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Author Topic: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something  (Read 3614 times)

Aglondir

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2021, 08:42:32 PM »
I've followed RPG history pretty well. (I have an old website at https://darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/ ).
Thanks for that, btw. It's an excellent resource. I've been using it for years.

Ghostmaker

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2021, 10:27:55 PM »
It's worth contemplating that up until WotC bought TSR, most TTRPG designers weren't backed by a shitpot of money.

Seriously. Love it or hate it but Magic the Gathering was basically 'money machine go brrrr' for WotC. And that was BEFORE Hasbro. So suddenly one of the chimpanzees in the room is now ... well, I wouldn't say 800-lb gorilla. But he's quite a bit bigger than he used to be.

You have to wonder what the knock-on effects might be.

TSR did BIG heap piles of cash back in the day.

Both Gary and Arneson (even after he was initially screwed over) made millions off of their royalties in the early eighties.

But both of them and TSR eventually mis-managed themselves into the poorhouse.

TSR was bought out by WOTC... Now all owned by Hasbro.

The Knock-on effects:

D&D is shielded more than ever from bad financial decisions by the magic and Hasbro bankroll.

4e is a great example of this. 5e was a blistering turn around when it became apparent 4e was being outsold by a clone.

And they were able to bankroll the design, promotion, and rollout of 5e as if no financial consequences were felt...

Naturally at the department level, heads rolled and restrictions were put in place. But from the outside you couldn't tell that WOTC had to recover from getting their asses kicked by a clone.

That's a big deal.

"Market leader" status in RPG's is HUGE.  They are much like MMO's in that respect.

Yes in a few countries D&D is not the #1 RPG. But those conditions are very hard to replicate in the US.

While there will be localized consequences for WOTC if D&D is mis-managed: ultimately Hasbro can bail D&D out each and every time with a quick turn around to new edition for the pack to run home to.

D&D has gone from the 800lb. Gorilla to the 80,000lb. Gorilla of the hobby.

WOTC would have to really alienate the fan base on a epic level to have a competitor take the #1 spot from them on a permanent basis.


EDIT:

A rather interesting "what if":
Baizuo admitted they did nothing to fix the underlying math issues of 3.5 when they released Pathfinder. (It was literally an employee's polished up house rules.)

But what if they did? What if they did that, got rid of the ivory tower design ethos, and went to a more streamlined 5e level of medium crunch (with a bit more charop choice).

If the first Pathfinder RPG occupied the same design space as the IRL 5e now does - where would WOTC have gone with an alternate 5e?

If I recall correctly from one of Pundits video's Mearls had to Fight within his own design team to reduce the complexity of 5e. What if he couldn't push that agenda because PF was already there? Would Fans have migrated to a more complex D&D they way they did IRL to actual 5e?

If Baizuo had gambled bigger design wise, they might have shaken up the RPG landscape more...
I would seriously want to see the numbers between TSR's heyday and WotC, because from what I heard there was a difference of several magnitudes. I admit I could be wrong on this, but that's what I'd heard.

But you're NOT wrong about money being an insulator. This is similar to what has been happening in the film industry; shitty leftard crap gets released, but it's propped up by blockbusters.

I am unsurprised that PF was someone's house rules. To this day, though, I am still astonished they didn't go out of their way to try and fix the gaping divide that existed between martials and casters (especially the problems with fighters and monks). Because holy fucking shit Paizo, you had to get all the way to Unchained just to get a decent monk build!


Eric Diaz

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2021, 10:55:50 AM »
It's the Matthew effect in action. Not Matt Mercer, I mean Matthew the apostle.

D&D is popular because its popular. It is what everyone is talking about. Coca-Cola might be shit but you'll find it in any restaurant.

There are better games out there, but 5e is a decent enough game (one of the best versions of D&D IMO) to keep the brand's popularity. 4e managed to alienate enough D&D fans that some jumped ship to Pathfinder - which was really a version of D&D 3e. But other than that, D&D is the biggest game in town and that's it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect

Selling people on other games? It is not difficult, even if they only know D&D. "So, we are playing shadow of the Demon Lord, which is a darker version of D&D with simpler rules", etc.

EDIT: BTW, 5e looks GREAT most of the time, and you can sell 5e-comaptible products, and they'll me more popular than the 13th Age version, etc. The Matthew effect again.

EDIT: well, come to think of it, Matt Mercer might ALSO have something to do with 5e's popularity...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 11:05:56 AM by Eric Diaz »
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Jaeger

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2021, 05:58:12 PM »
I would seriously want to see the numbers between TSR's heyday and WotC, because from what I heard there was a difference of several magnitudes. I admit I could be wrong on this, but that's what I'd heard.

I would too. According to WOTC 5e is brining in the megabucks more than any other edition ever did.

But... I'd still like to see the actual differences between now and TSR's peak.

Not that I don't trust WOTC...


But you're NOT wrong about money being an insulator. This is similar to what has been happening in the film industry; shitty leftard crap gets released, but it's propped up by blockbusters.

Yup, big insulator. Gives them a huge advantage for maintaining their market leader status.

Magic money alone would give WOTC this advantage even if they were no longer part of Hasbro. But being part of Hasbro makes it worse - as now WOTC could even screw up Magic and still get a bail out for D&D.


I am unsurprised that PF was someone's house rules. To this day, though, I am still astonished they didn't go out of their way to try and fix the gaping divide that existed between martials and casters (especially the problems with fighters and monks). Because holy fucking shit Paizo, you had to get all the way to Unchained just to get a decent monk build!

I think that they took the path of least resistance. It was something that they could just layer on top of the OGL...

They essentially doubled down on what the 3.x diehards liked about the system, and it was good enough to beat on the red headed stepchild that was 4e.

A true 3.x fix would have required them to re-write the feats, magic, creatures, and re-imagine the core assumptions of the game from the ground up. OGL as a chassis - but essentially an entirely re-written game. - A much bigger risk for Baizuo...

It's not like people didn't know the fail points of 3.x back then or how they could be fixed. But WOTC certainly wasn't going to do it. And I honestly think Baizuo just didn't have the skills.


...
There are better games out there, but 5e is a decent enough game (one of the best versions of D&D IMO) to keep the brand's popularity. 4e managed to alienate enough D&D fans that some jumped ship to Pathfinder - which was really a version of D&D 3e. But other than that, D&D is the biggest game in town and that's it.
...

And for the market leader that is really all that is needed.

Honestly D&D has never been the "best designed game". But it did get certain things right straight out of the gate. And only really screwed the pooch on those with 4e.

Otherwise D&D's entire legacy has been built on the following equation:

Good Enough + Market Leader = No can Defend.
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Mistwell

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2021, 06:14:37 PM »
I have noticed a greater reticence lately in gamers as a group outside of the forums I read through to discuss or play anything else besides D&D 5E. Hell, one of my favorite games of all time, Talislanta, is soon to attempt to make a resurgence with a new Kickstarter… my questions in the Fb group about possible changes to the system were met with silence for quite a while until I straight up asked the company who will be Kickstarting to please tell me that they were not producing a D&D 5E version of the game. And, of course, that’s exactly what it is to be.

So what is it exactly about 5E that is creating this slavish devotion? I have had the books and even run it several times since the Starter Set came out, but it’s not been the best game Rules set that I have encountered then or since, and it’s not something I want to play or run all the time and it’s not even easier or simpler than some of the games I have had more fun with running and playing.

How do you draw people into games you’d like to run that are not 5E?

I’m about to start running games for a gaming store that has told me I can run anything I want to. But then they counter that with a monthly D&D 5E game that everyone on staff is supposed to be a part of and run. So I’m interested in your answers to the second question mainly to ensure that I can draw some folks to playing other games, and am not locked into running 5E for every game I’m going in there to run.

Thanks!

It's not slavish devotion. It's just time and convenience. We all know how to play 5e. We only have about 2.5 hours a week to play right now. Learning new rules is just not something we want to put time into. Our DM is also DMing 3 games each week right now, so he prefers to use pre-published adventures which have complete data sets for Roll20 pre-programmed for him so he needs to spend less time on that part of prep as well. That's it - it's just adults not having sufficient time to be bothered with multiple rules sets and DMs not having time to dicker with adventures which don't have existing accessories out there in a decent format for them to use.

Squidi

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2021, 06:46:50 PM »
Learning new rules is just not something we want to put time into. ... That's it - it's just adults not having sufficient time to be bothered with multiple rules sets...
Is it really that challenging to learn a new RPG's ruleset? I've read a bunch of them in the past few months (multiple dozens of them), and outside of the paradigm split between PbtA and D&D style games (which I liken to iterative programming vs functional), there's really not that much of a difference between rulesets.

I know not everybody is a rulebook junkie like myself, and reading a rulebook might be considered work, but I think RPGs are so colloquially written and so light on actual rule interaction that I consider them light reading. Something like D&D is about 20 different really simple systems, almost none of them touching another and most them having an extremely similar analog in other RPGs. I'd much rather read an RPG rulebook than a CCG rulebook...

Trond

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2021, 06:56:40 PM »
PbtA?

Squidi

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2021, 07:02:28 PM »
PbtA?
Powered by the Apocalypse. Rather than modeling a simulation (my character is this strong, he swings this hard), it has rules which model a narrative (characters should face a crisis of conscience, throw an obstacle in their way).

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2021, 07:03:27 PM »
I feel many people playing TTRPGS today are really just missing out on the boardgame they need. If you only have 2 hours to play and the rules are just an excuse to hang out, just get a light board game or play a drama game.

Im not saying TTRPGS need to be rules heavy, but if rules as a concept are a bother, no matter how well designed or light the rules are they will always be too much.

And 5e is in no fucking way rules lite.

Squidi

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2021, 07:20:24 PM »
And 5e is in no fucking way rules lite.
Not rules lite, light reading. Reading an RPG is often like reading a novel mixed with a strategy guide. It's a rather pleasant experience compared to, like, a CCG rulebook from the 90s or a board game with a dozen sets of cards and 400 different tokens, none of which are ever mentioned in the rulebook.

And yeah, 5e has tons of rules - almost all of them poorly designed and incompetent. You'll get stuff that is oddly specific, like how much head room you need for making a particular jump, or how difficult it is to row a boat upstream, and then you'll get rules that are so vague and useless that you can hear the writers going, "I don't know, I'm not a wizard, you figure it out."

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2021, 07:28:24 PM »
Not rules lite, light reading.

I meant that people talk about 5e being rules lighter as a reason as to why they go to it. While I may HATE it, if your looking for borderline excuse rules get FATE.
And yes I agree with you on all points about 5e. It is by far my least favorite edition of all of D&D. I call it the least ambitious edition of D&D.
If it wasn't for its quadruple tap rule, newbies would hate it.

S'mon

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2021, 07:46:13 PM »
I feel many people playing TTRPGS today are really just missing out on the boardgame they need. If you only have 2 hours to play and the rules are just an excuse to hang out, just get a light board game or play a drama game.

But then how would we immerse ourselves in the experience of inhabiting a fantasy world?!  :o

Theory of Games

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2021, 07:53:10 PM »
5E is popular. It's drawing new gamers into D&D. Get over it.

Is it real D&D? No. Gygax said it isn't. But is it what people believe what D&D is?

Yes.

Let them believe that. It just draws players to your game, which might not be WoTC D&D.

Make your D&D game what you want it to be. I use the D&D Rules Cyclopedia and my new players

who want to play 5E end up playing OSR and enjoy it.

Set-Up is everything.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2021, 07:53:45 PM »
Is it really that challenging to learn a new RPG's ruleset? I've read a bunch of them in the past few months (multiple dozens of them), and outside of the paradigm split between PbtA and D&D style games (which I liken to iterative programming vs functional), there's really not that much of a difference between rulesets.

I know not everybody is a rulebook junkie like myself, and reading a rulebook might be considered work, but I think RPGs are so colloquially written and so light on actual rule interaction that I consider them light reading. Something like D&D is about 20 different really simple systems, almost none of them touching another and most them having an extremely similar analog in other RPGs. I'd much rather read an RPG rulebook than a CCG rulebook...

As in, "can they do it" or "will they do it"?  Two very different questions.  I'd say about half the players I know wouldn't play a new simple board game if they had to read the rules to do it.  If you sit down and explain it to them?  All over it. 

The rules being written conversationally is an impediment for them.  How'd you like, say, a set of instructions on how to put together a large piece of furniture that were 4 or 5 times as long as necessary and had more artistic pictures than useful drawings?  That's the way they feel about RPG rules--it's a chore to get through as quickly as possible in order to get to playing. 

This is yet another way in which Toon is a great game.  It's a light system, true, but it also doesn't monkey around in telling you how to play.  Well, being Toon is does sort of animated monkey around, but that's because of the subject matter.  It's very direct.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2021, 08:07:41 PM »
5E is popular. It's drawing new gamers into D&D. Get over it.

Getting new people by being worse means getting more people into a worse thing. Im over it, still makes it true.