ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – September 2015

It’s the start of a month and the start of GenCon, so this is an interesting time to check in on ENWorld’s list of hot RPGs. The last month saw GenCon and a number of other major conventions happening, so it’ll be particularly interesting to see how the buzz from that affects the charts this time.

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				989
2	Pathfinder RPG				226
3	World of Darkness			160
4	Old School Revival (OSR)		152
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			139
6	D&D 4th Edition				 78
7	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 77
8	Savage Worlds				 74
9	Call of Cthulhu				 61
10	Shadowrun				 49
10	Traveller				 49
12	Warhammer 40K				 48
13	GURPS					 46
14	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 42
15	Dungeon World				 39
16	ICONS					 36
17	Stars Without Number			 34
18	Numenera				 33
19	Dread					 32
19	Exalted					 32
21	13th Age				 21
22	What's OLD is NEW			 20
22	Gumshoe					 20
24	Apocalypse World			 16
25	The Strange				 15
25	Feng Shui				 15
27	OD&D					 14
27	Deadlands				 14
29	AD&D 2nd Edition			 13
30	RIFTS					 12
30	Firefly					 12
32	Eclipse Phase				 11
32	Warhammer FRP				 11
34	The One Ring				 10
34	AD&D 1st Edition			 10
36	d20 Modern				  9
37	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  8
37	CORTEX System				  8
39	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  7
39	Gamma World				  7
39	Ars Magica				  7
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  5
42	Castles & Crusades			  5
42	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  5
42	Iron Kingdoms				  5
46	Star Trek				  4
46	HERO System / Champions			  4
46	A Song of Ice & Fire			  4
49	Earthdawn				  3
49	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  3
49	TMNT					  3
49	Star Wars (FFG)				  3
49	Smallville				  3
49	Hackmaster				  3
55	Aberrant				  2
55	FATE					  2
55	Runequest				  2
55	Mutant Chronicles			  2
55	Fading Suns				  2
55	Colonial Gothic				  2
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	  2
55	BESM					  2
63	Paranoia				  1
63	Silver Age Sentinels			  1
63	Marvel SAGA				  1
63	Other Superhero RPGs			  1
67	Ashen Stars				  0
67	Rotted Capes				  0
67	Star Wars (d6)				  0
67	True20					  0
67	Hobomancer				  0
67	d20 Future				  0
67	Alternity				  0
67	Brave New World				  0
67	DC Heroes				  0
67	Villians & Vigilantes			  0
67	Marvel Super Heroes			  0
67	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		  0
67	Chainmail				  0
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				DNC
--	Stage					DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

Note that yet again the OSR score includes a contribution from Stars Without Number, which is also tracked separately.

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	World of Darkness			 +3
4	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -1
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			  =
6	D&D 4th Edition				 +1
7	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 +3
8	Savage Worlds				  =
9	Call of Cthulhu				  =
10	Shadowrun				 +1
10	Traveller				 +1
12	Warhammer 40K				 +7
13	GURPS					 +1
14	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  =
15	Dungeon World				 +1
16	ICONS					 +1
17	Stars Without Number			 +1
18	Numenera				 +1
19	Dread					 -6
19	Exalted					 +2
21	13th Age				 +3
22	What's OLD is NEW			 +3
22	Gumshoe					 +3
24	Apocalypse World			 -1
25	The Strange				 -3
25	Feng Shui				 +9
27	OD&D					 +2
27	Deadlands				 -2
29	AD&D 2nd Edition			 +8
30	RIFTS					 +2
30	Firefly					 +1
32	Eclipse Phase				+14
32	Warhammer FRP				 -2
34	The One Ring				 +2
34	AD&D 1st Edition			 +3
36	d20 Modern				 -4
37	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -9
37	CORTEX System				 +3
39	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		 +9
39	Gamma World				 +9
39	Ars Magica				 +7
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			 -8
42	Castles & Crusades			+12
42	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 -2
42	Iron Kingdoms				 -3
46	Star Trek				 +4
46	HERO System / Champions			 -6
46	A Song of Ice & Fire			 -6
49	Earthdawn				 -5
49	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 +2
49	TMNT					 +5
49	Star Wars (FFG)				 +2
49	Smallville				 +8
49	Hackmaster				 -5
55	Aberrant				 +2
55	FATE					-51
55	Runequest				 +2
55	Mutant Chronicles			 +9
55	Fading Suns				 +9
55	Colonial Gothic				 +2
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 +2
55	BESM					 -1
63	Paranoia				 +1
63	Silver Age Sentinels			 +1
63	Marvel SAGA				 +1
63	Other Superhero RPGs			-12
67	Ashen Stars				-10
67	Rotted Capes				-10
67	Star Wars (d6)				 -3
67	True20					 +3
67	Hobomancer				 +3
67	d20 Future				 +3
67	Alternity				 +3
67	Brave New World				 +3
67	DC Heroes				 +3
67	Villians & Vigilantes			 +3
67	Marvel Super Heroes			 +3
67	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 +3
67	Chainmail				 +3
--	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				 -97
2	Pathfinder RPG				-131
3	World of Darkness			 -17
4	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -89
5	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 -42
6	D&D 4th Edition				 -48
7	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		  +5
8	Savage Worlds				 -19
9	Call of Cthulhu				 -22
10	Shadowrun				 -21
10	Traveller				 -21
12	Warhammer 40K				 +11
13	GURPS					 -13
14	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 -17
15	Dungeon World				 -16
16	ICONS					 -18
17	Stars Without Number			 -13
18	Numenera				  -4
19	Dread					 -31
19	Exalted					   =
21	13th Age				  +1
22	What's OLD is NEW			  +1
22	Gumshoe					  +1
24	Apocalypse World			  -7
25	The Strange				 -14
25	Feng Shui				  +2
27	OD&D					  -3
27	Deadlands				  -5
29	AD&D 2nd Edition			  +2
30	RIFTS					  -2
30	Firefly					  -3
32	Eclipse Phase				  +4
32	Warhammer FRP				  -5
34	The One Ring				  -2
34	AD&D 1st Edition			  -1
36	d20 Modern				  -5
37	Dungeon Crawl Classics			 -10
37	CORTEX System				  -1
39	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		  +1
39	Gamma World				  +1
39	Ars Magica				   =
42	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  -8
42	Castles & Crusades			  +2
42	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  -4
42	Iron Kingdoms				  -5
46	Star Trek				  -1
46	HERO System / Champions			  -5
46	A Song of Ice & Fire			  -5
49	Earthdawn				  -5
49	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			  +1
49	TMNT					   =
49	Star Wars (FFG)				  +1
49	Smallville				  +1
49	Hackmaster				  -5
55	Aberrant				   =
55	FATE					-235
55	Runequest				   =
55	Mutant Chronicles			  +1
55	Fading Suns				  +1
55	Colonial Gothic				   =
55	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   =
55	BESM					  -1
63	Paranoia				   =
63	Silver Age Sentinels			   =
63	Marvel SAGA				   =
63	Other Superhero RPGs			  -3
67	Ashen Stars				  -2
67	Rotted Capes				  -2
67	Star Wars (d6)				  -1
67	True20					   =
67	Hobomancer				   =
67	d20 Future				   =
67	Alternity				   =
67	Brave New World				   =
67	DC Heroes				   =
67	Villians & Vigilantes			   =
67	Marvel Super Heroes			   =
67	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   =
67	Chainmail				   =
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

What’s evident here is that most but not all games have seen a drop in their score – some a sharp drop. I have to wonder whether some of the blogs and forums (or at least their associated RSS feeds) tracked by the chart have gone down in the last month or so, which might account for the scores dropping. What seems particularly notable is the total collapse in the score for FATE; since the chart tracks the last 90 days of discussion, I can’t see how such a sudden, sharp cutoff would be possible, unless the search terms used to detect mentions of FATE have been tweaked to be so narrow as to miss almost all the conversations. Though it’s remotely possible that the FATE bubble has just plain burst, I haven’t seen enough of a tail-off in FATE discussion to really make me think that was likely.

Still, some games did manage to buck the trend – Feng Shui continues to ride the wave of its 2nd edition, whereas Warhammer 40,000  has shored up its position nicely for a setting where most of the RPG lines seem to be on life support as Fantasy Flight Games shift focus to milking their Star Wars RPG licence for all it’s worth. The big winners, though, have to be Onyx Path, with the World of Darkness standing as the most discussed RPG which isn’t some sort of D&D variant (and only 5E and Pathfinder, the two largest D&D variants, ranking ahead of it) for the first time since I started tracking these figures. The continued good reaction to the second editions of many of the New World of Darkness core books and the PDF releases of the 20th Anniversary Editions of Mage: the Awakening and Vampire: the Dark Ages have all buoyed the World of Darkness balloon in the last few months, and the announcement at Gen Con that Vampire: the Masquerade will get an all-new 4th Edition might well have helped them retain their score whilst D&D 3.X slid down past them and FATE tumbled down the chart. Still, with that FATE result looking highly anomalous, we’ll have to wait and see whether this state of affairs lasts.

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