D&D General What is Good for D&D ... is Good for the RPG Hobby- Thoughts?

Clint_L

Hero
WotC's games have nothing in common with the early RPG that started it all, other than the branding.
Dungeon masters
Turns/rounds
Ability scores based on 3d6
Spell lists
Magic items
Hit Points
Saving throws
Classes
Monsters
Dungeons
Dragons

Getting bored listing things in common. I feel like maybe you were being hyperbolic or snarky rather than making a good faith attempt to further the conversation.
 

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MGibster

Legend
That is 5e for me, it is fine that it is not for you. Sorry the market leader doesn't suit your taste. However, if your preferred game was the market leader, other people would be in your boat now. Not everyone can "win." It sucks for you - sorry!:confused:
It's not the fact that D&D is the market leader that's the problem, it's that the entire table top RPG hobby revolves around D&D. I started a thread a few weeks ago arguing the overwhelming dominance of D&D was bad for the RPG industry. Insomuch as we can call it an industry given the niche status of RPGs as a whole. When WotC announced a change to their OGL it caused several companies and players to what we Americans commonly refer to as "$%#^ a brick." I would expect the largest company in any industry to cause ripples when they make a major announcement, but I don't expect them to be able to call down the apocalypse. This must be how Mexico and Canada feel all the time living next to the United States.
 


dave2008

Legend
WotC's games have nothing in common with the early RPG that started it all, other than the branding.
Oh I disagree immensely. 4e brought me back to D&D because it felt like I was going home again (I started with 1e/BECMI hybrid) and 5e has only continued that tradition. And that is beyond all the obvious commonalties listed by @Clint_L
 

Saracenus

Always In School Gamer
A tale of two RPG heartbreakers...

I. Harnmaster and the Harn Campaign Books (Colombia Games).
This is quite possibly the most beautiful game world ever produced (lore, maps, internal consistency of a real Medieval Europe that happens to have Magic), unfortunately the rule system that supports it is, well, overly complex and encourages a very conservative playstyle. It does not help that it is primarily a skill based d100 % system (yes, you have attributes/ability scores, but they are not super useful). Combat? Hahahahahahahahaha. If the combat doesn't kill you, the infection rules and the limited healing available to the players will (Note: This was the case with 1e Harnmaster, this may have changed with 2e and now 3e were created after the original creator Robin Crosby passed away). It was just plain better to avoid combat if you could, unless you had the jump on your foes with overwhelming force. This game molders in a box in my basement. This campaign world became my go to "lonely fun" reading because I could not find anyone who would play it and at the time AD&D 2e was just to fiddley to make it work with the campaign assumptions. I occasionally pull the local maps (city and site) to use for D&D (whatever edition I happen to be using) but those are game mechanics neutral.

II. GENESYS (Fantasy Flight Games).
FFG (Asmodee) have interesting licensed and house IP that could be exploited for an RPG. Enter Genesys. FFG thought that their Android: Netrunner Living Card Game, X-Wing starship minis combat game, and (at the time) unreleased tactical Fantasy minis game (a Warhammer contender) user bases could be converted into a house RPG system that would allow you to play in a lot of different genres. Genesys not only required you to learn a new system but also by custom dice that were only usable by the game. They were not numbers but abstract symbols that you had to memorize the meaning of to play the game. Who wouldn't want to play in the Cyberpunk future of the Android universe or Star Wars license? Unfortunately, the user bases of the existing games did not cross pollinate like they thought it would and in the case of Star Wars the new system was a barrier for entry for those that played previous system under West End Games (d6s?) and WotC's d20 system. I don't think it lasted a year before development was cancelled.

In both cases, complexity + different mechanics = death. There were not enough players, that pesky network externality, to sustain either as a viable system. Even the lure of Star Wars was not enough.

These both happened before the power of actual play and livestreaming made the onboarding process for new players and GMs all that much easier. Even so, the keepers of D&D recognized the value of this to explode the hobby (even if it surprised them at first) and the rules lighter base game of D&D (in comparison to Pathfinder) and made it the dominate force for TTRPGs on YouTube and Twitch. I don't think Harnmaster or Genesys would have fared well against D&D even in this new environment as they both made Pathfinder seem simple.

With all this said, without D&D none of these games would have been possible even if their survival as a viable TTRPG had the odds stacked against them.

For those wishing WotC and D&D to crash and burn so that something else would pop up in its place, if such a thing were possible, would find the likely successor would be some variant of d20 D&D (Paizo comes to mind) and the whole process would begin anew as that game converted D&D's externalities into it's own. Something as innovative as Fate, Blades In The Dark, or even Call of Cthulhu would have a hard time converting a bulk of those folks over to them. Sure you would see a brief rise as people cast about for something else but most would gravitate to what is known.

One last thought, indy games have a perfectly viable niche in the TTRPG market. They do not need to have the scale of success that WotC or FFG require for a game to continue. However, anything that they innovate making them stand out and has people taking notice, D&D, can and will, quietly incorporate it into their system (sometimes with good effect). For example, the concept of Fronts from the Powered By The Apocalypse game engine is easily transported into D&D. I actually was introduced to that game system by a designer blog that Mike Mearls wrote about incorporating them in your D&D game.
 

I strongly disagree here. I have talked about this before on other threads, but a fair number of indie designers have said that 4e rather than 5e was the best thing that happened to them. Lo and behold! There are a lot of creative, innovate games out there that sprung forth during the time of around 2008-2015, or roughly the time of 4e and before 5e became the overgrown gorilla of the hobby.
Not a snarky question but it will come off that way, but for the designers referenced was it cause they were using 4e related game ideas/structures and enjoyed the freedom of the system or since the game was locked out by the GSL, they had to create something new to sell during at time so they were creative for that reason? Just curious and it might be answered as I’m at this post reading the discussion.
 

Me too. I just don't get to enjoy my game because people aren't interested in playing it because it's not 5E. So cool for you, sucks for me. I guess I can either shuffle off out of the hobby or get on the bland train. No gaming is better than bad gaming, I suppose.
I understand this…a group of friends I enjoy playing tend to enjoy old retro clones of basic dnd, Labyrinth Lord. I enjoy the roleplaying aspect but the game just is a bore to me…why? Cause I don’t enjoy playing a fighter for 10 sessions that only action in combat is 1 attack. For 12 or 15 levels, all I can do it attack once. I enjoyed when we started cause that’s all we knew. Now I’ve played various editions of dnd (and other games sprinkled through out) and enjoy the changes since then. I’ll do a one shot of any game but like others have said, dnd is what I enjoy and 5e currently still scratches that itch. So I can play a bland game of labyrinth lord or play a 5e game, just gotta get more people playing to expand the group…which I did 3 weekends ago with 2 new players.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I understand this…a group of friends I enjoy playing tend to enjoy old retro clones of basic dnd, Labyrinth Lord. I enjoy the roleplaying aspect but the game just is a bore to me…why? Cause I don’t enjoy playing a fighter for 10 sessions that only action in combat is 1 attack. For 12 or 15 levels, all I can do it attack once. I enjoyed when we started cause that’s all we knew. Now I’ve played various editions of dnd (and other games sprinkled through out) and enjoy the changes since then. I’ll do a one shot of any game but like others have said, dnd is what I enjoy and 5e currently still scratches that itch. So I can play a bland game of labyrinth lord or play a 5e game, just gotta get more people playing to expand the group…which I did 3 weekends ago with 2 new players.
Try Dungeon Crawl Classics. The warrior and mighty deeds mechanic are about the best implementation of a martial character I’ve seen.
 

Try Dungeon Crawl Classics. The warrior and mighty deeds mechanic are about the best implementation of a martial character I’ve seen.
Now that is one I do like. We played about 3 sessions of it but the DM at the time got pulled away. I had the book and still have the dice. Need to find the book and read it again. The friend playing the magic user was always having bad rolls on the spell rolls but it had some fantastically funny role playing as a result. Heck I’m smiling just thinking of those sessions…I’ll have to run it by the group and see if we can work it in…thanks for the inspiration!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Now that is one I do like. We played about 3 sessions of it but the DM at the time got pulled away. I had the book and still have the dice. Need to find the book and read it again. The friend playing the magic user was always having bad rolls on the spell rolls but it had some fantastically funny role playing as a result. Heck I’m smiling just thinking of those sessions…I’ll have to run it by the group and see if we can work it in…thanks for the inspiration!
Nice. I absolutely love DCC‘s magic system. Corruption, patron taint, deity displeasure, ritual magic, spellburn…so tasty.
 

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