We need a unified optional game system or this hobby's gonna die - Page 7
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  1. #61
    There are lots of great games, new games, well received games being released all the time. They're being played all the time, too. They're just not all d20 products. If you want to read more about other games, you may have to leave ENWorld on occasion. d20 games and ENWorld both rock, but if this is your only source for what's out there and what folk are playing then it may color your perspective just as much as following any other single source. Personally, I like the diversity of having a large variety of different games more than having a single game that everyone plays.

    As to the hobby dying or the 'need' for a mega hit, I'm not concerned. If it dies then I'll still be playing with my friends and whoever I teach to play. The worst that could happen, and I'm not convinced that this would be terrible, is that the hobby goes to print on demand services only.

  2. #62

    Confessions of a D&D only roleplayer

    I don't know how many of you here are computer geeks, but . . .

    My home computer runs Windows. It came with Windows when I bought it, and that's what I've used since I first touched a computer in time unremembered. I know where the control panel is; I know how to get my email; I know how to print.

    Back when I was in college, there was a lot of buzz among my CS-degree classmates about Linux. Or Unix, on the university computing system. Doesn't matter. It was powerful. Had history. An alternative system, and I should try it. No sense in being stuck with the mediocre system of the masses. "Get A Real Computer!" they cried.

    I tried, but as anyone who's ever used one of those *nix systems can attest, it's a nightmare unless you have a mentor. You don't know where anything is, you need to know all the right incantations, and even everyday tasks can require stupid amounts of research. People who know the system move around as easily as a fish through water, glowing with power. The rest of us sputter with frustration for a few months and often give up.

    A new RPG can be like that.

    Any new system requires an investment in time and brainspace to learn the rules, and some folks are more adept at that than others. My current group has three players that have been playing D&D for two years now, and they're still a bit unsure of all the rules. The investment in time and energy and knowledge has been immense; it took us perhaps a year just to learn the game well enough that we could then use it to tell a story. Do we really want to switch to a new system and spend another year spending half of every night untangling whatever-its-equivalent-of-grapple-is? Better be a million times better than what we've got. Otherwise . . . naw, thanks. We've paid our dues, we want to game now.

    Any new system requires an investment in time and energy to learn. For some folks, that's the attraction of the game. For me, and a couple guys in the group, it certainly is. I'm a neophile; I like to read rules just to read rules and analyze systems. But I'm not likely to get to play them, because the investment barrier is too high. I have to buy the books, learn the system, teach it to my players, come up with the appropriate props & counters, learn the world, find the sweet spots in the system and then, then, THEN, . . . figure out how to tell a story with it, and hope we like it. That's a lot of work. Took us a year with D&D. Who knows if the next system will turn out as good?

    Now, I haven't seen a lot of other systems, but from what I have seen, I suspect this problem looks worse than it really is. We started with D&D 3.5 and a lot of splats. Since it's the only game we know, there's an assumption that any system we replace it with would be similarly complex, and require a similar ramp-up time. My brief survey of alternative systems indicates that this isn't so--but we have no way to know that. It's as though we all started on Linux, so we naturally assume any system we switch to will have a similarly painful learning curve. Because, well, that's all we know about computers.

    Here's another point in favor of D&D: it's popular. If I go looking for a D&D group around the area, I can find one, no sweat. The board at the hobby shop is thick with 'em, the internet meetup site has lots. By contrast, I recently bought Exalted, read the rulebook and decided I liked it. When I went looking for ongoing local games to sit in on--just to see it in action, to see how it was supposed to play--I came up with nothing. Nothing! I thought this was a popular alternative! That means if I want to play it, I have to figure out for myself how to play it properly--which bits of the rules are good, what the tricks and traps are, how to make it run smoothly. And I get to do that while trying to organize, run, and adjudicate a system I don't know. And I have to do it either with strangers, or I get to try to convince my D&D group that--sight unseen--it'd be fun and worth the investment.

    You know, the world is just beautiful enough that I may make the leap. But in general, that's not attractive. So I just pillage ideas and mechanics for my D&D game, and bide my time.

    Popularity is huge. It means an availability of mentors, of players, of supporting materials. Like with Operating Systems, the popular platform gets all the support, and that makes it more popular.

    Which brings me back to why my home PC doesn't run Linux. It's not what I know; there are high barriers to entry; what I have works fine; and it's not popular--with all the lack of community and support that implies. I'm sure it's powerful. I'm sure once you figure it out, it's like drinking unicorn giggles 24/7. I just can't be induced to go through the hassle of switching and learning everything all over again.

    So. High risk, high cost, low support. Uncertain payoff.

    What would help?

    Free quick-starts help. A lot. It was one of those that got me interested in Exalted. A system that offers one of those is massively more attractive to me; it lets me try an alternative system with low initial investment and low risk.

    And speaking personally, it would help me to have some guidance navigating the broad sea of RPG systems. I'm not really afraid to pick something up, learn it, and teach it to my group--but I'd like to have some guidance finding good systems. Something like the underdogs for RPGs would be awesome. I'd love an obscure-but-well-loved alternative system, especially if they're known to be simple and rewarding. But I have no leads on finding any such, and no indication as to what the pitfalls of any given system may be. A massive database like rpg.net's is a wall; I'd like a list of accessible classics.

    Probably something like that already exists, and I don't know about it. That's the problem.

  3. #63
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    Well put.

    LET'S' PLAY INSURANCE COMPANY RULES FOR d&d 4E...the true alternative: http://tinyurl.com/6fungg

  4. #64
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

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    Quote Originally Posted by thalmin View Post
    Let's see. Other RPG systems that sell reasonably well for us:
    • Rifts
    to name a few
    *shakes head in sadness as a tear run down his cheek*

  5. #65

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    I doubt that the hobby will die. 4e might tank, but that would hardly kill off the hobby. With yet another retro-clone game about to come out (Swords & Wizardry), if anything, people will gravitate to an older, simper way of gaming that is actually roleplaying. I dropped D&D at AD&D 2e, came back at 3e, stayed for the start of 3.5, moved to True20, C&C, then realized that the group just wanted a roleplaying game. Now we play Warhammer v2 and Labyrinth Lord/Mutant Future when I run the game and the Basic Fantasy RPG when another guy runs the game. Simple, uncomplicated roleplaying.

    I have perused the 4e books, but even the art is deplorable. To be honest, when I saw the new D&D books I broke out my b/x D&D manuals and ran a game of that to detox.

    edit: I do want to say that even with all of my dislike for the new edition, it might work out well for others and I do advocate a live and let live mentality with roleplaying: if it works for your group, that is great and there is no time to dispute which edition is better, what works for your group for the maximum amount of fun is the best game, regardless of edition.
    Last edited by hellbender; Sunday, 3rd August, 2008 at 11:45 PM. Reason: adding

  6. #66
    Every group Ive been a part of has played games other than D&D. Heck, one group I was in never played D&D.

    I wish I understood what the difference was. Why has it never been hard for me to find people who will play other games?

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Emirikol View Post
    What the "OTHER" game companies need to do is GET TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH A DIFFERENT SYSTEM. I'm not talking about rehashing 3e. WHy can't GR, Necro, and the others get together and develop THE OPTION TO D&D and start putting out their own stuff? ONE SYSTEM (besides D&D), multiple companies. No licensing gimmicks.
    Any other option just leaves us with dwindling player bases. BTW, there isn't even a category for NON-D&D games here at enworld.

    *cough* PATHFINDER *cough*

    Any other questions?

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by carmachu View Post
    *cough* PATHFINDER *cough*

    Any other questions?
    Sure, especially since PF is a year away: How many people will ultimately see PF as a "rehasing [of] 3e," especially since backward compatibility is a priority? Will "GR, Necro and the others" really line-up behind PF, especially those with systems of their own?

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Flatus Maximus View Post
    Sure, especially since PF is a year away: How many people will ultimately see PF as a "rehasing [of] 3e," especially since backward compatibility is a priority? Will "GR, Necro and the others" really line-up behind PF, especially those with systems of their own?

    You say rehashing, most folks see "holding with what has come before" and "backwards compatablility". Those are its features.

    Clark at Nerco already said he plans on supporting pathfinder. His exact words:

    "Maybe Pathfinder's release will help, but that is still some time off. I intend to support Pathfinder when it is finalized. I trust and respect the people at Paizo. They are gamers and brilliant designers. They love D&D and have its best interests at heart."

    He's run his flag up already in support. Will it change? sure if Pathfinder tanks. Will anyone else? Since its OGL capatable and their already working of licensing for it....They might.

    Lets see what happens at GenCon with it. That will probably be a good test for it. Beta is out in hardcover then.....

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by carmachu View Post
    You say rehashing, most folks see "holding with what has come before" and "backwards compatablility". Those are its features.
    Well, I didn't say rehashing -- I was quoting the quote that you quoted. And, yes, I am aware of Clark's announcement. However, he also announced support for 4E.... My only point here is that it is far from clear (IMHO) that PF will be the alternative to D&D and/or that it will be supported by many 3PP.

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