D&D 5E Alphastream - Why No RPG Company Truly Competes with Wizards of the Coast

darjr

I crit!
Also I think the idea that 5e is based on CRs success is another denial. Maybe I’ve said it before.

The fact these sorts of denials show up so easily in discussions about 5es success, while baffling to me in some level, shows why I think Teos article and collection of data is important.

Also with credit to ENWorld and the community here too. For instance some of Teos references lead back to this site and work done here.
 
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I will politely disagree. All other generic rule sets are either clones of D&D or simply so ingrained with a specific setting that they are stuck with their fan base. Palladium is quite generic, but the system is quite heavy to learn. And each settings, though diverse, are bound to the rule sets which are far from generic.

I have to politely suggest your experience here is not sufficient. I can name any number of generic rules sets that are neither setting specific nor D&D clones; a number of them aren't even specifically aimed at fantasy. Savage Worlds comes to mind just as a well known example.
 

Bolares

Hero
The Call of Chulthu is to offer a gameplay totally opposed to D&D and dungeons crawlers, more focused into investigation and survival horror, when D&D PCs are practically one-man-army, even the glass-canon spellcasters.

If I was Hasbro I would worry about Paizo, Paradox Entertaiment or Chaosium being acquired by some cinema or videogame studio, because then those franchises could become true rivals.

There is not only one factor but a combo. CR helped a lot, but also Stranger Things, for example, or those arcades by Capcom, or the videogames Baldur's Gate and Newerwinter Nights.

And other advantage is D&D is the game parents want to play with their children and these are willing to play with the older members of the family. Even Ravenloft or Dark Sun can be not-too-mature for teen players. It is a serious advantage when players can start before when other titles are for +18 (and not only for the threads, but too complicated rules).

* D&D is not only a system and a franchise, but a "metaverse", and only World of Darkness by White Wolf has grown enough to be a potential rival.

And games based in famous franchises could sell more, but these have got a "time limit", and after the licencing deal it was to start from zero again.

* The weak point of D&D is not ready yet to be totally multi-genre and right power balance with the firearms and high-tech. A d20 Modern 2.0. is totally possible, and a new Star Wars d20 but these can't be compatible with D&D because barbarians, monks, paladins and focused melee-fight classes are replaced by gunslingers and one-man-army.

* The 80's cartoon helped to promote the franchise out of the English-speaker countries. I started with the Endless Quest game-books, a loved memory from my childhood. I started to know really the RPGs near of the end of 92 year, thanks by a one-shot magazine.
CoC is great. There is no shot it becomes a competitor to 5e.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
All other generic rule sets are either clones of D&D or simply so ingrained with a specific setting that they are stuck with their fan base.
That's not true at all. Fate, Cortex, GURPS, WOIN, Cypher, Genisys (sp?), Savage Worlds -- none of those are related to D&D, nor are they tied to a specific setting. But none of them are nearly as successful as D&D. It's not the genericness that's the magic sauce.
 

Oofta

Legend
That's not true at all. Fate, Cortex, GURPS, WOIN, Cypher, Genisys (sp?), Savage Worlds -- none of those are related to D&D, nor are they tied to a specific setting. But none of them are nearly as successful as D&D. It's not the genericness that's the magic sauce.
I would say that being generic enough is one ingredient. Name recognition, momentum/popularity, flexibility without going overboard, simple enough rules are a few other ingredients. We know it's not just the first two in the list as evidenced by 4E at least not at that point in time but it's also hard for any other game to gain traction because of them.

I know I continue to play D&D because I'm familiar with the basic tropes and concepts, it does what I need well enough that I don't need to look elsewhere. If D&D hadn't ever existed I just don't see games like CoC that are more genre specific being the top dog.
 





Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
As I recall during the last year or so of 4E's publication history, when they had an unusually low number of books released, they slipped into 2nd behind Pathfinder.

I thought this too, but the truth is they slipped into second while they were still producing books. Well before they stopped production.

I think it’s also a bit of denial. It’s more like Pathfinder claimed the number one spot vs just getting it by default.
I didn't write after they had stopped production, I wrote that it happened after they had an unusually low number of releases.

Book releases (core, campaign settings, and rules supplements ), during 4E's lifecycle were roughly...
2008: 10 (+3 if you count the deluxe editions of the 3 core books)
2009: 11
2010: 13
2011: 5
2012: 2
2013: 0

Digging back a bit, per ICv2 numbers, Q3 2010 is when Pathfinder and D&D tied for the first time.

D&D took the lead again for two quarters after that, then in Q2 and Q3 2011 Pathfinder actually took the lead and retained it. The same year D&D only had 5 big releases (Neverwinter Campaign Setting, Heroes of the Feywild, Heroes of the Shadowfell, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, and Book of Vile Darkness, only two of which I personally bought, for a piece of anecdotal data).

 

That's not true at all. Fate, Cortex, GURPS, WOIN, Cypher, Genisys (sp?), Savage Worlds -- none of those are related to D&D, nor are they tied to a specific setting. But none of them are nearly as successful as D&D. It's not the genericness that's the magic sauce.
Point given. But are these RPGs accessible enough to be the first to learn? The learning curve is relatively high in GURPS, I have not played the others. I am sure that they have their fan base but they stay fringed for a reason.

Yes genericness isn't the only point. The rich lore, the amount of reusable material, the easiness of the rules, the art and so on do provide a good amount of help in explaining the success of D&D now. But right at the beginning when D&D was starting others tried to dislodge it and failed. And that is the fact that D&D was the most generic system out there. All the others tried to either complexify the rules or were stuck in a very specific setting. The fad around them faced leaving only D&D as the leader in RPG. At some point, D&D expanded into many settings especially with second edition with Planescape, Ravenloft, Darksun and so on. Hey, even the video game Diablo became a setting! If that is not generic, nothing is.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Point given. But are these RPGs accessible enough to be the first to learn? The learning curve is relatively high in GURPS, I have not played the others. I am sure that they have their fan base but they stay fringed for a reason.
GURPS is more complex than D&D. The others are all lighter than D&D. Cypher, particularly so. So ease use isn't the magic sauce, either. These games are all more generic than D&D, and with the exception of GURPS, easier to learn.
 

Then why are they so fringed that I barely heard of them. If not for the forums, I would not even know of their existence. Is it their base setting?
 

darjr

I crit!
Then why are they so fringed that I barely heard of them. If not for the forums, I would not even know of their existence. Is it their base setting?
FATE, nor FUDGE, nor GURPS, nor BRP have base settings.

All of these games have had shelf space in several retail stores, GURPS has even been in the big book stores like Barnes and Noble.

I dunno why you haven’t heard of them. I’d think you’d know better than any of us.
 

Point given. But are these RPGs accessible enough to be the first to learn? The learning curve is relatively high in GURPS, I have not played the others. I am sure that they have their fan base but they stay fringed for a reason.

Well, bluntly, a big part of that reason is D&D is already established and easy to find both players and GMs for. That would give it an enormous advantage beyond any other traits of the game at all.


Yes genericness isn't the only point. The rich lore, the amount of reusable material, the easiness of the rules, the art and so on do provide a good amount of help in explaining the success of D&D now. But right at the beginning when D&D was starting others tried to dislodge it and failed. And that is the fact that D&D was the most generic system out there. All the others tried to either complexify the rules or were stuck in a very specific setting. The fad around them faced leaving only D&D as the leader in RPG. At some point, D&D expanded into many settings especially with second edition with Planescape, Ravenloft, Darksun and so on. Hey, even the video game Diablo became a setting! If that is not generic, nothing is.

Even early on they had a pretty massive out-the-gate advantage. It might have been possible to dislodge them then, but even then it'd have been an uphill fight.
 


darjr

I crit!
You could argue BRP does; at least RQ is the most well known of all BRP related games.
Except it doesn’t. The first BRP was a three page pamphlet without any setting. There wasn’t room.

BRP was built from their house rules and almost from the very beginning was fitted to be morphed to all sorts of games.

In fact it’s very age as one of the great grand old ones might make it as one of the first generic rule sets , with that exact intent.

Though I will grant it’s initial reason for being was as an alternate to D&D. If I remember right RQ came after. They were looking for a setting to publish the rules with and the board game was where they started.
 

Except it doesn’t. The first BRP was a three page pamphlet without any setting. There wasn’t room.

BRP was their built from their house rules and almost from the very beginning was fitted to be morphed to all sorts of games.

In fact it’s very age as one of the great grand old ones might make it as one of the first generic games, with that exact intent.

Uhm, are you sure you aren't confusing BRP with Steve's old Perrin Conventions? They have some familiar relationship, but they aren't the same, and the first BRP game was absolutely RQ. I was a friend of Steve Perrin's for many decades until his heartbreakingly untimely death earlier this year, so I think I know of what I speak.
 


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