This is Audio EXP for the 12th of December 2020, and the title of this episode is ‘The most popular D&D character races and names in 2020’.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #74]
What do you think the most popular names for D&D characters in 2020 are?
I know, Audio EXP often begins with a weird stat. Usually, the strange question and answers come from Geek Native competitions. It’s a bit different this time, I asked D&D Beyond, and they kindly provided the answers.
D&D Beyond, simply put, must have one of the most extensive collection of actual character names out there. If anyone can answer this question, then it’s them.
Are you ready for the answer? I’ll do the top five and do them in reverse order.
In fifth place; Monk.
Yes, I know that’s a character class, but it really is the fifth most popular name too.
In fourth place; Ash.
Yes, Ash as in Pokemon or Armies of Darkness. Ash was actually the fifth most popular name when D&D Beyond last revealed these stats so it’s gaining in popularity.
In third place; Cleric.
Ah yes, another character class. Surely some mistake? Nope. Cleric was the 11th most popular name last year too.
In the second place; Jack.
The most common name for D&D characters is; Bob.
That’s at least two years in a row with Bob topping the charts.
There’s that famous scene in Blackadder where Gabrielle Glaister’s character is pretending to be a man goes by the name Bob. They actually did that gag in Blackadder II and Blackadder Goes Forth.
There’s the less famous scene in Titan AE when the heroes name humanity’s new home planet Bob.
That’s my reasons why Bob might come up as a comedic D&D name. Why is Bob the most popular D&D characters in general? Well, you tell me because I’m at a loss.
I’ve second set of D&D Beyond stats to share with you this week. I also have the top five D&D races.
Any guesses what they’re going to be?
Well, once again, here they are in reverse order.
In fifth place; Half-orc.
In fourth place; Tiefling.
In third place; Dragonborn.
In the second place: Half-Elf.
So, what does that leave for the most popular character race in D&D?
In the first place; Human.
I’m reminded of a story from October this year when Larian Studios, the people who made Baldur’s Gate III, accused D&D players of making boring characters.
The studio gave people the option to add demon eyes, horns and tails and thought people would use it. As I said at the time, those features are appropriate for Tieflings but for the other D&D races not so much. If people are turning to Baldur’s Gate III for a traditional D&D experience, then they’re not going to randomly give their characters tails.
Now, it turns out, we’re quite happy playing humans. I guess that’s because we know how to do that and DMs are happy to have them in their settings as a player race.
If you are a DM and are running a high fantasy game with a legion of different races then Humble Bundle’s Monster Lore deal is worth looking at.
The bundle contains lots of Pathfinder 1st edition monster books and hundreds of creatures. I know people have been buying them for easy D&D 5e conversions and because many Pathfinder groups are still on the first edition.
As it happens, if you’re not running a game but are tempted to and wondering how to start, then there’s good news.
A group of publishers are backing New Gamemaster Month. This is an initiative with training and help sessions from very experienced GMs and DMs.
The transcript of the podcast has the links you need, and you’ll find a link to that in the show notes or by using Google to look for Audio EXP #74.
I looked at an original RPG this week, straight out of Russia, that I think makes for a memorable introduction to the hobby. It’s called See You in Hell.
It’s an RPG inspired by computer games like Doom.
So, clever character backgrounds, party politics and emotional intelligence on display? No. Not here. In this game, you play a macho warrior who kills enough monsters until their boss turns up. That’s it.
Please note, I said a memorable introduction to the hobby rather than a good one. But, hear me out, I think it might be a good introduction too. The mechanics are straight-forward with 5s and 6s on a d6 counting as good stuff and 1s as bad.
Players are encouraged to describe their ultraviolence because doing so increases their rage attribute. The more rage you have, the more minions you blast through.
The company is Silver Hoof Games and See You in Hell costs $10 and is available from Itch.io.
Another review I put up this week is for Drift of Dreams.
Drift of Dreams is a graphic novel for the Swordsfall RPG. Swordsfall is an Afropunk RPG that’s now been bought by Andrews McMeel, a fairly large American publisher who are pushing into the hobby. Afropunk is a setting based on African mythology, rather than European.
I didn’t learn terribly much more about Swordsfall from Drift of Dreams, but I enjoyed the graphic novel. In the game setting, when humans dream, they enter the Tapestry, and you can think of that as a human only dimension.
At the start of Drift of Dreams, something alien and dangerous has invaded the Tapestry, and so the human Dreamweavers have to protect the realm from the invader.
Each chapter in the graphic novel is illustrated by someone else, this gives the book a surreal and dreamlike quality. I think that’s entirely appropriate.
Hats off to Brandon Dixon, the talent behind Swordsfall, as it’s no small challenge to start by sharing your campaign world and build it up to commercial success.
A commercial success of 2020 has to be RPG patreons; they make it easy for fans to support creators and for creators and publishers to offer a subscription model.
This week, Handiwork Games launched Handimonsters and it uses Patreon.
Jon Hodgson already has a successful cartography Patreon. That was set up before Handiwork, I believe. Handiwork is the company he created after leaving Cubicle 7 where he was the creative mastermind.
Handiwork Games already have the Scarred Lands Creature Collection under their belt. A supplement they Kickstarted and illustrated from Onyx Path.
So, Handimonsters does what you would expect. There are different tiers which determine how many fully illustrated, fully written-up and fully statted 5e monsters you get a month. It means a somewhat predictable revenue stream for Handiwork, and it means monsters players know nothing about for GMs.
Predictable revenue streams are attractive. Crunchyroll has one since they offer both ad-supported anime and ad-free via a subscription model.
It’s long been rumoured, but this week AT&T confirmed that Crunchyroll will be sold to Funimation.
The price? $1.2bn.
Funimation is Sony. In previous Audio EXP episodes, we’d discussed this rumour, done some napkin maths on the value of Crunchyroll and speculated on who likely purchasers could be. In this case, the podcasts speculation got it exactly right.
It’s not all subscription models, though. The virtual tabletop Foundry is making waves by doing precisely the opposite.
Roll20, Astral and Fantasy Grounds would all appreciate it if you bought a license. Foundry sells software to you once.
This week, Pinnacle Entertainment’s deal with Foundry means the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition is entirely free for Foundry.
You do, however, need to grab it from GitHub and install it yourself. That’s not much of a technical barrier, but pretty daunting if you’ve never done it before.
It’s very generous of Pinnacle, I think.
While we’re talking about giveaways, there are a few days left on Geek Native’s Caul of Winter D&D supplement competition.
There’s also a brand new giveaway with The Fey and the Furious.
If you want to dive into the Rivers of London setting, an RPG due out from Chaosium and based on Ben Aaronvitch’s novels then this is one for you. The Fey and the Furious is a graphic novel and thanks to Titan Books this particular prize ships to the UK and the US.
Of course, at this time of year, it’s not all about what you can get. It’s also about what you can give. The charity RPG Research could do with your help.
It’ll be brilliant if you have warehouse space spare in Spokane, Washington, but, if not, then there are loads of volunteer roles they need to be filled.
RPG Research uses RPGs to make the world a better place and does so in an impressively diverse number of ways. Back in 2018, they had 10 volunteers, now they have nearly 150, but demand is outstripping their ability to supply GMs and assistance.
And let’s make job news the last story in this week’s Audio EXP. Dungeons & Dragons has a new senior designer. That’s designer is Amanda Hamon who is a veteran of Starfinder and Kobold Press.
I’m sure Amanda will bring loads of talent to Wizards of the Coast. The debate, of course, is that does the appointment of a senior designer mean for D&D? What are Wizards planning?
Perhaps the goal is just to ramp up production or apply more leadership to the current projects? Amanda Hamon certainly has that.
But perhaps Amanda is replacing a familiar name, someone who has left the company but we’re yet to hear about it. Perhaps Amanda’s appointment marks the start of a big new project or a significant change of direction.
Hmm. Food for thought.
And let’s wrap it there, keep safe, stay out of melee range and see you next week.
Take part in the conversations on the site and leave a comment below.