ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – July 2015

Another month, another check in on ENWorld list of hot RPGs. Usual reminder applies: RPGs are scored on the chart based on what’s being actively discussed on as wide a pool of internet fora and blogs as ENWorld can find RSS feeds for. It isn’t tracking sales, and it isn’t even tracking popularity (because conceivably a game could get onto the chart if there were a sufficiently virulent negative reaction to it). What I present here are the scores assigned to each game, not the percentages (which can tend to obscure whether there’s been a recent explosion of RPG discussion – for example, as associated with the D&D 5E release – or whether things are comparatively quiet on the RPG talkosphere).

First up, let’s get the rankings and absolute scores:

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				1231
2	Pathfinder RPG				 446
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		 383
4	FATE					 310
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 232
6	World of Darkness			 219
7	D&D 4th Edition				 173
8	Savage Worlds				 140
9	Call of Cthulhu				 108
10	Shadowrun				  94
11	Dread					  89
12	Traveller				  79
13	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  72
14	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		  68
15	ICONS					  64
16	GURPS					  63
17	Dungeon World				  59
18	Stars Without Number			  55
19	Numenera				  44
20	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  42
21	Warhammer 40K				  41
22	The Strange				  37
23	Warhammer FRP				  35
24	Gumshoe					  30
25	OD&D					  28
26	Apocalypse World			  25
27	13th Age				  22
28	RIFTS					  21
28	d20 Modern				  21
30	Deadlands				  20
31	Exalted					  19
32	Iron Kingdoms				  16
33	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  14
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  14
33	The One Ring				  14
36	Firefly					  12
36	AD&D 1st Edition			  12
36	A Song of Ice & Fire			  12
39	HERO System / Champions			  11
40	Ars Magica				  10
41	AD&D 2nd Edition			   9
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		   8
42	Feng Shui				   8
42	Hackmaster				   8
42	Eclipse Phase				   8
42	CORTEX System				   8
47	BESM					   7
47	Earthdawn				   7
49	Castles & Crusades			   6
49	Gamma World				   6
51	Star Trek				   5
52	Other Superhero RPGs			   4
52	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   4
54	Star Wars (FFG)				   3
54	TMNT					   3
54	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   3
57	Rotted Capes				   2
57	Smallville				   2
57	Ashen Stars				   2
57	DC Heroes				   2
61	Fading Suns				   1
61	Star Wars (d6)				   1
61	Paranoia				   1
61	Runequest				   1
61	Silver Age Sentinels			   1
61	Marvel SAGA				   1
61	Alternity				   1
61	Aberrant				   1
69	Hobomancer				   0
69	Colonial Gothic				   0
69	d20 Future				   0
69	True20					   0
69	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
69	Brave New World				   0
69	Villians & Vigilantes			   0
69	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
69	Chainmail				   0
69	Mutant Chronicles			   0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

Note that according to the chart page a 0 score doesn’t mean nobody’s mentioned a particular game – a statistically significant sample has shown up but no more than that. For sanity’s sake I’m only tracking zero-scores which previously scored. Games which did not chart presumably either failed to even yield a statistically significant sample or have had their categories retired from the chart (as appears to be the case with the redundant Dnd/Pathfinder category). At least, that’s according to the ENWorld writeup – though since I’ve not seen a game drop off the chart since the Dnd/Pathfinder and Stage categories dropped off, I’m sceptical about that. Note also that the “OSR” entry should be taken with a pinch of salt – it’s the accumulated score of a whole bunch of OSR games, but this includes Stars Without Number which also has its own, separate entry, as well as systems not based on old school D&D like ZeFRS and, bizarrely, BRP.

In short, it’s a farce as huge as combining all the Narrativist-influenced games into a Forge category and simultaneously giving them individual listings anyway. I really don’t know why they do it.

Here’s the chart of the shifts in rank (probably more significant for higher-scoring games):

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				  =
2	Pathfinder RPG				  =
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		  =
4	FATE					  =
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			  =
6	World of Darkness			 +1
7	D&D 4th Edition				 -1
8	Savage Worlds				  =
9	Call of Cthulhu				  =
10	Shadowrun				  =
11	Dread					 +1
12	Traveller				 -1
13	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 +2
14	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		+11
15	ICONS					 -1
16	GURPS					 +1
17	Dungeon World				 -4
18	Stars Without Number			  =
19	Numenera				 +4
20	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -4
21	Warhammer 40K				 +1
22	The Strange				 -3
23	Warhammer FRP				 -3
24	Gumshoe					  =
25	OD&D					 -5
26	Apocalypse World			 +1
27	13th Age				 -1
28	RIFTS					 +2
28	d20 Modern				 +5
30	Deadlands				 +1
31	Exalted					 +3
32	Iron Kingdoms				 -3
33	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			 +9
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 -5
33	The One Ring				 +3
36	Firefly					 +3
36	AD&D 1st Edition			  =
36	A Song of Ice & Fire			 -2
39	HERO System / Champions			 +7
40	Ars Magica				 +2
41	AD&D 2nd Edition			 +8
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  =
42	Feng Shui				 +6
42	Hackmaster				 +4
42	Eclipse Phase				-10
42	CORTEX System				 +8
47	BESM					 -8
47	Earthdawn				 -8
49	Castles & Crusades			 -4
49	Gamma World				-13
51	Star Trek				 +4
52	Other Superhero RPGs			 +3
52	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 +3
54	Star Wars (FFG)				 -2
54	TMNT					 -2
54	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 -2
57	Rotted Capes				 -2
57	Smallville				 +4
57	Ashen Stars				 +4
57	DC Heroes				 -2
61	Fading Suns				-11
61	Star Wars (d6)				 +6
61	Paranoia				 +9
61	Runequest				 +9
61	Silver Age Sentinels			 +9
61	Marvel SAGA				 +6
61	Alternity				  =
61	Aberrant				  =
69	Hobomancer				 -8
69	Colonial Gothic				 -1
69	d20 Future				 -1
69	True20					 -8
69	Marvel Super Heroes			 -1
69	Brave New World				 -1
69	Villians & Vigilantes			 -1
69	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 -1
69	Chainmail				-14
69	Mutant Chronicles			 -2
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				DNC
--	Stage					DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

And here’s the chart of shifts in absolute score (which I believe to be more significant for lower-scoring games):

RANK	GAME					CHANGE
1	D&D 5th Edition				-201
2	Pathfinder RPG				 -55
3	Old School Revival (OSR)		-106
4	FATE					 -11
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 -31
6	World of Darkness			 +32
7	D&D 4th Edition				 -26
8	Savage Worlds				 -30
9	Call of Cthulhu				 +12
10	Shadowrun				 -17
11	Dread					  +2
12	Traveller				 -16
13	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  -8
14	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 +38
15	ICONS					 -17
16	GURPS					  -7
17	Dungeon World				 -26
18	Stars Without Number			  -2
19	Numenera				  +5
20	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -36
21	Warhammer 40K				  -3
22	The Strange				 -19
23	Warhammer FRP				 -16
24	Gumshoe					  -4
25	OD&D					 -23
26	Apocalypse World			  -1
27	13th Age				  -7
28	RIFTS					  +1
28	d20 Modern				  +4
30	Deadlands				  +1
31	Exalted					  +3
32	Iron Kingdoms				  -7
33	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  +3
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 -10
33	The One Ring				   =
36	Firefly					  -1
36	AD&D 1st Edition			  -2
36	A Song of Ice & Fire			  -4
39	HERO System / Champions			  +2
40	Ars Magica				  -1
41	AD&D 2nd Edition			  +2
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  -3
42	Feng Shui				   =
42	Hackmaster				  -1
42	Eclipse Phase				 -10
42	CORTEX System				  +3
47	BESM					  -6
47	Earthdawn				  -6
49	Castles & Crusades			  -4
49	Gamma World				  -8
51	Star Trek				  +2
52	Other Superhero RPGs			  +1
52	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  +1
54	Star Wars (FFG)				  -1
54	TMNT					  -1
54	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	  -1
57	Rotted Capes				  -1
57	Smallville				   =
57	Ashen Stars				   =
57	DC Heroes				  -1
61	Fading Suns				  -4
61	Star Wars (d6)				   =
61	Paranoia				  +1
61	Runequest				  +1
61	Silver Age Sentinels			  +1
61	Marvel SAGA				   =
61	Alternity				  -1
61	Aberrant				  -1
69	Hobomancer				  -2
69	Colonial Gothic				   =
69	d20 Future				   =
69	True20					  -2
69	Marvel Super Heroes			   =
69	Brave New World				   =
69	Villians & Vigilantes			   =
69	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   =
69	Chainmail				  -3
69	Mutant Chronicles			  -1
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

Another straight month this time where the scores have been down overall, with some games managing to buck the trend. World of Darkness, in particular, got a substantial boost, possibly coinciding with the Beast: the Primordial Kickstarter and the concurrent storm of controversy which prompted Onyx Path to mandate a second development pass on the book. Speaking of controversial matters, Call of Cthulhu has had a fair boost to its score, perhaps due to the discussion prompted by Sandy Petersen and Greg Stafford retaking control of Chaosium, with an accompanying promise to sort out the delays to the 7th Edition Kickstarter (and lingering issues with the Horror On the Orient Express Kickstarter).

Once again, TSR-era editions of D&D have suffered, most of them seeing a decline either in score, rank or both. The major exception is 2E, whose score had hit a point where it really couldn’t decline much more. 5E fanboy that I am, I’m inclined to suggest that this is a consequence of 5E successfully capturing a sizable proportion of the old school D&D fanbase.

Perhaps the biggest success story this time around is Green Ronin’s AGE system. There’s been a lot of changes in the works for this system in the past few months; previously just used for their Dragon Age tie-in RPG, Green Ronin have now made a move to make a wider range of RPGs using the system, accounting for the renaming of the category. In particular, for months they’ve been teasing plans to run a Kickstarter for a new edition of Blue Rose, abandoning True20 in favour of AGE. This Kickstarter began in the past month, and evidently it’s kicked off a lot of buzz about the game, because the category’s more than doubled its score.

Still, I think the most interesting thing this month remains the excellent score for World of Darkness, which is at the healthiest it’s been since I started tracking these charts. With D&D 4E’s score actually slumping significantly below WoD‘s level, and D&D 3.X feeling the flagship Storyteller game’s breath on the back of its neck, there’s scope here for Onyx Path to turn the Beast controversy to its advantage, cementing World of Darkness‘s place towards the upper echelons of RPG discussion once again. Certainly, despite setbacks in some areas (like the continuing sad saga of the Exalted 3E Kickstarter), Onyx Path appear to be gaining momentum on a gradual but consistent basis, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to start shooting for the number two spot after D&D in the near future.

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