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Call of Cthulhu Roll20 Play Surges in Spring of 2019, D&D Still King

July 29, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

The rise of the Old Ones is upon us, at least in terms of RPG use on Roll20. The Orr Group Industry Report has released its latest report looking at usage on the popular virtual tabletop system in the second quarter of 2019, and it reveals that Call of Cthulhu play has jumped from the previous quarter while Dungeons & Dragons (of course) remains the king.

According to the report, 51.87% of all campaigns run on Roll20 are D&D Fifth Edition campaigns, while 54.44% of all Roll20 user accounts play D&D 5E. Those are dominant numbers of course, though they’re notably down from 60.88% of all campaigns and 69.03% of players in Q1 of 2018. Part of this may have something to do with the fact that this quarter marks a change in how Orr Group is collecting data. Whereas the old report was based simply on user selection data, the new methodology also looks at character sheet usage from all 4 million-plus Roll20 accounts. The report notes that this new method provides data that is “more broadly representative, accurate, and integrated into our systems.”

While D&D 5E’s share is down a bit, Call of Cthulhu is up significantly. The horror game represents 9.48% of all campaigns on Roll20, the second highest specific game, with 3.39% of all accounts playing. Only D&D Fifth Editio0n and Uncategorized games rank higher in the first metric. This compares to just 2.58% of games in Q1 of 2018. The report noted that Call of Cthulhu games have an average playtime of 11.9 hours, compared to an average of 40 hours for other games. The suggestion is that Call of Cthulhu players run shorter games (or perhaps they just go mad and die more often — entirely possible in CoC) and start up a new campaign more frequently.

Pathfinder also has a strong showing, as might be expected, coming in just behind CoC in campaign percentage (6.46%) and second — not including Uncategorized — in account percentage at 7.86%. This is down from the 9.87% from Q1 2018, which makes sense with Pathfinder 2 having been playtested in recent months and about to launch.

Overall, the data indicates that as roleplaying games grow in popularity, there is a bit of mixing it up in terms of what players want to run. As much as fantasy games still dominate, horror and other genres are being increasingly explored. As popular games continue to expand, such as the World of Darkness setting builds its Fifth Edition setting and Shadowrun about to release its sixth edition, this seems likely to continue. You can see the full, very lengthy list of games by campaign and account percentage below: