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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Greetings all,

    My game group almost exclusively plays D&D 5e because they are super familiar with the system. This familiarity gives them comfort. On the flip side, I can see they have acquired many D&Disms as part of their role-playing.

    I personally have a lot of experience in other systems and I want to try to explore some other systems to try. We are about mid-way through our current campaign, so I figure now is the time to start planting seeds for the next campaign.

    How would you go about pitching a new game or system to a D&D group of players? What has worked for you in the past, and what has not worked well for you? Any little tips and tricks are appreciated.

    Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
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    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Just be honest and tell them that you'd like to try something different.

    Out of the systems you're interested in, pick one that's relatively simple or easy to learn, and a campaign idea you can wrap up in a few sessions if it doesn't go well.

    If they're really dedicated to D&D, tell them that playing one or more other systems will help them understand what D&D is doing and not doing.
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    "Hey, guys, I feel like running something different. Would you mind indulging me and giving it a go for a few sessions? It's not hard to pick up."
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    I agree with the above, but I also find it helps to move the genre out of "D&D". So, if you're wanting to try something else, do a game that doesn't mesh immediately with the "group of dungeonpunks adventure in a semi-medieval world with magic." Do something cyberpunk. Or modern investigation. Or space opera. Something that is NOT D&D-ish. They'll like carry a lot of habits with them, but the distance will help make the differences more reasonable.
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    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I agree with the above, but I also find it helps to move the genre out of "D&D". So, if you're wanting to try something else, do a game that doesn't mesh immediately with the "group of dungeonpunks adventure in a semi-medieval world with magic." Do something cyberpunk. Or modern investigation. Or space opera. Something that is NOT D&D-ish. They'll like carry a lot of habits with them, but the distance will help make the differences more reasonable.
    It can help to throw a little bit of D&D in there (such as character races that fall into the D&D archetypes, or just straight up are them), but this in general. And it depends very much in the group whether you want that little bit of D&D or not.

    But if it seems further away from D&D the more likely you are to get away with it and not have to deal with the inevitable D&D hack.
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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Just be honest and tell them that you'd like to try something different.
    Out of the systems you're interested in, pick one that's relatively simple or easy to learn, and a campaign idea you can wrap up in a few sessions if it doesn't go well.
    If they're really dedicated to D&D, tell them that playing one or more other systems will help them understand what D&D is doing and not doing.
    This. If they really don't want to try something else, you're either not going to sway them, or they're going to be very predisposed to finding reasons not to enjoy it. If they're willing to at least try, don't make a huge commitment. Let them decide how far they want to go. Tell them what YOU like about the system you're interested in running and why D&D doesn't do that thing.

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    Rynjin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    "Hey I'm like super burnt out on running D&D at the moment and need a break, but I'd love to keep playing with y'all. I want to run [Insert System Here] for a little while, and think it could be fun. Otherwise I'll probably be taking a break from running entirely for a while because I just can't anymore."

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Few points of advice:

    Give a set amount of sessions ('for 3 next sessions' instead of 'for a while').

    Give them a choice (pitch two systems and let them pick which one to try out first)

    Turn it into regular thing (every 4-5 sessions we have a one-shot of something different)

    If they seem interested in one of the games, suggest 3 session switch.

    Focus on those who say yes - do not ignore the naysayers, but you'll persuade them easier if you have a posse of your own. Tell the interested guys about the games, discuss character ideas, etc. You can also check before if one of them agrees for more support.

    If two of them start to make a character, you have usually won. Pick a game with interesting chargen mechanics first and start with 'hey, let's at least create a character' - that usually warms up at least one additional player. Because...well...yeah, players love new chars.

    Lead them through chargen, have handouts and charsheets, help them to build a char without reading through the whole book... and most probably they'll get hooked.

    After all, why not do a test drive of the new char? Have a short one shot ready that showcases the best of the system.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    The only one I haven't seen yeah is also consider offering them more than one other D&D system to play. Especially if they have very different concepts and you can offer a game about clockwork crime, mech-combat, desperate survivors or insane mages.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Use very specific reasons.

    "Hey, I'd like to do something zany and hilarious and non-serious, and drop an anvil on somebody's head. Anybody else interested in playing a cartoon character in TOON?"

    "I'd like to get into the serious aspects of the Knights of the Round Table. Let's have a game of Pendragon."

    "All the new movies have me excited about superheroes -- leaping over buildings, wearing powered armor, shooting heat vision out of my eyes, etc. I'm planning to run a game of Champions. Anybody want to be an armored billionaire playboy, Kryptonian, Amazon, mutant, or vigilante?"

    "I just watched a great Three Musketeers movie, and it gave me some ideas about adventures for 17th century rapier fighters. Anybody want to play a musketeer in a game of Flashing Blades?"

    DO NOT speak against D&D, or against the players' "D&Disms". You want the players on your side. Sell the new game; don't run down the old one.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Yes, propose things that could interest them but that DnD don't handle well, cyberpunk, hard sci-fi, superheroes, zombie apocalypse, low magic and gritty,etc. or mix and match, zombie apocalypse with superheroes, for example.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    1. Point out the strengths of the new system. Do so in a way that contrasts with D&D without attacking D&D. Often pointing out that the design goals are just the opposites of the other, without either being "better".
    2. I almost always try for a very different genre. Otherwise a lot of people will look for the usual mechanics, and they may not exist.
    3. Pitch it as a one-shot or very short campaign.
    4. Honestly, almost pitch it as a different type of game. It's not "D&D with different rules." Point out what kinds of things it would do, and use analogies like "it's like going for sushi instead of steak". Both are good, but just different.
    5. Don't. Attack. D&D.
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    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    1. Point out the strengths of the new system. Do so in a way that contrasts with D&D without attacking D&D. Often pointing out that the design goals are just the opposites of the other, without either being "better".
    2. I almost always try for a very different genre. Otherwise a lot of people will look for the usual mechanics, and they may not exist.
    3. Pitch it as a one-shot or very short campaign.
    4. Honestly, almost pitch it as a different type of game. It's not "D&D with different rules." Point out what kinds of things it would do, and use analogies like "it's like going for sushi instead of steak". Both are good, but just different.
    5. Don't. Attack. D&D.
    Honestly, I think sticking to the very core of , whichever edition they're used to could be helpful. So for people used to 5e something with Attributes, Skills, and some kind of Talent, and going for a roll over system. I wouldn't jump straight to a five pull system unless there was some big familiar element (such as Shadowrun having the same basic set of traces and character roles).

    But yes, I'd very much jump to something that does something different. Also something relatively simple, it's must likely a bad idea to drop GURPS or Eclipse Phase on a group not used to a lot of systems.


    In my experience the biggest thing that can help is being able to describe one big, interesting element that D&D doesn't do. Maybe the magic heavily draws on social tends, maybe t players will be reality interested in running their own ship, maybe they're playing the literal children of mythological gods (be prepared for the one player who picks the Tuatha de Danan as their home pantheon). Something that'll get the players inspired to try the system. If there's some big franchise they're all into that can also be your selling point, I've had great experience with suggesting Warhammer 40k or Doctor Who games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Tips for Pitching a Non-D&D Game

    A really easy system to get into as a departure from D&D is d6 Star Wars. It's often really high-energy, lots of shooting stormtroopers, keep the story moving forward and not letting things go too long without some action. It's also super simple to learn and play without needing tons of sourcebooks and such.

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