D&D General Why Is D&D Successful?

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
My own unknowing guess would be that because so much pop culture comes out of the USA (including film, television, games etc.)... folks from other nations are perhaps inundated with American English so often that it becomes easier to "learn" said language? Because they have so much more exposure to it? Kind of like the same reason why it seems actors from other countries can develop American accents easier than Americans develop English/Irish/Australian accents and the like-- they are exposed to so much American television from an early age that their ears just become more accustomed to hearing it and repeating it.

Us Americans are so isolated when it comes to exposure to other nations' pop cultural influences that we don't hear other languages with any regularity enough to really pick up on anything.
Pop culture is probably part of it but I don't think we can discount both British Imperialism and post-War American military, economic and political intervention across much of the world.
 

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mamba

Legend
My own unknowing guess would be that because so much pop culture comes out of the USA (including film, television, games etc.)... folks from other nations are perhaps inundated with American English so often that it becomes easier to "learn" said language?
the British Empire disagrees with this. You do not conquer half the world and not spread your language (and pick up some words to add to yours along the way) ;)

That is why it became the lingua franca, not how easy it is to learn

These days, science and entertainment keep it that way.
 

Oofta

Legend
that’s fair, but I do not think its level of success can be explained by its rules being so much better than those of other TTRPGs either. I see this more as a pushback against ‘D&D is great or it would not be so popular’ than as a legitimate criticism
I never claimed D&D rules are necessarily superior for everyone. They may be for some people and not for others; all we can really say is that they're coherent, well edited overall, have a decent structure and required errata has been minimal compared to some previous editions. I also greatly prefer the direction they took with rulings over rules and being open about people making the game their own. There are a few things I dislike (e.g. supremacy of dexterity), but I like that I can easily add a handful of simple house rules to fix what I find most annoying.


But much of it is simply personal preference and what you want out of a game. A PbtA game simply wouldn't work for me as a long term campaign, for others they're ideal. Vive le difference.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I would not base that on a blog post, pronunciation and exception issues exist in most languages.

While English may have more words than most (that post says a million), you will be hard pressed to get past 50,000 or so in modern novels or newspapers, so all these obscure words it accumulated over time do not matter that much

German is not easier to learn, while it does have fewer pronunciation issues, the whole der/die/das for male/female/neutral nouns will trip foreign speakers up more than those by itself.

Why is the bed neutral but the door female? Why is the girl neutral but the boy is not…
The majority of difficult words in English are the most common ones. Rare words tend to be of Latinate origin, which makes them far more regular than the Germanic ones.

Our verbs, for example, are an absolute nightmare to learn. Exceptions piled upon exceptions.

And that's not even touching the many-to-many orthography, the tonal inflections required to properly speak some sentences, nor the absolute mountain of idioms.

Also, gotta love how you say "a blog post" when the second link is actually a professional educational institution's website, which works with Oxford University, describing in detail why English is challenging to learn.

Regardless, it's pretty plainly ridiculous to hold up English as an example of a very easy language to learn. Because it isn't. Even if it isn't quite challenging (which even Oofta cites examples showing it is, despite downplaying it), it's certainly not easy, and the whole point of the comparison was to pick a really really easy thing to learn because of "elegance" and "simplicity"!

But I think the English comparison is extremely apt actually. For someone already deeply immersed in English, it feels easy. Intuitive. Stuff is what it is because it is. Exceptions abound but don't worry about them. We can just talk around it. Don't sweat the small stuff (even though "the small stuff" can actually have a huge impact.) Idioms and idiosyncrasies are everywhere and in half the cases most people have no clue anymore why something is the way it is.

It feels easy because you know it and because it's old and widely used. Actually teaching it to someone genuinely brand-new? Not so much. And yes, I have done this. More than once. Usually not by intent but by request (I'm the general "I need info" guy in my friend group). Many, many times I have had to start from square 1 on something because a player was deeply confused and needed a careful, thorough explanation to understand what was going on. Just wishing away their concerns with "don't sweat the small stuff" would have been dismissive of their issues and, worse, would have ensured they continued to struggle in the future. Multiple "Ohhh..well why doesn't it just say that?" moments.

5e can be actively opaque on a number of topics. It's quite frustrating in that way.
 

mamba

Legend
The majority of difficult words in English are the most common ones. Rare words tend to be of Latinate origin, which makes them far more regular than the Germanic ones.

Our verbs, for example, are an absolute nightmare to learn. Exceptions piled upon exceptions.
Well, out of the three languages I learned (German, English, French), it still is the easiest one by far for me.

I love how you say English has so many exceptions for verbs when I concluded long ago that the French only invented rules so they can break them... seriously, in English that is maybe 10%, in French it feels like > 50%, and the examples for why English is hard they give are so ridiculous, you have those in any language

I am more with the lists we saw earlier that ranked English as easier to learn than most other languages.

Regardless, it's pretty plainly ridiculous to hold up English as an example of a very easy language to learn.
I literally have not encountered an easier one, but of course my sample size is small. On the other hand I find it ridiculous to hold it up as on the more difficult end of things.
 

Oofta

Legend
Well, out of the three languages I learned (German, English, French), it still is the easiest one by far for me.

I love how you say English has so many exceptions for verbs when I concluded long ago that the French only invented rules so they can break them... seriously, in English that is maybe 10%, in French it feels like > 50%, and the examples for why English is hard they give are so ridiculous, you have those in any language

I am more with the lists we saw earlier that ranked English as easier to learn than most other languages.


I literally have not encountered an easier one, but of course my sample size is small. On the other hand I find it ridiculous to hold it up as on the more difficult end of things.
It is also not "objectively one of the most difficult languagesto learn" unless you stretch what that means. Most languages, unless closely related to what you grew up with, will be at least somewhat difficult.

Just like some people will latch on to D&D 5E more easily than some other games. It will vary from on individual to the next.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Easiest and worst languages to learn are probably reliant on what you were raised with.

For me easiest to hardest.

1. Any other Germanic language using Roman alphabet.

2. Any other European language using Roman alphabet.

3. Any other language using Ronan alphabet eg Maori.

4. Any other language using an alphabet eg Arabic or Russian.

5. Any language not using an alphabet eg Chinese.

6. Something like San. Fairly lost there.

Very general guidelines. Maori us kinda easy structure is very similar to Emglush s learn their words and you're goid to go and truncated Roman alphabet to write it.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Easiest and worst languages to learn are probably reliant on what you were raised with.

For me easiest to hardest.

1. Any other Germanic language using Roman alphabet.

2. Any other European language using Roman alphabet.

3. Any other language using Ronan alphabet eg Maori.

4. Any other language using an alphabet eg Arabic or Russian.

5. Any language not using an alphabet eg Chinese.

6. Something like San. Fairly lost there.

Very general guidelines. Maori us kinda easy structure is very similar to Emglush s learn their words and you're goid to go and truncated Roman alphabet to write it.
And wow, guess what? Germanic languages most resemble your mother tongue, since English is a Germanic language. It has large portions derived from Latin and French, so Romance languages being second place isn't surprising, and as you note, same script. The more different things get from English, especially in script and spelling, the harder it is for you to learn. Maori, like its cousin Hawaiian, is well-known for keeping a short and sweet orthography (only fifteen letters, of which five are vowels that can come in long and short form, and for Maori, two of the letters are digraphs, ng and wh)...and because Maori did not have its own script at the time Europeans came and occupied the islands, the Roman alphabet was used for the task. Again, similarity to your mother tongue is what makes it simple, far more than anything inherent to the language itself.

Now, look at world languages overall. Mandarin Chinese is the native language of twice as many people as English. 7 of the top 10 native languages by population do not use the Roman alphabet (Mandarin Chinese, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Yue Chinese, Vietnamese.) Of these, many do not use the grammar English does. Some are tonal and most are not stressed like English. Many don't conjugate verbs at all (that property is handled by context, or grammatical particles, or some other structure). Most have cases so word order isn't nearly as fixed as English, and things like articles are unnecessary in many contexts. Etc.

All of which simply furthers my original point. If you're deeply immersed in D&D and have vastly more experience with it than anything else, your "mother game" as it were, then sure D&D is going to be easier to learn than other systems, you already know most of what there is to learn. If you're actually new to the hobby, which most 5e players are, that's not going to be the case.

We should be looking at this from the perspective of folks who speak Chinese trying to learn English, not the perspective of English speakers thinking about how easily they learned English the first time...
 

Oofta

Legend
And wow, guess what? Germanic languages most resemble your mother tongue, since English is a Germanic language. It has large portions derived from Latin and French, so Romance languages being second place isn't surprising, and as you note, same script. The more different things get from English, especially in script and spelling, the harder it is for you to learn. Maori, like its cousin Hawaiian, is well-known for keeping a short and sweet orthography (only fifteen letters, of which five are vowels that can come in long and short form, and for Maori, two of the letters are digraphs, ng and wh)...and because Maori did not have its own script at the time Europeans came and occupied the islands, the Roman alphabet was used for the task. Again, similarity to your mother tongue is what makes it simple, far more than anything inherent to the language itself.

Now, look at world languages overall. Mandarin Chinese is the native language of twice as many people as English. 7 of the top 10 native languages by population do not use the Roman alphabet (Mandarin Chinese, Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Yue Chinese, Vietnamese.) Of these, many do not use the grammar English does. Some are tonal and most are not stressed like English. Many don't conjugate verbs at all (that property is handled by context, or grammatical particles, or some other structure). Most have cases so word order isn't nearly as fixed as English, and things like articles are unnecessary in many contexts. Etc.

All of which simply furthers my original point. If you're deeply immersed in D&D and have vastly more experience with it than anything else, your "mother game" as it were, then sure D&D is going to be easier to learn than other systems, you already know most of what there is to learn. If you're actually new to the hobby, which most 5e players are, that's not going to be the case.

We should be looking at this from the perspective of folks who speak Chinese trying to learn English, not the perspective of English speakers thinking about how easily they learned English the first time...

As I said previously, I've taught many people how to play, most of whom had never played a TTRPG. None of them had major issues as long as we took our time with the basics.

The analogy to languages can only go so far other than that learning a language, or a game, will be easier for some people to learn than others. All we know is that a whole heck of a lot of people have learned and continue to learn the game. In my experience, a lot easier than 3.x for example.
 

mamba

Legend
Easiest and worst languages to learn are probably reliant on what you were raised with.
agreed, when looking for easy vs hard, the lists I found assumed you know English already, and base it on that. Your order is not far off the oned I have seen

 

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