That Metal Thread Hasbro issues & the future of DnD

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TristramEvans

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Oh they care about the products, in the sense they're good enough to generate a lot of profit. But maybe a lot of Magic: The Gathering players have stocks in Hasbro, just to support their favorite card game. I don't know, but I don't think so.

well, whether they care about any individual products is unlikely, but you're assigning a massive generalization of motives to millions of people that just doesn't reflect the reality of modern businesses - stockholders aren't automatons, and corporate mission statements and objectives that are drafted for and approved by majority shareholders include a LOT more than just a cartoon-character stereotype of Mr Burns from the Simpsons. Like everyone else, environmental concerns, social responsibility, public image, etc. all play a role beyond simply "profits!". Not every company is Monsanto.
 

Bunch

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Your both right and wrong here. For the shareholders the only thing that matters, is how much profit they can get. Most of them, if not all, don't care about the actual products the company they have shares in makes.
Now some of the employees of said company, probably does care. This is the constant problem, of the creatives fighting the suits thing, that all businesses like this has.
That's not a safe generalization. People do care about what they invest in. Most of the folks I know who invest don't buy Philip Morris. This bit where corporations are soulless and evil is a bit of propaganda in my opinion. If folks didn't care their wouldn't be a whole class of ratings about how environmentally/socially responsible companies are.
And most people even at the C level have options where to work. They're already making enough money to thrive so when they look at where to work it has to have something that excites them more than just more money(unless it's obscenely so). Sometimes it's the challenge of how to take a company that's failing and see if they can save it. Sometimes it's an area they care a lot about. The idea that their all sociopaths just looking for a penny more to horde in some vault or buy a bigger yacht is not the norm. They are human beings dealing with all the quests for value in life the rest of us deal with. They just have more options.
 

The Mad Hatter

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TristramEvans TristramEvans & Bunch Bunch yes I know, investors are not moustache twirling supervillains. Corporations are also not, (at least yet), soulless and evil. My use of "profit" here, was meant to say that they don't care the same way about, say D&D as a product as gamers do.
I also know about stuff like so-called ESG scores and the like. But I don't put much credit into such things. But that's all I'll say about this. Because, I believe a debate about these things is inherently political. Also, I would start to sound like some raving communist and I'm not a communist.
 

Black Leaf

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That's not a safe generalization. People do care about what they invest in. Most of the folks I know who invest don't buy Philip Morris. This bit where corporations are soulless and evil is a bit of propaganda in my opinion.
There's a difference between individual investors and the corporation as a structure. The latter is pretty much inarguably soulless for the same reason any legal entity is. Any corporation that isn't a non-profit has the primary purpose of making a profit and the secondary purpose of protecting its owners from full liability. That's not an ethical good/evil question (or if it is it's way out of the scope of this forum because it's socio-political). It simply is. Without those two things the corporation would have no need to exist.
If folks didn't care their wouldn't be a whole class of ratings about how environmentally/socially responsible companies are.
And most people even at the C level have options where to work. They're already making enough money to thrive so when they look at where to work it has to have something that excites them more than just more money(unless it's obscenely so). Sometimes it's the challenge of how to take a company that's failing and see if they can save it. Sometimes it's an area they care a lot about. The idea that their all sociopaths just looking for a penny more to horde in some vault or buy a bigger yacht is not the norm. They are human beings dealing with all the quests for value in life the rest of us deal with. They just have more options.
I'd agree that some investors make investment decisions on grounds other than sheer profit. I think you shift too far in the other direction by almost implying that altrustic investment is a major motivation. The most ethical investor wants to see their shares go up, not down.

Also, in the case of WoTC specifically, about 11% of the shareholders are individual shareholders. 53% are institutional. I have trouble believing that the primary focus of The Capital Group isn't in fact profit, whatever the views of individual employees.

And when profit is in conflict with other issues like the social good, the former will almost always win out.

I doubt very much that most investors care about things like "is it better for the hobby of gaming if D&D is less dominant" and why should they?
 

TJS

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WotC owns a ton of IPs that are languishing in obscurity but could be profitable. Can you imagine a crpg set in Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Dark•Matter or Star*Drive?
I guess the question for a crpg developer is whether any of those really have wide enough name recognition to be worth licensing.
 

AppleJax

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I guess the question for a crpg developer is whether any of those really have wide enough name recognition to be worth licensing.
They’ve licensed numerous obscure properties before. It’s apparently better than having to come up with your own ideas

Not my fault WotC lets their IPs rot in obscurity
 

Black Leaf

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I guess the question for a crpg developer is whether any of those really have wide enough name recognition to be worth licensing.
Mutant Year Zero (the video game) was successful enough to get a film deal, so Gamma World at least should have potential.
 

AppleJax

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There aren’t any space opera crpgs beyond Star Wars, Mass Effect, and The Outer Worlds. Star*Drive provides a ready-made setting with lots of politics (the stellar nations provide ready backgrounds for player characters), has a number of adventures that could be adapted, several novels, tons of alien profiles and whatever was going on with the externals. It even has cyberpunk elements! Other scifi rpgs like Star Frontiers, Traveller, etc don’t have that level of focus going for them.

In terms of cyberpunk, their old setting Kromosome puts some spins on familiar cyberpunk tropes. For example, it has a preponderance of bioware, everyone lives online like they do today, there are colonies throughout the Solar system, and IIRC Earth is a barely inhabitable wasteland where you have to wear suits to avoid the unfiltered sunlight giving you cancer.
 

Telok

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Mutant Year Zero (the video game) was successful enough to get a film deal, so Gamma World at least should have potential.

I can absolutely see two different Gamma World crpgs. A typical Fallout +mutations +higer level lost tech, and an mmo-like fps based on that lol-randoz version... 7e? maybe.

Frankly with the Fallout series you already have at least 75% of the game engine and 90% of the graphics engine already there. You'd mostly be building the world, missions, and art.
 

Sable Wyvern

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That said, IANAL, but I don't think calling them the "Eyeball Thingums" would be enough to avoid legal problems. Because of them being a unique creation, avoiding falling foul of expressing them in a similar enough way woule be difficult.
The thing is, while things like beholders and mindflayers are classic and iconic, they've also been around long enough that they feel a little passe as well. The ACKS versions (Sorcerous Sphere and Khepri) were heavily reflavoured (for legal reasons), and the result is that they feel new and interesting even while they're compatible enough they can be freely swapped in and out with their predecessors.
 

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The thing is, while things like beholders and mindflayers are classic and iconic, they've also been around long enough that they feel a little passe as well. The ACKS versions (Sorcerous Sphere and Khepri) were heavily reflavoured (for legal reasons), and the result is that they feel new and interesting even while they're compatible enough they can be freely swapped in and out with their predecessors.
This has been one of the strengths of the OSR generally.
 

AppleJax

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The ones they have are mostly all available in PDF and many as PoD.
Selling copies of old books isn’t the same as providing active support, and even that had to be forced out of them after their last hissy fit. They can withdraw it at any time. Or something might go wrong on the technical side.

Fact is, unless an IP is being actively maintained with new entries and promoted to audiences then people will forget about it. Communities will atrophy and eventually vanish.

A ton of great IPs languish in obscurity because they’re owned by those that have no interest in it. Or are greedily abused by those that don’t understand it.

We need copyright lengths to be reduced. 14 years or so is more than sufficient. Trademark covers the rest.
 

Voros

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I think there's an element where WOTC are going to be victims of their own success here. The standard way of making money from RPGs (splatbooks) isn't ever going to make enough to keep up with shareholder expectations. So they really have no option put to put out a new edition. The increasing focus on digital may or may not stave off the issue, but I think it's the only feasible option. (The other thing they're focusing heavily on is organised play which I think is a sensible move and one no other publisher has the resources to really do properly).

Whether any of this will be enough to stave off the inevitable end of the fad remains to be seen. Also, we don't know if the decline of D&D is going to open up more space for other RPGs like in the 90s. I certainly hope so.

Yes and no. The whole streaming fuelled boom is going to come to a natural end because these things always do.

But we're still going to get a new generation of geeks who play along with an increased willingness to try RPGs. The 70s/80s stigma round being a geek is largely gone for good. Which is entirely positive. Aging geeks who whine about how we had it hard so new generations should suffer are pathetic. Although I'm happy to throw their bag onto the roof if they want, just for old time's sake.

At this point I don't think 8 years of 5e success can really be considered a fad. There may be a decline or plateau in interest/sales but I doubt there's a cliff in the future unless something goes drastically wrong.

Chickenlittles have been desperately predicting the fall of WotC D&D for so long I'll believe it when it actually happens.
 
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TristramEvans

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WotC owns a ton of IPs that are languishing in obscurity but could be profitable. Can you imagine a crpg set in Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Dark•Matter or Star*Drive?

They should for sure license Star Frontiers just to f^&# with LaNasa
TristramEvans TristramEvans & Bunch Bunch yes I know, investors are not moustache twirling supervillains. Corporations are also not, (at least yet), soulless and evil. My use of "profit" here, was meant to say that they don't care the same way about, say D&D as a product as gamers do.

Yeah, that's fair. D&D is just one small corner of Hasbro's business, and gamers (generally) don't have a huge crossover populace with high end investors
 

opaopajr

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They've been pissing off MtG players something fierce these past 5 years. Never seen anything like it. I understand a trade dress format shift here and there ticking players off, but metaplot, lack of playtesting, and outright favoritism to the speculative market were several of the arguments I was getting from current players. :wink: Glad I quit cardboard crack before they were born.
 

Necrozius

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Competitive e-sport D&D is next. Mark my words. Legions of non-players donning their favorite character’s logo (and painting their faces in their main colors). Tik toks of tiefling and half-orc cosplay babes. Merchandising!!!!
 

AsenRG

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lol, no, Phaserip is mine! My version of D&D 6th edition would be based on the 1980's cartoon mixed with The Last Starfighter and Isekai anime, where you first create a character who is like a regular teenager in high school, with your clique as your Class, and there's a Lifepath system, and your stats are mostly all psychological. And then you create your avatar in a fantasy MMO, with like 1000 classes and races, and level that up to level 100 (with a mix of class and race levels), with all the social deficiencies of your primary character inversely providing you more hours of in-game time to give your character stuff like special power boosts, cash-shop items, etc. And then, for the actual game you transport those characters to a gritty, highly-political GoT-esque fantasy world where you like are just insane invaders running around f-ing stuff up.

View attachment 52089

...and there's THAC0...
...I might get into D&D if you get to make the 6.0:thumbsup:!

I'd play that.

Reminds me that in addition to the other stuff to prep for next campaign I want to try squeezing in time to work on my reverse lifepath generator idea.
What is a reverse lifepath? Do you start from a character and find out what motivated him to get a given score or what:grin:?

Also, the idea that business executives care about who the products themselves contradicts what I know quite a bit...

Speaking as a worldbuilding angle, do you think that executives are people like all the rest of us, just with more options?
Or do you think, like me, that they're people who actually have less options? Because they get more money, but then they also have greater expenses - whether for security or for funding the "keeping up with the Joneses" is irrelevant, though I remember reading a research that suggested the latter, years ago - so they are still struggling to get ahead. But the problem is, the places that would pay them more become fewer and fewer the higher they climb:shade:.
I guess that would make a near-future world run by me somewhat different from one run by Bunch Bunch :tongue:! Though maybe we should shift that to a separate thread - something like "how do you portray business executives in an RPG".
 

The Mad Hatter

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Executives are people like the rest us, they just have a lot more money. I don't envy them, it's cold and lonely in such positions.
Basically executives do the same thing, normal people do then they get more money. Buy a new car, a bigger place to live and so on. Usually, without even thinking whether they actually need these things.
At the end of the day. Most people in our so-called modern society, are just hamsters cought in the wheel of consumerism.
 

Baulderstone

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I think 5e is behaving rationally. Just like 3e was rational. They are responding to requests from consumers about a product they want. I think a lot of us are not the consumers they are responding to. But that doesn't make it irrational.
Not necessarily, but it is irrational if those consumers don't exist. It's a recurring trend in corporate history to destroy a brand by attempting to market it to people who don't care about it. Disney has gutted its stock value by following that plan with Star Wars and Marvel.

Part of the problem is these companies usually wait until the fad is dying to go this direction. You have the company putting out products for the casuals about five minutes after they have drifted off to the new fad. Only your actual fans are left, and you have nothing in your production pipeline that they want to buy. The sad thing is that a crash is almost inevitable with fads like this, not matter how well you manage things. It's just that if you alienate your core audience, you end up worse than you were before it.

I really don't envy anyone who is stepping in to run WotC at the moment. From a career perspective, the best move is to unthinkingly do what the marketing research says to do. That way you have your bases covered with the board when the fad inevitably crashes.
 

Gringnr

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Gamers will game whether the hobby is niche or mainstream, as we always have.















The only part of the impending rpg implosion I dread is the cacophony of armchair pundits quarterbacks who will inevitably come out of the woodwork to claim that it will be the result of the thing they've been claiming would destroy D&D "any day now" for a decade or more. This will, of course, be a case of the broken clock being right twice a day, rather than any actual prescience on their part. But that won't stop the parade of masturbatory self-aggrandizement.
 

TristramEvans

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The only part of the impending rpg implosion I dread is the cacophony of armchair pundits quarterbacks who will inevitably come out of the woodwork to claim that it will be the result of the thing they've been claiming would destroy D&D "any day now" for a decade or more. This will, of course, be a case of the broken clock being right twice a day, rather than any actual prescience on their part. But that won't stop the parade of masturbatory self-aggrandizement.

I mean, just because we know Jennifer Aniston will be masturbating in public, doesn't mean anyone has to go watch the video...
 

WillPhillips

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WotC owns a ton of IPs that are languishing in obscurity but could be profitable. Can you imagine a crpg set in Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Dark•Matter or Star*Drive?
I think that's an overly optimistic view of the value of those IPs. Even Gamma World has always struggled to find a wide, breakthrough audience.
 

Shipyard Locked

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The only part of the impending rpg implosion I dread is the cacophony of armchair pundits quarterbacks who will inevitably come out of the woodwork to claim that it will be the result of the thing they've been claiming would destroy D&D "any day now" for a decade or more.

That's one of the saddest lessons in life: For the most part, the people we disagree with will never face reality / realize the truth / learn their lesson / accept their fault / get their comeuppance / etc.

But then again, neither will we. We're too good at making excuses and rationalizing things away.

And even on those rare occasions when someone does acknowledge they were in the wrong, the situation is often too sad for gloating to feel right. As some random Magic: The Gathering character once said:

5ZpJBKz.jpg
 

Telok

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I think that's an overly optimistic view of the value of those IPs. Even Gamma World has always struggled to find a wide, breakthrough audience.
It was, when I got to play, about as popular as Boot Hill and Twilight 2000. Of course that was early/mid 90s... I think, its been a while. But it always seemed as popular as the rest of the third string games.

I do recall quite the excitement when the new ed was announced by wotc. It was bleh and sank almost instantly, but that was wotc's hack job and not the IP.

Edit: sorry, didn't see this before.
What is a reverse lifepath? Do you start from a character and find out what motivated him to get a given score or what:grin:?
Yeah, thats basically it. For use in games where you have meaningful backgrounds but a few players who are habituated to generating anonomyous nameless orphan murder-hobo cardboard cutout characters. Plus probably useful for GMs to flesh out NPCs quickly.
 
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Black Leaf

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I think the problem now is that the third string games have almost no visability at all. Hell, even the second tier stuff like WoD struggles to get attention.

It's the bitter irony of the modern market. We have a wider variety of RPGs available then ever before, but D&D is also more dominant than ever before.

It's why I don't agree with the argument that D&D doing well has a positive effect on the rest of the hobby. I don't think it does much harm either, but D&D is by this point a separate hobby to RPGs. Same as the rise of Warhammer 40k didn't lead to any kind of boom for miniature wargaming in general
 

TJS

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Gamma World seems to be one of those games people love the idea of and get all nostalgic for but probably don't mostly really want to play.

Hence it keeps coming back but never sticks around for long.

I think it's a question of tone. It's a weird game. It's not serious post apocalyse with its psychic rabbits that turn metal into rubber, but to work it can't be entirely silly either. You kind of have to play that silliness with a straight face.

Everyone has a slightly different idea of where it should lie on the grim to utterly silly spectrum too - hence new editions are always accused of being in the wrong place.

It's something that might actually work better in a computer game because it's easier to get the tone right. But the problem there is that tone might not actually have a wide appeal if the nostalgia factor is absent.
 
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sharps54

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There is nothing stopping someone from making basically the same thing as the old TSR properties with different names. What does Gamma World offer that Mutant Future or Mutant Crawl Classics doesn’t? I don’t really play video games but I take it from earlier comments that there are video games that also give the same approximate experience.

I love Boot Hill but it isn’t like we have a lack of western games on the market plus you can get it PoD from DrivethruRPG, what else do you need?
 

Doc Sammy

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I mean, just because we know Jennifer Aniston will be masturbating in public, doesn't mean anyone has to go watch the video...

At this point, there needs to be an "Epic Rap Battle of History" where Jennifer Aniston faces off against Darren MacLerran and then both get their asses handed to them by the ghosts of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
 

Black Leaf

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At this point, there needs to be an "Epic Rap Battle of History" where Jennifer Aniston faces off against Darren MacLerran and then both get their asses handed to them by the ghosts of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
And in the distance Greg Stafford looks on sadly, a single tear falliing down his face.
 
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