How popular is D&D these days?
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:03 am 
 

I know this may be slightly off topic but it relates to D&D anyway, so  I hope no-one minds.

I first got interested in Dungeons & Dragons about 1981. I was born in 1970, and for 11 year olds in 1981 Dungeons & Dragons was basically *the* cultural phenomenon of the time. I lived in Canada at the time (Victoria BC to be precise) and emigrated with my family to Scotland in 1982. Over there D&D and fantasy in general was still popular, and Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone were writing the first of the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. Up to about 1984 I also bought a lot of metal miniature figures and read White Dwarf.

But gradually it became a bit harder to find people who played D& D, people were getting into rock music more  and it seemed that bands became the main interest for late teens. Also cars, drink and trying to get a girlfriend! Around about 1989 it seemed that no-one of my age actually played D&D anymore. The last time  was in 1986.

The years passed and I kind of forgot about D&D. No-one seemed to play it, and the Atari St computer was pretty fashionable. Then about 5 years ago, I got the  Baldur's Gate computer game which used D&D rules, and I really enjoyed it. It sparked off my interest in fantasy again. I've started collecting some of the old stuff I had.  I also discovered that D&D has its own website and seemingly still going strong.

Now I'm not sure if Dungens & Dragons went through a kind of slump in the late 80s, and90s or if I simply had my head in the sand!

  


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:28 am 
 

I don't know what happened overseas, but here in Italy the market was saturated with RPG stuff around mid-90s, and there was a deep crisis, together with the rise of new ludic passions and the revamping of not-so-new ones (collectible card games, miniature wargames, live roleplay). Many long-time stores were forced to either close or alter their business by the end of the century.

The 3rd Edition did something which was both good and bad: WotC tried to appease the necessities of the new generation of players, who grew up eating bread and Diablo for breakfast and spent their afternoons exchanging Magic cards. If this caused a loss in the sheer quality of the game, which lost some of its purity, its true roleplaying aspects, and focused more on hack'n'slash (partly a return to the old Basic D&D style, but much more gross), it succeeded in bringining new life to a market which was terribly stagnant.

The new century destroyed many independent RPG producers, which had created a huge bunch of small, very interesting games from a critical point of view, but with very little appeal to gamers, and saw the diffusion - anew - of a single roleplaying system which towers above all others (d20), in popularity if not (and I say definitely NOT) in quality.

I'd say the RPG market now is alive again. People have had something new, and this has created a new interest. Now let's wait for something which will satisfy this interest. (Well, the Eberron setting would be a start, if only it were for a decent system.)

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:39 am 
 

RPG's are definatly back in full force, tons of people to roleplay with (even if you are 40) a vibrant collectors community (Acaeum) record Gencon attendance etc etc

Its back

J


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:10 pm 
 

My first game was in 1978.

The slump of the late 80's and early 90's was inevitable.  RPG's (and particulary Dungeons and  Dragons) grew up, went off to college or got jobs to pay for real life.

The industry itself changed during that period, with a general move away from gamers, freebies and sharing to lawyers, nutcase pricing and selfishness.  Hey, it was business.

The open license D20 system remade gaming.  It also flooded the market with hardbound books galore.  These hardbound beasts ranged up to $50+.  Unlike the old TSR books, there was no real guarantee of quality or suitability of content.  With so many RPG companies out there, lots of retailers got stuck with lots of unsellable books.  They went under as soon as the suitcase card games went down in popularity.  (I called them TDC for short...."Those Damn Cards.)

As the 90's ended, all of us got home from our extended college and formative years.....extended, I suspect, because the things that made many of us keen role-players also made for long academic careers and late-chosen career and life paths.  (There are lots of 35 year-old first-time dads out there!  And hell, I'm still going to school!)

Computer games might eventually be the death of tabletop RPG's, but not for a while.  Computers just don't offer the social and interpersonal experience of meeting your friends and rivals around a table.

Today I noticed an ad for Kobolds Ate My Baby in Dragon magazine.  At $14.95, it would have been out of my reach in high school.  I could never have spent $15 + tax for a game I might play only once.  Now, however, I thought about the concept of a beer and pretzels game night and I said....."Hmmmm.  Maybe."  We have the cash now that we never had back in the day.


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:44 pm 
 

I'm not sure if it was a genuine slump or simply what I experienced- the first generation RPGers moving on  to different things due to other things in life, giving the impression that it wasn't so popular. Might have been that in 1990 there were 11 year olds playing it avidly like I used to.  I don't know.

But the second edition of AD&D was published in 1989. I'm not sure if that was a semi desperate measure to attract more gamers or as response to a demand.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:48 pm 
 

Remember that 1st Edition AD&D had grown into a monster dozen books by the end of the 80's.  It was necessary to issue a 2nd edition just to attract more gamers.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:57 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Remember that 1st Edition AD&D had grown into a monster dozen books by the end of the 80's.  It was necessary to issue a 2nd edition just to attract more gamers.


Those dozen books left 1st edition looking like some teenager's '73 Mustang... A cobbled-together train wreck. Even more confusing to gamers was having parallel D&D/AD&D game lines, which weren't meant to be compatible(!)

RPG developers in the Eighties were simply fascinated with game rules. Whole box sets would be issued with most of the material devoted to game mechanics. TSR games were each written with their own game rules... AD&D, D&D, Top Secret, Gamma World, Star Frontiers. Not one of those games had the same rules as another. Similar, yes, but not the same.

Fast forward a couple of decades. Us old timers -- cut my teeth on 1st edition AD&D -- have disposable income, but not a whole lot of time. Who wants to keep learning new game rules for every game they try? Christ, I know I don't have the time... I just wanna play!

Boo & hiss if you care, but this old-school D&Der has switched to the 3rd edition D&D rules.

I'd been fairly conditioned not to like 3rd edition from so much that I'd read online.

Just written for a bunch of powergamers, I read.
Designed for primarily for hack-n-slash, I read.

So, yes, it was surprising to me how much I liked the rules when I started reading & using them. Clean, elegant, flexible, and easy-to-learn. You can powergame with D20, or you can role-play with D20, just as with the AD&D rules I learned back in 1981.

It all depends on the gaming group.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:38 am 
 

Fascinating how the basic concepts of the very oldest version of D&D have become universal gaming concepts...still applied today.

   Even in electronic RPG's, characters have hit points, armor class, variable damage and improve by gaining experience points.

   An OD&D gamer from 1978 join an in-progress 3.5 game and begin playing within 30 minutes...despite multiple reworkings of the rules.

   I never really noticed a transition between the first and second editions of AD&D.  Most of the changes were in terminology or small tweaks to the character classes and the combat system.  (Removing the assassin never made sense to me...but oh well.)

    Also, Gary Gygax made an excellent point in an editorial when the coming switch to second edition was first announced:  He pointed out that the multiplicity of books and arcane complexity was probably part of what made the game attractive to hard-core gamers.  He pointed out that new gamers were unlikely to buy in to a system in shambles, with a dozen purchases required to even start catching up.

    I am surprised that the same love of complexity does not attract older gamers to 3.5.  I think the objections to 3.5 are mostly nostalgia for the older version.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:23 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
    I am surprised that the same love of complexity does not attract older gamers to 3.5.  I think the objections to 3.5 are mostly nostalgia for the older version.

Mark   8)


To be honest, I like 3E less and less as I see more.  And no, it's not because of my nostalgia.  Actually, 3E is what got me back into D&D and I still have the Core books that I told my wife to get me for Christmas.  I thought then (and I still do now) that 3E came up with many good ideas, an excellent d20 system, changing in ability score progression and upper limits, defining abilities for monsters, new size rules, the addition of the Sorcerer class, feats & skills, workable rules for poison and energy drain (energy drain being the most unbalanced aspects of AD&D and something that I eventually allowed a save for - we could barely find time to play as it was, mutiple level drains could set a campaign back a whole year!) . . . .

Anyway, with all the reselling I do, I have purchased a number of d20 items . . . and the more I see, the less I like it.  That is nothing against the rules, per se, but a lot of the stuff . . . it's just stupid.

I, mean, it's really bad . . . it's like a poorly written fantasy novel . . . you know, you start reading it and by the time you are on page 50, you think:  "this sucks!" and put it on the shelf to just sit.

Again, I don't mean the rules . . . I mean the ideas.  The monsters, the prestige classes, the endless feats, the spells.  So much of it is just poorly written and poorly imagined.   Very low quality stuff.


If I were to run a d20 Campaign, all I would want would be the three Core books.  That's all I'd need.  I bet I could even run a campaign that many on these forums would enjoy have fun playing!  :D  

Even Deadlord!   8)

(I am, of course, assuming that the Player's are all quality RPGers and not reckless power gamers).


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:27 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:     Also, Gary Gygax made an excellent point in an editorial when the coming switch to second edition was first announced:  He pointed out that the multiplicity of books and arcane complexity was probably part of what made the game attractive to hard-core gamers.


In all truth although I played Basic and Expert  D&D  I never actually got round to playing Advanced D&D in the early 80s! In about '81 or' 82  I asked my mother for all the 1st edition core rulebooks and got them, but to me part of the fun was actually just reading them. I found them engrossing reading. I did eventually get round to  a few games of AD&D in 1986 however, but by then it was harder to find any RPG groups

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:57 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:     I am surprised that the same love of complexity does not attract older gamers to 3.5.  I think the objections to 3.5 are mostly nostalgia for the older version.

Mark   8)


I can't seem to fathom why 3.5'ers dont get it.   :?

Above and beyond the fact that I don't evenconsider 3.0/3.5 as really Dungeons and Dragons as it is obviously not, there are a multitude of reasons as to why I do not like 3.0/3.5, To illustrate my point about 3.0/3.5 NOT being real D&D, let me say again the only similarities be 1st edition OD&D/AD&D and 3rd edition are the name itself, both are P&P FRPGs, you use dice, and the fact that you kill monsters/creatures and take their stuff. Those comparisons however, can be applied to just about any FRPG EVER MADE.

Those reasons aside, IMNSHO, 3rd edition sucks, period.  It is entirely to rules heavy, the rule books are boring to read and they were created with no imigination what-so-ever. The game play itself caters to 12 year old munchkin powergamers who want to win it all and rule the world with PCs that have limitless powers and unlimited possiblilties.  I found when trying to read the original Core rulebooks, that I was more interested in reading my college level Calculus book, as it was more imaginitive, more easily understood, and not nearly as dry.  A lot of people like to compare 3rd edition as it was created for the video game crowd, and although I agree to a certain extent, in another extent, even video games put certain limitations on character and game play where as 3rd edition has virtually none.

Do I have a nostalgic feeling towards 1st edition? Sure I do, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't.  Does that play any factor into my utter depise for 3rd edition? Absolutely not, as they are not even close to being the same game.  I love football, ice hockey and baseball too, and I have loved them all since I was 4 years old. There have been many rules changes over the last 28 years that have completely changed certain dynamics of those games, but depite that fact I still love all of them.  I can not however same the same about the creature that is now WoTC. I don't begrudge anyone who likes 3.0/3.5, everyone is entitiled to thier own opinions and their own interests, more power to you.  The question remains why 3.0/3.5ers can't seem to adopt the same attitude about those of us(and believe me there are still lots of us out there) who like/love, prefer 1st edition. It just boggles my mind.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:27 am 
 

Celephais wrote:In all truth although I played Basic and Expert  D&D  I never actually got round to playing Advanced D&D in the early 80s! In about '81 or' 82  I asked my mother for all the 1st edition core rulebooks and got them, but to me part of the fun was actually just reading them. I found them engrossing reading. I did eventually get round to  a few games of AD&D in 1986 however, but by then it was harder to find any RPG groups


Same here..OD&D is where it was at.

I can't seem to fathom why 1'ers dont get it.

Above and beyond the fact that I don't evenconsider 1.0/2.0 AD&D as really Dungeons and Dragons as it is obviously not, there are a multitude of reasons as to why I do not like 1.0/2.0 AD&D, To illustrate my point about 1.0/2.0 AD&D NOT being real D&D, let me say again the only similarities be 1st edition AD&D and 2nd edition AD&D are the name itself, both are P&P FRPGs, you use dice, and the fact that you kill monsters/creatures and take their stuff. Those comparisons however, can be applied to just about any FRPG EVER MADE.

Those reasons aside, IMNSHO, 1.0/2.0 AD&D sucks, period.  It has entirely to many rules, the rule books are hardback and they were created with 'Advanced' imigination what-so-ever. The game play itself caters to 12 year old munchkin powergamers (now 30+) who want to win it all and rule the world with PCs that have limitless powers and unlimited possiblilties (are free thinkers with no rules to guide them).  I found when trying to read the original Core rulebooks, that I was more interested in reading my college level Calculus book (Took AP Calculus in High SChool), as it was more imaginitive, more easily understood, and not nearly as dry (hum..people may think 'nerd' here, more going toward Geek though, much more acceptable).  A lot of people like to compare 1.0/2.0 AD&D as it was created for the video game crowd (8-bit graphic lovers), and although I agree to a certain extent, in another extent, even video games put certain limitations on character and game play where as 1.0/2.0 AD&D has virtually none (Dungeon Crawls..yeah seriously get some wilderness out there folks).

Do I have a nostalgic feeling towards OD&D? Sure I do, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't.  Does that play any factor into my utter depise for 1.0/2.0 AD&D? Absolutely not, as they are not even close to being the same game.  I love football, hockey, baseball and I have loved them all since I was 4 years old. There have been many rules changes over the last 24 years (Player strikes, Player strikes, Steroids) that have completely changed certain dynamics of those games, but depite that fact I still love all of them.  I can not however same the same about the creature that is now 1.0/2.0 AD&D. I don't begrudge anyone who likes 1.0/2.0 AD&D, everyone is entitiled to thier own opinions and their own interests, more power to you.  The question remains why 1.0/2.0 AD&Ders can't seem to adopt the same attitude about those of us(and believe me there are still lots of us out there) who like/love, prefer OD&D (yeah even you woodgrain box types). It just boggles my mind.

ShaneG.
(This parody was done in fun (OD&D rules!) and is no way intended to actually take the opinion of another (and change it like the rules for 1.0/2.0 AD&D did from that great OD&D game)..nope, much love for all RPGers (we are Geeks, not Nerds)..can't we all just get along (Just get the F*** out of my game you AD&Ders)...Peace (wait I collect Judges Guild..oh crap how am I gonna explain that, how do you edit this post again.)

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:42 am 
 

Thats it Shane, no more scans for you, you are now officially cut off. :twisted:


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:49 am 
 

Oh man..come on..just one more..I shall stop after that (till you get something else I need a scan of). Its not for me, its for the community, yeah..think about all the RPGers you'll let down (yeah even the 3.0/3.5 cause JG has gone that route too, bwa hahaha)..so think before you speak man, I know I do (do not read these types of quotes: '( )', for they really just contain babble)..please..just this once. :cry: ( :roll:  :wink:  :lol: )  :oops:

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:16 am 
 

Plaag wrote:Same here..OD&D is where it was at.

I can't seem to fathom why 1'ers dont get it.


Pfft.  You're probably one of those "2nd printing" kids, with your fancy printing statement on the cover, and your errata sheet! :lol:

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:44 am 
 

D&D is still quite popular in my part of the world.  Seems like most of the Cons are going strong.  There is a different crowd at them though.  But that's another thread.  I really can't go to the smaller Cons any more.  I feel out of place with all of the younger gamers.  It's a different world.

OD&D is our favorite.  2nd and 3rd edition products are adapted with a little effort.  Problem with some of the 2nd edition items is that they were slapped together without a lot of quality control.  3rd edition is considerably better for the most part.

An example of this is the latest adventure I've been running: the Dragon Mountain boxed set.  The group enjoys it immensely but I had to modify it heavily to fix all of the inconsistencies, omissions, and errors.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:02 am 
 

dbartman wrote:D&D is still quite popular in my part of the world.  Seems like most of the Cons are going strong.  There is a different crowd at them though.  But that's another thread.  I really can't go to the smaller Cons any more.  I feel out of place with all of the younger gamers.  It's a different world.

I felt the same way at the first and only Con I went to last year.  I may yet make the trip to GenCon some year, I understand it's a requirement that every roleplayer make the trip once in their lifetime, much like the pilgrimage to Mecca.

dbartman wrote:OD&D is our favorite.  2nd and 3rd edition products are adapted with a little effort.  Problem with some of the 2nd edition items is that they were slapped together without a lot of quality control.  3rd edition is considerably better for the most part.

I think if I start playing again, it would probably be the "BECMI" rules.  They're simple enough that you can adapt pretty much anything new or old to work with them.  1st Ed. AD&D will always be my favorite, but adapting material is not as easy.

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:04 am 
 

Forgive my noobness , but "OD&D"? I'm guessing "Original" Dungeons & Dragons, meaning both Basic and Advanced?

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:10 am 
 

Celephais wrote:Forgive my noobness , but "OD&D"? I'm guessing "Original" Dungeons & Dragons, meaning both Basic and Advanced?

It's a confusing term.  For many collectors, OD&D refers to the original woodgrain/white box (OCE) sets and their supplements:

http://www.acaeum.com/DDIndexes/SetPages/Original.html

For others, it refers to the later Basic/Expert sets, which were later expanded/reformatted into the Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal sets:

http://www.acaeum.com/DDIndexes/SetPages/Basic.html
http://www.acaeum.com/DDIndexes/SetPages/Expert.html

It's not AD&D.  Some very confused folks refer to 1st Edition AD&D as OD&D, as well.

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:26 am 
 

Celephais wrote:Forgive my noobness , but "OD&D"? I'm guessing "Original" Dungeons & Dragons, meaning both Basic and Advanced?


O ed (zero) is what came before 1st ed (or when they went to calling it advanced)..and really only started to be called 'O' when 3.0 came out..before it was simply D&D, AD&D, 2nd Ed AD&D...
D&D/OD&D is those woodgrain sets, white box sets, Known World (Basic/Expert/etc.). When D&D was old school..no hardback books, none of the fancy 'advanced' stuff,..I mean if the rules didn't come in a box it was just not right. Were the dice supposed to be rolled? the Table!..no thank you.
:D

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