A while ago I asked people on Google +, Reddit, and Tumblr when they were introduced to tabletop roleplaying, who introduced them, and which game they first played. The results of my thoroughly unscientific poll showed that while D&D is the single biggest onramp to tabletop RPGs, its dominance in that regard has declined over time. Now let’s take a look at some of those other games, and the people who bring newcomers into our hobby.
An Unscientific Poll
Since the beginnings of tabletop roleplaying, it’s been a pretty safe assumption that most roleplayers got their start with Dungeons & Dragons. But there have been a lot of games over the years, and some of them have been explicitly focused on attracting newcomers. Is D&D still the point of entry for most of us?
Dungeons & Dragons occupies a special place in my heart. It gave my imagination a means of expression, and it taught me a great deal about everything from teamwork and negotiation to goal-setting and preparation. In junior high and high school it helped me forge strong friendships and shaped a sense of belonging.
There’s a Lot to The Forgotten Realms
Wizards of the Coast selected The Forgotten Realms as the default setting for D&D 5 in part because the world is so deep. Since the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Ed Greenwood’s fantasy world has been fleshed out in adventures, setting descriptions, and other supplements. Now that I’m getting back into D&D after a long hiatus, I decided to see how much Forgotten Realms material had been published prior to 5th edition. The short answer is: a lot (and I didn’t even delve into the novels, comics, board games, and video games).