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D&D 5E Why not Alternity? (Or, will or how might WotC do SF?)

teitan

Legend
Yeah, but a lot of planetary romance is about social interactions with new and weird cultures, politics, and the like.

Frank Herbert's Dune should qualify as a planetary romance, for example. As does Robert Silverberg's Majipoor series, Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld, and C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. Most of which are dominated by social interaction, not combat.

So, the point about D&D not having the mechanical chops still holds.
if you need mechanics to do social ROLE playing you need to think outside the box. D&D very much has the chops for social interaction etc. and we did it for years without a skill system even.
 

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yeah and... Starfinder.
Thing to notice about Starfinder was that Paizo brought it out after Pathfinder showed negative growth, because of competition from 5e. Then, when that didn't prove a massive hit, they brought out Pathfinder 2.

So long as D&D is showing positive growth WotC aren't going to bring out a product that could compete in any way with D&D, because shareholders like to see positive growth.

If D&D starts to show a downturn, that is when WotC might look at reviving other RPGs that they own.
 



Also, @Ruin Explorer, I think you're underestimating how popular Dark Matter was as a setting. It might have had some right-wing taste to it (which is liable to be true of any conspiracy-centric game) but it was pretty well thought of at the time. I suspect had it been supported more extensively (and not with a system that died on the vine) it'd been a solid second-tier setting.
I don't think I commented on its popularity, did I? I think it was by far the most popular thing about Alternity as a whole - because frankly people wanted a conspiracy-esque game that wasn't Conspiracy X (which had kind of a spectacularly terrible system). But I think that was despite the actual setting, which I think people didn't look at very closely.

I strongly disagree re: "all conspiracy-centric games", having this particular vibe. Dark*Matter goes way above and beyond any other conspiracy RPG I'm aware of in attacking real-world groups.

For example, conspiracy-centric games tend to universally feature evil cults and a lot feature para-military government organisations with basically no oversight (which can seem to echo certain perspectives), but what they don't usually do is straight-up include a version of a real-world religion (in this case Satanism), make them really serious bad guys, and play to every sick and messed-up libel that was aimed at that religion. In this case the Final Church (which is a spin on the name of a real-world Satanic church which existed briefly in the 1970s - and influenced Charles Manson - but then so did the Beatles) is exactly that. And it's messed-up even by horror game/movie standards, like I am absolutely not kidding. I literally can't even list the stuff here on this site, but like, anything people claim Satanic cults did, the Final Church does. Except, I guess because the writers had zero self-awareness (a theme in Dark*Matter), they don't use RPGs to indoctrinate people or anything amusing/ironic/nuanced/self-critical. They're just super-duper-mega-evil.

Tons of other real-world organisations, not even re-named are also included and are "baddies", with the notable exception of the Catholic Church, who are "goodies", which is somewhat eye-brow-raising perspective-wise given how many other religions and organisations they were willing to burn to the ground (it also totally undermines their "all conspiracies are true" defence, because apparently none of the ones about that religion are, just other religions). I mean, it's basically just libel - this isn't normal for conspiracy RPGs. They either typically rename stuff, or make things complex/nuanced so that it's not just "evil people", but like aliens are influencing people, or some individual is responsible - this is usually true with TV/movies as well.

Not so here. Here the Freemasons are evil as hell (so another real-world religion, this one not even renamed, gets it in the face), the Bilderberg group is monstrous (but not in an exciting supernatural or alien way, just in a greedy grasping human way) - both matching countless libels and just nutty conspiracies (again, of a specific political bent), the same for UN, the US government is all over the place but the CDC includes a group of women scientists trying to destroy all men (jesus wept, I kid you not, sadly, they are called "The Amazons of the Gynarchy" because apparently like the authors of the book, they lack all self-awareness), and so on and so forth. A lot of the major organisations have an "Or..." one-paragraph alternative, but these often leave them just as evil, just incompetent or under the control of someone else, or with narrower goals.

I think you've probably forgotten how bizarre and extreme Dark*Matter was. Read through the organisations chapter in the main book and you'll soon cure that - and the Final Church book is just hair-raising. What's sad is, there are lots of cool ideas in there, just... in a really gross setup.

You literally couldn't/wouldn't publish something like this today. If White Wolf published it, even, it would probably have gone under the Black Dog label (certainly the Final Church book would have). It would be eviscerated by review sites (including this one), and with good reason. WotC are never going to republish something which basically a lurid nightmare of a maniac's Facebook page. Sure, the book is all "this isn't a real world book and you shouldn't believe this stuff", but the level of repeating horrific libels really just doesn't sit well with that, and it absolute is not normal for conspiracy stuff. Neither Conspiracy X nor Delta Green, for example, are anything like this (and both are pretty dark, just not this weird combination of dark and total willing to make real-world organisations into "the baddies"). Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft is kind of they opposite of this, I note.

But hey, they managed to avoid anti-semitism (thank god - I felt like we might have been one bad editorial decision away from that) and I don't recall any anti-black racism though, so there's that. There's certainly some stuff that's adjacent to anti-asian racism (but that is the one thing you would be right about being sadly common in conspiracy RPGs, though I think Conspiracy X managed to dodge it).

It's kind of amazing in a way, you'd expect this to be something in a sort of poorly edited, punk, "so edgy I might cut myself"-type zine-ish game from like 1993 and done with a bit of humour/sarcasm/wit, not a mainstream RPG from the biggest RPG publisher, and which is utterly dry and humourless and even po-faced. And it's hard to be po-faced when you're writing about how the Amazons of the Gynarchy are going to destroy all men, but they manage it!
 
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So long as D&D is showing positive growth WotC aren't going to bring out a product that could compete in any way with D&D, because shareholders like to see positive growth.
This is small-time thinking, frankly, Paul. It's why WotC didn't used to have MtG computer games of any serious kind and why GW used to strictly limit what games they licensed out, but it's no longer as black and white as all that with successful products. I agree that they'll avoid competing directly with themselves. They're not going to release another fantasy RPG, for example, but no table-top RPGs at all? I'd be surprised. I do think they'll probably wait until D&D's growth slows a bit, but I don't think it'll be until actual negative growth.
 


I haven't heard anything like this, do you have a source you can share?
I try to say that because when Mattel started to sell the line of Ever After High, the dolls about fairy tale's children, Disney broke with Mattel because this new line could be a potential rival for their franchise of princess. and here Hasbro started to sell the dolls of Disney's descendents.

* Dark*Matter is perfect to be adapted into an action-live production with a style as X-Files. But after all those troubles about QAnon against the deep state maybe the audence doesn't want more stories about secret conspirances for any time.
 

I try to say that because when Mattel started to sell the line of Ever After High, the dolls about fairy tale's children, Disney broke with Mattel because this new line could be a potential rival for their franchise of princess. and here Hasbro started to sell the dolls of Disney's descendents.
That's not at all the same thing as what you were claiming. That's much narrower and more specific.
 

Reynard

Legend
I think with bounded accuracy, a 5E sci-fi system could work, but it wouldn't be my preference. Any sort of class system and especially the skill system would need a major overhaul.
See, I don't understand this line of thought at all. Sci-Fi has just as many recognizable archetypes as fantasy does -- or just as few, depending on how you view it. Why should there be classes in Medieval Funtime Land but not Future Funtime Land, or vice versa? The argument doe not hold up to any sort of scrutiny.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
See, I don't understand this line of thought at all. Sci-Fi has just as many recognizable archetypes as fantasy does -- or just as few, depending on how you view it. Why should there be classes in Medieval Funtime Land but not Future Funtime Land, or vice versa? The argument doe not hold up to any sort of scrutiny.
I think he means modern and future characters are often more complex and have a more varied porte-folio of skills compared to medieval ones. A class system is also problematic to me for sci-fi.
 

I think he means modern and future characters are often more complex and have a more varied porte-folio of skills compared to medieval ones. A class system is also problematic to me for sci-fi.
classes I could see but maybe more modular?
the skill system would be redone because it could be better and it should be better.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
classes I could see but maybe more modular?
the skill system would be redone because it could be better and it should be better.
Considering I stated earlier in the thread I don't want a D&D in space variant game I'm not attached to classes. I don't want everything about my sci-fi characters to be tied to a class concept just like in D&D.

For example, in The Expanse the main characters all know how to operate the ships auto-doctor features.

I would like Professions with levels of specializations you buy in, a list of general sci-fi talents and a modified list of skills to reflect a sci-fi game.
 


Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
The problem we had with d20 Future and using classes for sci-fi is that it leads to multi-classing galore. It was unmanageable and unbalanced when coupled with feat cherry picking.
 


Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
so logically you do not want a wotc game?
At the moment yes. I currently play The Expanse AGE rpg, by Green Ronin.

Not all WoTC RPGs need be d20 based games. The best way for them to not split the fantasy fan base is to not do a d20 based future game. TSR used to do RPGs with different systems. If they do a non d20 game I would be more willing to try it out and buy it.
 

The problem we had with d20 Future and using classes for sci-fi is that it leads to multi-classing galore. It was unmanageable and unbalanced when coupled with feat cherry picking.

Well, multiclassing galore was the intended use of D20 Modern. Whether the interactions were balanced can be questioned (knowing the 3e era, my instinct it "probably not") but the frequent multiclassing was the system working as intended.
 

At the moment yes. I currently play The Expanse AGE rpg, by Green Ronin.

Not all WoTC RPGs need be d20 based games. The best way for them to not split the fantasy fan base is to not do a d20 based future game. TSR used to do RPGs with different systems. If they do a non d20 game I would be more willing to try it out and buy it.

Though one can note few of their non-D&D games seemed to last for an extended period (there's a couple you can argue did) so its not going to be clear to WOTC that going there is what they want to do.
 

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