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It Came From the Tabletop! - Betrayal Legacy, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magical Athlete

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20 Jun 2019 15:12 #298707 by Sagrilarus
I'm stumbling across "normals" picking up D&D far more frequently now than even as recently as five years ago. I've been kind of monitoring this informally since the 70s, and it isn't just being accepted as a reasonable hobby now but well-considered escape from stress. I don't know if it's version 5 or something else, but the game is clearly considered a normal use of free time now.
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20 Jun 2019 15:24 #298708 by Gary Sax

Sagrilarus wrote: I'm stumbling across "normals" picking up D&D far more frequently now than even as recently as five years ago. I've been kind of monitoring this informally since the 70s, and it isn't just being accepted as a reasonable hobby now but well-considered escape from stress. I don't know if it's version 5 or something else, but the game is clearly considered a normal use of free time now.


Been experiencing this too. Glad D&D is good at this critical period.

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20 Jun 2019 15:59 #298709 by charlest
I think it's Critical Role honestly. That show is ridiculously huge.
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20 Jun 2019 16:34 #298713 by Vysetron
That and 80s nostalgia being at critical mass. Shows like Stranger Things basically screaming "HEY, REMEMBER D&D?" and making it "cool" again is printing money.

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20 Jun 2019 17:43 #298714 by Shellhead
I've done a vast amount of role-playing over the years. I've run one-shot games with a bunch of systems, and I have run lengthy campaigns in the following systems: Gamma World, AD&D, Villains & Vigilantes, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, GURPS - Fantasy, GURPS - Horror, Legend of the Five Rings, and D&D 3.5. I've also played in several campaigns run by other people, including some of the above games plus Paranoia, Vampire: the Masquerade, Demon: the Fallen, and a couple of homebrew D&D-inspired games. I've run and played in larps and diceless games.

So it surprises me that the recent pro-RPG sentiment here has completely gloss over some of the inconvenient aspects of RPGs. If RPGs were completely and reliably better than boardgames, we would be fools to waste our time on boardgames. For the convenience of potential responses, I will number my points:

1. RPG campaigns are a lot of work for the DM. If the DM is good at improv, the individual sessions can be draining. Otherwise, the DM is probably doing a lot of prep work.
2. RPG campaigns require a significant time commitment from all the players. Scheduling becomes increasingly difficult as players get older and take on other major commitments like careers and families.
3. RPG groups can be fragile. It only takes one difficult player to ruin a session or even a campaign.
4. RPG sessions are an unreliable form of entertainment. Sometimes players can get very bogged down in the planning stage, and it's boring. Sometimes the division of loot becomes surprisingly complex and even contentious. Sometimes the group spends an excessive amount of time on chit chat before play can start, and sometimes the same tired Monty Python quote can derail a good scene. Sometimes the players go off on a random tangent and seem to take perverse delight in resisting DM attempts to get things back on track.
5. A boardgame dungeon crawl will never be as good as a great RPG session, but it can often be better than a below-average RPG session. The boardgame tends to offer a predictable amount of action at a predictable pace, much like a meal at McDonalds will offer a more predictable level of quality than an unfamiliar restaurant.
6. There can be a wide and somewhat incompatible range of expectations even within a small RPG group. Some people want a lot of action, and some people want long and fulfilling conversations with a variety of NPCs. Some people want to contribute more proactively and imaginatively to the narrative, especially in a diceless game, while other players are content to passively navigate the DM's intended storyline.
7. A certain kind of RPG player really enjoys an RPG that offers a complex and highly tactical combat system, which explains why D&D 3.X sought to emulate the GURPS combat system.
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23 Jun 2019 14:03 #298779 by engineer Al

Shellhead wrote: So it surprises me that the recent pro-RPG sentiment here has completely gloss over some of the inconvenient aspects of RPGs.

I really am surprised at how this podcast became caught up in an argument that we never intended to be a part of. We are not saying that RPGs are better than board games or vise versa. We are simply saying that we enjoy both.


Shellhead wrote: 1. RPG campaigns are a lot of work for the DM. If the DM is good at improv, the individual sessions can be draining. Otherwise, the DM is probably doing a lot of prep work.

True, although some people really ENJOY doing this. Maybe everyone needs a Josh Look?


Shellhead wrote: 2. RPG campaigns require a significant time commitment from all the players. Scheduling becomes increasingly difficult as players get older and take on other major commitments like careers and families.

True, we discuss this in the podcast.


Shellhead wrote: 3. RPG groups can be fragile. It only takes one difficult player to ruin a session or even a campaign.

True for ANY game or activity.


Shellhead wrote: 4. RPG sessions are an unreliable form of entertainment. Sometimes players can get very bogged down in the planning stage, and it's boring. Sometimes the division of loot becomes surprisingly complex and even contentious. Sometimes the group spends an excessive amount of time on chit chat before play can start, and sometimes the same tired Monty Python quote can derail a good scene. Sometimes the players go off on a random tangent and seem to take perverse delight in resisting DM attempts to get things back on track.

True, but also true for board games. I can't even guess how many times I've sat at a game where someone says "take your turn already!" Also have seen people play a game with no intention other than trying to "break" it.


Shellhead wrote: 5. A boardgame dungeon crawl will never be as good as a great RPG session, but it can often be better than a below-average RPG session. The boardgame tends to offer a predictable amount of action at a predictable pace, much like a meal at McDonalds will offer a more predictable level of quality than an unfamiliar restaurant.

Not sure which is preferable here. Sure am glad I have options.


Shellhead wrote: 6. There can be a wide and somewhat incompatible range of expectations even within a small RPG group. Some people want a lot of action, and some people want long and fulfilling conversations with a variety of NPCs. Some people want to contribute more proactively and imaginatively to the narrative, especially in a diceless game, while other players are content to passively navigate the DM's intended storyline.

True, but also true of board games. This is why it's good to have a group of gamers who think alike.


Shellhead wrote: 7. A certain kind of RPG player really enjoys an RPG that offers a complex and highly tactical combat system, which explains why D&D 3.X sought to emulate the GURPS combat system.

Some people like Advanced Squad Leader, some people like the DC deckbuilding game.
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23 Jun 2019 14:49 #298780 by Michael Barnes
So what you are clearly saying is that RPG > board games. BURN THE HERETIC!
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23 Jun 2019 16:34 #298782 by Josh Look

engineer Al wrote: Maybe everyone needs a Josh Look?


Heh.

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