5E is also the most popular edition!Adding to this o5e itself make significant steps away from the whole "d&d-like" construct. By tuning the system & all of its math to a spherical cow of no feats no magic items while shifting the power from those things directly onto the base pc itself under bounded accuracy, the GM is left with no room for growth and a goodie ie bag they cant actually draw from without rebuilding the system into something that once again becomes "d&d-like". O5e sidesteps sun sized spotlight by having the name of "dungeons and dragons".
None of those things is "the campaign," first off, which was rather the centerpiece of the OP. So, at least from that angle--sure, if we're broadening to include "whatever form advancement takes, no matter how divergent it becomes," then yes. But that's not a single thing over time. Almost every game with any component of strategy (even "purely random" games!) admits some kind of metric of progression if you're willing to generalize far enough. And "be innovative!" is hardly an "advantage"--it's more like a vital need, one that D&D has actually been pretty antagonistic toward across its history. After all, 4e also iterated in a ton of ways, pushing design, implementing genuinely innovative new concepts, and people actively shat on it and misrepresented it constantly.Thus responsive to @EzekielRaiden's critique of the OP, I believe it isn't a past advantage simply playing out as a kind of market or audience inertia. It is a live brand-pillar, recognised by the designers and actively wielded to appeal to players. I'd agree that the innovation was salient to the initial success, and without the initial success there'd be no D&D today. I don't agree that it is just a fact about the past.
[EDIT And I think UA in a fashion forms proof of this conclusion. The constant searching and testing of design space for character advancement. Races. Feats. Sub-classes. Classes. Look at the recent Strixhaven cross-class sub-classes. These experiments are evidence that the designers are as focused on their character classes - and their advancement-arcs - as ever!]
sighMinor quibble: Star Wars: A New Hope didn't get the subtitle "A New Hope" until the theatrical re-release in 1981. I think that until then it was just "Star Wars."
I didn't realize my minor quibble would result in receiving such a disproportionately grumpy retort. Christ. If this is how you talk to people who actually like you, I hate to see how you'd respond to people who don't. Sorry for ever posting, EzekielRaiden.sigh
Knew somebody was going to feel too strong an urge toward pedantry on this one, but I thought maybe the internet might let it go, just this once, given how tangential any of that information is to the topic. Serves me right, I suppose. Yes, I was aware of all these facts. I didn't consider them salient, and in fact, I chose the names I used because I figured there would be more people who would be confused by not calling it "Episode IV" or "A New Hope" than who would be perturbed by the factual inaccuracy of referring to the original '77 film by the '81 re-release's name.
It's not the reward loop alone that has propelled D&D to its enviable position. The reward loop is certainly part of it, but it's not everything. I consider the reward loop perfected in two D&D editions: early editions and 4e. Early editions utilized the gold-for-XP mechanic, which was ingenious and extraordinarily gameable. 4e utilized combat-for-XP and emphasized leveling up to gain new powers and abilities (moreso than other editions, as the AEDU structure provided 30 levels of powers for all classes, even non-casters). One of these created a massive following while the other remains a relatively niche system.Tons of systems, with different genres, implied settings, or perspectives pull off exactly the same reward loop as D&D. Your "(and similar systems)" sweeps under the rug easily dozens of unrelated things. D&D retains its lofty position primarily through familiarity, marketing, and having been the top dog.
I apologize. Saying what I said, the way I said it, was dumb. I was very frustrated overall and, honestly, felt like that was "yeah cool story bro, but did you know you got this one unrelated fact wrong?" rather than engaging with anything I'd actually said. That wasn't your intent, and I shouldn't have responded as though it was.I didn't realize my minor quibble would result in receiving such a disproportionately grumpy retort. Christ. If this is how you talk to people who actually like you, I hate to see how you'd respond to people who don't. Sorry for ever posting, EzekielRaiden.
The thing is that almost all RPGs that I can think of that aren't designed for one-shots have some sort of levelling up and growth of power. Unless you're suggesting that character level being a simple bulky number I can't see this as a difference between D&D and say oWoD, GURPS, or any of the Warhammer RPGs. I think they are useful for the campaign - but not something that's special about D&D.Long time, no big post! I've been ruminating about a planned two-part post regarding D&D that has been informed by some recent conversations I've had, the first dealing with narrative authority, and the second dealing with rules, but before going into the weeds I thought I'd start what is now a trilogy with an essay about the single greatest advantages that D&D has in the world of TTRPGs- the Campaign.
But today, I'm going to examine another, less-lauded, aspect of the success of D&D. The persistent character, the advancement of levels, and (to sum it up) the Campaign.
I too play space invaders and run around jumping on goombas in real life. And when I stack falling boxes flat lines of them disappear. Seriously, there's a better case for tabletop RPGs being about imitating than computer games being about it.I've heard these arguments too often, especially with the advent of 3e and later 4e calling them "video games" (each previous generation saw it that way). The problem with this argument is it misses the point: video games are the great imitator. All activities came first, and then video games copied them. Ping pong? That's a video game. Boxing? That's a video game. RPGs? That too is a video game. The D&D structure was imitated because it works, but that's what video games do: imitation.
Han was the only one who got a shot off. Greedo never shot at all. But what you are alluding to was the 1997 Special Edition change.