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What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?

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5E D&D may be the 500lb gorilla, and always has been, but I’m probably the odd man out around here.

You see, I’ve never played D&D.  I’m 46.  I started gaming when I was 13.  My gateway game was BattleTech, then we bought the Palladium RoboTech RPG because they shared artwork.  The next step was to actually play RoboTech, which replaced BattleTech.  Then I knew the game rules and branched out to the other Palladium games, mainly Rifts, Palladium Fantasy, and Heroes Unlimited.  I own so many Palladium books it’s crazy. 

After a long hiatus, I’m back into RPGs again, but now I’m in love with something new.  I crave rules lite games with tight and clever rules.  Any little RPG that can do more with less is where it’s at for me. 

Pocket Fantasy, Dungeons and Delvers Dice Pool Edition, Tiny D6 series, Mini-6 Bare Bones Edition, and Star Adventurer.  I’ll give a bit about each. 

1.  Pocket Fantasy.  It’s free, and it’s as rules lite as you can go.  One-page RPGs don’t work.  PF does work. 
2.  Dungeons and Delvers Dice Pool Edition.  It’s like Savage Worlds, but fixed. Attributes and skills are dice, starting at D4 going up to D12.  Roll your attribute, your skill, and any additional power dice, but then you pick the best two dice to add together.  Fighters and other classes are just as kitted out with abilities as any other mage class.  Just don’t mix it up with Dungeons and Delvers Red, which is more like other OSR games that use the D20.
3.  Tiny D6 is easy to play.  It’s also a very fleshed out series that has lot of genre specific games.  Like Palladium, you learn one game, but can then play most genres.  It even has my favorite.  Mecha. 
4.   Mini-6 Bare Bones Edition.  This was the game I thought was great, but now I know to temper my expectations.  It needs house rules to fix some things, but thankfully I believe I’ve got that all figure out.  I may make a thread just about that.
5.  Star Adventurer.  I want to play Star Wars.  I tried D6, and mini-6, but as I said, they need work.  Remember when I said I’ve never played D&D games?  Star Adventurer might be my ticket.  It doesn’t use Vancian magic, which I detest, and it may not emphasize hit points as you level up.  We shall see, but I like what I see.  Maybe I found a D&D game worth playing?

I just want games that are popular and easy to learn.  So, that’s why I’m asking this question.  What are the games or game systems that are so good they could rival the top dog?

  I like Savage Worlds.  I think they are actually pulling off things I never thought I would see (Savage Rifts, and now the team up with Pathfinder)but....  I think a lot of their momentum has come from kick starter and the funding that provides to launch things with minimal risk.   Pathfinder might have been the "killer" for a few years while 4e was around, but 5e seems to have permanently killed PF as any real contestant.  Now...should the PF + SW fusion really take, still not going to come close to the shelf space, sales, and general participation of D&D 5e.

   Now that said, it is looking as if Wizards is pushing towards a 6e....I do not know where the minds  are on development or what that is going to look like, but these are the people who decided 4e was a good idea, so they can screw up.   I think at this point the only killer for D&D is the next edition.  5e is a winner, big time for them.  They could screw the pooch with 6e, but the only way they step off the top spot will be from a self inflicted wound. 

Historically, the closest was Vampire: The Masquerade. It captured the zeitgeist of the 90s, and created an entirely new audience -- goths (including girls) not just geeks.

Steven Mitchell:
The closest thing to a D&D killer has always been the owner of the D&D IP.  It's happened twice already (tail of 2E and the 3.5 through 4E cycle) with two different owners.  If early indications are accurate, and the game matches what has happened to cable companies and the wicked mouse of the west, WotC may slowly drive off half their audience with 6E.  My guess is that it will take almost the entire cycle of 6E to see the outcome. 

Now, that doesn't really "kill" D&D.  History shows that when the owner has their collective heads up their asses, that frees up about half the remaining market (not counting casual drop-ins for the D&D "experience" that will just as easily drop right back out).  But that other half won't likely be one company.  Instead, you are more likely to see several decent games grab closer to 5% than the sub 1% they have now.  One or two of them might take off enough to go over 10%, and will seem like D&D killers just from the hype. 

I might be underestimating WotC though. They might commit corporate suicide.

David Johansen:

--- Quote from: weirdguy564 on June 27, 2022, 12:38:13 AM ---I just want games that are popular and easy to learn.  So, that’s why I’m asking this question.  What are the games or game systems that are so good they could rival the top dog?

--- End quote ---

Ah!  Now there's a clear question!

Okay so games that are so good they could rival the top dog?

GURPS could, Dungeon Fantasy is too complex for the job but GURPS can be dialed way down from there.

The Fantasy Trip could but it's awfully similar to dialed down GURPS for some reason. ;)

Advance Heroquest could.  GW's done some new Warhammer Quest games but they lack the scope.

The Arcane Confabulation could but the author's a dithering nitwit.


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