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interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

SubjectAuthor
* [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'kyonshi
+* [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'Justisaur
|`- Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'lkh
+- [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'Zaghadka
`* Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'gbbgu
 `- Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'kyonshi

1
[News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.misc,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.industry
Subject: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2024 11:48:53 +0100
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 by: kyonshi - Thu, 4 Jan 2024 10:48 UTC

Source:
https://www.enworld.org/threads/ben-riggs-the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-is-dead.701902/

Ben Riggs, D&D historian and author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret
History of Dungeons & Dragons has posted an essay widely on social media
entitled 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'.

Note that Riggs uses the term '6th Edition' in this essay to refer to
the 2024 core D&D rulebooks but says that "I am by no means married to
the 6E nomenclature. It's just shorter than saying "the new books coming
out this year" again and again and again."

---------------------------------------------------------------------
We are watching a bright and special time in the TTRPG industry pass
away before our eyes.

Around the start of the 2010s, we saw the dawn of a new golden age of
tabletop roleplaying games. Since then, huge numbers of new players have
found the hobby thanks to Stranger Things and actual plays like Critical
Role. These new fans discovered a vibrant and thrumming TTRPG industry.
There was the D20 fantasy family of games, dominated by D&D 5E, but rich
with other games published under the OGL and the fertile depths of the
Old School Renaissance. There were other mainstream publishers with
storied brands, such as Call of Cthulhu, Deadlands, and Shadowrun.
Lastly, there was a flourishing indie TTRPG scene that revolutionized
what a TTRPG was, such as Apocalypse World.

This influx of gamers created a rising tide that lifted all boats.
Novice gamers started out playing D&D 5E, yes, but went on to discover
other great games. Because of the OGL, countless companies and designers
could make money creating for D&D 5E. Because of the increasing number
of gamers, even strange, freaky, or weird TTRPG ideas could find an
audience. Have you heard of Apollo 47 Technical Manual the RPG?

But recent developments make clear that this radiant golden age is
ending, as surely as the steam engine ended the age of sail, or hobbits
bearing a ring ended the Third Age of Middle-earth.

The Doom of Our Time Approaches

In the wake of the Open Gaming License scandal of this past winter, a
number of companies have successfully launched new TTRPGs intended to
move them past the possibility of Wizards of the Coast ever threatening
their businesses ever again. Some of the games grossed millions in
crowdfunding campaigns. All have been positively reviewed.

Some cite the success of these games, which are intended to replace
5E/OGL content for the companies involved, as signs of the continued
health and growth of the TTRPG industry.

They are not.

Rather, they are signs that the industry has peaked, and may be about to
enter a decline.

Why?

After the Open Gaming License crisis of 2023, I became pessimistic about
the damage the attempt to kill the OGL had done to our hobby. Others
told me that the result of the crisis would be the blooming of a
thousand flowers. Discouraged from using 5E by Wizards of the Coast’s
attempt to kill the OGL, we would all get amazing new TTRPGs.

Maybe every single one of those new TTRPGs is going to be amazing. Maybe
every one will be so fun and so captivating that lawns will go unmowed,
pets unfed, and diapers unchanged because we are all so busy playing one
of those games.

The problem is the TTRPG business is devilishly difficult. Only very
rarely does the creation of a phenomenal game actually lead to financial
success.

And the death of the OGL and the creation of these games has
fundamentally changed the industry in such a way that it will be harder
for those companies to make money in the future. A difficult business is
about to become more difficult.

Consider the state of the industry a mere eighteen months ago; countless
publishers, from MCDM and Kobold Press to Wizards of the Coast, were all
making 5E material; it was easy to purchase products from multiple
publishers because if you were running 5E, you could use the work of all
these companies at your table; this made it easier for companies to
share customers.

The new TTRPGs birthed by the OGL crisis are about to make that sort of
customer sharing much, much harder. MCDM is publishing a TTRPG where you
roll 2D6 to hit. Pathfinder’s 2nd edition remaster has no alignment and
changed ability scores. Critical Role has dropped 5E like a dead
cockroach and is playtesting its own new fantasy game, Daggerheart,
which uses 2D12s, and a horror game named Candela Obscura.

And of course, there is the rising Godzilla that is 6th edition D&D,
which scientists say will attack our shores in the spring of 2024. So
far, there is no hint of an OGL for whatever that game will be.

The problem is, 5E was not just a game. It was a massive community of
players. Countless companies could thrive making products for that
community.

These new games are a shattering of that community. Instead of countless
companies working to make your 5E game better, they are now asking you
to become MCDM, or Darrington Press, or Paizo, or D&D 6E players. We are
entering an era of division, faction, and balkanization.

The companies are now asking fans to choose sides. It also means that it
is going to become more difficult for them to share customers. How
interested will a Pathfinder fan be in an MCDM product? Or 6th edition?
History suggests these sorts of barriers depress sales.

All This Has Happened Before

In the 1990s, TSR, the first company to publish Dungeons & Dragons,
embarked on publishing setting after setting after setting for the game.
By 1997, over a dozen settings were sold by the company. Fans stopped
being fans of D&D, and instead became fans of a particular setting, and
would only buy products for that setting. In 1997, TSR was near death as
setting releases had plummeted from the hundreds of thousands of copies
in the 1980s, to a mere 7,152 copies sold for the Birthright campaign
setting in its first year of release. D&D was only saved from a terrible
fate by Wizards of the Coast and their fat stacks of cash. They
purchased TSR in the summer of 1997.

Some might say it is unfair to compare the different settings of the 90s
to the different systems of today. Settings and systems are different,
after all. And I do agree with the point. Switching systems is a BIGGER
ASK than switching settings, therefore this change should have a LARGER
IMPACT ON SALES.

And it is all happening again. The TTRPG audience is fracturing at the
seams, and it will hurt sales and growth.

To focus only on MCDM, this current BackerKit is likely the most
successful campaign the company will ever see. Every campaign after this
will struggle to get the same sort of sales numbers as people slowly
bleed away to the competition. Paizo will say check out our competing
fantasy game. WotC will batter us all with a punishing wave of marketing
trying to convince all of us of the newness and hotness of D&D 6th
edition. (May it be both new and hot! But I have my doubts…) And fans
will bleed away.

Furthermore, what will happen to the YouTube channel that is the
foundation of MCDM’s success? Matt Colville is a master communicator and
was a major evangelist for D&D in his channel’s heyday. He is
passionate, intelligent, and inspiring. If Dungeon Masters could go into
the locker room and get a pep talk from their coach in the middle of a
game of D&D, that coach would be Matt Colville.

How much time is Colville going to devote to D&D now that it is
essentially his competition?

In the past year, he has put out less than 20 videos on his channel.
Those videos now range widely in topic, from TV reviews and interviews
with language scholars to some D&D content, and a discussion of the
creation of his new RPG. Go back five years, and Colville was putting
out video after video after video of fantastic advice about running D&D,
usually with 5E as the default. He dispensed some of the best advice on
TTRPGs I have ever seen.

But it appears his content is fundamentally shifting, and he is asking
that his audience go with him somewhere new.

Let’s look at MCDM’s recent efforts from the point of view of Wizards of
the Coast. It is all ruin, disaster, and calamity. Master communicator
and D&D fanatic Matt Colville has gone from convincing people to try
D&D, and explaining how best to play D&D, to instead asking his 439,000
subscribers to stop playing D&D and play his game instead.

Not to mention that Critical Role—a huge reason for the recent surge in
popularity of D&D—is likewise stopping their support of D&D, and asking
their 2.1 million YouTube subscribers to start playing one of their two
new games instead. I will not mention that, lest it further trouble the
sleep of the D&D people at Wizards of the Coast… (What if 2.1 million
people simply don’t buy 6th edition?)

In summary, all these events are interfering with the developments that
created the golden age of TTRPGs. The removal of D&D from Critical Role
likely hurts everyone involved. For years, Critical Role’s pitch was
“Watch voice actors play D&D!” (A concept even my 80-year-old Aunt Sonja
understands.) Now, the pitch is “Watch voice actors play Candela Obscura!”


Click here to read the complete article
Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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From: justis...@yahoo.com (Justisaur)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.misc,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.industry
Subject: Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2024 07:42:18 -0800
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 by: Justisaur - Thu, 4 Jan 2024 15:42 UTC

On 1/4/2024 2:48 AM, kyonshi wrote:
> Source:
> https://www.enworld.org/threads/ben-riggs-the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-is-dead.701902/

Interesting analysis. I gave up on 5e years ago but kept coming back
and trying because it was the only game in town. Until I just gave up.
I'm not a Matt Coleville fan either and he and his game are commonly
cited as creating greatly overblown expectations.

I'll be interested to see if what he puts out is more to my taste than
5e, and if it blows up. I hope something that's more to my taste (not
pathfinder which is ever further from my taste than 5e) Or 6e's stewards
realize they need someone who understands how RPGs work and manage to
heal up their feet they keep blowing holes in instead of amputating the
legs as they appear to be doing.

--
-Justisaur

ø-ø
(\_/)\
`-'\ `--.___,
¶¬'\( ,_.-'
\\
^'

Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
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 by: Zaghadka - Thu, 4 Jan 2024 17:21 UTC

On Thu, 4 Jan 2024 11:48:53 +0100, kyonshi <gmkeros@gmail.com> wrote:

>"If Hasbro/WotC tries to make the new edition a subscription-based,
>highly monetized walled garden, with radically increased
>direct-to-consumer sales, they will likely blight the market and the
>hobby--this is likely to happen whether they succeed or fail. This kind
>of move will roll back the overall audience for everyone and could well
>remove RPGs from many stores that rely on D&D sales in order to justify
>devoting the shelf space to RPGs."

I am expecting THIS. ^^^

My 2 cents from reading the tea leaves of Hasbro's moves:

Hasbro has looked at all the book sales on D&D Beyond and decided to go
all digital. Digital publication has larger margins; it's exactly what
the beancounters want. Squeeze that stone. Stop paying for paper. Stop
publishing stuff and destroying overstock when sales are overestimated.

In addition, OneD&D, 6e, or whatever you want to call it, if all goes to
plan, is going to be "the last version of D&D" because they will move
into D&DaaS (D&D as a Service). You pay your rent and they change the
rules continuously. The very name OneD&D suggests this. I think accepting
new rules will be optional to start, but slowly there will be no way to
pick and choose which rules go into your VTT. You'll have to keep paying
for the content on a monthly basis.

I also think the name is quite ironic, as D&D started out heavily
indebted to Tolkien, and now they're pushing "One D&D to rule them all"
without so much as a wink or a tap on the nose.

And what of books, you might ask? Books are too static. If you want to be
a *real* D&D player, you've got to keep up with the latest rules. I
already have a friend who keeps injecting OneD&D playtest stuff into the
campaign hot off the presses. Some players are very trendy and want to
have all the material they can get their hands on.

This also clarifies Hasbro's blunder with the OGL. What they were really
talking about when they tried to change it is getting their cut in the
D&D Beyond Store -- the only way to play (TM) -- similar to Valve. It's a
thriving digital market. Time to get a 30% cut of everything, including
OGL stuff. They are hoping and praying dead trees and/or PDFs go out of
style. The OGL revision shot across the bow indicates their desire to be
the gatekeeper -- and sole point of access -- and the ability to take a
toll for passage. You know, like trolls under bridges.

So Real Tabletop (RTT), if all goes to plan, dies. Players may be
expected to sit together around a VTT even when they play FtF. They don't
want people sitting around playing with a stable game, purchased as a set
of books. No constant revenue stream there. Pay once and play for years
is bad, in their plan. They don't want to sell stable, durable books.
They certainly don't want to pay for a physical publication business.
They probably don't even want to sell physical products like miniatures.
What they want is rent, all digital consumption, and the ability to
retcon any aspect of the system that is politically inviable, too
challenging, or allows the customer to stop, think, and wonder why they
have accepted the limitations of WoTC content without question. They want
an ever changing game that requires a monthly subscription and pleases
everyone.

And that is going to result in a VERY bland WoTC D&D game. 3rd party OGL
publishers will either spin off into oblivion as the core game is no
longer a stable, printed SRD, or they will have to pay a tithe to
participate in the D&DaaS Store. The OGL move was a feint. This is what
the plan always was: control of access to the means of play and the point
of content distribution.

I suggest we all reject it, go back to our Pathfinder and 3.5e
splatbooks, and forget 5e ever existed. I already have several games I
participate in that do just this and we don't get bored. Or you just hang
onto your 5e books until they pry them from your cold dead hands and
ignore the plethora of crap they are going to firehose all over the game
as the official way to play: OneD&D (R). A successful game, moreover a
*social* game, needs stable rules you can port from house to house and
campaign to campaign. We are going to lose that if all goes to Hasbro's
design. There will be no future SRDs to write games from.

And that may contribute to the demise of D&D. It's a radical plan that
could radically fail.

Moreover, I suggest we go back to engaging our imaginations. You don't
need books to tell you what and how to play. The original game was
entirely homebrew with a skeleton structure of rules so that you could
bring characters from homebrew campaign to homebrew campaign. The first
AD&D books were compilations of the best homebrew stuff. The original
Greyhawk setting was literally EGGs campaign. It was also released as a
skeleton structure. It was a map and loose descriptions to fill in as you
preferred. You were expected to bring your own imagination to it, and if
that was too much work, plug in prepared, published materials where they
fit on the map and world overview. This supplemental plug-in content is
the "module." That's why they're called modules in the first place.

Gygax is spinning in his fucking grave. He expected people to generate
more D&D as a community, not have it spoon fed to them by accountants.
Let's all engage our brains and imagine a better FRPG world. It's the
only sane response.

--
Zag

No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Gee, I wish I had
spent more time alone with my computer.' ~Dan(i) Bunten

Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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Subject: Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
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 by: gbbgu - Thu, 11 Jan 2024 05:54 UTC

On 4 Jan 2024, kyonshi wrote:

> Source:
> https://www.enworld.org/threads/ben-riggs-the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-is-dead.701902/

> Ben Riggs, D&D historian and author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret
> History of Dungeons & Dragons has posted an essay widely on social media
> entitled 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'.

Interesting read. It reminds me of similar articles and posts years ago about
the excessive quantity of Linux distros tearing linux adoption in every
direction and that if we just could pick "the one true distro" then surely
linux would crush Microsoft, end world hunger and supply free puppies for all!

Of course holy wars are a common pastime of most nerds in any nerdy field, I
don't see how ttrpgs are any different.

Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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From: gmke...@gmail.com (kyonshi)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.industry,rec.games.frp.misc
Subject: Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2024 09:44:05 +0100
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 by: kyonshi - Thu, 11 Jan 2024 08:44 UTC

On 1/11/2024 6:54 AM, gbbgu wrote:
> On 4 Jan 2024, kyonshi wrote:
>
>> Source:
>> https://www.enworld.org/threads/ben-riggs-the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-is-dead.701902/
>
>> Ben Riggs, D&D historian and author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret
>> History of Dungeons & Dragons has posted an essay widely on social media
>> entitled 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'.
>
> Interesting read. It reminds me of similar articles and posts years ago about
> the excessive quantity of Linux distros tearing linux adoption in every
> direction and that if we just could pick "the one true distro" then surely
> linux would crush Microsoft, end world hunger and supply free puppies for all!
>
> Of course holy wars are a common pastime of most nerds in any nerdy field, I
> don't see how ttrpgs are any different.

but you don't understand, this year WILL be the year of linux on the
desktop. for sure.

Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

<uo7u0b$cgdl$1@sibirocobombus.campaignwiki>

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From: lkh...@sdf-eu.org (lkh)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.misc,rec.games.frp.dnd,rec.games.frp.industry
Subject: Re: [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2024 07:01:31 -0000 (UTC)
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 by: lkh - Wed, 17 Jan 2024 07:01 UTC

In rec.games.frp.misc Justisaur <justisaur@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On 1/4/2024 2:48 AM, kyonshi wrote:
>> Source:
>> https://www.enworld.org/threads/ben-riggs-the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-is-dead.701902/
>
> Interesting analysis. I gave up on 5e years ago but kept coming back
> and trying because it was the only game in town. Until I just gave up.
> I'm not a Matt Coleville fan either and he and his game are commonly
> cited as creating greatly overblown expectations.
>
> I'll be interested to see if what he puts out is more to my taste than
> 5e, and if it blows up. I hope something that's more to my taste (not
> pathfinder which is ever further from my taste than 5e) Or 6e's stewards
> realize they need someone who understands how RPGs work and manage to
> heal up their feet they keep blowing holes in instead of amputating the
> legs as they appear to be doing.
>

here's an interesting reply:

https://burnafterrunningrpg.com/2024/01/13/the-golden-age-of-ttrpgs-has-not-even-started/

--
https://social.sdfeu.org/@lkh
IRC: lkh on Libera.chat and others


interests / rec.games.frp.dnd / [News] Ben Riggs: 'The Golden Age of TTRPGs is Dead'

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