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If It’s Fear, I Think People Need Therapy or Something


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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.


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  • 3 months later...

I haven't played tabletop RPGs in a while. Nonetheless, here's what I think the answer is:

Dungeons and Dragons, for all its (many) faults, is and probably always will be the single most popular tabletop RPG system, and this will most likely remain the case for every single iteration from now until the heat death of the universe. It got in early, it established a foothold and an insane amount of brand recognition, and now it's the game that most people will be familiar with. I did a quick internet search and more than half of campaigns using the Roll20 software (this was in 2019) are using dungeons and dragons.

What this means is that well over half of current players at any given time will probably be familiar with that game system.

A likely barrier to entry for buying any new game system is that the DM and all the players have to learn a new game system. Now, some people are into that - I semi recently played a couple sessions of some Star Wars RPG that used a very different system, and had a blast making my character and checking out how the systems work. The DM was the same. Our other two players, much less so.

For many people making a new game system, it is probably, in a financial sense, a much safer bet if you can tell prospective players and DMs 'you won't have to learn a whole new system to play and enjoy this game, because it is functionally identical to the game system that you're already familiar with, just with a fresh new setting.'

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 12/23/2021 at 2:00 PM, Chairchucker said:


It's what Chairchucker wrote; brand factor alone means that people who have never played an RPG before still know the general gist of what 'Dnd' is. Like, even if you told potential players you're going for something "Tolkien-esque", it'd be less useful than using D&D as common ground.

With that said, OP obviously has an axe to grind, see thread title and general wording of their post. Using 5e as a gateway game to get people to try other systems is perfectly fine, but you have to argue persuasively that the new system is "better" than 5e. If you've got a player who's experienced with 5e, but disgruntled with specific parts of the system (Simulationist aspirations, dated progression system, etc), then you could totally put together a persuasive argument that they should let you run something else for them.

Everyone's who's played 5e has something they hate about 5e.

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