TTRPGs: target audience part 1

From my own observations during my time in the TTRPG community, there generally seem to be two big groups of fans: one, the people who played D&D and similar games back in the 80s and have never stopped, or have taken up the hobby again recently; and two, the newer players who got into the game a few years ago after D&D’s popularity skyrocketed when 5th Edition came out. Shows like Critical Role and Dimension 20 pulled in a lot of these latter players: most folks I’ve spoken to said they got into TTRPGs after falling in love with Critical Role.

There’s a clear distinction between the two groups: the 80s gang tends to focus more on tactical play and combat, while the younger audience prioritizes drama and storytelling.

It’s also worth noting that a substantial portion of younger TTRPG players are queer, or part of a minority. There’s an in-joke in the community that D&D helps people figure out their sexuality and gender by letting them test-run it in a safe environment: a game of pretend among friends.

TTRPGs also seem to be popular among neurodivergent people (we get to beta-test social situations, and a TTRPG has literal written rules about how these situations are supposed to work).

Recently, there’s been a push to make TTRPG spaces inclusive to all minorities (that is, not just queer and neurodivergent people). There are, for instance, third party rules for chronic pain and combat wheelchairs for D&D, and recently, Wizards of the Coast published optional rules for a character’s lineage (the previous rules were rooted in very problematic racial stereotypes).

One last thing to note: there is a vocal minority of older TTRPG players that want to gatekeep the hobby from others, especially minorities (“a disabled character is so unrealistic!” and “why can’t I have evil races anymore?”). These players are NOT the intended target audience for TFTS.

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