How well do you predict non-OGL/CC games will do?


I do not want to hijack the thread, which this potentially can do, but to me a key component going forward will be how the army of D&D-dominant YouTubers respond to the changes coming with D&D 2024. Many will fade away if WoTC isn’t friendly to them, or creates competition with D&D TV or whatever. But there is room for some of these YouTube celebrities—which could have included Critical Role were they not creating house systems they likely intend to focus on—to become “RPG YouTubers” and deliberately cover the hobby generally and not just incidentally to a parade of D&D specific content.

If a few go-to gaming YouTube celebrities/sites can become a resource for new fans and current fans alike, to educate them on what is out there in new games, new supplements, and the hobby generally, this might mitigate the lack of the FLGS and the built-in 5e community we have had for several years now. (Several OSR-related YouTubers sort of already do this within that area of TTRPGs, but OSR is still usually best thought of as D&D derivative and not representative at all of everything going on in the hobby.) This sort of information system could give a hell of a lifeline to third-party publishers, because otherwise I envision a slow decline in the hobby to a quiet niche of a niche, without any unifying force. If D&D becomes a VTT-focused walled garden, new players and word of mouth isn’t going to be nearly as friendly for new players like the community of 5e games that exist today,
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Thomas Shey

I suspect I'm not going to give a good answer to Sancrosanct because the majority of my gaming has always been outside the D&D-sphere, and thus didn't automatically involve the OGL anyway (obviously it did not do so prior to its existence). So as someone who walked away from D&D decades ago, and still mostly plays outside that sphere, my assessment of other people can be argued to be biased.


Define "well."

Is being able to moonlight as an TTRPG maker and print out a few hundred physical books every few years good enough?

Is it running a small business where you can employ others good enough? And how many others? A few people for a year? Some regular freelancers? A hundred full time people?

Is amassing enough resources to be able to take market share from WOTC?
I like it when people put out content (maps, adventures, characters, etc) on the internet for the sheer love of the game, not expecting any significant monetary return at all.

I don't like the new mindset where if you can't make a buck, you're not going to bother sharing.

Also, it is much more practical to not expect any riches. This is, after all, still the tabletop roleplaying game business. There just isn't any money in selling five people ONE adventure once ever four or eight months.

All the money is related to the online business. Video games. VTTs. Subscriptions. And so on.

And there the big companies just won't let you play. Not nearly as easily as "just uploaded a scenario to my blog or here at enworld, please enjoy" anyhow.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Are any games going to become a "D&D Killer" (as some hyperbolic youtubers are dubbing Daggerheart and/or MCDM RPG)? No. However if you define success as paying your employees and keeping the lights on then I think most established RPG companies are going to do fine.
This. If 'success' was purely defined as being the very biggest, then there's only one successful person in the world, one successful company in the world, one successful movie in the world. Success means meeting the goals you need to meet. The corner shop down the road from me is successful; it doesn't need to be Walmart to do that. We are a tiny, tiny company, but we make stuff we love and pay salaries and wages. I consider us to be a success. We have no intention (or, let's face it, prospect) of 'competing' with WotC, but we don't need to.

If successful means being the top dog, then you'll always be unsuccessful. If successful means providing for yourself and your family, and paying your staff so they can do the same, while doing a job you love, well then... count me as a bloody humongous success!

It's not a zero sum game. Lots of people can be successful.

Committed Hero

I don't think any other company will attain the amount of sales WotC enjoys with D&D. Of course, few can compete with the sheer size of Hasbro, even when they aren't trying to run its goodwill into the ground. But there are plenty of smaller publishers that have been business for decades, releasing games that don't strictly compete with D&D as a fantasy RPG.

FWIW, in the heady days of the d20 boom, WotC failed to appreciate how easy it became for a desktop publisher to make money selling smaller products online. It's entirely possible they overlook the influence of media stars like Critical Role this time around, although in 2024 their effect seems pretty obvious.

Finally, this is the 10th year of 5th edition - it took Paizo less time than that to release Pathfinder, which has survived being a direct competitor to D&D. It can be argued that it beat out 4th edition head to head. The next edition will be competing against 5th edition, too, and legions of fans who don't want to convert to a new system.

aramis erak

If D&D becomes a VTT-focused walled garden, new players and word of mouth isn’t going to be nearly as friendly for new players like the community of 5e games that exist today,
If WotC does double down on the walled garden VTT-focused approach, its quite likely to create a separate entire ecosystem of RPGs -- D&D becoming separate from the rest of the RPG industry, as supported by local cons and FLGSs, as well as online Game stores selling physical product. And that is a decision point that could result in a lot more access to non D&D games... or kill both sides of the divide.


I think the OP has a lot of "ifs" that have already been debunked by WOTC, all digital, paywall, etc. I think the CC-BY will do fine and in fact once Revised is released and people see it will be the most minor changes added in, we will see more publishers launching new product again. I believe we will see a slow user base growth with 5e books still being out there and sales not having substantially slowed leading into it Revised. People will use their old books and buy the new stuff. The PHB will be the big ticket as always but a slow burn on the DMG and MM initially. With little change 3PP will have incentive to keep going as is... moreso.


From my angle, I like a more basic world with more Lord of the Rings than Planescape or Spelljammer. Forgotten Realms is generally fine if I skip all the super stuff so I can see a place for other companies to make settings and adventures that are opposite from a world-spanning Vecna book, I wanted to play Shattered Obelisk, but it lost me with the fantastic and the space locations. I would have rather just had some mind flayers in an underdark temple instead. Still outlandish having mind flayers and dragons and such, but my game can stretch only so far.

I wonder if new clones like A5e/TOV/orc whatever had a campaign world that was more basic and made smaller adventures that fit in it? I'm guessing the money is not there except the big books or it would be done.


wonder if new clones like A5e/TOV/orc whatever had a campaign world that was more basic and made smaller adventures that fit in it? I'm guessing the money is not there except the big books or it would be done
Kobold Press’ Midgard might fit the bill, don’t think they go all out SJ or PS, and they certainly have a bunch of adventures, short, long, anthologies

There are plenty of 3pp settings and adventures, and with ToV / A5e / … being compatible you should be able to find something, even if it is not from the same publisher as the rulebook

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