More Details About RPGSports Emerge
  • More Details About RPGSports Emerge


    I had a short chat with Will Jones about RPGSports, the online competitive D&D event which was announced recently, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about how the contest, which starts on November 10th, works.



    Is RPGSports a team event, or is it geared at individuals?

    Itís a team event! There are 16 players total with 4 on each team. A lot of these folks are from competitive eSports backgrounds and are newer to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, but boy have they been reading up! Itís been great to see the teams come together and support one another. Experienced players have been taking the time to sit down with the newer ones and give them advice. Theyíve been getting together for practice games and honing the craft. The format may be competitive, but the team work weíve seen before the game has even begun has made me incredibly proud to see.

    What's the basic format of RPGSports? Do characters fight each other, or do groups compete against each other to achieve some sort of goal?

    In this first tournament teams compete against one another in a Team Deathmatch style game of 4v4. Weíve heard a lot of requests to run ďDungeon runsĒ - eg. racing through the Tomb of Horrors to see which team can get through fastest. Different formats are absolutely on our radar for 2019.

    What sort of challenges might participants be expected to face? What would the victory conditions look like?

    Aside from facing off against the other team, you can expect to see deadly traps, environmental hazards and more. Thereís an element of strategy in looking for & disabling traps, while evading the environmental hazards that enter the game as time passes by. The primary win condition is to eliminate all 4 enemy PCs at the same time. If thereís no winner at the end of the match time, we look to other statistics that our analysts are tracking to decide the winner, or can even go into overtime.

    You mention a $5,000 prize. Is that the only prize, or are there smaller prizes also?

    Itís winner takes all, Iím afraid! Oh, and the winning team gets a big gaudy trophy too. We had to have a trophy. Aside from that though we are sending all of the players dice, shirts and other swag just for taking part.

    You changed name from DnDSports to RPGSports recently. What other RPGs do you plan to include?

    The table is very open for other TTRPGs to be added to our roster. If anything, itís a matter of narrowing down some of the games which would work best for RPGSports, rather than having to choose from a small selection. The audience have already suggested dozens of RPGs, but right now weíre focused on getting this first event right before planning too far in advance.

    Is RPGSports a one-off event, or an ongoing thing?

    We plan for this be an ongoing tournament format in 2019. Weíve been overwhelmed with requests to play and get involved, itís been incredible. There are even gaming stores interested in taking part in some kind of larger league. All of this is obviously very exciting, but itís not something we want to dive into without proper structure. You can expect to hear more details from us in the coming year!

    When using 5E D&D, do you have a list of pregenerated characters? How many, and what classes and races are covered?

    There are 15 Pregenerated characters which have been limited to PHB content for this first tournament. One of the reasons for this is to not overwhelm some newer gamers, while the other is for balance. Giving our team control of the pregens has allowed us to make sure thereís no super overpowered meta build!

    The format also features a pick/ban phase which allows teams to ban out a potentially powerful class.

    Weíve got a good range of the races & classes in there, and itís up to the teams to assess which Pregens are the best and how to best utilise their toolset.


    Do you already have participants? How would a potential competitor enter?

    For this first tournament the participants are already selected for the event, but in the future we definitely see an application process being put in place. Again, thatís in our 2019 plans but we definitely want to make this accessible to the general public.
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. Lylandra's Avatar
      Lylandra -
      I've been skeptical about this since its announcement, but bringing eSports "VIPs" as a selling point? We really don't want to bring the toxic elements of eSports to the TTRPG community, do we?

      Also, I still think that a d20 system won't really work for a "hardcore" gaming environment as a d20 roll is far too much RNG to have the "best team" win and not the one with the most lucky streaks. Especially when it comes to 5e in comparison to a much more balanced system, like 4e.
    1. BookBarbarian's Avatar
      BookBarbarian -
      Teams from eSports backgrounds? Meh.

      PVP? Meh.

      Dungeon Runs in the future? Sounds better.
    1. jimmifett's Avatar
      jimmifett -
      RPGSports lost any interest for me when they caved to specific toxic elements and disinvited boogie, who had never agreed in the first place.
    1. Arksorn's Avatar
      Arksorn -
      Super excited for this! Going to try my hand at running something similar. 1 spot open for the first game at 8pm CT on Nov 5th, and we'll take some backups too. If interested, email me at tgchristy@att.net to get on the list or get more info (or look for #d20compete on twitter)!
    1. Aoirorentsu -
      Here are my first seven concerns, expressed as ideas that seem baked into this and that also seem like bad ideas IMHO

      1) "let's take a game community that has been making efforts to be more inclusive and inject into it a good old helping of eSports toxicity and/or the perception thereof"

      2) "let's take a game that's been making efforts to be less balanced, in the name of story, and make a tournament whose legitimacy hinges on the perception that it is utterly fair"

      3) "let's take a game where large portions of the effects are specifically and intentionally left up to DM discretion and make a non-zero amount of money on the DM being fair."

      4) "let's take a game that is only fun to watch when the people playing inject a ton of personality into it and turn it into a spectator sport played by people whose expertise is not injecting personality into things."

      5) "let's take a game whose rules have NOT been specifically iterated upon for a competitive play experience and make it compete with any number of games that are in continuous development for that precise purpose."

      6) "let's take a competition whose spectator appeal is predicated on display of skill and mastery where the one place of interesting rules mastery per se - i.e., character builds - is not an option."

      7) "let's take a competition whose spectator appeal is predicated on cool visuals... and do one where the visual are mostly static shots of folks sitting or standing around a table."

      And oh gods please let there not be dumb color commentary...
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      D&D was never about PvP or speed runs (aside from some exceptions that someone will inevitably bring up). It was about the narrative. So this will not work.
    1. guachi's Avatar
      guachi -
      No.
    1. LordEntrails's Avatar
      LordEntrails -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
      I've been skeptical about this since its announcement, but bringing eSports "VIPs" as a selling point? We really don't want to bring the toxic elements of eSports to the TTRPG community, do we?
      Im skeptical too. But it not like we, or anyone really, have any say what others do. They don't need our permission and we certainly don't get a vote, other than with if we chose to watch.
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kramodlog View Post
      D&D was never about PvP or speed runs (aside from some exceptions that someone will inevitably bring up).
      Well, you said it was inevitable . . .

      Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is a tournament module that is almost literally a "speed run" - if you don't make it out of the first level in time you lose! (Because your PC dies.)

      PvP is a different matter. I don't know of any well-established tradition, other than "my guy can beat your guy" playground-style arguments. Of the various editions of D&D, 3E and 5e seem best suited to PvP.
    1. Parmandur's Avatar
      Parmandur -
      Not that interested in this initial offering, but if they do tournament style scored runs of modules...that would be a differentiation in the market worth a look.
    1. Parmandur's Avatar
      Parmandur -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kramodlog View Post
      D&D was never about PvP or speed runs (aside from some exceptions that someone will inevitably bring up). It was about the narrative. So this will not work.
      If by "some exceptions" you mean Arneson and Gygax's original home games...heck, the Cleric Class was born out of PvP concerns in the primeval Blackmoor game.
    1. VengerSatanis -
      Gotta start somewhere!

      VS
    1. Enevhar Aldarion's Avatar
      Enevhar Aldarion -
      Bringing in other game companies and systems to this could be very interesting. I would love to see a clan vs clan Vampire: the Masquerade fight. Or a Vampire vs Werewolf fight using real rules and not the cheesy LARP rules. Or Call of Cthulhu investigators vs cultists. A fight between rival "Superhero" groups, as in Captain America: Civil War. Etc.
    1. GreyLord's Avatar
      GreyLord -
      Some personal thoughts on this.

      Just recently someone said that the numbers of players of D&D (12-15 million) and that is surprisingly coming into Magic the Gathering territory.

      MtG makes gobs of cash on tournaments, leagues, and other things.

      If the playerbase is as large as PR has put it, then it is time to try to expand the money making opportunities in various directions (IMO).

      With a base out there, there IS money out there as well. This is a first foray into expanding it in directions.

      It combines the competitive nature with other things people seem to be looking at these days (esports, game sessions videos, etc).

      This is the first test (I would think) on a foray of this nature, but this format is not necessarily the ONLY format. Dungeon runs and other things could easily be incorporated.

      Give it a shot, one may like it.

      VIPs are included to give it a shot in the arm. The idea is to get a wider audience (I think, or at least expect) and there are hopes that such individuals might bring in some viewers that normally may not tune in to such a thing. There is a wide cross flow between the two types of gaming (TTRPGs and CRPGs as well as Video games even like fighting/sports/strategy and other types of games). Getting as wide an audience isn't a terrible thing, and with those with greater experience coaching those with lesser experience I imagine things could even up.

      If this first foray turns out well, with the increased interest from other venues this could be far larger in the future. Who knows.

      I don't think it is as bad as some seem to be making it out to be, and overall, it could be a very positive thing. If it increases interest in the hobby (via esports crossover) or otherwise, gives everyone some entertainment value, and is fun to watch, that should be a good thing overall.

      Or so I hope (I guess we'll see how it turns out overall).
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Iíll likely watch and support mainly to encourage more varied endeavors. Quite a few people ten years ago decried that there was and would never be any interest in watching people play RPGs - and that things like the Penny Arcade crew playing D&D on podcasts was silly. Now there are live shows and thousands in attendance to watch the spectacle and to watch people play.

      Who knows where eSports will go in the future. I canít say Iím a fan of most, but there are new popular players (Tyler Blevins is one) who seem to be trying to promote positive messages and play in their performances, and I think the scene is trying to elevate the image a bit.
    1. DQDesign's Avatar
      DQDesign -
      one of my greatest concern, reading comments here and on the previous threads about the same topic, is that this rpgsport thing seems to divide the community a lot. and this is a very bad thing imho. if I were someone in wotc I would be also worried, being one of the 5e design principles to put an end to editions war and, in general, to community-divisive elements.
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
      If by "some exceptions" you mean Arneson and Gygax's original home games...heck, the Cleric Class was born out of PvP concerns in the primeval Blackmoor game.
      I think that "strategic" PvP has a long history in the game. But PvP combat (which is my sense of the announcement, but I'm an esports ignoramus and maybe am misunderstanding it) is (in my view, at least) not that satisfying in most versions of D&D because they're not really built to make it satisfying.
    1. Parmandur's Avatar
      Parmandur -
      Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
      I think that "strategic" PvP has a long history in the game. But PvP combat (which is my sense of the announcement, but I'm an esports ignoramus and maybe am misunderstanding it) is (in my view, at least) not that satisfying in most versions of D&D because they're not really built to make it satisfying.
      Probably not, but the Cleric aforementioned was introduced as one of the players on the opposing team in the Blackmoor campaign was a Vampire (because the original campaign haf opposing teams of players).
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
      Probably not, but the Cleric aforementioned was introduced as one of the players on the opposing team in the Blackmoor campaign was a Vampire (because the original campaign haf opposing teams of players).
      How satisfactory the play experience was, of having the cleric walk up to Sir Fang and the player roll 2d6 for the turn attempt, we may never know!

      My sense of the Blackmoor campaign is not great, but I understand it to have had some sort of strategic dimension. I don't get the sense that it was a cage match - whether cleric vs Sir Fang or otherwise. From the description othis RPGsports I don't get the sense of a similar strategic elements in the proposed competition, but maybe I'm not quite getting what role the traps and environmental hazards will play.

      This isn't disputing your account of the Blackmoor campaign or Sir Fang and the cleric. It's that, to the extent that the RPG sports is something like a cage match, I don't think it's leveraging a significant aspect of D&D tradition. (Whereas a who-can-beat-the-dungeon-first/best competition would absolutely be leveraging such tradition!)
    1. dwayne's Avatar
      dwayne -
      Nothing good can come from this, it will only draw the wrong crowd to the RPG games and then you can just drop the role play part and start calling it An E sport. Because role play is not a factor in it, it is all just power gaming and munckinized people playing. I really don't like that in my game i prefer a creative person who can think out side the box, but here they seem to be wanting to take it in another direction.
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