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Pandemonium Post 5: DnD Killers

Hello, my dearest friends. Once again, we meet at this humble corner where I, ever your servant, share with you the newest news about the RPG industry. This week, my eyes were locked on the upcoming “DnD Killers”. As we all know, last year was a little filled with drama and controversy as the giants of our small industry decided to exchange punches. The biggest and scariest of these giants, WOTC, took multiple ambitious steps towards creating a monopoly over the tabletop RPG genre, and as a result, many 3rd party creators rebelled against this company’s tyranny.


This year, we expect the flowers of this rebellion to bloom and finally bestow us a TTRPG spring where multiple new systems will be shared with our humble community and probably bring diversity to the market. This immense increase in the number of systems, however, is an alarming phenomenon as well since a homogenous division of the customer base between these systems may result in an overall downfall of the sector. I know many of you, just like me, when I wrote this sentence, think that the general buying trend of a TTRPG customer is not system specific since most of us love to try new things, but in the case of this DnD killer, it might be different.


These DnD killers are not like the Starfinder books that you have that you read from time to time and play with your friends once a month when your DM’s creativity dwindles. These are all different tools to tell the same story, and they all promise a similar experience to their customer with slight differences. One, for example, prioritizes the action-based storytelling aspect of the genre, MCDM RPG, and another prioritizes the new system approaches and mechanical advancements, Stormlight Archive RPG.


When a DM, at least the ones that I know, start writing a story, they are usually stuck with the number of systems that they know. These systems are their tools for telling a story, and each system comes with its pros and cons. If you wish to tell your story using DnD, that means you need an action and combat-based storytelling tool, and you probably want cinematic and action-based scenes in it. I am not saying that you are limited to these tools, but within the concept of DnD, these are aspects that will be easier to polish in the case of a DnD game. The DnD killers I mentioned above are quite similar in nature. Their focus, methodology and approach to the system are all shades of what we currently use and have. As a result, these systems don’t increase variation but only force you to select since there isn’t a major difference between them. All these systems promise that you can tell the same story that you are telling on your DnD game but better.


As a result, these products will naturally separate the general fanbase into multiple groups. We will have Daggerheart fans, MCDM enthusiasts, and Stormlight lovers, and these groups, I fear, won't merge at all. They will only divide the general fanbase into small clusters where the generation of new content won't be economically feasible due to insufficient amounts of fans per FRP system available.


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