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Why do you play games other than D&D?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Inspired by a question somebody asked on Twitter. My response was that every system feels different and provides a different play experience. You can certainly make most any system do anything, but playing Call of Cthulhu with the Mutants & Masterminds rules is going to feel very different to CoC with the CoC rules.

Every game has it's own niche and just needs to serve that niche well.

In the last year I've run: D&D 5E, WOIN, Pathfinder 2E Playtest, Ghostbusters 1980s RPG, Call of Cthuhu. Some for longer than others (Ghostbusters was just a couple of sessions, and we only got halfway through the PF2 playtest because the playtest schedule was so fast). Each of those games feels very different.

So why do you play games other than D&D? What is it that your game of choice does that makes it the best fit for the stories and genres you're playing with?
 

steenan

Villager
I think the question is strange. It treats D&D as some kind of default, as if one needed a reason to play something different. For me, D&D was just one of the games I tried; neither the first nor the best one.

In general, I prefer varied experiences. I switch between games to do something different. Sometimes, we play series of one-shots, jumping between games. At other times, we play campaigns, but we still interweave them with single sessions ran on different systems. If I had to play a single game for long time, it would become stale and risk burning me out. I went through that once and I don't want it to happen again.

Other than just getting a broader range of experiences, I like learning new things. Some of the new things I never return to; some become my new favorites. Between these extremes are games that show me new niches, new styles of play, new kinds of mechanics or new tools that can be re-used elsewhere. By reading and playing different games and comparing them I learn how they affect the process of play, what works well and what doesn't, what are their strengths and limitations.

Last but not least, I like focused games. They have much better ratio of fun to play an prep time than games that try to do everything; they are also much easier to teach to new players. But because they are narrow, it's hard to find interesting things to explore when playing a single game of this kind for a long time. It's much better to play a session or two, change to something else and return when an inspiration strikes that matches the first game's focus.

Last year I created a new group, introducing some of my co-workers to RPGs and helping some return to the hobby after many years of not playing. Each adventure I ran for them used a different system, specifically to show them how varied RPGs are and to help them identify their preferences. We went through Mouse Guard, Dogs in the Vineyard, Masks, Urban Shadows, Monsterhearts, Strike and Nobilis. And it worked great. Not only the group really bought into playing, one of them recently ran their first session (Mouse Guard) as a GM.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I think the question is strange. It treats D&D as some kind of default, as if one needed a reason to play something different. For me, D&D was just one of the games I tried; neither the first nor the best one.
Is the question strange?

If you include PF as part of the greater D&D family (a reasonably supposition), then you will usually see that more than 80% of all games and players are playing "D&D," with no other RPG getting any real noticeable push. Everything is niche compared to D&D/PF.

So, yeah, I'd certainly say that D&D is the default for TTRPGs.


(Even moreso when you people who aren't familiar with TTRPGs try and discuss it, and "D&D" becomes a generic way of referring to the games- much like Kleenex for tissue or Xerox for photocopy or Google to search for something on the internet.... I mean, you can bing all of this if you want.)
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Inspired by a question somebody asked on Twitter. My response was that every system feels different and provides a different play experience. You can certainly make most any system do anything, but playing Call of Cthulhu with the Mutants & Masterminds rules is going to feel very different to CoC with the CoC rules.

Every game has it's own niche and just needs to serve that niche well.

In the last year I've run: D&D 5E, WOIN, Pathfinder 2E Playtest, Ghostbusters 1980s RPG, Call of Cthuhu. Some for longer than others (Ghostbusters was just a couple of sessions, and we only got halfway through the PF2 playtest because the playtest schedule was so fast). Each of those games feels very different.

So why do you play games other than D&D? What is it that your game of choice does that makes it the best fit for the stories and genres you're playing with?
It may help if you embed or supply the Tweet in context. I know that Tweet, if this is the one I think it is, has essentially gone viral among my contacts and triggered a lot of responses from designers, writers, and players alike. But the question is more from the design-side of things, essentially about designing games in the context of D&D as the elephant in the room.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
D&D does some stuff that I like really well, and that (plus a healthy dose of nostalgia) is why I play D&D - swords and sorcery and high heroism are my jam.

There are lots of other things that I also really like, and like to RP about/in that D&D doesn't do - existential horror, cinematic action of various sorts, etc etc etc. So for those things I play those games. I also play those games to try out various other mechanics to see if I like them and want to port them over to D&D or just put them in my general bag of tricks. I also have a keen interest in game design, so sometimes it's just to try out a shiny new toy someone has developed.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Every game has it's own niche and just needs to serve that niche well.
That was very true back in the 90s. Then d20 ate the hobby. Now we've come full circle and the hobby /is/ D&D, again - as far as anyone looking at it from the outside can tell.

There are finally non-trivial non-d20 games out there, again, a lot of them coming back, themselves, from the height of their relative in-their-niceh popularity in the 90s (or even 80s or 70s), which is cool. So you might play a re-printed or re-launched Storyteller or Traveler or whatever for the same reasons you first dipped your toes back in D&D when 5e came out: which, generally, boil down to nostalgia.

The 'new wave' and indy trends, though utterly overwhelmed by d20 never went away, and they're actually going strong just way under the radar with D&D grabbing all the attention. You'd play them for the same reason you would in '92: you're experimenting, trying to break out of the first RPG's narrow paradigm.


Is the question strange?

If you include PF as part of the greater D&D family (a reasonably supposition), then you will usually see that more than 80% of all games and players are playing "D&D," with no other RPG getting any real noticeable push. Everything is niche compared to D&D/PF.
I'm not sure that bundling PF into it really makes a big difference anymore. In 2013, sure, but now, with D&D, itself, growing by leaps and bounds for the last 4 or 5 years, and PF in a pre-rev-roll doldrum?


So, yeah, I'd certainly say that D&D is the default for TTRPGs.(Even moreso when you people who aren't familiar with TTRPGs try and discuss it, and "D&D" becomes a generic way of referring to the games- much like Kleenex for tissue or Xerox for photocopy or Google to search for something on the internet.... I mean, you can bing all of this if you want.)
Yep, unless you're already deep into the hobby, D&D /always/ has been the default TTRPG.
It's the game the mainstreamers have heard of. In the 80s, when they heard it was associated with Satanism & suicide (like Heavy Metal music had been), it was a fad. In the 90s, & 00s, when it was associated with elitist nerdrage and 40-yo virgins, not s'much.
Today, with nerd chic downright mainstream and D&D prominently featured in pop culture, it's back with a vengeance.

If you walk into the FLGS on RPG night and there's a table playing something other than D&D, it's probably M:tG, or a boardgame - because they didn't realize it was RPG night, and there was a table free. ;P
 
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lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
So why do you play games other than D&D? What is it that your game of choice does that makes it the best fit for the stories and genres you're playing with?
To answer the question, well, it depends on the timeframe!

Back in the day, D&D was always the "main game" that my group would play. But we often take extended breaks to play games for one-shots, or short periods of time, or even a few years, just to enjoy something different.

Now? I pretty much play D&D (5e campaign, 1e campaign, about to try a little B/X again) and the occasional one-shot of Paranoia.

And I think one way of looking at it isn't why not D&D, it's ... why D&D?

D&D is the default for a reason. It's easy in so many ways. You can't play TTRPGs and not have played D&D at one time (pretty sure about that!). New players have an instinctive understanding of at least some of the tropes of D&D (fireball! elves!). When it comes to parents, many of them want their kids to learn "D&D" because they have vague memories of the smart kids back in the day playing it (go figure, right? it's like SAT prep now). It's just ... you know ... there. And it's easy to discuss with other people- I mean, try and strike up a conversation about Amber (the diceless RPG) or Boot Hill or Torg or Living Steel or any of countless other games, and you might get a few takers, but talk about D&D, and the wall come a tumblin' down.

But D&D is, by its very nature as the market-dominant force, not for everyone. It can't be niche. To be fair, it's pretty idiosyncratic (thanks, EGG!) for something so dominant, but still ... it has to continue to appeal to a broad swath of people.

Which means that when I want something different, I have to go to a different ruleset that supports that feel better. I love the dark and Germanic feel of WFRPG. Nothing is quite as much fun as a great one-shot of Paranoia. Just recently I dug out some Star Frontiers to give it a look-see. And so on.

It's a form follows function follows form kind of thing. Mechanics and play are often intertwined, and it can feel fresh and liberating to break free from D&D for a while, in the same way that returning to D&D can feel comforting, like a return home.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
And I think one way of looking at it isn't why not D&D, it's ... why D&D?
D&D is the default for a reason.
I think we covered that, above. Mad market dominance. Sole name recognition. Current version in print still recognizable as the same game that started it all 45 years ago.

It's easy in so many ways. You can't play TTRPGs and not have played D&D at one time (pretty sure about that!).
That's not easy, that's familiar. I mean, it's absolutely true: If you're in the hobby, chances are you got into it through D&D, and have mastered, or at least learned to tolerate, it's many eccentricities and shortcomings, and it's rules are second nature to you. They seem easy, because you've invested a lot of energy in getting them down pat - probably when you were young & had that energy to spare. ;) Now, not s'much ("learn another system? Ugh, they're all so complicated, I'd rather take a nap, then maybe play some D&D when I have more energy...")

(Yeah, I'm a cranky old man, but at least I admit it.)

But, no, it's NOT easy. If it were, we wouldn't always be shoving the (Champion) Fighter at the newbie because it's the simplest (sub)class, they'd be able to play whatever concept appealed to them.

New players have an instinctive understanding of at least some of the tropes of D&D (fireball! elves!). When it comes to parents, many of them want their kids to learn "D&D" because they have vague memories of the smart kids back in the day playing it (go figure, right? it's like SAT prep now). It's just ... you know ... there. And it's easy to discuss with other people- I mean, try and strike up a conversation about Amber (the diceless RPG) or Boot Hill or Torg or Living Steel or any of countless other games, and you might get a few takers, but talk about D&D, and the wall come a tumblin' down.
But D&D is, by its very nature as the market-dominant force, not for everyone. It can't be niche.
I mean, it /is/ for everyone, in the that market-dominant force sense, so can't be niche. Yet it /is/ actually kinda niche - it's one (sub)genre, done one, rather unique, way with about the same mechanics (class/level, daily spells, hps, deflection-only armor, roll that d20 to hit, roll that d8 for your longsword's damage) it's always used. But it's the hobby's gatekeeper, so it's niche /is/ the hobby, we're barely aware of the range of possible RPGs excluded from consideration because they wouldn't be enough like D&D to be recognized & accepted /as/ RPGs. (Heck, we see some people publish those, and hear "but that's not really an RPG is it?")

To be fair, it's pretty idiosyncratic (thanks, EGG!) for something so dominant, but still ... it has to continue to appeal to a broad swath of people.
Which it does, just not through it's idiosyncracies, but through name recognition, market appeal - and, I guess we could say, by virtue of being indoctrinated into it before you can uncover the more isolated corners of the hobby...
 

ART!

Explorer
I played a couple sessions of 5E soon after it came out, and I didn't have anything against it nor was I particularly into it.

Two years passed and I'd had no reliable group to play with for all that time. A friend gave me a copy of the PHB and DMG, I got into it.

Given past experience, I knew the best way to get a reliable group together was to say I was going to run D&D, so I did. We've been playing almost weekly ever since.

The one foray into something else was intentionally shortlived, because it was obvious everyone wanted to get back to D&D after the end of the previous campaign/storyline.

So that's a long way of saying I play other games as a brief break from 5E. I like seeing how game designers prioritize, incentivize, and emulate things, and how that all feels at the table.

I'm totally fine and have a long history with playing other systems, but my priority is having a reliable gaming group, 5E has achieved that for us, and I'm very happy with that.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I think we covered that, above. Mad market dominance. Sole name recognition. Current version in print still recognizable as the same game that started it all 45 years ago.

That's not easy, that's familiar. I mean, it's absolutely true: If you're in the hobby, chances are you got into it through D&D, and have mastered, or at least learned to tolerate, it's many eccentricities and shortcomings, and it's rules are second nature to you. They seem easy, because you've invested a lot of energy in getting them down pat - probably when you were young & had that energy to spare. ;) Now, not s'much ("learn another system? Ugh, they're all so complicated, I'd rather take a nap, then maybe play some D&D when I have more energy...")

(Yeah, I'm a cranky old man, but at least I admit it.)

But, no, it's NOT easy. If it were, we wouldn't always be shoving the (Champion) Fighter at the newbie because it's the simplest (sub)class, they'd be able to play whatever concept appealed to them.

I mean, it /is/ for everyone, in the that market-dominant force sense, so can't be niche. Yet it /is/ actually kinda niche - it's one (sub)genre, done one, rather unique, way with about the same mechanics (class/level, daily spells, hps, deflection-only armor, roll that d20 to hit, roll that d8 for your longsword's damage) it's always used. But it's the hobby's gatekeeper, so it's niche /is/ the hobby, we're barely aware of the range of possible RPGs excluded from consideration because they wouldn't be enough like D&D to be recognized & accepted /as/ RPGs. (Heck, we see some people publish those, and hear "but that's not really an RPG is it?")

Which it does, just not through it's idiosyncracies, but through name recognition, market appeal - and, I guess we could say, by virtue of being indoctrinated into it before you can uncover the more isolated corners of the hobby...
So .... I disagree with pretty much everything you wrote. :)

Look, I get the whole, "Old man yells at clouds" aspect of this debate- I'm right there with you. But far too often, people look at these types of things and, to paraphrase the old joke, say, "Sure, D&D might be the preferred RPG in fact, but surely it shouldn't be in theory."

There certainly wasn't a dearth of RPGs at the beginning. There was a vibrant hobby community! And not just Tunnels and Trolls and Rune Quest and other D&D-type games, but also sci-fi games and superhero games and dystopian sci fi games and so on ... and this is just the 70s.

By the 80s, as you well know, there was an explosion of other games from other producers.

So I think it is profoundly unhelpful to simply say that D&D is just some complex, niche game that somehow lucked into market dominance and by the powers of pure luck and an undiscriminating and nostalgic population kept it, because that does a severe disservice to the people who play it.

...not to mention, I think it ties into this ... let's say ... battle you fight repeatedly. ;)

Anyway, this doesn't mean that D&D is the best because it is the biggest, but it does mean that it is more helpful to understand the things it does right in order to how it is the biggest, and why it has proven so impervious to challenges over time.

There will always be a other RPGs, thankfully, but no game has ever seriously come close to toppling the D&D/PF hegeomony, and I think it is helpful to understand why instead of chalking it up to nostalgia, indoctrination, and stupid consumers.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
I mean, you can bing all of this if you want.
I -do- in fact use Bing. They pay for my yearly Amazon Prime subscription and then some in those nifty reward points!

To the topic at hand, however:

I play D&D 5E because it is about as Rules Lite as I like to play. Never had much success with Fate and the even lighter systems (not that there's anything wrong with them, just not my thing), so 5E feels darn perfect in that sense. Regardless of the system though, it's still "Hey, D&D night?" "Yep, D&D night."

For a great majority of our time, however, we prefer something with more crunch (not PF1 feat trees crunch, but more than 5E crunch). So we play D&D to get a break from Non-D&D.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I play other RPGs to experience something besides the default D&D experiences. Different magic systems, different settings, different genres.

Even though D&D was my gateway to the hobby in ‘77 and is still one of my all-time favorites (3.X being my favorite iteration), HERO is my #1.

Even staying within other FRPGs, the different mechanics and assumptions drove different play styles and feel. Stormbringer felt D&D, even if you used Deities & Demigods. The barbarian/sorceress I played in GURPS- one of a pair of identical twin sisters, with the other played by a buddy-felt nothing like a D&D version of the same.

Speaking of “the same”, I used to be in a group that- over time- played games in a dozens of systems. As a thought experiment with a practical side-effect, I decided to build a character in as many of the systems as made sense. “Slapstick” was a noir, gun-toting, antiheroic mercenary who wore clownface. Think of The Comedian from Watchmen and you’re on the right track. I statted him out in HERO, RIFTS/Heroes Unimited, MechWarrior, Torg, GURPS and several other systems we were either playing or contemplating playing. (I even did a D&D version who toted repeating crossbows.) Due to the different settings and mechanics in each of the various systems, every version of Slapstick was different enough that they would play differently. Some moreso than others.
 
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Over the years I've played D&D in various flavors (including Pathfinder), CoC, Star Wars, Boot Hill, GURPS, RIFTS, Paranoia, Amber, Exalted, VtM, Gamma World, Mouse Gaurd, and Chill. I mostly play D&D because that's what people want to play. I've also read and/or own a ton of other rules sets.

Maybe it's me but of the above, only Amber, RIFTS, and Mouse Guard really played differently and none of those experiences were positive for me.

The mechanics for me are mostly math. How something plays has vastly more to do with what the GM prepared for the group to experience or how the GM handles the group experience than it does anything else. Systems have something that they are naturally designed to produce, and some of them - like D&D, Chill 2e, and WEG Star Wars - do a really good job of achieving it very naturally, but it's not that hard to shift your perspective and have say D&D play like CoC or CoC play like D&D or heck VtM play like D&D. In fact, if I could pin down why we dropped our CoC campaign after just a year of play it was that I had very inadvertently created a CoC campaign that was way too much like the D&D campaign I'd been running for years before - with Deep Ones running around, Cultists, and plots to put things in the heavens (I didn't know what the plot of 'Masks' before I bought it).

I play games other than D&D because some one offers to run them, or for the novelty. But I'm still waiting for the experience of a game that plays radically differently to D&D that I actually enjoy. I'd really been hoping to make it to some Cons this year to play a few radically different games with hopefully veterans of those games, but alas real life seems to always get in the way.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
There certainly wasn't a dearth of RPGs at the beginning. There was a vibrant hobby community! And not just Tunnels and Trolls and Rune Quest and other D&D-type games, but also sci-fi games and superhero games and dystopian sci fi games and so on ... and this is just the 70s.
Yep, there was a flurry of 'em. And it never /really/ stopped. It was replaced with a flurry of d20 games at the turn of the millennium, but there's always some hopeful designer, publishing some brilliant innovative system, and watching it win an award or few, inspire a handful of zealous converts, and then vanish into obscurity while D&D marches on.

So I think it is profoundly unhelpful to simply say that D&D is just some complex, niche game that somehow lucked into market dominance and by the powers of pure luck and an undiscriminating and nostalgic population kept it, because that does a severe disservice to the people who play it.
OK, I'll admit, I'm cynical, I don't often think the best, nor even the second-best, nor even the mediocre of people. It's a deep character flaw and one that I work on - off-line, with little success so far.

And, yes, it's not helpful, /because of how it paints people who play the game/.

It's also not helpful, because it's absolutely true. D&D /is/ a quixotic, narrow, primitive TTRPG which, had it not been first to market, and had it not gained notoriety in the 80s, and had any number of other perfect storm factors not swirled around it, would be as niche and unknown as the Barbara Cartland Romance RPG. And understanding that really doesn't help anyone with anything - it just indulges my impulse to cynicism.

Anyway, this doesn't mean that D&D is the best because it is the biggest, but it does mean that it is more helpful to understand the things it does right in order to how it is the biggest, and why it has proven so impervious to challenges over time.
Sometimes the thing a product does right are a lot less important than things that go right. ("Better to be lucky than good," as they say.)

There will always be a other RPGs, thankfully, but no game has ever seriously come close to toppling the D&D/PF hegeomony, and I think it is helpful to understand why instead of chalking it up to nostalgia, indoctrination, and stupid consumers.
If you want to understand /why/, you really have to take into account all the explanations, including the cynical marketing & business reasons, not just the ones that might be interpreted to paint it in a positive light, or make our inner hardcore rule wonk sit up and debate.
Uninformed consumers, group-think, teen suicide, market forces, nerdrage, nostalgia, controversy - they all play a part. d20 instead of d%, irrelevant. 6 stats instead of 4, irrelevant.

And, most significantly, we should not offer up qualities as an explanation /that aren't real/. Like every time someone says D&D is "simple" I want to lock them in solitary with a 1e DMG until they can correctly recite, understand, and interpret every rule in it, resolving all apparent & actual contradictions.
..but housing lifers is /so/ expensive.
 
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lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Yep, there was a flurry of 'em. And it never /really/ stopped. It was replaced with a flurry of d20 games at the turn of the millennium, but there's always some hopeful designer, publishing some brilliant innovative system, and watching it win an award or few, inspire a handful of zealous converts, and then vanish into obscurity while D&D marches on.

OK, I'll admit, I'm cynical, I don't often think the best, nor even the second-best, nor even the mediocre of people. It's a deep character flaw and one that I work on - off-line, with little success so far.

And, yes, it's not helpful, /because of how it paints people who play the game/.

It's also not helpful, because it's absolutely true. D&D /is/ a quixotic, narrow, primitive TTRPG which, had it not been first to market, and had it not gained notoriety in the 80s, and had any number of other perfect storm factors not swirled around it, would be as niche and unknown as the Barbara Cartland Romance RPG. And understanding that really doesn't help anyone with anything - it just indulges my impulse to cynicism.

Sometimes the thing a product does right are a lot less important than things that go right. ("Better to be lucky than good," as they say.)

If you want to understand /why/, you really have to take into account all the explanations, including the cynical marketing & business reasons, not just the ones that might be interpreted to paint it in a positive light, or make our inner hardcore rule wonk sit up and debate.
Uninformed consumers, group-think, teen suicide, market forces, nerdrage, nostalgia, controversy - they all play a part. d20 instead of d%, irrelevant. 6 stats instead of 4, irrelevant.

And, most significantly, we should not offer up qualities as an explanation /that aren't real/. Like every time someone says D&D is "simple" I want to lock them in solitary with a 1e DMG until they can correctly recite, understand, and interpret every rule in it.
..but housing lifers is /so/ expensive.
Well, here's a counterpoint- you're a cynical and grouchy old man. :)

But I will offer a competing view, full of hope! D&D has succeeded not because people are stupid, and not because of path dependency, but for a multitude of reasons that feed into one another.

But I think that what you have to start with is that D&D scratches some sort of itch, and it does it well; moreover, it does it for a large percentage of people.

And so I would start by saying that you are, in fact, incorrect by saying that D&D is complex; if you ever played any of the many games that reached prominence in the 80s that were SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX than D&D, you know of what I speak (ugh, Living Steel). Nor is it that D&D is too simple; there are far, far, far simpler games.

Instead, it hit a sweet spot- one where people who wanted crunch, and people who didn't, could happily co-exist. It's the same in many aspects- do you like grid-based tactical combat, or do you want to quickly dispense with it by using it ToTM? Okay! Play D&D. See what I mean? It was malleable to so many different people.

And that's where the issue of path dependency comes in; sure, it is popular in some ways because it is popular, but because it is popular (widely disseminated and played) you also ended up getting a critical mass of people that could, and did, play it in different ways. It was enough of a canvas that people could use it to paint with. Follow me?

And so, by default, D&D became the baseline game that people could use in the ways that best suited them. Whereas other games didn't have quite the same community, didn't have that critical mass, and so you were more likely to learn it from the rulebook and attempt to faithfully play it.

Or, put another way, you look at D&D and can't understand how those rules were ever followed; I look at D&D and see an amazing tradition that combined oral and written documents and formed a touchstone for people's lives.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Well, here's a counterpoint- you're a cynical and grouchy old man. :)
Not really /counter/. ;)

And so I would start by saying that you are, in fact, incorrect by saying that D&D is complex; if you ever played any of the many games that reached prominence in the 80s that were SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX than D&D, you know of what I speak (ugh, Living Steel).
Never even heard of Living Steel. But, Champions! and GURPS, both. So I've experienced notoriously complex systems.

And, honestly, familiarity papers over complexity very effectively. You /try/ a game like Hero after a decade of D&D, it seems so much more complex. Then, after mastering it you realize, no, that's not the case, at all.

And that's where the issue of path dependency comes in; sure, it is popular in some ways because it is popular, but because it is popular (widely disseminated and played) you also ended up getting a critical mass of people that could, and did, play it in different ways. It was enough of a canvas that people could use it to paint with. Follow me?
I've certainly heard the canvas analogy before. Back in the day, one "D&D" game could have startlingly little in common with the next.

And so, by default, D&D became the baseline game that people could use in the ways that best suited them. Whereas other games didn't have quite the same community, didn't have that critical mass, and so you were more likely to learn it from the rulebook and attempt to faithfully play it.
Very true, and entirely in support of what I've been saying, actually. That completely throws off my rhythm, I hope you realize. :(

Or, put another way, you look at D&D and can't understand how those rules were ever followed; .
I don't just /look/ at AD&D, I played it for decades, and I /didn't/ follow /all/ the rules, and never met anyone who did. So I understand how those rules were never followed. It's also funny how some of us picked completely different rules out of the general chaos that was TSR D&D to follow (or even remember). Celebrim just mentioned the bizarre rules for Pummeling/Grappling/Overbearing (3.x Grapple rules get a /lot/ of flack, and deservedly so, but they were still a huge improvement, both in being more functional, and, incredibly, in being simpler, than that obscure section of the DMG). I used weapon v armor adjustment.

I look at D&D and see an amazing tradition that combined oral and written documents and formed a touchstone for people's lives
That is such a nice way of saying, well exactly what I've been saying...


...but, really, in talking about "Why D&D?" we're being terribly non-responsive to the OP.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
And, honestly, familiarity papers over complexity very effectively. You /try/ a game like Hero after a decade of D&D, it seems so much more complex. Then, after mastering it you realize, no, that's not the case, at all.
Most of the complexity of HERO is in PC creation/advancement, anyway. Once you do that, you can usually play without touching the rulebook more than a few times per session...as a group.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I play games that aren't D&D for the same reason that I eat foods that aren't haggis.

I also watch TV shows that aren't Star Trek, read books that aren't A Song of Ice and Fire, go to movies that aren't Marvel Cinematic Universe, and listen to music that isn't American Top 40.

I do this because a monotonous diet of anything is BORING.
 

practicalm

Explorer
I play games other than D&D because I'm not always interested in the leveling treadmill.
D&D is designed with the leveling treadmill of getting to more interesting content the more you level.

I like games where the challenges are less about scaling the enemies but solving the mystery or puzzle.

What 5th edition seems to be doing well is party synergy. Player A does a special thing, then player B does their special thing and then player C does their thing and boom encounter solved.
Running 5th edition has made me better at the encounter improve to scale up and down depending on how the players are doing.
 

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