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Author Topic: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?  (Read 2808 times)

Wisithir

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2022, 08:59:00 PM »
D&D is a brand, a d20+mod family of systems, and a setting. Nothing external can kill it because it would not be "D&D" without saying "D&D" on the tin, even if an objectively better system existed it would be too far a departure, and a setting is either not the same or close enough that there is no reason to bother with the off brand.

Even if the next edition is deliberate brand suicide, the brand will live on as editon-1, or edition -X.

Reckall

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2022, 07:17:07 AM »
If with "D&D killer" one means "a game that will help you to grow out of D&D" then I agree on CoC.

My current group is now in our high 40s-low 50s. We played D&D (and a bit of Pathfinder) to death, then, for a while, we switched to boardgames. After playing "Mythos" ("Sherlock Holmes' Consulting Detective" but in Arkham) I proposed a run at CoC 7E (best edition ever IMHO, even if it is in need of a 7.5E due to some strong ambiguities in key rules). The adventures we played were among the best in our multi-decades RPG's experience. Now I plan to try Delta Green.

D&D 3.5E gave us a lot of fun but now, honestly, I would feel silly to switch back to high fantasy. In my case it is a thing that came with age, not due to how a certain system works vs. another.
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Omega

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2022, 02:37:36 PM »
Call of Cthulhu is for some better than D&D. But again. Thats just preference.

I like both equally actually because they both fill different needs. For me Star Frontiers is my Traveller Killer...  8) Though Universe gives both a good run for their money in several areas.

So as usual. No such thing as a 'killer game' because nothing can ever be that for everyone.

Though 5e was pretty much that for 4e D&D... Though some violently disagree. But then they werent playing much of an RPG anyhow so their opinions do not really count?  :-X

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2022, 03:12:23 PM »
...
Stipulated - there is no D&D-killer except WotC themselves. And 5e will not die, even after 6e drops. Too many people glommed onto 5e that will become the 5e Nerdzerkers that kick off the new Edition Wars that will find some hair to pick with 6e and so the cycle will continue.
...

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. 


^These^

WotC has to kill D&D. The network advantage D&D has is too massive now for a game to overtake it without some serious own-goals.

Being an objectively better game doesn't matter at this point. You need to stay profitable enough, long enough, and WotC acting incompetent enough, long enough, for your games network effect to build to the point that it would be worth the miniscule effort it would take for a D&D player to look at your game system.

Nothing short of WotC pulling a Marvel/DC Comics style self-immolation will do for any other game to have a prayer.

Brand loyalty in RPG land is just that strong.
Yeah, the brand loyalty thing is why RPGs aside from D&D are just not a growth sector. Once gamers get hooked on a particular game, they never want to try anything else. Only a minority of people seem to break out of this.

That's why I've decided to scrap my plans of writing ttrpgs in favor of going into fiction and video games. It may sacrifice the imagination potential that only ttrpgs have, but it means people will actually consume my products. Those are actual growth sectors.

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.

It's hard to fault this at first glance. But in 20/20 hindsight, it was doomed to fall short because in my opinion WW didn't really understand their market. i.e. Lots of different RPG player besides emo goth kids bought and played Vampire/WoD...

WW nuked themselves with their own metaplot nonsense (along with other issues). And failed to leverage a sufficient amount of their player base to continue building on their initial player network effect on with new editions.

They failed to understand the underlying reasons why Vampire/WoD was so successful, and have been confused ever since why they cannot even come close to that success in subsequent editions.

They rejected the trenchcoat and katana casual players to their complete detriment....


That being said for any game to truly "beat" D&D; it would have to be a medieval fantasy game.
Yeah, the metaplot et al was a huge problem and yet you still have people praising it and being upset about it. Unlike D&D or Call of Cthulhu, WoD shot itself in the foot by limiting itself to a single campaign setting and encouraging its players to be hugely insular even by ttrpg fandom standards. Do you want to play a vampire game without generational limits or 13 clans with ridiculous concepts that seem pulled out of a hat? Well fuck you, the fans who haven't jumped ship already are going to mock and shun you for not worshiping the lore. jfc, this is a game!

Meanwhile, D&D has a bazillion official and unofficial campaign settings, uncountable numbers of adventures, and uncountable optional rules that can completely rewrite how the game flows. Indie companies have created profitable niches by catering to specific unmet needs like non-vancian magic systems.

CoC has a bunch of gods and monsters, but it doesn't really have a coherent canon like a tv show or movie franchise does. Since investigators are generally expected to suffer horrific fates including insanity, mutation, and death, there's no need to have things like politics between the shaggai and the migo that influence the course of history that every subsequent book must take into account.

I've considered making my own urban fantasy ttrpg to capitalize on the decline of WoD, but as I said I don't think my chances are good. Also, I'm pretty sure UndeadMonk is gonna beat me to market and I'm curious to see whether he has innovations that might save me time. Tbh I'd prefer to see revivals of Nightlife, Nephilim, Everlasting, WitchCraft et al rather than a new game that rehashes the same basic ideas but has to walk around that pesky issue of copyright. The indie game Feed has a more or less perfect implementation of vampires that has gone under the radar because the author decided not to follow the supplement treadmill that is mandatory to keep rpg communities alive, even though it was released under Creative Commons (basically OGL before it was a thing). Those games may be dead, but the best I can ever do is clone them.

World_Warrior

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2022, 05:12:03 PM »
IMO, the ALIEN RPG is maybe one of the finest adaptations of a license, and even with the Cepheus/Hostile (Traveler 2d6 system) being great at the same head space, ALIEN is such a tight experience that it's a shame not to recommend that one. It's not going to be uber popular compared to the likes of DnD, but everyone knows FREE LEAGUE is quality stuff and will have at least heard of what's going on. Their boxed starter sets are borderline perfection when it comes to starters, and the books are beautiful. They're just amongst the best in the business right now in terms of quality - both in terms of production and game content.

ALIEN is just plain tight. Twilight 2000 has a lot of shit to track, while ALIEN is so much more refined. I can't wait for the Space Truckers book & the Colonists book to flesh out those modes of play (like the Colonial Marines Ops manual), and the next cinematic scenario should be very good at a minimum. (I find both Chariot of the Gods & Destroyer of Worlds to be quite good, though not perfect.)

I'm so glad to see more love for the ALIEN rpg. Each volume has been a wonderful read, and they really made the universe more. I think it still needs the next source book (Building Better Worlds) to have enough material to really build an ongoing campaign. The cinematic scenarios have been great, and a breath of fresh air from just shooting loads of xenomorphs.

Cathode Ray

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2022, 08:36:46 PM »
The correct answer is "The Fantasy Trip".  It's superior to D&D in just about every way.  The problem with any game unseating D&D is that it won't.  D&D's such a commercial behemoth.  It's like taking on Band-Aid.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2022, 11:45:06 AM »
IMO, the ALIEN RPG is maybe one of the finest adaptations of a license, and even with the Cepheus/Hostile (Traveler 2d6 system) being great at the same head space, ALIEN is such a tight experience that it's a shame not to recommend that one. It's not going to be uber popular compared to the likes of DnD, but everyone knows FREE LEAGUE is quality stuff and will have at least heard of what's going on. Their boxed starter sets are borderline perfection when it comes to starters, and the books are beautiful. They're just amongst the best in the business right now in terms of quality - both in terms of production and game content.

ALIEN is just plain tight. Twilight 2000 has a lot of shit to track, while ALIEN is so much more refined. I can't wait for the Space Truckers book & the Colonists book to flesh out those modes of play (like the Colonial Marines Ops manual), and the next cinematic scenario should be very good at a minimum. (I find both Chariot of the Gods & Destroyer of Worlds to be quite good, though not perfect.)

I'm so glad to see more love for the ALIEN rpg. Each volume has been a wonderful read, and they really made the universe more. I think it still needs the next source book (Building Better Worlds) to have enough material to really build an ongoing campaign. The cinematic scenarios have been great, and a breath of fresh air from just shooting loads of xenomorphs.
As interesting as that might sound, I can’t stand the IP because of how Fox (now Disney) mismanaged it and shat on the lore.

The engineers being ancient astronauts is just so fucking stupid and pisses on Giger’s grave.

I hope Disney fucks the IP even further into oblivion because I hate it now.

thornad

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2022, 12:40:02 PM »
What tissue is closest to being a “Kleenex killer”?

Pathfinder came the closest with a combination of market savvy and wizards practically destroying the brand with 4e. But since we are excluding Pathfinder from this hypothetical, there were some systems that got traction like White Wolf with Exalted, Games Workshop with Warhammer RPG, GURPS had its day, and of course Palladium. But all of these were a distant second even at their peak.

No one will do it with Fantasy, and I don't know if there is another genre that will ever be as popular as that one.
Gen-Xtra

dkabq

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2022, 01:31:57 PM »
If with "D&D killer" one means "a game that will help you to grow out of D&D" then I agree on CoC.

My current group is now in our high 40s-low 50s. We played D&D (and a bit of Pathfinder) to death, then, for a while, we switched to boardgames. After playing "Mythos" ("Sherlock Holmes' Consulting Detective" but in Arkham) I proposed a run at CoC 7E (best edition ever IMHO, even if it is in need of a 7.5E due to some strong ambiguities in key rules). The adventures we played were among the best in our multi-decades RPG's experience. Now I plan to try Delta Green.

D&D 3.5E gave us a lot of fun but now, honestly, I would feel silly to switch back to high fantasy. In my case it is a thing that came with age, not due to how a certain system works vs. another.

IIRC, and FWIW, CoC is bigger than DnD in Japan.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2022, 01:42:02 PM »
If with "D&D killer" one means "a game that will help you to grow out of D&D" then I agree on CoC.

My current group is now in our high 40s-low 50s. We played D&D (and a bit of Pathfinder) to death, then, for a while, we switched to boardgames. After playing "Mythos" ("Sherlock Holmes' Consulting Detective" but in Arkham) I proposed a run at CoC 7E (best edition ever IMHO, even if it is in need of a 7.5E due to some strong ambiguities in key rules). The adventures we played were among the best in our multi-decades RPG's experience. Now I plan to try Delta Green.

D&D 3.5E gave us a lot of fun but now, honestly, I would feel silly to switch back to high fantasy. In my case it is a thing that came with age, not due to how a certain system works vs. another.

IIRC, and FWIW, CoC is bigger than DnD in Japan.
Yup.

Coincidentally, Japan is also producing the most comics and cartoons with blatant D&D influences

jeff37923

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2022, 12:20:27 AM »
I know some may say that Pathfinder is that game, but Pathfinder is D&D.  If your game is six ability scores, and armor class, you’re just D&D.  Even RPG Pundit’s own Lion and Dragon, or Star Adventurer are still D&D derived rules.

I’m talking about a game that has rules different enough to be its own thing. 

To me the Palladium series of RPGs was that game.  It was my system growing up, and I still love it.  My brother and I still have all our books, which is a stack that’s a few feet tall.  Rifts alone fills two milk crates. 

But, maybe now it’s Savage Worlds?


Nobody cares enough about Savage Worlds.

The only thing that can kill D&D, is it's parent company. That said, Pathfinder took advantage of the situation when WotC fucked up with 4E and then threw their advantage away by kowtowing to the woke and destroying their own game system setting.

However, long ago, in the final days of TSR, WEG and their incredible d6 Star Wars system was about to usurp D&D from its throne for good when a fucking ex-football player had his imported Italian loafers used against him as evidence in a murder trial. Thus fate intervened and we are where we are now.
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S'mon

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2022, 06:36:00 AM »
CoC in the 1980s, V:TM in the 1990s. Discounting Pathfinder, there has been no challenge to D&D since 2000. If people get sick of D&D, they go play Skyrim and bitch about Elder Scrolls VI never coming out.  ;D D&D is simply not competing with other RPGs.

oggsmash

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2022, 06:38:15 AM »
CoC in the 1980s, V:TM in the 1990s. Discounting Pathfinder, there has been no challenge to D&D since 2000. If people get sick of D&D, they go play Skyrim and bitch about Elder Scrolls VI never coming out.  ;D D&D is simply not competing with other RPGs.

  Agreed.  As mentioned several times and as I said earlier, the biggest threat to D&D is WOTC, not any other company producing RPGs.

David Johansen

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2022, 08:27:02 AM »
I think I'd argue that Games Workshop was in a really good position to kill D&D for about 20 years and never did.  The reason was that they didn't see rpgs as profitable enough and ditched that part of their business.  Even Dark Heresy didn't do well enough to keep in house from GW's perspective.  But in terms of a longstanding gaming company with popular IP, they really could have taken the top spot if they wanted to.

The obstacles I see are that WFRP is a bit too fiddly, the typical edition and supplement churn issues of the rpg industry, and the material is not very family friendly.  Not that its full of awfulness but it's visuals will scare Karen.  Something more like Advanced Heroquest (not Warhammer Quest) that plugged more directly into the wargame and was simpler in play would probably have been a better fit.  Put in modular character sprues, use single sprues from army sets for monsters to make a killer starter box.  Probably do 40K instead of fantasy. Alternately they could just pick up the Lord of the Rings rpg license.

In any case, if they were really smart, they'd make the book under $20 and have booster packs around $10.  So the core line is a fully playable book.  A series of booster packs and adventures with maybe one sprue of monsters and a map or a character figure and some cards with powers and equipment on them.  There's a price point issue but one of the major advantages of Magic the Gathering is cheap starters and boosters.  It might work to make the boosters random.  They'd have to be boxes to prevent parcel pinching then but you could avoid the issue with assortments where there's a popular item and an item you get stuck with in every box.  One thing to bear in mind is that GW's packaging costs them more than the contents so foil baggies or something might be the way to go.

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Wrath of God

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Re: What game is closest to being a “D&D killer”?
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2022, 06:38:56 PM »
Quote
However, long ago, in the final days of TSR, WEG and their incredible d6 Star Wars system was about to usurp D&D from its throne for good when a fucking ex-football player had his imported Italian loafers used against him as evidence in a murder trial. Thus fate intervened and we are where we are now.

Who was this guy and how on earth it influenced SWd6?
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