ENWorld’s Hot Roleplaying Games – November 2015

It’s that time of the month again when I like to look at ENWorld’s 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).

Incidentally, the ENWorld site claims that they’re tracking posts on the Wizards and Paizo forums and giving separate scores for them, but this is utter bullshit – they did that briefly as an experiment and then stopped. All the figures on the chart do not include official publisher forums – and I think some of the changes this time around may have something to do with that, as you’ll see.

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

RANK	GAME					SCORE
1	D&D 5th Edition				1307
2	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 236
3	D&D 4th Edition				 154
4	Pathfinder RPG				 117
5	World of Darkness			  93
6	Exalted					  71
7	Old School Revival (OSR)		  61
8	Shadowrun				  36
9	Warhammer 40K				  35
10	Savage Worlds				  34
11	Call of Cthulhu				  30
12	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		  27
13	Traveller				  25
14	GURPS					  22
15	AD&D 2nd Edition			  20
16	Numenera				  19
17	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  16
17	Feng Shui				  16
19	Eclipse Phase				  15
19	What's OLD is NEW			  15
21	Stars Without Number			  14
22	OD&D					  12
23	The One Ring				  11
24	Dungeon World				  10
24	The Strange				  10
24	13th Age				  10
27	ICONS					   9
27	AD&D 1st Edition			   9
27	Deadlands				   9
27	Gumshoe					   9
31	Mutant Chronicles			   8
31	Dread					   8
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	   7
33	Warhammer FRP				   7
35	HERO System / Champions			   6
35	Castles & Crusades			   6
35	Apocalypse World			   6
35	Star Wars (FFG)				   6
39	RIFTS					   5
39	Ars Magica				   5
39	Firefly					   5
42	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   4
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		   4
42	True20					   4
42	Gamma World				   4
42	CORTEX System				   4
47	Fading Suns				   3
47	Hackmaster				   3
47	BESM					   3
50	Star Wars (d6)				   2
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			   2
50	d20 Modern				   2
50	Other Superhero RPGs			   2
50	Iron Kingdoms				   2
50	Aberrant				   2
56	Alternity				   1
56	Colonial Gothic				   1
56	Star Trek				   1
56	Villians & Vigilantes			   1
56	Ashen Stars				   1
56	Earthdawn				   1
56	Smallville				   1
63	Brave New World				   0
63	DC Heroes				   0
63	A Song of Ice & Fire			   0
63	Silver Age Sentinels			   0
63	Marvel Super Heroes			   0
63	Hobomancer				   0
63	Rotted Capes				   0
63	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   0
63	d20 Future				   0
63	Paranoia				   0
63	FATE					   0
63	TMNT					   0
63	Marvel SAGA				   0
63	Runequest				   0
63	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   0
63	Chainmail				   0
63	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			   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, and so the OSR score should not be trusted.

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	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			 +1
3	D&D 4th Edition				 +1
4	Pathfinder RPG				 -2
5	World of Darkness			 -1
6	Exalted					 +1
7	Old School Revival (OSR)		 -1
8	Shadowrun				 +5
9	Warhammer 40K				 +1
10	Savage Worlds				 -2
11	Call of Cthulhu				 +3
12	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 -4
13	Traveller				 -2
14	GURPS					 -2
15	AD&D 2nd Edition			 +2
16	Numenera				 -1
17	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	 +1
17	Feng Shui				 -1
19	Eclipse Phase				 +4
19	What's OLD is NEW			 +2
21	Stars Without Number			 -3
22	OD&D					 +4
23	The One Ring				 +9
24	Dungeon World				 -2
24	The Strange				 +4
24	13th Age				  =
27	ICONS					 -9
27	AD&D 1st Edition			 +1
27	Deadlands				 +7
27	Gumshoe					 -3
31	Mutant Chronicles			 -3
31	Dread					 +9
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	 +4
33	Warhammer FRP				 -5
35	HERO System / Champions			+15
35	Castles & Crusades			 +2
35	Apocalypse World			 -9
35	Star Wars (FFG)				 +2
39	RIFTS					 -3
39	Ars Magica				 +1
39	Firefly					 -7
42	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			 -2
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		 -2
42	True20					 +3
42	Gamma World				 -8
42	CORTEX System				 -2
47	Fading Suns				 -2
47	Hackmaster				+10
47	BESM					 -2
50	Star Wars (d6)				  =
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			  =
50	d20 Modern				  =
50	Other Superhero RPGs			 +7
50	Iron Kingdoms				  =
50	Aberrant				  =
56	Alternity				 +9
56	Colonial Gothic				-11
56	Star Trek				 +1
56	Villians & Vigilantes			 +1
56	Ashen Stars				 -9
56	Earthdawn				 -6
56	Smallville				-11
63	Brave New World				 +2
63	DC Heroes				 +2
63	A Song of Ice & Fire			 +2
63	Silver Age Sentinels			 +2
63	Marvel Super Heroes			 +2
63	Hobomancer				 +2
63	Rotted Capes				 +2
63	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	 +2
63	d20 Future				 +2
63	Paranoia				 +2
63	FATE					 -8
63	TMNT					 -8
63	Marvel SAGA				 +2
63	Runequest				 -8
63	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		 +2
63	Chainmail				 +2
63	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			 -8
--	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				+125
2	D&D 3rd Edition/3.5			+132
3	D&D 4th Edition				 +57
4	Pathfinder RPG				  +8
5	World of Darkness			  -4
6	Exalted					 +31
7	Old School Revival (OSR)		  +3
8	Shadowrun				  36
9	Warhammer 40K				  -3
10	Savage Worlds				  -5
11	Call of Cthulhu				  +4
12	Dragon Age/Fantasy AGE/AGE		 -12
13	Traveller				 -11
14	GURPS					  -8
15	AD&D 2nd Edition			  +2
16	Numenera				  -4
17	Mutants & Masterminds/DC Adventures	  -1
17	Feng Shui				  -3
19	Eclipse Phase				  +1
19	What's OLD is NEW			  -1
21	Stars Without Number			  -3
22	OD&D					  +2
23	The One Ring				  +3
24	Dungeon World				  -5
24	The Strange				  +1
24	13th Age				  -1
27	ICONS					  -8
27	AD&D 1st Edition			   =
27	Deadlands				  +2
27	Gumshoe					  -2
31	Mutant Chronicles			  -1
31	Dread					  +4
33	Doctor Who: Adventures in Time & Space	  +2
33	Warhammer FRP				  -2
35	HERO System / Champions			  +4
35	Castles & Crusades			  +1
35	Apocalypse World			  -4
35	Star Wars (FFG)				  +1
39	RIFTS					  -1
39	Ars Magica				  +1
39	Firefly					  -3
42	Star Wars (SAGA/d20)			   =
42	Marvel Heroic Roleplaying		   =
42	True20					  +1
42	Gamma World				  -3
42	CORTEX System				   =
47	Fading Suns				   =
47	Hackmaster				  +2
47	BESM					   =
50	Star Wars (d6)				   =
50	Dungeon Crawl Classics			   =
50	d20 Modern				   =
50	Other Superhero RPGs			  +1
50	Iron Kingdoms				   =
50	Aberrant				   =
56	Alternity				  +1
56	Colonial Gothic				  -2
56	Star Trek				   =
56	Villians & Vigilantes			   =
56	Ashen Stars				  +1
56	Earthdawn				  -1
56	Smallville				  -2
63	Brave New World				   =
63	DC Heroes				   =
63	A Song of Ice & Fire			   =
63	Silver Age Sentinels			   =
63	Marvel Super Heroes			   =
63	Hobomancer				   =
63	Rotted Capes				   =
63	Godlike / Wild Talents / NEMESIS	   =
63	d20 Future				   =
63	Paranoia				   =
63	FATE					  -1
63	TMNT					  -1
63	Marvel SAGA				   =
63	Runequest				  -1
63	Golden Heroes / Squadron UK		   =
63	Chainmail				   =
63	All Flesh Must Be Eaten			  -1
--	Dnd/Pathfinder				 DNC
--	Stage					 DNC
*DNC = Did Not Chart

The big news this time seems to be the dominance of D&D solidifying still further, thanks presumably to the release of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide in the last few days. In particular, it’s notable how the scores for D&D 3.X4E, and to a lesser extent AD&D 2E have had a boost as well as that for 5E; I suspect to a large extent this is down to lots of people noting that the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide has reverted a large number of the 4E-era changes to the Forgotten Realms, which had tended to be unpopular both amongst the fanbase and with important authors of Realms lore such as Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore. Most of the reactions I’ve seen to the Guide note that its vision of the Realms, despite advancing the timeline by some significant way, feels like a return to the approach of the 3E or even the 2E era; you can easily see how a critical mass of such comments could boost the scores for various editions.

Meanwhile, World of Darkness is still riding tall amongst the non-D&Dalike RPGs, and it’s followed closely by Exalted, which saw a big boost to its score. This is presumably thanks to the two big bits of news from this past month – first, the much-delayed release of the Exalted 3rd Edition PDF to the Kickstarter backers, and then the purchase of the White Wolf IP portfolio by Paradox Interactive. For the rest of the chart it seems like D&D hoovering up most of the points has left the rest in flux, with small fluctuations in score causing disproportionate shifts in rank and stagnation in the lower reaches of the chart. It’s interesting to note that FATE‘s score has been wiped out entirely, despite it riding high ever since I started tracking this stuff; I’m still wondering whether this is due to something breaking in ENWorld’s algorithm, but the longer it persists the more I may start to think that it’s genuinely due to FATE‘s time in the sun having come and gone, at least for the time being.

Lastly, I’m actually a little surprised that All Flesh Must Be Eaten also had its score wiped out this month, because I’d have thought that Halloween would stimulate discussion of it at least a little. Perhaps the zombie craze is over too.

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