August 9, 2013

A new golden age?

The renaissance was marked by the gradual decline in the power of the monarch, and a rise in power of a diverse class of diverse, powerful oligarchs.  No, I'm not talking about the sixteenth century.  I'm talking about the state of tabletop roleplaying.

As I write this, D&D has slipped from its position as the top-selling RPG product.  Its undeclared bastard heir, Pathfinder, has usurped its position.  The monarchy still holds the throne:
- Mike Mearls leads the D&D Next team, and with Ed Greenwood working on a new Forgotten Realms, its bound to have some traction.
- 4th edition D&D is still selling well, in the #2 spot, despite the lack of support from WotC.
- Pathfinder has been reigning as the #1 selling RPG, and continues to be supported at Paizo.

But growing in power are a few new fantasy RPGs that threaten to shake the old regime to the core:
- Numenera, by Monte Cook, a designer of 3rd edition D&D
- 13th Age, by Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo, the lead designers of both 3rd and 4th edition D&D

Then there are a ton of other RPGs, such as Gumshoe with new Night's Black Agents; FATE Core and the Dresden Files RPG by Evil Hat (who I think of as my local game designers); Legend by Rule of Cool; God Machine Chronicle by White Wolf; and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.

I want to play all this stuff.  But here's the problem:  I lock into campaigns!  I wrapped up my 3.5 campaign just this year.  When I started it, there was no 4th edition.  I'm in two 4e games, a 3.5 game, a Pathfinder game, and I'm running 2 4th edition campaigns.  Granted they won't go on forever... but they could go on for years before I get space to run these other new things!  Asylum may come out by then.

And I may even try my hand at game design.