Saturday, November 27, 2010

My RPG Playing/Running/Planning Survey Results

Not too long ago, I started a survey over at theRPGsite on what board members were playing, running, and planning. Mos Eisley TheRPGsite is very much a RPG generalist board, so it wasn't surprising what a wide range of responses were garnered. I thought the results might be interesting to RPG Blog II readers as well, as an informal scan of what some folks are interested in just now. As always, this survey comes with the disclaimer that it is in no way scientific.

I tried to identify the core system/RPG being used in each case--there were a few that could only be described as homebrew. Games that had finished or hadn't started weren't counted under Running/Playing.

We had 62 respondents at the time of cut-off, and few more that trickled in afterwards. As usual, my math is approximate at best, but this should be close to the mark:

Playing: We had 55 different systems represented in the Playing Section of the survey. There were plenty of people not playing anything at the moment.

4e: (Encounters, Essentials, etc.): 8 total

AD&D 1e: 2

D&D 3.5: 4

Dark Heresy: 2

Nothing: 21

OpenQuest: 3

Pathfinder: 5

Savage Worlds: 2

Star Wars Saga Edition: 2

StarCluster 3e: 2

1 response each: AD&D (Unspecified), AD&D 2e, Alpha Omega, Apocalypse World, Barbarians of Lemuria, Barbarians of the Aftermath, Basic Fantasy, Battlestations, BRP, Burning Wheel, Call of Cthulhu, Castles & Crusades, Changeling: The Lost, D&D Rules Cyclopedia, d20 Modern, Deadlands Classic, Dresden Files, Earthdawn (Houseruled), Fantastic Worlds/War Rockets, FUDGE, Guildschool, GURPS 4e, HERO 4e/5e, ICONS, Iron Heroes, Labyrinth Lord, LotFP RPG, Marvel Saga, Mechwarrior, Microlite 20, Mini Six, Mutants & Masterminds 2e, OD&D, OSRIC, Promethean: The Created, Shadowrun 3e, Song of Ice & Fire, Starships & Spacemen, TAG: Spacers, Talistanta (Unspecified), Talislanta 4e, Talislanta 5e, True 20, Weapons of the Gods, WFRP 2e, WFRP 3e, Witch Hunter


Next was our Running Section, with 50 different systems represented, plus 14 responses for running Nothing.

4e (with Essentials, Encounters, etc): 6

Call of Cthulhu: 2

D&D 3.5: 3

Dark Heresy: 2

Dresden Files: 2

Nothing: 14

Pathfinder: 6

Savage Worlds: 3

StarCluster 3e: 3

1 response each: Aces & Eights, AD&D 1e, AD&D 2e, Alpha Omega, Arduin, BASH, BD&D, Blood Games, Burning Wheel, D&D 3.5/Pathfinder hybrid, Dr. Who, Guildschool, Hearts & Souls, High Valor, ICONS, InSpectres, Kobolds Ate My Baby, Marvel Saga, Marvel Super Heroes, MechWarrior, MiniSix, Mongoose Traveller, MRQ II, Multiversal D&D, Mutants & Masterminds 2e, OD&D, OHMAS, Openquest,OSRIC/AD&D, Pendragon, Rifts/Robotech, Simply Horrible, Spirit of the Century, Starblazer Adventures, Star Wars d20, Swords & Wizardry, Talislanta 3e, Werewolf: The Pure, WFRP 2e, WFRP 3e, Witch Hunter


The Planning Section was much larger than the Running or Playing sections, which goes to show that likely more than few campaigns never make it to actual play. This is my favorite category, because it shows what's on people's minds right now. There are around 68 different systems, with 19 of them mutliple responses, represented,

4e (Encounters, Essentials, etc.): 5

Atomic Highway: 5

Basic D&D: 2


Call of Cthulhu: 2

Eclipse Phase: 2



Homebrew: 3


Legend of the Five Rings: 2

Mongoose Traveller: 2

Pathfinder: 3

Rogue Trader: 4

Rules Cyclopedia D&D: 2

Savage Worlds: 3

Swords & Wizardry: 2

Swords & Wizardry White Box: 2

WFRP 2e: 3

1 response each: 7th Sea, AD&D/OSRIC, Amazing Engine, Bloodsucker: Angst Express, Basic Role Playing, BTS/Chaos Earth/Rifts Mashup, Bushido, Call of Cthulhu d20, Chav: The Knifing Express, Classic Traveller, D&D 3.5, Dark Heresy/Deathwatch, Deathwatch, Delta Green, Derelict Delvers, Dresden Files, Earthdawn, Flashing Blades, Freemarket, Galaxy Atomic, Gamma World (WotC), Guildschool, HERO, Legends of Anglerre, Leverage, Lord of Olympus, MiniSix, Moldvay/Cool D&D, MRQ II, Nothing, OD&D, Outremer, Paranoia, PrimeTime Adventures, Robotech, RuneQuest (Chaosium), Shadow of Yesterday, Shadow Sword & Spell, Star Wars Saga Edition, Supernatural RPG, The Tools of Ignorance, True 20, Ubiquity, Undecided, Vampire: The Requiem, WFRP, WFRP 3e, WitchHunter, WizKid: The Cheapening, X-Plorers


So, all in all, the survey seems to indicate what we already know--there are a lot of people going a lot of different directions in this hobby!


sirlarkins said...

"...which goes to show that likely more than few campaigns never make it to actual play."

For a while now I've made the analogy between RPG campaigns and movie screenplays. There are probably millions of screenplays floating around out there (campaign ideas); of that number, only thousands even make it to the desk of a movie studio exec or script reader (campaign gets planned out in a serious way); of that number, only hundreds get bought or optioned (group makes characters, maybe runs an intro section); of that number, only dozens actually become feature films (the campaign sticks and becomes a regular thing); of that number, only a handful become big hits (the campaign ends up running for a good while and/or becomes a favorite of the group).

Also, this isn't meant as a dig at the OSR, but it's interesting to see the abundance of old school D&D campaigns being planned versus the number actually being played/run, especially since old school D&D (to my mind) is potentially so much more of a beer n' pretzels, pickup sort of game. What's to plan? You draw three levels of a dungeon and you're good to go! ;)

::sigh:: This also just made me realize how many awesome games there are out there, and how I'll never get a chance to try all of them.

consummatedm said...

Since you sought to identify the "core system," what was your rationale for separating D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder?

Just curious.

Zachary Houghton said...

@CDM: I felt they were distinct enough to be listed separately, though you could certainly lump them together and I would not argue. Some post-discussion on the message board did just that.

Consonant Dude said...

I really love sirlarkins's analogy to screenplays. Indeed, a lot of the stuff I plan never gets played.

Fortunately, you can fold back some of it in other campaigns.

I run an intermittent campaign inspired by Lankhmar and one of the recurring bad guys are deformed twins who are masterminds of a criminal network.

The twins, complete with their hideout and several key henchmen have all been adapted from a post-apoc campaign I had originally planned but never got started. All the players constantly cite this as one of the most memorable and cool feature of my setting when in reality, it wasn't part of the original plan but got thrown in.

I transpose a lot of stuff like that and sometimes, there's even things I can use directly (like maps) for other campaigns.

All in all, I'd say one in four games I plan gets off the ground but I don't throw out 75% of the material. It's probably more like 50% :)

Swordgleam said...

The planning/playing difference reminds me of an analogy someone (I think it was one of the Gnome Stew guys) made a while back - that as DMs, we beat ourselves up if every campaign - even every session - isn't great, but in baseball, a .333 is considered pretty good. It does help to see that we're not alone in having a lot of ideas that never get off the ground.

Cane Caldo said...

I know this is an old post, but I just found your site a little while ago.

No one was playing EpicRPG? That's disappointing. I bought the Quickstart guide a couple weeks ago, and I've thoroughly enjoyed just reading it! The random generation seems to work out amazingly well.