There were enough D20 supplemental books at GenCon to fill a landfill. The best one was one designed to add erotica to the game. I fipped through it and saw a spell called “Cursed Orgasm.” The victim has a painful orgasm and gets hit by 1D6 per caster level of damage.
The rule book also had some erotic photos of topless women trying to look like sorceresses or something. That was cool. The photo of the man having his nipples stretched by nipple clamps looked ouchy, though. [/i]
Whats so great about the D20 system?!?! Do enough people even play D20 DnD to warrant so many homebrew D20 games? And the DnD spellsystem still feels fake (Earthdawn’s spellsystem ROCKS, should have used that in 3rd edition). Bah, I havent PnP’d in awhile, what the hell do i know.
It’s the pen and paper gaming equivalent of Windows now. Nearly every roleplaying game or supplement at the show was D20-compatible. Between D20 stuff and CCG stuff, there were basically two generic game models dominating the show – maybe 3/4ths of the show was that stuff, with minis from Wizkids, Games Workshop, and smaller companies taking a healthy bite and some boardgame stuff filling out the rest.
It’s sort of sad, really, because while the D20 system was a huge improvement for D&D, there are way better game systems out there. Star Wars is a great example–West End Games’ original Star Wars mechanics were far superior to the new D20 rules that have replaced them. They were simpler and elegant and worked extremely well–the precursor to the mechanics White Wolf used in all of its games. The Star Wars D20 rules are okay, but they made the game more complicated without adding much.
GURPS was a good system in its day, though there’s been much better stuff published since. It’s not really a power-gamer system, though. In fact, it was one of the first games that started to get away from that.
On a related note: Call of Cthulhu D20 is another game that I think was better, mechanics-wise, in its pre-D20 incarnation. In fact, I’d say that the D20 system makes a terrible fit for that game, simply because D20 is so heavily combat-oriented (and Call of Cthulhu is not, or shouldn’t be).
Actually, I’m trying to recall if it’s GURPS or another system that is the wet dream for munchkins.[/quote]
Rollmaster, er, I mean RoleMaster is the wet dream for munchkins. Pages and pages of critical hit tables for different kinds of attacks. More dice rolls than you can shake a stick at. Even a really big stick!
It’s the pen and paper gaming equivalent of Windows now. Nearly every roleplaying game or supplement at the show was D20-compatible. Between D20 stuff and CCG stuff, there were basically two generic game models dominating the show – maybe 3/4ths of the show was that stuff, with minis from Wizkids, Games Workshop, and smaller companies taking a healthy bite and some boardgame stuff filling out the rest.[/quote]
What Mark said. It’s a much easier sale to sell someone on a D20 supplement where you don’t have to teach them a new system, if they don’t use the whole thing they can take bits and pieces and fit it in their home game, and you can focus on what differentiates your product. Although I was at one seminar that got into the business side of things, and it looks like the predicted D20 shake out has begun. There’s a glut of products, very few of them are profitable, and unsuccessful companies will start withering and dying. Successful print runs have dropped from 15,000 copies of a product to selling 2,000 copies of a product, which is roughly equivalent to pre-D20 days.
I have the same problem, I kind of collect games here and there and friends of mine think it would be great to pick them up again… but there’s just no time. My last purchase was the GDC game Traveller 2300 (and the updated 2300AD). Loved that game, also found a bunch of out of print Dark Conspiracy and Twilight 2000 books that now collect dust on my shelf. Oh well.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the RPG that got me started (had Star Frontiers and the Middle Earth Role Playing Game before but never got hooked). Then we discovered Twilight 2000 and never really looked back.
First is that WOTC continues to dominate the D20 world. (Not counting D&D here.) They opened up the system, but with Star Wars and Modern, they also took a lot of the market back.
White Wolf is a close second with their Sword & Sorcery supplements. I’m also guessing that the Warcraft one won’t do nearly as well as their Everquest book did a year before.
One company to keep an eye on is Green Ronin. They’re probably the biggest “little guy” in the D20 world, putting out the first (and highest quality) independent modules. They’ve managed to make a go of it as a company specializing in D20 work, and as long as they’re around I’ll believe that the third party market is still viable.
Second, the hobby gaming industry is vastly different then the computer gaming industry. While it is dominated by large companies, there is a thriving market for the independents. They may not be making untold millions of dollars, but you can put together a tidy profit with original game designs and content. You can also be a one man show and make a living. Take a look at James Ernest for one example.
In the end the problem with D20 is that by allowing the third party developers to focus solely on content it’s lowered the bar to a point where there’s too much content and no innovation. For a while that was fun while everyone got their gothic, punk, post-apocalyptic, outer space, superhero, groove on. Now it’s truly a glut.
But original ideas work. Guardians of Order’s Big Eyes Small Mouth system is now in bookstores, and quietly growing to cover most of the secondary Anime licenses. There’s plenty of other examples out there.
With a little luck (and the right publisher) you should see my own innovative product enter the market in the next year or so.