Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Path to D&D's Restoration: Go For The Legitimacy of Real D&D

How do you beat D&D at being D&D?

You have to comprehend how branding works, how the Network Effect works, and how they interact. D&D has the dominant network of users in this category, a position it's enjoyed since its first publishing, and it has so far succeeded in fending off competitors due to exploiting that position to present itself as the legitimate leader of TRPGs.

The curious thing about legitimacy is that it is a contingent quality, and that contingency is the ability to fulfill the needs and desires of a target audience- your key backers, in other words. They support you so long as you support them, because without them you cannot do a damned thing; even Alexander the Great had to end his conquests when his men refused to go further.

If you want to overthrow D&D as the top dog of RPGs, then you have to swing at its legitimacy and that means pointing out how it fails to satisfy the customers that you seek to make your own. This is where "Fake D&D" and "Real D&D" has its substance; by showing how the current edition fails to fulfill the customer expectations of the game, you attack its legitmacy and weaken the brand. When you then follow up by showing how your competitor fulfills those expectations, you can position yourself as "Real D&D" and begin taking those dissatisfied customers away. Eventually Fake D&D collapses and you are D&D.

The cost? That you are not allowed to use D&D, as that's a trademark. You'll have to use surrogates while you usurp D&D as the top dog of the tabletop RPG world. That you have to commit to being what D&D used to be--an authentic adventure experience, deriving from wargames, as it was through to the Dragonlance days--and ride that bronco for as long as you can. That you commit to restoring the entire scene to that standard, and putting to the flame all notion of a "community" (and, therefore explicityly anti-SJW).

Court the boys and their fathers, those seeking to compete and test and strive against uncaring worlds and remorseless odds. Let the rest look on wistfully beyond the gates, gates those same wistful watchers forged by their own refusal to actively participate and take on those challenges, and hear not--hear never--calls for Muh Inclusion ever again. Skin the game or get the fuck out.

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