D&D 5E Is 5E Special

clearstream

(He, Him)
A few examples of contemporary TTRPGs that I would call special (not a complete list, just a few of those on my mind at this moment)

5th edition D&D
Torchbearer 2
Stonetop
Thousand Year Old Vampire
We are but worms
Artefact

And honestly, there are dozens of new and indie TTRPGs doing things that should rightly be counted "special". Maybe some intuit "special" to mean "more special". I don't think so. It's a description that can apply in different ways to different RPGs. A large number of indie TTRPGs in particular wouldn't exist if 5e hadn't expanded the audience. Many wouldn't be findable and therefore fundable by their intended audiences were it not for distribution platforms like Itch.

Should I therefore refuse to describe those indie games as "special" just because they couldn't have thrived without current cultural and commercial context? That seems to amount to one of the main lines of argument in this thread.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But the question asked was: Is there something special about 5E that created this moment (of intense popularity)?
And I think if one agrees that the traits I listed are both present in 5e and contribute to a game’s popularity, it’s absurd to suggest that the the nature of 5e isn’t a major factor in how big it is right now and how long it’s been growing into the mainstream.
No. I doubt anyone is finding that hard to believe, especially with the "nearly" qualifier in there.
Eh I’ll happily remove the qualifier, frankly. Basic or Essentials or whatever are all missing one or more of the traits that 5e combines and balances.
And people just look at all the other factors and think that no, it wasn't the simplicity of the game that created the moment, but rather these other factors.

That doesn't mean it didn't contribute at all, just not necessarily in a unique and or majority-responsibility way.
I just find it hard it to view as reasonable, the idea that 5e is mostly just lucky or whatever. Like, no, a different game would not be in the same place.
And...that's it. Because everything is just pure conjecture. We'll never know, because we have no idea how to isolate these other factors, we lack a palantir, etc. The question is basically just asking about people's instincts over the whole thing. Any claim to actual knowledge here is just a statement about the claimant.
Eh, I think we can judge assertions more or less reasonable, at the very least.
I mean, the whole thread has just been the trading of assertions.
This. Most threads are.
 

Eric V

Hero
And I think if one agrees that the traits I listed are 1) both present in 5e and 2) contribute to a game’s popularity, it’s absurd to suggest that the the nature of 5e isn’t a major factor in how big it is right now and how long it’s been growing into the mainstream.
1) Are they present moreso than other versions of the game? I don't know. My instinct says that's probably true, but I haven't done a deep dive analysis to see. The fact that the 4e structure made a pretty accessible and popular board game series warns me to to just accept my above instinct as true.

2) Contribute to what degree, though? That's the question. If they contribute only a little bit, then it is not a "major factor in how big it is right now and how long it’s been growing into the mainstream."

That's what people are arguing about. Degrees. You might find it absurd that some don't consider the nature of the game a big factor, but others find the absurdity is in overemphasis on the game rules and not the outside factors.
 

Oofta

Legend
i have to disagree with a pro and a con...

in 2e at least we had a range of 10--10 (so20pt spread) something no WotC version has duplicated... either in 3e where 30 or 40 pt spread were possible with some creatures could have 8 and some epic PCs could have 30's or 40's easy. and in 5e now seeiing a monster with over 20 (old AC 0) is so rare most of us could not name them... CR 20+s have 17 18 or 19 ACs

ease of table use... even the playerss that had the best chance at doing the "did I hit" math at the table had an adjusted thac0 on there sheet (example I have a 17 thac0 and +3 to hit from magic +2 from str and +1 from specialization so instead of writing 17 +6 I would right 17 (11)) and would take at least a little time to do the math "I rolled a 14 my adjusted Thac0 is 11 so I hit a -3" but even people not good at math and little to no prep can do I rolled 14+6 I hit a 20." quicker
Requiring a cheat sheet is not exactly a stellar endorsement. 🤷‍♂️
 

Requiring a cheat sheet is not exactly a stellar endorsement. 🤷‍♂️
nor was it meant to be...

I talk about wanting to go back to TSR d&d all the time (so does about half my group and 2 or 3 people I just met at a con a few weeks ago and are now in our group texts have talked about it too) but the number 1 reason for me and something I hear CONSTANTLY agreed with is 'except thac0'
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Are they present moreso than other versions of the game?
Is each trait present to a greater degree than whatever other edition focuses on that trait? Probably not, which is a good thing. That’s the point. Balance of elements.

HeroQuest is very easy to play. And very fun! It very much holds up, and I’m quite glad I got the recent remake of it.

But it ain’t ever gonna blow up like 5e dnd, because it doesn’t have most of the other elements, and it’s very focused on that “quick and easy play” experience.
 

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