D&D General Why TSR-era D&D Will Always Be D&D


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Hussar

Legend
Come, now, it's D&D. You clearly mean "...elf any other way in."
LOL.

But, I do think this is a point that gets kind of ignored though. I mean people often lauded the 3pp games for expanding the hobby. Things like Mutants and Masterminds or whatever. Lots of incredibly creative stuff. But, my question was always about that "expanding" part. How many people's first RPG was Mutants and Masterminds (or whatever) and not D&D?

Yes, yes, I know YOU in the back started with some other game. Thank you, you can sit down now.

My point being, nothing draws in new gamers like D&D. Two years of no WotC publications and the gaming market did... nothing. Sat there, coasting on autopilot at around that 10 or 15 million dollars a year mark. It's not like even Paizo was pulling in large numbers of new gamers.

The flow of warm bodies into the hobby goes in one direction only. Pull D&D out of the mix, and the hobby will coast on autopilot for a few years and then die as no new gamers come in. It's a sad truth, but, it's still the truth AFAIC.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
My point being, nothing draws in new gamers like D&D. Two years of no WotC publications and the gaming market did... nothing. Sat there, coasting on autopilot at around that 10 or 15 million dollars a year mark. It's not like even Paizo was pulling in large numbers of new gamers.

The flow of warm bodies into the hobby goes in one direction only. Pull D&D out of the mix, and the hobby will coast on autopilot for a few years and then die as no new gamers come in. It's a sad truth, but, it's still the truth AFAIC.
I hate that this is true, but this is true.
 

Hussar

Legend
I hate that this is true, but this is true.
Oh, totally.

I mean, it's really hard sometimes to try to get people who've only gamed D&D to try other games. And then, when you finally manage to convince those four or five people to try this new game, something you've been jonesing to run for ages and have spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and planning, and within 15 minutes, it's a D&D game in everything but name. :(
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
You can lead a player to a new game, but you can't make them like it. But maybe I'll get to run that Earthdawn campaign once before I shuffle off this mortal coil...I just need the right people...
 

Hmm. I think they do use a fair amount of old lore.

One thing I think they're sensitive to in 5E design that they were less so in 4E design is look and feel. Does Fireball look and FEEL like Fireball? How about Magic Missile? How about Wizards? Does the Wizard class do the stuff a player expects a D&D Wizard to be able to do?

Where 4E had (for example) a Daily spell called Fireball, it represented a much more significant mechanical departure. The square (cube) shape, for example. The base damage being much lower on first glance. The fact that as a Daily power you couldn't "memorize" it multiple times.

The 5E design hearkens back much more to the look and feel of 1E Fireball. Even the fact that they boosted the damage above what would be expected by the general design guidelines, to better fulfill the memetic IDEA of Fireball in the mass consciousness.
5e started using a lot of the old lore, but they've been using less and less over the years, and that process has accelerated recently.
 

LOL.

But, I do think this is a point that gets kind of ignored though. I mean people often lauded the 3pp games for expanding the hobby. Things like Mutants and Masterminds or whatever. Lots of incredibly creative stuff. But, my question was always about that "expanding" part. How many people's first RPG was Mutants and Masterminds (or whatever) and not D&D?

How many people are uninterested in fantasy?

Yes, yes, I know YOU in the back started with some other game. Thank you, you can sit down now.

My point being, nothing draws in new gamers like D&D. Two years of no WotC publications and the gaming market did... nothing. Sat there, coasting on autopilot at around that 10 or 15 million dollars a year mark. It's not like even Paizo was pulling in large numbers of new gamers.

The flow of warm bodies into the hobby goes in one direction only. Pull D&D out of the mix, and the hobby will coast on autopilot for a few years and then die as no new gamers come in. It's a sad truth, but, it's still the truth AFAIC.

I'm not going to suggest that D&D is not the gateway, but I have to suggest there are people who are never going to come in that way. How many? No clue, and I doubt there's any way to find out. But I'm going to absolutely say the number of people who either have no interest in fantasy, or encounter gaming through people who just don't do D&D is non-zero.
 

Oh, totally.

I mean, it's really hard sometimes to try to get people who've only gamed D&D to try other games. And then, when you finally manage to convince those four or five people to try this new game, something you've been jonesing to run for ages and have spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and planning, and within 15 minutes, it's a D&D game in everything but name. :(

This constantly boggles me. Back when early on in the hobby, I can't say I ever had trouble getting people to try new games. And you'd think in the days when D&D was for a while, literally the only game in town, that'd have been less true.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
LOL.

But, I do think this is a point that gets kind of ignored though. I mean people often lauded the 3pp games for expanding the hobby. Things like Mutants and Masterminds or whatever. Lots of incredibly creative stuff. But, my question was always about that "expanding" part. How many people's first RPG was Mutants and Masterminds (or whatever) and not D&D?
In the 90's and early 00's, a TON of people came in via Vampire and licensed RPGs like the various BESM spinoffs for specific anime, and Call of Cthulu. Shadowrun as no slouch of pulling people either.

Now the interesting thing is, a lot of these entrants came in though the accessibility of d20 adaptations. So really, d20 is to thank for a lot of the uptick in RPG popularity, not D&D specifically.
 

In the 90's and early 00's, a TON of people came in via Vampire and licensed RPGs like the various BESM spinoffs for specific anime, and Call of Cthulu. Shadowrun as no slouch of pulling people either.

Now the interesting thing is, a lot of these entrants came in though the accessibility of d20 adaptations. So really, d20 is to thank for a lot of the uptick in RPG popularity, not D&D specifically.
Even beyond that: anything which contributes to retaining people in the hobby overall is a good thing.

If D&D is so vital that it acts as the only onramp for TTRPGs, then the hobby is always and eternally in peril of literally just dying out because one company went belly-up.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
LOL.

But, I do think this is a point that gets kind of ignored though. I mean people often lauded the 3pp games for expanding the hobby. Things like Mutants and Masterminds or whatever. Lots of incredibly creative stuff. But, my question was always about that "expanding" part. How many people's first RPG was Mutants and Masterminds (or whatever) and not D&D?

Yes, yes, I know YOU in the back started with some other game. Thank you, you can sit down now.

My point being, nothing draws in new gamers like D&D. Two years of no WotC publications and the gaming market did... nothing. Sat there, coasting on autopilot at around that 10 or 15 million dollars a year mark. It's not like even Paizo was pulling in large numbers of new gamers.

The flow of warm bodies into the hobby goes in one direction only. Pull D&D out of the mix, and the hobby will coast on autopilot for a few years and then die as no new gamers come in. It's a sad truth, but, it's still the truth AFAIC.
The first game I OWNED was D&D. The first game I PLAYED was TMNT and Other Strangeness.
 


Hussar

Legend
The first game I OWNED was D&D. The first game I PLAYED was TMNT and Other Strangeness.
Heh, I LOVED that game. Played the hell out of it. I have to admit, I was lucky that back in the day we got to play all sorts of different games. Now? Good grief, I suggest a couple of week holiday from D&D and my players act like I suggested unnatural acts with puppies. :( Just not going to happen.

I was lucky enough to manage to get a year out of the group of game hopping back at the tail end of 3e early 4e. But, since then? Yeah, it's been D&D or nothing. :( I really want to try out that Star Trek game but, sigh.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Heh, I LOVED that game. Played the hell out of it. I have to admit, I was lucky that back in the day we got to play all sorts of different games. Now? Good grief, I suggest a couple of week holiday from D&D and my players act like I suggested unnatural acts with puppies. :( Just not going to happen.

I was lucky enough to manage to get a year out of the group of game hopping back at the tail end of 3e early 4e. But, since then? Yeah, it's been D&D or nothing. :( I really want to try out that Star Trek game but, sigh.
There's a lot of games that I missed the boat on, and now, I'll never know what I was missing. Like Traveller or Talisanta.
 

Hussar

Legend
There's a lot of games that I missed the boat on, and now, I'll never know what I was missing. Like Traveller or Talisanta.
Hell I have a boat load of games i picked up a few years back that I know I'm never going to get a chance to play. 3:16 Carnage Beyond the Stars is something I REALLY want to test drive, but, that ship sailed a long time ago.
 

Aldarc

Legend
5e started using a lot of the old lore, but they've been using less and less over the years, and that process has accelerated recently.
Not really. 5e actually changed a lot of lore even at the outset. But as so much of the base lore was no longer tied to the World Axis, so a lot of people overlooked those lore changes because they assumed it was the same or were just happy that 4e's World Axis was gone.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
What always struck me as funny about people who didn't like the reordering of the Outer Planes is how rarely they are ever used in the first place. How many games are really centered around plane hopping as a matter of course?
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Hell I have a boat load of games i picked up a few years back that I know I'm never going to get a chance to play. 3:16 Carnage Beyond the Stars is something I REALLY want to test drive, but, that ship sailed a long time ago.
I've found that online play definitely makes it easier to find people interested in other games. It's not nearly as easy as D&D, but your pool is larger- you can logistically get players from around the world into the same game.

I'm playing in a King Arthur Pendragon game right now, for the first time, with folks in three different time zones. Albeit we did meet in an OSR D&D pick up games Discord.
 
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payn

Legend
I've noticed something a little different in the past 10 years. I have had two 5E games wrap up one way or another. Probably about half the players are first time RPG players, the other half are long time D&D returners. Both groups eagerly jumped at the chance to try a new genre/system. In past, a lot of the players I knew and gamed with didnt want to learn a new system. I blame some of that on D&D popularity, but I think the bigger culprit was how heavy a lot of systems were a few decades ago. Thats a lot of homework when you have barely mastered the beast that is D&D.
 

Aldarc

Legend
What always struck me as funny about people who didn't like the reordering of the Outer Planes is how rarely they are ever used in the first place. How many games are really centered around plane hopping as a matter of course?
Planescape, and there were a number of Planescape fans who were pretty vocal about the planar changes during the Edition Wars as a result.

I've noticed something a little different in the past 10 years. I have had two 5E games wrap up one way or another. Probably about half the players are first time RPG players, the other half are long time D&D returners. Both groups eagerly jumped at the chance to try a new genre/system. In past, a lot of the players I knew and gamed with didnt want to learn a new system. I blame some of that on D&D popularity, but I think the bigger culprit was how heavy a lot of systems were a few decades ago. Thats a lot of homework when you have barely mastered the beast that is D&D.
Not just heavy, but also the purchasing required to learn a new game/system. D&D often gets us in the habit of buying three hardback books plus player supplement after supplement or adventure path after adventure path. If you think that this is the norm for TTRPGs, then it's understandable that the idea of buying into a new game/system would seem daunting. But yeah, many TTRPG don't require nearly as much financial investment as D&D.
 

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