I believe Hasbro will be the downfall of D&D.


4th Edition

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I am really happy Peter and other WOTC's owners were able to cash in. Innovation should be rewarded, and obviously Paizo and Pathfinder were able to be the started with the help of that found capital.

Going back into history, TSR could have been easily bought out by a big corp in mid 1980's, only the Blumes financial incompetence prevented that.

So let Peter enjoy his well earned spoils. He simply managed the process of monetizing his intellectual capital better than Gary ever did.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Pan wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Pan wrote:
Who cares about D&D as long as alternatives that are just as good are around? I mean I had no problem jumping to Pathfinder when they rolled it out since D&D at the time wasn't what I wanted to play.

I want the brand name to survive. The better known it is and the more likelihood there is of mainstream possibilities, the easier it is to raise serious capital (for movies, novel franchises, television shows, computer games or anything else).

I may not care about any of those things, but the more capital coming into the industry, the easier it is for people to carve out a career. The more fringe-y it gets, the more we have to continue to rely on part-timers and creative types doing us the favor of working for peanuts.

Yeah I have zero fear the brand will go away. I mean Atari is still a thing and its history is much worse than D&Ds. Some brands will never die. I don't think a strong TTRPG is necessary for a strong brand. I could have made my point much better I guess. Who cares if the D&D TTRPG sucks or diminishes into a poorly supported game as long as they pump the brand. The alternatives will benefit from it like you pointed out with additional career launching and a community interested in TTRPGs that dont suck.

*Please note I dont think 5E sucks, but even if I did I wouldn't be worried about D&D.

I may have misunderstood the post I replied to. I dont think it's going away either - I was just answering your question of why I'd care if it did (irrespective of my feelings for it).


Pan wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Pan wrote:
Who cares about D&D as long as alternatives that are just as good are around? I mean I had no problem jumping to Pathfinder when they rolled it out since D&D at the time wasn't what I wanted to play.

I want the brand name to survive. The better known it is and the more likelihood there is of mainstream possibilities, the easier it is to raise serious capital (for movies, novel franchises, television shows, computer games or anything else).

I may not care about any of those things, but the more capital coming into the industry, the easier it is for people to carve out a career. The more fringe-y it gets, the more we have to continue to rely on part-timers and creative types doing us the favor of working for peanuts.

Yeah I have zero fear the brand will go away. I mean Atari is still a thing and its history is much worse than D&Ds. Some brands will never die. I don't think a strong TTRPG is necessary for a strong brand. I could have made my point much better I guess. Who cares if the D&D TTRPG sucks or diminishes into a poorly supported game as long as they pump the brand. The alternatives will benefit from it like you pointed out with additional career launching and a community interested in TTRPGs that dont suck.

*Please note I dont think 5E sucks, but even if I did I wouldn't be worried about D&D.

But you see, I care about the TTRPG and couldn't give a rats arse about the brand. I don't think they are going to have a blockbuster movie, nor do I think D&D is going to become this world wide fad. They really should stick with what they know and that's making RPG's.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).


Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.


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Forever Slayer wrote:

I'm not here to blame anyone for the sale. I am discussing the destructive force behind a megacorporation when it gets it's hands on something they think they can turn into a mega money maker. The problem with companies like Hasbro is they are trapped in the ever increasing profit treadmill. Profit isn't enough to companies like these, they have to maximize their profits because of shareholders. I believe Hasbro will strip D&D of the name and let the rest just fade away.

I would rather see D&D progress for years to come without trying to make mega profits.

You seem to be wishing for an intellectual property worth hundreds of millions in licensing rights to be owned by a small company that doesn't care about profits. This is not going to happen. The best you can hope for is that whichever megacorporation owns it allows competent people who care about tabletop gaming to run that tiny sector of their operations.

Liberty's Edge

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Vic Wertz wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Yep. Petey wanted to cash out. Blame him for Hasbro.
While Peter was certainly instrumental in the Hasbro purchase of Wizards, it took the majority of Wizards of the Coast shareholders to actually make it happen. Lisa and I both voted to sell, and we have no regrets about that. (For that matter, I don't know a single Wizards shareholder who does regret it.) So if you're passing around "blame," put some right here.

The statement was simplistic. I should have said "blame", I guess, as I don't "blame" Peter, you, Lisa, or anyone for turning down a bunch of money (some of which probably resulted in the start up needed to get Paizo off the ground). I was responding to the piling on Hasbro, a game and toy company that doesn't pay a ton of attention to a very niche market, and makes decisions accordingly.

Liberty's Edge

Matrix Dragon wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

Here's one place Hasbro is winning. To the vast majority of the population, if they see a bunch of people gaming, they assume "Dungeons and Dragons". Outside of our bubble, no one knows what the hell "Paizo" or "Pathfinder" are.

Well, people used to think that all video game systems were "nintendos". These sorts of things don't last forever, though it will probably take longer in a smaller market like this one.

Unfortunately, video games blew up. Role playing games have been on a slow slide into irrelevance (market wise) since the Eighties. TTRPG isn't "building up" to anything. It's shrinking.

Silver Crusade

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Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

Or how TSR thought.

Dragonstrike, a Candyland style D&D Board Game (My Grandmother had one!), Dragon Dice, the old cartoon show, the action figures. I remember as a kid there were even little storybooks on tape (one involved some knight having to get a cure for his wizard friend).

Let's not get into the Evil Corporations What Corporate stuff here.

Hasbro only differs from TSR in that they're more competent, more risk adverse, and more demanding that their products actually make a profit.

Liberty's Edge

Spook205 wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

Or how TSR thought.

Dragonstrike, a Candyland style D&D Board Game (My Grandmother had one!), Dragon Dice, the old cartoon show, the action figures. I remember as a kid there were even little storybooks on tape (one involved some knight having to get a cure for his wizard friend).

Let's not get into the Evil Corporations What Corporate stuff here.

Hasbro only differs from TSR in that they're more competent, more risk adverse, and more demanding that their products actually make a profit.

Don't forget they're actually run by business people and not hobbyists.


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Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

yeah certainly a small company like Paizo has no interest in expanding into video games or T-shirts or adorably cute plush goblins so why would WotC :-) that's all basics of brand building, like taught in elementary school basics :-)

Certainly WotC didn't need Hasbro to tell them to do that :-)


captain yesterday wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

yeah certainly a small company like Paizo has no interest in expanding into video games or T-shirts or adorably cute plush goblins so why would WotC :-) that's all basics of brand building, like taught in elementary school basics :-)

Certainly WotC didn't need Hasbro to tell them to do that :-)

Thing is, Paizo has shown they can do all this and still keep Pathfinder in the spotlight with no slowing down.

Wizards can't seem to grasp that concept.


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I loved the choose your own adventure books they put out for dungeons and dragons, can't tell you how many times I tried to kill off the hero in those by making obviously stupid choices. ah, good times


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houstonderek wrote:
Matrix Dragon wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

Here's one place Hasbro is winning. To the vast majority of the population, if they see a bunch of people gaming, they assume "Dungeons and Dragons". Outside of our bubble, no one knows what the hell "Paizo" or "Pathfinder" are.

Well, people used to think that all video game systems were "nintendos". These sorts of things don't last forever, though it will probably take longer in a smaller market like this one.
Unfortunately, video games blew up. Role playing games have been on a slow slide into irrelevance (market wise) since the Eighties. TTRPG isn't "building up" to anything. It's shrinking.

This is commonly said and I'm certainly willing to admit the gaming population is smaller than the boom, but do we actually have data saying the slide is continuing?

It certainly hasn't been a constant slide - upticks with Vampire and D&D3 counter that.

It could be argued that even at the height of the first boom, they were basically irrelevant market wise - a negligible fraction of the entertainment dollar.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Vic Wertz wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Yep. Petey wanted to cash out. Blame him for Hasbro.
While Peter was certainly instrumental in the Hasbro purchase of Wizards, it took the majority of Wizards of the Coast shareholders to actually make it happen. Lisa and I both voted to sell, and we have no regrets about that. (For that matter, I don't know a single Wizards shareholder who does regret it.) So if you're passing around "blame," put some right here.

If I was suddenly flush with that kind of cash, I'd be really tempted to rest on my laurels for the rest of my life. So thank you and Lisa for not doing that--you picked up the torch and kept running.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Also, HD, I think maybe you underestimate the current renaissance of TTRPG. Maybe the market isn't what it was in the 80s, but I'd wager that since 2010 or so it's a darn sight bigger than what it was in the 90s and early 00s. This is purely anecdotal, but I had a couple decades where I had a really hard time finding games. Now I have to make hard decisions about who not to game with since there are more great games than I have time to play. Maybe a regional thing (though I think not), but geek chic is still strong. Maybe the biggest factor helping our analog hobby is technology: the Internet's ability to connect people with niche interests means those niches, and companies like Paizo who can position themselves well in them, can thrive.

You are correct, though, that Hasbro doesn't pay much attention to D&D other than for branding reasons. And they can afford not to. MtG dwarfs D&D by orders of magnitude.


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TSR actually promoted the hobby and diversity. The problem was those at the top at the end screwed up badly. 2 products had a lot to do with it but only because no one checked the figures.
The produced the set of spell, etc. encyclopedias which were well liked and sold quite well - problem was at a very late stage someone decided that these would look really cool if they looked leather bound and issued an order that they would be, without checking the costs so they ended up with a product which I believe made virtually no money, and if unsold stock was factored in a loss.
Dragon Dice and appalling financial control dealt the death blow. Dragon Dice was a huge success when it launched. So much so that the launch date outside the US was not going to happen because all the product was going straight into the US market. This when three fatal mistakes were made:
1. a second manufacturer was brought on line with out checking the figures properly, new manufacturer was much more expensive and the profit margin dissapeared.
2. the first expansion was released but mistakes in the packing and distribution meant that all the rare 3 point unit dice ended up in europe and the 2 point uncommon in the states making the new race unplayable.
3. and most fatal of all, a huge deal had been done to get all TSR product into book shops. Huge sums came in from this and were gleefully taken in bonuses, spent on fancy covers for books, etc. Trouble was the deal was sale and return. No one checked what was happening, kept back money or saw that the support given to the products in the traditional game store was put in place. A year later the book shops sent back their returns - which is when TSR discovered that most of the product (including enough dragon dice to have launched Europe without the expensive second factory)had not sold and had just sat on shelves. TSR had no money refund the amount required so enter WoTC.


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I believe Lisa has also stated that, having waded through TSR reports, diversifying into all the settings TSR did was harmful to their financial status as well.

Silver Crusade

Tacticslion wrote:
I believe Lisa has also stated that, having waded through TSR reports, diversifying into all the settings TSR did was harmful to their financial status as well.

As fans, we all like the diversity of the 2e days. The sad truth is though that every printing for Ravenloft was something the Mystara guys didn't buy, and that was in turn something the Planescape guys didn't buy, and Realms guys didn't buy Dragonlance supplements, and so on.

That being said, some of the supplements TSR made I still consider some of the best. Nothing from 3e stands out in my mind like the Complete Book of Paladins, or the old 1e guidebooks about adventuring in caves.

But, I'll be the first to admit that for all this fun stuff, we also have the Complete Book of Halflings, or dozens of supplements with no real value, or ones that disagree with other ones.

I'm still sad that copyright issues will prevent WoTC or Paizo from doing another Dragon/Dungeon Compilation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hitdice wrote:
I don't really think D&D even can have downfall at this point;

Yes it still can... when the current generation ages and dies, and the bulk of their children go on to new amusements. Yes, there are still kids that take up the game, but they are far fewer than in the days of the great D+D "persecution", days I might add when it was at the height of it's popularity.


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Charlie Bell wrote:

Also, HD, I think maybe you underestimate the current renaissance of TTRPG. Maybe the market isn't what it was in the 80s, but I'd wager that since 2010 or so it's a darn sight bigger than what it was in the 90s and early 00s. This is purely anecdotal, but I had a couple decades where I had a really hard time finding games. Now I have to make hard decisions about who not to game with since there are more great games than I have time to play. Maybe a regional thing (though I think not), but geek chic is still strong. Maybe the biggest factor helping our analog hobby is technology: the Internet's ability to connect people with niche interests means those niches, and companies like Paizo who can position themselves well in them, can thrive.

You are correct, though, that Hasbro doesn't pay much attention to D&D other than for branding reasons. And they can afford not to. MtG dwarfs D&D by orders of magnitude.

Charlie, I totally agree.

On the topic of the rpg renaissance, the former video games critic and award winning author Tom Bissell acknowledged video games like Skyrim and others really inhibit creativity and don't offer a unique immersive experience (everyone watches the same cutscene).

Hence the resurged interest in pen and paper games (according to Bissell). Yet my foretelling of how the rpg scene will be reignited does not include WOTC or D&D 5e. Their published adventures are too heavily branded, and their story telling ability sacrifices the emotional connection in favour of epic, and more epic and even more epic which leaves it no where to go.

One of many things, Paizo has done right is the strong and meaningful writing evident in their Adventure Path line.


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WotC also suported the hobbyand expanded on what TSR did with volunteers, etc. but then Hasbro appeared. MtG was not the prime reason, WoTC had got the licences for Pokemon and that is when Hasbro stepped in.
The launch of Pokemon in the UK was after the states and I was in the WoTC offices in Reading when one of the first big post launch events was being planned. The two marketing staff were briefed and then went off, I sat opposite one of them as she picked up a phone, called an outside marketing firm and got them to do everything. A month or so later the event was held and the same person went from that event, with a bonus check and got a sports car.
The volunteers, who had supported TSR and WoTC up to then, repeatedly asked for some basic sets to teach people the game. We were repeatedly refused so a large number of the kids were never even shown how to play the game and a chance to draw them into the hobby was lost - they just collected the cards.
What made this more annoying was when I saw inside a WotC warehouse their damaged goods section, I discovered cartons ful of the original sets that had been returned and replaced because "the rare card" packed with each set was reported missing. Enough written off stock was there to have given all the RPGA and MtG volunteers in the UK several sets each.
I ran the schools RPG competition for WotC/Hasbro that first year and it was when I went to set up a mail account to send out the intial packs to schools theat the then UK WotC/Hasbro staff discovered that these existed. Large mailings went to an outside company and someone went to the post office for everything else. After I intervened they had franking machines and bulk posting discounts.
Hasbro may have brought in a more effective and business like approach but they did not understand the hobby. They isolated a lot of their volunteer support - in the UK I still see a lot of the same RPGA UK people supporting the hobby but not for WotC/Hasbro. They did the same with WotC and TSR brands as with many others they took over - narrowed their focus. Now this can be good but it also places everything on one product. Out went a lot of WotC products that had had a lot of development spent on them. Roleplaying would be D&D only, Magic and Pokemon were the card games and everything else went. We have not got as bad as the Monopoly brand where all other boards games went from the company and they simply produce an endless set of variations on the game - nothing new to generate interest.
Hasbro may have a better commercial organisation but have the streamlined out any inititive to move things forward or inovate. When they brought out 4th Ed they cut all support for previous editions. Trouble was they had cut their control on D&D with the Open Games Licence which allowed others, with a better understanding of the hobby, to prosper by carrying 3.5 on into Arcanis and then hugely into Pathfinder. One of the last things I said to WotC/Hasbro manager before I stepped back from my links was "are you sure an open licence is a good idea, what happens if someone makes better use of it then WotC?".

btw I have no commercial background or training, when I showed WotC how to use mail accounts I was a school teacher!!


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LazarX wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
I don't really think D&D even can have downfall at this point;
Yes it still can... when the current generation ages and dies, and the bulk of their children go on to new amusements. Yes, there are still kids that take up the game, but they are far fewer than in the days of the great D+D "persecution", days I might add when it was at the height of it's popularity.

do you play with the new generation? I do and honestly for my kid's tables games I have to turn kids away, kids today dig pathfinder, and it doesn't have the social stigma it used to, never once have I had a parent object, not once, in fact the parents love to just hang out and root the kids on:-)

So I don't think the industry is dying, in fact I think it's just getting started :-)


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Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

Enormous corporations don't meddle so intimately with trivial side projects run by their subsidiaries (consider how little Hasbro get accused of micromanaging M:tG). They've got better things to do. As I said - I'm struggling to see your point beyond the slow release rate - if that's your beef, you should be grumpy at Wizards, not Hasbro.

Hasbro management arent sending edicts down the line about what the rate of release of the TTRPG should be.


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Bardach wrote:
WotC also suported the hobbyand expanded on what TSR did with volunteers, etc. but then Hasbro appeared. MtG was not the prime reason, WoTC had got the licences for Pokemon and that is when Hasbro stepped in.

I'm pretty sure I remember a post from Vic in which he said Hasbro were skeptical that Pokemon would ever make much money - that the takeover involved some conditional payment based on how Pokemon did down the track (and that this turned out really, really well for the Wizards' shareholders).


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I don't doubt for a minute that D&D is barely on Hasbro's radar, especially resource-wise. However, what I see as the problems with 5E aren't resource related:

1. Lack of PDFs. These already exist as part of the production process. At most they require some work to lock down permissions, etc. No way this is a resource issue; Hasbro simply fears digital distribution (and have said as much).

2. No OGL. Again, likely not a resource issue, as they could simply release 5E under the existing OGL. Clearly the people at Wizards want to do something with a license, but Hasbro with it's very limited understanding of the RPG market, likely forbids it. They just know that "the OGL created Pathfinder, our greatest competitor," completely missing the fact that the genie is out of the bottle, so all they're accomplishing at this point is discouraging the sort of support they *do* want (modules, etc.) out of fear of someone forking 5E (which they could already do, if determined enough).

3. No character generator. Quit trying to write software and give Herolab the license. Again, not a resource constraint. This one I really don't get, unless Hasbro thinks they should be making all that money themselves and somehow still haven't figured out that they can't do software.

In short, the mishandling of 5E is related to Hasbro's lack of understanding of the market. What they *should* is allow D&D to operate autonomously, or nearly so, but we know that isn't the case because you have Hasbro execs making statements about piracy, etc.

Will Hasbro kill D&D? I dunno. But they certainly aren't doing it any favors, at least not as an RPG. They may be great for the value of the brand.


bugleyman wrote:
3. No character generator. Quit trying to write software and give Herolab the license. Again, not a resource constraint. This one I really don't get, unless Hasbro thinks they should be making all that money themselves and somehow still haven't figured out that they can't do software.

I don't think they've been trying to write software - they've licensed it out two different times now. The first one imploded and the second seems to be on track.

The problem is they're more ambitious than simple character generators. Thus more difficult to develop and more expensive. Which is great if you want a virtual tabletop with 5E support, but not so much if you just want the 5e character generator.

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captain yesterday wrote:
I loved the choose your own adventure books they put out for dungeons and dragons, can't tell you how many times I tried to kill off the hero in those by making obviously stupid choices. ah, good times

I loved those also! My favorite had an elf protagonist and a bugbear with a good one liner when he did you in if you chose wrong. Can't remember the name, but it might have been the second or third in the series?


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I still have Spell of the Winter Wizard by Linda Lowery :-)

It's been years since I last read it tho :-)

Liberty's Edge

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Forever Slayer wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

You think Hasbro know about making RPGs?

I'm a little confused as to what your point is (other than being disappointed they're releasing expansions so slowly - which is probably WotC's decision, based on their recent experiences making RPGs, rather than anything mandated by hasbro).

What makes you think Hasbro aren't calling the shots this time?

It's already been stated that building the brand through movies, video games, mugs, tshirts,etc is what's important. That sounds more in line with how Hasbro thinks and not WoTc.

yeah certainly a small company like Paizo has no interest in expanding into video games or T-shirts or adorably cute plush goblins so why would WotC :-) that's all basics of brand building, like taught in elementary school basics :-)

Certainly WotC didn't need Hasbro to tell them to do that :-)

Thing is, Paizo has shown they can do all this and still keep Pathfinder in the spotlight with no slowing down.

Wizards can't seem to grasp that concept.

Wizards was fine until they made mistakes with 4e and let Paizo take control of the market. Apparently someone at Hasbro doesn't think it is worth the fight to try to take that market back, and is happy going minimalist with a well received, well put together placeholder they can give some (if not nearly enough for the typical gamer) support for over time. It's a good core game they have in 5e, it just came out at a time when most of the fantasy RPG money is going to another company, and the market is too small for two huge systems that essentially cover the exact same ground (just one without mind flayers and displacer beasts).


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bugleyman wrote:

I don't doubt for a minute that D&D is barely on Hasbro's radar, especially resource-wise. However, what I see as the problems with 5E aren't resource related:

1. Lack of PDFs. These already exist as part of the production process. At most they require some work to lock down permissions, etc. No way this is a resource issue; Hasbro simply fears digital distribution (and have said as much).

2. No OGL. Again, likely not a resource issue, as they could simply release 5E under the existing OGL. Clearly the people at Wizards want to do something with a license, but Hasbro with it's very limited understanding of the RPG market, likely forbids it. They just know that "the OGL created Pathfinder, our greatest competitor," completely missing the fact that the genie is out of the bottle, so all they're accomplishing at this point is discouraging the sort of support they *do* want (modules, etc.) out of fear of someone forking 5E (which they could already do, if determined enough).

3. No character generator. Quit trying to write software and give Herolab the license. Again, not a resource constraint. This one I really don't get, unless Hasbro thinks they should be making all that money themselves and somehow still haven't figured out that they can't do software.

In short, the mishandling of 5E is related to Hasbro's lack of understanding of the market. What they *should* is allow D&D to operate autonomously, or nearly so, but we know that isn't the case because you have Hasbro execs making statements about piracy, etc.

Will Hasbro kill D&D? I dunno. But they certainly aren't doing it any favors, at least not as an RPG. They may be great for the value of the brand.

What makes you think any of those things are directives from Hasbro?

Hasbro is doing really, really well. Is there a reason to think they don't have talented executive and decent managers? Managers who recognise the folly of trying to set policy from afar on character generators around a minor property in a relatively small subsidiary?

I think any mismanagement of those issues lies with Wizards. This "meddling mega corporation" perspective just doesn't gel with how the world works. We may care about D&D but why would a Hasbro suit? If they're wasting their time making pronouncements about the ogl (rather than leaving it to the people they're paying to make those decisions) then Hasbro shareholders have reason for concern.

Liberty's Edge

bugleyman wrote:

I don't doubt for a minute that D&D is barely on Hasbro's radar, especially resource-wise. However, what I see as the problems with 5E aren't resource related:

1. Lack of PDFs. These already exist as part of the production process. At most they require some work to lock down permissions, etc. No way this is a resource issue; Hasbro simply fears digital distribution (and have said as much).

2. No OGL. Again, likely not a resource issue, as they could simply release 5E under the existing OGL. Clearly the people at Wizards want to do something with a license, but Hasbro with it's very limited understanding of the RPG market, likely forbids it. They just know that "the OGL created Pathfinder, our greatest competitor," completely missing the fact that the genie is out of the bottle, so all they're accomplishing at this point is discouraging the sort of support they *do* want (modules, etc.) out of fear of someone forking 5E (which they could already do, if determined enough).

3. No character generator. Quit trying to write software and give Herolab the license. Again, not a resource constraint. This one I really don't get, unless Hasbro thinks they should be making all that money themselves and somehow still haven't figured out that they can't do software.

In short, the mishandling of 5E is related to Hasbro's lack of understanding of the market. What they *should* is allow D&D to operate autonomously, or nearly so, but we know that isn't the case because you have Hasbro execs making statements about piracy, etc.

Will Hasbro kill D&D? I dunno. But they certainly aren't doing it any favors, at least not as an RPG. They may be great for the value of the brand.

1. This seems to be important to a lot of people. So I'll grant it is a "mistake".

2. Get over the OGL. It was a WotC thing that Hasbro wanted nothing to do with. It saved gaming a few years of decline, and created a scenario where the company lost market share TO THEIR OWN GAME. The OGL is a good thing for people who want all gaming to be resolved by a d20, but it was a poor business decision if just based on unintended consequences.

3. When they get the license stuff right, I'm sure HeroLabs (or whomever) will have one. It's obvious that Hasbro isn't really interested in 5e as anything but a placeholder, and are in no rush to develop much beyond the core. Paizo is carrying the torch now, the hobby is niche, and it doesn't need a strong D&D to survive, as it isn't a growth hobby by any stretch.

I think Hasbro probably understands the actual MARKET just fine, even if they don't understand the TTRPG market customers, as in, they know how small it is, they know that trying to grow it is a waste of money in the face of consoles and PC gaming (but the license for the video games is pure gold), and they know the name is bigger than the game by a long shot. That you dislike what they're doing is immaterial, they know exactly what they're doing, and are probably maximizing the profit they can get out of the flagship NAME in a shrinking market.

TTRPG had its moment in the sun, don't expect Hasbro to chase the nostalgia dollar.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

What makes you think any of those things are directives from Hasbro?

Hasbro is doing really, really well. Is there a reason to think they don't have talented executive and decent managers? Managers who recognise the folly of trying to set policy from afar on character generators around a minor property in a relatively small subsidiary?

I think any mismanagement of those issues lies with Wizards. This "meddling mega corporation" perspective just doesn't gel with how the world works. We may care about D&D but why would a Hasbro suit? If they're wasting their time making pronouncements about the ogl (rather than leaving it to the people they're paying to make those decisions) then Hasbro shareholders have reason for concern.

I'm not so sure about that. They may not be consistently on the radar of the higher-ups at Hasbro, but I strongly suspect IP licensing isn't just a WotC decision. Scott Rouse, former D&D Brand Manager, alluded to some serious struggles over the licensing in the run-up to 4e. And I think policies from higher up best explain them, the about-face on the OGL, the delays in the GSL, and the reason PDF sales got pulled under 4e.


Why are you so adamant it's dying?

From my experience it's more popular than ever I just don't see the death knell you're describing, at least in our area :-)

Liberty's Edge

Funny, every con I go to, the crowd is the same, with fewer and fewer new young faces every year. Some people who used to play might be coming back here and there, but it's an aging hobby. And, if you look past the frustrating parts of the 5e release and think like a bean counter, you know companies do not leave free money on the table. Hasbro knows the market, there's a reason the 5e release wasn't huge, with all kinds of bells and whistles. The 3x/4e thing proved one thing, D&D (whether you call it Pathfinder now or not) is the only game in town. Pretty much every other game that "competes" against Paizo is so niche as to be insignificant in the market.

Plus, you live near the birthplace of TTRPGs, and have long winters. Trust me, in Houston, gaming isn't nearly as big as it was when I moved here. The RPG shelf space in most stores is a small fraction of what it was in the late Eighties, with six or seven systems, not scores, represented on the shelf. The only TTRPG selling in any numbers that would make an MBA notice is Pathfinder.

The hobby is only truly supporting one system, with a few others being a labor of love for the publishers. That is a death knell.


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houstonderek wrote:

Funny, every con I go to, the crowd is the same, with fewer and fewer new young faces every year. Some people who used to play might be coming back here and there, but it's an aging hobby. And, if you look past the frustrating parts of the 5e release and think like a bean counter, you know companies do not leave free money on the table. Hasbro knows the market, there's a reason the 5e release wasn't huge, with all kinds of bells and whistles. The 3x/4e thing proved one thing, D&D (whether you call it Pathfinder now or not) is the only game in town. Pretty much every other game that "competes" against Paizo is so niche as to be insignificant in the market.

Plus, you live near the birthplace of TTRPGs, and have long winters. Trust me, in Houston, gaming isn't nearly as big as it was when I moved here. The RPG shelf space in most stores is a small fraction of what it was in the late Eighties, with six or seven systems, not scores, represented on the shelf. The only TTRPG selling in any numbers that would make an MBA notice is Pathfinder.

The hobby is only truly supporting one system, with a few others being a labor of love for the publishers. That is a death knell.

Honestly, it was always only about D&D, with the exception of a brief Vampire spurt in the last years of 2E AD&D.

Everything else always was a niche of a niche market.

The difference nowadays is the Net. There aren't scores of systems on the shelves because they're selling on the internets. That certainly hurts the FLGS, which is a problem, but it doesn't speak directly to the health of the hobby.


Well only the die hard fans go to Cons, i never went to GenCon despite living relatively close to Milwaukee.

so i don't think you can count that as a sign, anecdotally i do see more kids playing and less negative reaction from parents so that to me shows signs of life, even saw a kid dressed as a pathfinder goblin last halloween:-p

hope my friend, one must have hope:-)

Scarab Sages

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houstonderek wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
I loved the choose your own adventure books they put out for dungeons and dragons, can't tell you how many times I tried to kill off the hero in those by making obviously stupid choices. ah, good times
I loved those also! My favorite had an elf protagonist and a bugbear with a good one liner when he did you in if you chose wrong. Can't remember the name, but it might have been the second or third in the series?

Was it Return to Brookmere?


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my favorite was Pillars of Pentegarn that was an awesome one:-)


This is 2015, not 1984. The industry is changed and the people are changed. We go about purchases completely differently today. In 1984, we couldn't buy products from an online store. I had to get my old man to take me around town to find all the game books I wanted.

Unless you're a Pathfinder Society gamer or Adventurer's League gamer or is an old soul like me who enjoys visiting the local game store to play, today's rpgs are bought online. Fewer people at Cons? Well, sure, ok. But, again, this is 2015 and kids today have so many more entertainment options than 1984.

It is that simple. You can't state empty shelves are a death knell. It holds absolutely NO foundation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
houstonderek wrote:

Funny, every con I go to, the crowd is the same, with fewer and fewer new young faces every year. Some people who used to play might be coming back here and there, but it's an aging hobby. And, if you look past the frustrating parts of the 5e release and think like a bean counter, you know companies do not leave free money on the table. Hasbro knows the market, there's a reason the 5e release wasn't huge, with all kinds of bells and whistles. The 3x/4e thing proved one thing, D&D (whether you call it Pathfinder now or not) is the only game in town. Pretty much every other game that "competes" against Paizo is so niche as to be insignificant in the market.

Even more important, the entire total market itself is insigificant compared to the profits from one major board game. Hasbro isn't devoting resources to expanding the market because it feels, probably rightly so, that those same resources expended elsewhere will yield greater return.

On the other hand, they aren't closing down the paper and dice shop, because for the moment, it is seeing some return. And as long as it does so, the shingle will stay up.

Scarab Sages

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captain yesterday wrote:
my favorite was Pillars of Pentegarn that was an awesome one:-)

I liked the first one, Dungeon of Dread (rod of cancellation!). Rose Estes did a much better job on these than on those Greyhawk novels she wrote...


The more responses I see, the more it shows that if you enjoy the D&D TTRPG and you want to see it supported with more product then it would be better off with a smaller company.


So what do you want WotC/Hasbro to do that they aren't, and what companies within the TRPG market are doing those things? Or is this whole thread about how Paizo should totally have the D&D licence for real?


davrion wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
my favorite was Pillars of Pentegarn that was an awesome one:-)
I liked the first one, Dungeon of Dread (rod of cancellation!). Rose Estes did a much better job on these than on those Greyhawk novels she wrote...

Oh! thanks had forgotten that one! yeah that was an awesome one too:-)


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Bluenose wrote:
So what do you want WotC/Hasbro to do that they aren't, and what companies within the TRPG market are doing those things? Or is this whole thread about how Paizo should totally have the D&D licence for real?

I don't know, but, uh, did you know your nose is blue?

Just... just thought someone should point that out. In case you hadn't noticed.

;D


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Steve Geddes wrote:
What makes you think any of those things are directives from Hasbro?

As previously noted, the PDF announcement came directly from a Hasbro Executive.

And if you pay close attention to the thinks Wizards folks say ("we want to do a license!", it becomes rather clear that something is holding them back. It makes sense that this is Hasbro.


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houstonderek wrote:
Get over the OGL. It was a WotC thing that Hasbro wanted nothing to do with.

The thing is, D&D will never mount a challenge to Pathfinder without the OGL. It simply won't happen. Maybe they're fine with that, but I can't see how that's any good for the actual D&D game (which is kinda what this thread is about, no?).


bugleyman wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Get over the OGL. It was a WotC thing that Hasbro wanted nothing to do with.
The thing is, D&D will never mount a challenge to Pathfinder without the OGL. It simply won't happen. Maybe they're fine with that, but I can't see how that's any good for the actual D&D game (which is kinda what this thread is about, no?).

That part I don't buy. Lots of people in the hobby are excited by the OGL, but I don't see how it translates directly to business success.

It took a long time for PF to surpass 4E, despite 4E not having an OGL. Arguably it only did so as 4E was shutting down.

5E is not likely to challenge PF in total sales after the initial Core spike passes because they're not putting out as many books. That would continue to be true if there was an OGL - at least as far as WotC sales and thus revenue go.

Would more (non-revenue generating) 3pp material drive more Core purchases? Maybe. Enough to matter? Maybe. Enough more to give up whatever control they have left over their IP? Much harder to say.


thejeff wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
houstonderek wrote:
Get over the OGL. It was a WotC thing that Hasbro wanted nothing to do with.
The thing is, D&D will never mount a challenge to Pathfinder without the OGL. It simply won't happen. Maybe they're fine with that, but I can't see how that's any good for the actual D&D game (which is kinda what this thread is about, no?).

That part I don't buy. Lots of people in the hobby are excited by the OGL, but I don't see how it translates directly to business success.

It took a long time for PF to surpass 4E, despite 4E not having an OGL. Arguably it only did so as 4E was shutting down.

5E is not likely to challenge PF in total sales after the initial Core spike passes because they're not putting out as many books. That would continue to be true if there was an OGL - at least as far as WotC sales and thus revenue go.

Would more (non-revenue generating) 3pp material drive more Core purchases? Maybe. Enough to matter? Maybe. Enough more to give up whatever control they have left over their IP? Much harder to say.

If anything, releasing under the OGL is more important in light of WotC's apparently limited release schedule.

Lots of smaller players are simply going to skip producing material for 5E. Bigger players -- like the sort that might be inclined to mount a challenge to 5E itself -- are much more likely to have the resources to walk the legal line and use the existing OGL anyway.

To me, the current situation seems like the worst possible outcome for D&D.

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