D&D General D&D has always been the gateway to other games.


Reeks of Jedi
My first taste of RPGs was when I was in my low digits and owned the TMNT RPG. I made characters but never played it and mostly just wanted it because it was TMNT! Blew my mind that it wasnt like the cartoon....

Later a friend and I sort of played the West End Star Wars RPG. Just me and him. I made a Jedi he GMed. Played like twice for a couple of hours. Same goes for Rifts.

But it wasn't until EQ and Baldurs Gate came out (not to mention the Dragonlance Trilogy and Drizzt novels) that I actually sought out a real D&D game to play. This was 2E.

And I only played D&D and only ever wanted to play D&D.

So how does that make D&D a gateway to other RPGS?

Well, I also came to love stuff like Shadowrun and Vampire but the only games I could find was D&D. Its the big dog and everyone knows of it. It's even easier to get people to try it. Through my job I've met several people that want to play it (though when I invite them to try it, it never happens).

BUT once I got a consistent D&D group we could convince each other to try OTHER games. "Now that we've finished this campaign, you guys want to try Shadowrun?" Replace SR with almost any game. Paranoia. Star Wars. Mutants and Masterminds. Werewolf. Cthulhu. Etc etc etc. As long as we typically did a D&D campaign (or D&D-like like Shadowdark or Pathfinder etc) and then an "other" we've tried a ton of great stuff.

Currently my longtime consistent group has a huge backlog of games to try like Cyberpunk, Blade Runner, Star Trek, Avatar, Terminator, etc etc with more coming soon (damn you kickstarter!)

Have you also found that its easier to start with D&D then convince the group to try something different?

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Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I couldn't tell you if it's easier to start with a D&D group and then add something different since I don't recall ever forming a group based around something else first. I believe every notable group I've ever played in started as a D&D game first. The first group I played with in the early 1980s, the group that formed in the 1990s (and still plays now), the game I run for the next generation... all started with D&D and branched out from there.
So, yeah, D&D is a gateway drug... er, game to a wider hobby in my experience. But whether or not other games can fill that role as well, I have no personal experience.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Historically, D&D has been the best known RPG brand. It's been a gateway because it's the most known - people who don't play RPGs have still heard of D&D, overwhelmingly more than someoen outside the hobby knew of other games. That changed soem witht he advent of the internet, and more in the past decade, but it's just been it's popularity and reach that made it many people's first RPG.


I'm the Straw Man in your argument
It's the Kleenex of RPGs.

To answer the OP question. Yes, d&d is a gateway to other RPGs. In my case, we went from 5e to Dungeon Crawl Classics.

I would say it is the icebreaker ship creating a new path.

In my land after D&D the most famous TTRPGs (not based in a famous franchise from comics or movies) have been Call of Chulthu and World of Darkness. Legend of the Five Rings got some fame among the otaku community, I guess. Here in Spain the main TTRPG publisher is not WotC, at all, but Nosolorol. Devir Iberia is translating books, but not in he same level of 3.5 age. Edge Entertaiment publishes TTRPG, but now with a slower candence in my opinion.

In my opinion the most of players would rather to learn a little number of systems, no more three. When players are too used to a system, there is a lazyness to change the system. Others would rather to recycle the lore of an IP and using their favorite system, for example a 5ed version of Lord of the Rings, or Legend of the Five Rings.


The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
Yeah, the thing is that everybody knows D&D, and so people are willing to dip their toes in. The trick is figuring out when the right time is to pull back the curtain and say "Hey, let's try this other game!"

OP pretty much described my entry into TTRPGs. Aside from playing some BECMI my older cousin ran when I was much younger, I didn't get really interested in TTRPGs until my teen years when 2e was current. I bought the TSR Marvel Superheroes Advanced set because I was obsessed with comics at the time, but couldn't get anyone to play it. A few of my friends had previously played D&D and we all enjoyed the Dragonlance novels, so it was much easier to get people to play that. Once we had a group playing regularly, I brought up the Marvel game and people were willing to give it a try. We went on to play Shadowrun 2e, TMNT, and GURPS while maintaining AD&D 2e as our main game.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago. I ran into a coworker at my FLGS and learned he also played D&D and had a few friends looking to get into a regular game. I was willing to DM and we started running a weekly game. We ran a couple campaigns and earlier this year during the OGL drama, someone mentioned they had seen on Reddit that Paizo sold through their inventory of books and a few of us expressed interest in trying PF2e. We finished up the 5e campaign had planned and decided to switch systems, which probably would have been a lot harder to pull off if we didn't already have a functional group running.
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I had a 14 year player who started with WEG D6 star wars then D&D.

He got sick of being booted out when we wanted to game. He was welcome to join in not hang around like a bad smell.


oh, D&D is definitely a gateway game. Most interestingly, a lot of people I've met and introduced to other RPGs are surprised that other RPGs are nothing like D&D - and I've had several that drop D&D entirely after finding another system that they enjoy much better (Star Wars WEG, World of Darkness RPGs and Savage Worlds, namely).

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