden is interesting as well basically a divine champion of nature described as similar to the Green Knight of Arthurian legend. D&D Next's Ranger feature the return of the class to it's Dunedain roots. And the Druid makes its appearance as well. Also interesting is that the Paladin and Ranger feature spell casting as a class feature starting at 1st level rather than the higher levels of older edition D&D.
Finally they added rules for Exploration, nothing fancy but a clear and straightforward system of resolving travel and exploration extending over days and weeks.
D&D Next is shaping up to be a solid variant of classic D&D about as different as Blood & Treasure, Castles & Crusade or the other clones that mix 3rd edition mechanics with older edition design. And perhaps that why it is receiving a lackluster response in the OSR. It is not that D&D Next is bad, but rather the gamers of the OSR have moved on to a do it yourself ethos.
Ultimately I think the fate and popularity of D&D Next among the OSR will be two things. 1) That the straightforward presentation of the playtest is retained in a supported core product, and 2) that a reasonable license is created for third party products. And even then it main use will be as a publishing tool in the same way the same product is released by a OSR publisher in a Labyrinth Lord version and a ACKS version and so on. And as a common ground for when gamers attend conventions and store events.
Anyway this version is worth checking to keep up on what Wizards been doing and after reading it I am cautiously optimistic that D&D Next will be a good thing for the OSR.