2019: A record year for Dungeons and Dragons.

If you hadn’t seen the headline already, D&D was the best year in the game’s 46 years. You can read more about it HERE. Some interesting takeaways: 39% of players are female and sales of the introductory boxed edition increased by 300%.

Now, we can all comment once again on “what if’s” and marketing and product strategies that I.C.E. could employ with RMU, but I’d would rather focus on the broader issues:

  1. The rising tide raises all boats. Rolemaster and other systems all road D&D’s coattails and benefited from D&D’s popularity and market growth.
  2. Back in the 80’s I vaguely recall that the female RPG player market was not even 10%: 39% AND GROWING is fantastic and shows how much popular culture has embraced, and been embraced by women.
  3. In general, this is a positive trend for RPG’s–15 years ago, it felt like the industry was dying.
  4. D&D has it’s share of famous people players–what about Rolemaster? I think Joe Abercrombie (famous for a fantasy writer) mentioned playing Rolemaster on a blog post. Anyone else know of a famous RM shout-out?
  5. Finally, not being familiar with D&D since the early 80’s (although I did play Pathfinder with Matt a few years ago), is RM/RMU that much different than 5e? I’ve read that D&D has embraced skill systems and other attributes that were novel 40 years ago. RMU aside, what makes d100 RM worth exploring by some of these D&D players.
  6. Europe. Sales increased by 65%. That’s a good fact.

It’s nice to see a hobby that I’ve enjoyed for 40 years still popular, growing and well represented in mainstream pop culture!

4 Replies to “2019: A record year for Dungeons and Dragons.”

  1. D&D did adopt several things that Rolemaster had in the course of the 80s and 90s. The main ones I can think of are:
    –Skills. I think it was D&D 2.0 that made skills core?
    –Critical hits (simplified in DnD to mostly just a natural 20).
    –Attack bonuses expressed as a simple bonus like OB in RM (rather than charts or THACO)
    –Ability score increases

    RM and D&D do seem quite different to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m a rules wonk. Nevertheless, it is true that despite RM’s origins as a D&D hack, some of the key mechanics of the games got closer over the course of the 80s and 90s.

    I would still like RM to learn from D&D’s successes and simplify the stat chart to a nice, sexy, smooth curve: [stat -50] / 3, just as D&D has gone from 18(xx) and all that business to a smooth [stat/2].

  2. It is my understanding that 5e is somewhat simpler and more accessible than previous editions.
    While RM is never going to be a really simple game, there are things that can be made easier as Hurin points out.

  3. I find 5e vastly different than RMU. Classes (Professions) are fairly rigid and linear. Skills reduced to 17 basic skills. And game mechanics for skills, combat, and spells fit into about 30 pages (pages 273 to 307 in the Players Handbook) that include full color images (so the core rules is less than 30 pages). The MERP book is more complex than 5e. As for how similar the rules are—nowhere close.

    While the original RM and MERP may have been derived from either original or AD&D, RMU is not derived from 5e D&D. If ICE even put in a conversion notes for 5e into RMU, I would be surprised—even shocked like an electric effect from an RM critical table. I don’t expect they will.

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