Is TTRPGing an "Expensive Hobby"

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
It sure can be. I invested five figures in RPGs before I went on disability and still had a very good paying job (I was a defense contractor). I was making roughly $4k per month in the early 00s and roughly $1k of that went toward RPGs (I had a pretty big collection at the time, all of which was later sold piecemeal when I lost that good paying job).
 
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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
So, I'm not crazy? Thank Crom!!! All day since I posted that I've been trying to remember who and where that conversation took place. That conversation did turn me off to the wargaming hobby. I was in a transition of having played D&D, not playing D&D then playing D&D again. Felt like I was being recruited by Heaven's Gate. Seems like a very dedicated following that has to adhere to the paint to play requirement.

This does not surprise me.

Is this an expensive hobby? Only if you want it to be, as they say, tone is all in the fingers...
Ya know, "Heaven's Gate" would be a good name for a faction in many genres of wargaming.
 

Meech17

Adventurer
We're approaching 200 posts. What's the concensus? Are TTRPGS an expensive hobby? I need to know what to tell my wife about my next purchase.
Tell her "It sure can be! Did you know you can get the D&D SRD totally fo... Hey.. Don't look in the bag.. My eyes are up here. The SRD is totally free!"
I agree it is a dirt cheap hobby if you want it to be. And because of that, I increasingly don't see the value in buying a bunch of new systems. For example, the "gold" edition of the newly released Crown and Skull is $80. That strikes me as a quite expensive book. Is it a good value? Perhaps if C&S becomes your main system and you end up playing it a lot. But as a book, and compared to other books (say, the complete works of Shakespeare), it does strike me as pretty expensive.

There's a lot of this sort of gratuitous stuff in the hobby. One of the ironies for me of the OSR, for example, is that on the one hand there is this emphasis on embracing the DIY, dirt cheap aspect of the hobby--"folk dnd" if you will. And on the other hand, a kind of preciousness around book quality--the paper, the binding, the ribbon bookmarks etc, which sometimes seemed geared more toward collecting than playing.
This is falling into another category however. I think you have to try and separate hobbies from internet influencer hype culture. So many people make these purchases not for the content, but because either they want to support the creator who made it, or they want to feel included in the hype behind it.

I don't think you can look at the cost of the book being $80. The book is $30, or $50 for the physical version.. The extra $30 is the "I really like Runehammer and want to say that monetarily." tax.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Yeah, it's the same argument you can make about any discretionary good. Though, I think the overall point that it doesn't account for how much more squeezed the average consumer is now than in 1977 is a valid one. Plus, as much as we all love RPGs, it would be one of the first things to get cut in a budget if you absolutely needed to.
And the great thing about TTRPGs is that I could cut all further dedicated spending on the hobby today and still be able to play four hours a week for the rest of my life.

But, for me personally, it would not be where I would start cutting my discretionary spending. If I had to cut back on my discretionary spending, but still has some ability for discretionary spending, I would start with streaming video and music services, then eating out, I would get more thrifty with my grocery shopping, etc. TTRPG spend would shrink but it would be one of the last things I give up spending on entirely.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Ish.

You need other people to play with and the vast majority move on to the latest edition. So sure, you can easily keep playing with what you have while the edition is current, the more “outdated” the edition gets the harder it becomes to find other people to play with. And this assumes a certain level of popularity of the game to begin with. This “forever play” might work with D&D, for example, but any other game has several orders of magnitude fewer players as the base, and if those lines are still in print, the vast majority of those fans will have moved to the latest edition.
Every time I read posts stating that folks are forced to play D&D and keep up with the latest edition, or they wouldn't be able to play at all, I feel like I'm living in a different world. I'm not saying that their personal experiences are not true, but I feel that there is more to the story and that such statements need caveats, such as "in my group of friends, with whom I want to continue playing, ..."

First, if you are willing to play online, I find it easy to join or run games for a very wide range of systems. As for in-person games, I may be spoiled in the Twin Cities, because of the number of FLGS's and gaming-meetups (i.e., Meetup.com), in my area. For my main group of players, obviously I'm limited by that groups tastes, but my group has never insisted on the newest rules.

If you are a player, it would be simple to find games on line that you could join at no cost. If you are a DM, there is obviously more effort involved in finding a regular group, but in my experience it would not be difficult to find 4-6 people to play a game I want to run, even if I'm only using 2014 rules or a completely different system. The more indie, obscure, and experimental the game, the more difficult it will be to find players, but I just don't think that not using the newest version of a popular system is that big of a barrier to find people to play with unless you are in a small gaming community and refuse to play online.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
There's a lot of this sort of gratuitous stuff in the hobby. One of the ironies for me of the OSR, for example, is that on the one hand there is this emphasis on embracing the DIY, dirt cheap aspect of the hobby--"folk dnd" if you will. And on the other hand, a kind of preciousness around book quality--the paper, the binding, the ribbon bookmarks etc, which sometimes seemed geared more toward collecting than playing.
Exactly. Almost none of my physical books are for playing the game. If I just want the rules in a functional format, I stick with digital. Similarly, for most of my reading, I do it on kindle. I don't have any softcover novels in my house. I buy expensive TTRPG books like the Goodman Games Old Adventures Reincarnated for the same reason I have premium bound versions of Bulfinch's Mythology, or a leather bound set of the the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. They look nice on the shelf, I enjoy picking them off the shelf and referencing or browsing them with the feel of good quality paper and nice printing, etc. I still have more TTRPG books than novels, because their artwork and layout make them ideal for browsing in print. But I enjoy them between games, not in game.
 



Thomas Shey

Legend
Every time I read posts stating that folks are forced to play D&D and keep up with the latest edition, or they wouldn't be able to play at all, I feel like I'm living in a different world. I'm not saying that their personal experiences are not true, but I feel that there is more to the story and that such statements need caveats, such as "in my group of friends, with whom I want to continue playing, ..."

First, if you are willing to play online, I find it easy to join or run games for a very wide range of systems. As for in-person games, I may be spoiled in the Twin Cities, because of the number of FLGS's and gaming-meetups (i.e., Meetup.com), in my area. For my main group of players, obviously I'm limited by that groups tastes, but my group has never insisted on the newest rules.

If you are a player, it would be simple to find games on line that you could join at no cost. If you are a DM, there is obviously more effort involved in finding a regular group, but in my experience it would not be difficult to find 4-6 people to play a game I want to run, even if I'm only using 2014 rules or a completely different system. The more indie, obscure, and experimental the game, the more difficult it will be to find players, but I just don't think that not using the newest version of a popular system is that big of a barrier to find people to play with unless you are in a small gaming community and refuse to play online.

Online does change it (if online is acceptable; for some people its a nonstarter because they simply don't enjoy playing that way) but if it isn't for any reason (some places have the most terrible internet you could imagine) then the available groups within a distance can be limited. Not every lives in a big city (though you and I clearly do).
 


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