Tag: Dungeons & Dragons

What Explains the Market Success of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons?

There’s been a lot of discussion in tabletop RPG circles about just how dominant Fifth Edition D&D has become. It seems to exist as something of a world unto its own, seldom crossing paths with the rest of the hobby. So a discussion about the ramifications of D&D’s current dominance is worth having. But first it’s important to understand why D&D 5e is such a juggernaut. That’s what this post will explore. Read more

Three for Thursday: Playing D&D Your Way

Welcome to Three for Thursday!

Today we’ll take a look at the hobby’s flagship game through three different lenses.

Talk to enough Dungeons & Dragons players and you’ll realize that no one group plays it the same way. These stories explore playing the game under three very different sets of circumstances. Discover what it’s like to be someone else, at another table, playing a kind of D&D that may (or may not) differ from your own. Read more

That Game is Broken

Like a combat vehicle modified to meet field conditions, "flawed" games still get played


The other day I came across a post in which a tabletop RPG beginner was seriously stressed out about finding the right game. He had obviously read more than a few “this game is broken” comments and didn’t want to accidentally pick a “broken” game when introducing the concept of tabletop roleplaying to some classmates. His concern highlights a problem that pervades online discussion of tabletop RPGs, which is that we tend to confuse our quest for the ever-elusive “perfect” game with how people actually play games in the wild. Read more

How Well is 5th Edition D&D Selling?

I Am On a Curiosity Voyage

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) released the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons on a rolling schedule in 2014, starting with the beginner boxed set in June and culminating with the the Dungeon Master’s Guide in December. In the four and a half years since then 5th Edition has obviously put Dungeons & Dragons back at the top of tabletop roleplaying sales. It’s undoubtedly selling well, but how well?

I wanted to dig into this question a bit to satisfy my own curiosity. Note that I’m not an industry insider, and I only had access to publicly-available information. That said, I have wherever possible avoided anecdotal evidence in favor of hard numbers. Please also note that this is not an examination of the subjective qualities of the game itself. Whether 5th Edition D&D’s rules are wonderful or terrible in relation to its forbears is a question outside the scope of this inquiry. Read more

Going Beyond D&D

The Giant at the Table: Dungeons & Dragons

D&D casts a long shadow in the tabletop roleplaying world. It’s the original RPG, it’s been around for over 40 years, and it’s the most popular. On top of all that, the OGL (Open Game License) introduced in 2000, gave rise to a huge number of games built around the core D&D mechanics, and eventually gave rise to the OSR movement. These underpinnings are usually referred to as d20, because a twenty-sided die (d20) is rolled to determine success or failure, but they also share other features such as character attributes and use of classes and levels.

There are many advantages to sticking with d20 mechanics: You’ll always be able to find players for a d20 game, because so many gamers are familiar with them. Aside from D&D you can delve into 13th Age and Pathfinder, as well as Swords & Wizardry and many other retro clones. Learn one and understanding others is straightforward.

But what if you’re looking for something beyond D&D and its kin? Where do you start? Read more

Yes, People Start with Games Other Than Dungeons & Dragons

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 games other than Dungeons & Dragons, and the people who bring newcomers into our hobby.

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