How is a new player supposed to learn D&D Next?

When I was 12 years old I found a copy of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook in a used book store, and purchased it with money I had earned shoveling driveways, based solely on the awesome artwork and the fact that it had the word "dragons" in the title. 

As a child my entertainment options were limited to my imagination, books, sports, 4 television stations on 1 TV which I shared with 6 other nuclear family members, a small assortment of mostly hand me down toys and simple board games, and (rarely) a movie or family trip to the beach.  At that time, finding that D&D book was like finding the most amazing magical treasure in a barren hellscape wasteland that was the 1980's.

It took months to get a couple of friends together who were willing to try it out with me, I had to change some of the math because we only had 6 sided dice, and I'm fairly certain I still don't understand half the rules to 1st edition correctly.  But we had fun, and I've been playing some form of D&D on and off ever since. 

So I have a fairly strait forward question: If D&D Next is going to have "simple" options side by side with "complex" options, how is a new player supposed to figure out which options they should use?  They have no basis upon which to know which one judge one class from any other.  And no matter how "simple" it might be, a 200+ page rule book is just never going to be simple.  Wouldn't it make more sense just to have a new Basic boxed set for new players, and a fully compatable Advanced rule book (which basically just adds a lot of new classes and other options to the Basic rules) for more experienced players? 
  Wouldn't it make more sense just to have a new Basic boxed set for new players, and a fully compatable Advanced rule book (which basically just adds a lot of new classes and other options to the Basic rules) for more experienced players? 



True, the Advanced needs everything from Basic in it too.
Just did this w/my 8 y.o.

He rolled up a 7th lvl half-Orc warrior & used the basic background & package. Grabbed the Alert feat & a stat increase.

Took 20-30 min.
Next is still significantly more convoluted and difficult to learn than most RPGs. It is far from simple. Even 4e has a more simple core. The only thing that makes 4e more confusing than 5e is all the powers. But 5e spells are more confusing than 4e powers so, there is that...
So I have a fairly strait forward question: If D&D Next is going to have "simple" options side by side with "complex" options, how is a new player supposed to figure out which options they should use?  They have no basis upon which to know which one judge one class from any other.  And no matter how "simple" it might be, a 200+ page rule book is just never going to be simple.  Wouldn't it make more sense just to have a new Basic boxed set for new players, and a fully compatable Advanced rule book (which basically just adds a lot of new classes and other options to the Basic rules) for more experienced players? 



*ding!*  You get a cookie.

This problem remains central to the fate of DDN.  It is *much* more important than +1 to this stat, or -2 to that modifier...and as far as I know, it's gone unremarked by the dvelopers.  It may be that they're busy crafting some wiz-bang answer to the conundrum in some back room, and whatever the final answer is will rely as much on how the game is marketted to the masses as anything else.  Still, it might be nice if we got some actual understanding, not of the theoretical 'balance' of the various complexity dials, but how they're going to be presented, particularly to new players.  Mearls mentioned some months ago a three-tiered system of "Basic, "Standard" and "Advanced" D&D products, but gave no indication what features would be native to which versions, and how those would be integrated.

One option would be that, as you suggest, they essentially reproduce the D&D/AD&D parallel release which was the way many people first encountered the game in the early 80s.  This has some obvious problems: it privileges the idea that 'feat's and 'skills' and other complex power mechanisms are the "Standard" way to play, and that utilizing all that folderol is somehow what one is "supposed" to do.  That seems like a quick road to brand suicide, as history has demonstrated that the longer a rulebook is, the more complex the game system, the less likely it is to appeal to a mass market.

Another option would  be a single release "D&D," with much more modest core rulebooks in the 32-page range.  Additional splat-books could then be purchased, each adding an optional modular ruleset to the core game.  Think of this as the 2e approach.  Textbooks and technical manuals are sometimes printed in this way, in a 3-ring-binder, so that new addenda can be slipped right in and integrated physically with the existing material.

The worst option, if we read Mearls very literally, might also be one they pursue: release everything, all at once, in several much larger Standard rulebooks, with all sorts of optional modules and alternate rules stuffed into sidebars and appendices.  Some of the more experienced players hereabouts have advocated this model because it serves their ideal of getting their 'make-up-your-own-game-kit' right from the start, and frankly I'd like to slap each one with a dead fish every time they advocate it.  If this is the way DDN is finally released, the hobby is doomed to extinction within a decade.  No new player will be able to navigate such a system, since it will, as you note, force him or her to CREATE the game before they've even played it, with no standard with which to measure whether some mechanic or other might be right for them. 


Wouldn't it make more sense just to have a new Basic boxed set for new players, and a fully compatable Advanced rule book (which basically just adds a lot of new classes and other options to the Basic rules) for more experienced players? 


As long as the advanced book has all the basic rules in it as well, I have no problem at all with a basic-only introductory kit for new players.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

a new player shouldnt be playtesting next, they should wait till its in print and buy it. you need a stable game with stable rules not an ever changing playtest.
a new player shouldnt be playtesting next, they should wait till its in print and buy it. you need a stable game with stable rules not an ever changing playtest.


I believe he was talking about the finished product.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

a new player shouldnt be playtesting next, they should wait till its in print and buy it. you need a stable game with stable rules not an ever changing playtest.


I believe he was talking about the finished product.




then the answer is simple. buy it, read it, get some friends together, have fun.
I don't understand this thread. If I wanted to play D&D, I could grab some pregens, throw together some random monsters from a random monster table and start a quick game with my friends. D&D has been getting new players since it came out, and this system is easier than a lot of other systems. And if the players wanted to understand more there could easily be a tutorial on the WoTC homepage.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
i agree, part of the fun of running games is being with your friends so issues with rules knowledge will happen and its not a big deal. you will learn over time and sometimes mistakes can lead to fun adventures.
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     



most kids playing dnd will be highschool to college age. if page count intimidates them good luck in college or life.

most kids playing dnd will be highschool to college age.


Hopefully not.  Hopefully, as in the 80s during D&D's high point, younger players will make up a large part of the population. 

...if page count intimidates them good luck in college or life.


You can satisfy your sense of superiority, or move a lot of people into the D&D hobby.  I think the latter is a better option, and suspect the developers agree.
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     



most kids playing dnd will be highschool to college age. if page count intimidates them good luck in college or life.



Most people I know (including myself) picked up D&D somewhere between elementary and middle school.

Requiring a college reading level and a solid grasp of game design to even get into the basics is limiting the market unnecessarily. I can't understand why anyone would be opposed to the sale of a simple rules only set, red box style.
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     



most kids playing dnd will be highschool to college age. if page count intimidates them good luck in college or life.

It's not so much pagecount as the amount of information they have to absorb. Take a group of High School age kids, who've never played D&D before, but they want to try it out. They head to their Freindly neighborhood game store, and flip through the PHB and the DMG, and what they see is a book chock-full of "optional" rules and the like. Now, what do you think they'll pick up? A game that feels incomplete or that they have to (with no prior knowledge on what they want out of the game) build their own game from the laundry list of modules provided, or will they buy another game that they can just pick up, and spend a little time learning, and then start playing later that evening?

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.

They're actually planning on releasing a red-box-style product called "Dungeons and Dragons" that comes with basic rules and pregen characters (including character advancement), and the "standard" and "advanced" rules that we're playtesting come in a separate book.

Here's the L&L article about it:
www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...
I'm wary after the 4e "redbox" disaster.

If they can take five twelve-year-olds with an interest, but absolutely no rpg experience...put them in a room and give them no more than 30 minutes to read the rules...then see if they can generate anything which even say 60% resembles a d&d game...

Then the product will be a success.

Otherwise, generational attrition will render the hobby effectively extinct within a decade.
Otherwise, generational attrition will render the hobby effectively extinct within a decade.

Don't you think equating the future success of D&D Next to the future success of TTRPG gaming as whole to contain just a little bit of hyperbole?
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     



I agree with this.  Asking people who've never played the game to select a series of options is insanity.  They'll either be completely confused,  or have absolutely no idea what they're doing and end up with a less than satsifying experience.
However the existence of a basic or default set of rules along with optional modules can make modules work. In that way new players will have easy access to default rules while the other fans have modules.
Next is still significantly more convoluted and difficult to learn than most RPGs. It is far from simple. Even 4e has a more simple core. The only thing that makes 4e more confusing than 5e is all the powers. But 5e spells are more confusing than 4e powers so, there is that...



For your first PC, don't play a wizard, don't play with feats, don't play with skills, and you won't have to sift through tons and tons of options.

Even if you play with feats, it's still monumentally better to have fewer, but more powerful feats, than many more, dubious feats that are prerequisites for each other and interact with class features and powers and magic items in strange ways.

Everything about 4e character creation was about pick this and that, until you learn the rules a bit, make a few more mistakes, then play it a bit more, then realize you're much better off just picking one of the only really good powers at each level from the char op board.

57 channels and there's nothin on. This is like 57 channels and there's only 2 good choices. That's a huge amount of crud to sift through. 3e wasn't much better. You'd have to take power attack to get Cleave, and it was never immediately obvious when it was worth it to take power attack even if you never wanted to use it, you needed it to get Cleave. Such bad design, those feat trees. So many stepping stone feat choices that were basically taxes to get that Whirlwind Attack. I never used it because I just didn't want to take Combat Expertise or whatever it was as a prerequisite. 

D&D Next, even with its complexity, it still far better because it doesn't have decision bloat at 1st level, and still has much less at later levels. It will though, let's be honest, eventually. But if you stick to PHB it should be do-able.

The first time I played Next was during an Encounters game. I decided to try it, never having read it before. I read a couple pages, rolled up a character in 5 minutes, and had more fun in one session than I've had in a long time. It is way easier to understand because the rules are clearer and simpler. And D&D isn't all about being sticklers for the rules, anyway. If you play like a Rules lawyer, you're missing the point of the edition. Learn the game by playing it fast and loose, and grow into the rules as you go along. It doesn't really matter if you don't understand everything, the core way each class works is self-contained and doesn't rely on knowing too many other intricacies defined elsewhere in the rules. It's very straightforward and fast to learn. That's a major win. 3e and 4e weren't, because of the decision bloat that started right out the gate at level 1, with your "build". I like that I don't have to pick stuff around what I might want to do 5 levels from now. That's like planning out your retirement when you're fresh out of college. It's dumb and not the way life works, nor the way characters should evolve. They should evolve organically, and grow as a result of player decisions and events in-game that are not predictable.

I love that you don't specialize until 3rd or 4th level, that's a very astute rule considering players often don't have a grasp of the campaign, the rules, or their character right off. I don't want some silly 30 level builds with retraining at this and this level, ugh, no. If you want that level of customization you can build your own subclass, but by default most people will just go with the standard options. It shouldn't take an entire session to level everyone up. If it takes 5 minutes to make a level 1 character, it should take 2 minutes to level up after that, except maybe the levels where you get a feat. Take your time, then. Those feats are big. And if you still can't decide, take the ability bump. I know at least a half dozen players who'd probably take the ability bump every time, and they're not simpletons, they just don't care enough about the minutiae of the game to delve that deeply into the dusty tomes of this vs that feat.
Next is still significantly more convoluted and difficult to learn than most RPGs. It is far from simple. Even 4e has a more simple core. The only thing that makes 4e more confusing than 5e is all the powers. But 5e spells are more confusing than 4e powers so, there is that...



For your first PC, don't play a wizard, don't play with feats, don't play with skills, and you won't have to sift through tons and tons of options.



A game isn't difficult because of the character creation options. I mean 3e had ridiculously over-complex character creation options and it still wasn't hard to make a character in 3e. Look at a game like GURPS, where character creation is even more difficult than 3e, still never once seen a person have difficulty making a character. No, the complexity of a game comes from the rules themselves.

This is why I feel that the apprentice tier is such a failure. It is attempting to fix a problem that doesn't actually exist. No gamer is so dull as to be unable to choose a feat, a class feature, and some trained skills at level 1. But 5e is attempting to make the first levels dumbed down for this mythical retard-player who is so incapable of making choices that he simply doesn't have to until level 4.

At the same time, 5e designers have seemingly gone out of their way to make the system more complicated than it needs to be. So instead of making a system that is good for beginners, it is an overly convoluted rulesystem with immensly boring low level PCs. Instead of having a system that will draw in new players by how interesting their level 1 PCs are and keep them interested through a simple elegant system, 5e provides boring flat PCs and rules that push new players away towards better designed games...
I like that everyone just ignores the guy that says, hey my 12 year old just did it in 20 minutes.  Hypotheticals are so much more fun to argue about.

So here's the thing: kids are smart. I figured out AD&D 2e in a weekend.  I got lots of stuff wrong. So what? If you want a new player to learn the game, you guide them through character creation and let them play.

And you keep them as far away from message boards as possible. 
I don't think Next is aiming at people who have never played the game before. I don't think any edition of D&D could be simple enough to cater to completely new players without anyone experienced at the table while still providing options for everyone else. Instead I think D&D is going to be the roleplaying game that you can use to get your friends into roleplaying games. A dad playing for the first time with his son, a player trying to create a new gaming group when he goes to college or whatever. Next is selling simple rules mastery, so that you can read a how to play document (30 pages) and know almost everything you need to play a campaign.

The simple character doesn't cater to the new player (in my experience, new players want tons of options to), but to the player who doesn't want to play a complex character.

Summary: Simple rules, and a few simple builds (that could be pregens), but character development that needs to be diverse so that the game has solid replay value even if you only like playing wizards or fighters or any other class. 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Many if not most of us posting here had our first D&D experience with the Red Box in the 80s. It was great. However, it appears that WOTC has failed to replicate that success with recent introductory products. Whether that's due to poor execution or simply because the market has shifted could be debated. (I'm going to guess it'll be heavily debated, probably on this thread. Smile)

Between the recent 4E Red Box, D&D Essentials, and the original 4E PHB, DMG, and MM, there are at least three "introductory" products for 4E. And each appears to have been less successful than the last. The result has been to further fragment an already fragmented product line. Thus dragging down sales across the board.

I think one of the core tenents of Next is to create an evergreen D&D product that works equally well for both veterans and noobs. New players should be able to pick up the core book(s), quickly create characters, and jump into an adventure. If they're still playing six months or a year later, that same product should allow them to seamlessly weave in standard or advanced mechanics into their game. Veteran players should be able to flip past the noob sections while thinking to themselves: "Nope, that's not for me, but if my little nephew wants to play someday this'll be a great way to get him into the game, and I won't even have to buy new material!"

To me, that makes perfect sense. It's a sound business plan because, if for no other reason, it's the opposite of their previously failed strategies. 

I would even take it a step further: A Dungeons & Dragons app for mobile devices (primarily tablets). All basic rules are free. Along with an adventure or three. And several online tools connecting players to other players, FLGS, and the product line. There's a lot--I mean a LOT--you could do to make a very compelling and robust app that ties new players into the world of D&D. Upgrade to standard/advanced rules, new adventures, Dungeon magazine and Dragon magazine, etc. could be handled through in-app purchases or a subscription business model. The key is to make a large amount of content free in order to grow the user base, then monetize off core fans like us who can and will spend if we're happy with the product. It's very, very viable.    
a new player shouldnt be playtesting next, they should wait till its in print and buy it. you need a stable game with stable rules not an ever changing playtest.



+1
I like that everyone just ignores the guy that says, hey my 12 year old just did it in 20 minutes.  


Because, from context, it seems the poster was talking about a player rolling up a character - not actually learning how to play - and that *under the guidance of an experienced player.* 
That's not the issue here.  The issue here is that DDN needs to be designed in such a way that it does not require an expert guide in order to begin play.  That is the end of the hobby, right there.  And no, Chakravant, that's not hyperbole.  Oh sure, there will be a few diehard hobbyists LARPing away in the woods somewhere, or playing a retro game of Vampire:the  Masquerade at a con...but D&D is the *only* TTRPG with even a speck of mainstream recognition.  D&D dies, the hobby dies.  The leftover fragments will be about as vital and relevant a community as the current crop of buggy racers.

+1 to the mobile app idea, THEMNGMNT.  Make sure it includes a matchmaking service for pickup-play.  Sell plug-in 1-hour minimodule adventures for such play for 99 cents.  Imagine sending out a tweet to all players within a 25 mile radius declaring "Fred's coffeeshop, 2 hours starting at noon tomorrow.  Will be running Evil Lighthouse of Doom, Standard rules, PC levels 4-7, 4 slots remaining."   






Exactly! You might not even have to charge for that. If you think about many gaming groups, the majority of the books are owned by one person. So you don't need to charge every person every time they sit down to play. You just need to make sure that your big spenders feel like they're getting good use of their purchases.
Daddy's matchmaking idea could be the basis for the entire Encounters program. Everyone who checks-in to a game automatically gets a 10% off e-coupon good for whatever product WOTC is pushing that season. Or get some more friends to sign up and WOTC will give you a reward, like a discount on your app subscription, a limited edition adventure, etc. 
Add a rating service, so players can thumb-up or thumb-down the DM after the game, and vice versa:

 "Seeking experienced players for ongoing campaign, at bookstore on campus, +20 rating or equivalent preferred..."
 "DMs with a rating over 80% who volunteer to lead games for at least 4 hours during tournament play at this week's 'Con will have their entry fee waived..."

 
Awesome. This is how to grow the game.
And no, Chakravant, that's not hyperbole.

If WotC folded today, I'd put money on Pathfinder still being around ten years from now.
Oh sure, there will be a few diehard hobbyists LARPing away in the woods somewhere, or playing a retro game of Vampire:the  Masquerade at a con...

So it is hyperbole, but you don't want to admit it.  Gotcha.
but D&D is the *only* TTRPG with even a speck of mainstream recognition.

This isn't 1985.  That isn't true anymore.
D&D dies, the hobby dies.  The leftover fragments will be about as vital and relevant a community as the current crop of buggy racers.

I'm glad you have been given the title of absolute arbiter of relevence.  Who granted you said title?
The problem is that I don't think many will be willing to even try it if either
a.) parallel modules presented in the basic rulebooks force you to essentially 'write your own game' before you've ever played.
b.) the rulebooks are intimidatingly long (>120 pages each for the basic 3)
 

There will have to be a 'default', simple-option, product, preferably in a boxed set with dice and character sheets, under $25.  That's the entry point.     



I agree with this.  Asking people who've never played the game to select a series of options is insanity.  They'll either be completely confused,  or have absolutely no idea what they're doing and end up with a less than satsifying experience.

they dont have to build their own game, they play with zero options
If WotC folded today, I'd put money on Pathfinder still being around ten years from now.

There will still be one or two buggy whip manufacturers around ten years from now two.  They, also, will be effectively irrelevant.
The TTRPG hobby, by its nature as a cooperative, group activity, requires a minimum threshold of warm bodies to be a going concern.  I'd say that we're on the 'Life Support' end of that scale at present, eking along at a bare subsistence level, primarily on the basis of aging gamers who are invested in the hobby for nostalgia's sake and having been grandfathered in before CRPGs overtook the tabletop systems around 1990.  Those players are now in their 40s to 60s.  Even if each one suddenly took it upon himself or herself to actively recruit younger players, in order to generate interest there must be a popular presence in the mainstream.  That exists, currently, fed mostly by sitcom parodies making fun of the common stereotypes of manchildren who still live in their metaphoric parents' basements and play D&D (see Big Bang Theory and Community).  Without even that degree of mainstream presence, the hobby is gone.   D&D will fall of Con activity lists, dissappear from game store shelves, cease to be a touchstone for geek culture.

Repeat: D&D is the ONLY TTRPG with even a SPECK of mainstream recognition.  A few pockets of isolated enthusiasts, and self-published retroclones or homebrew systems which distribute a few hundred copies each, at most, are not enough to sustain the number of players necessary.
People need to realize that paizo is gonna need to update pathfinder sooner or later. While I feel wizards tries to push new editions out too fast, there is a need for new editions fot the company to make money. Paizos strenght is in their adventure paths not their system(which is mostly wizards old system).Paizo might be #1 right now but ask someone who doesnt play roleplaying games what pathfinder is and they wont know. You ask someone what D&D is and they will have heard of it, even if they dont know what it is.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

If WotC folded today, I'd put money on Pathfinder still being around ten years from now.

There will still be one or two buggy whip manufacturers around ten years from now two.  They, also, will be effectively irrelevant.
The TTRPG hobby, by its nature as a cooperative, group activity, requires a minimum threshold of warm bodies to be a going concern.  I'd say that we're on the 'Life Support' end of that scale at present, eking along at a bare subsistence level, primarily on the basis of aging gamers who are invested in the hobby for nostalgia's sake and having been grandfathered in before CRPGs overtook the tabletop systems around 1990.  Those players are now in their 40s to 60s.  Even if each one suddenly took it upon himself or herself to actively recruit younger players, in order to generate interest there must be a popular presence in the mainstream.  That exists, currently, fed mostly by sitcom parodies making fun of the common stereotypes of manchildren who still live in their metaphoric parents' basements and play D&D (see Big Bang Theory and Community).  Without even that degree of mainstream presence, the hobby is gone.   D&D will fall of Con activity lists, dissappear from game store shelves, cease to be a touchstone for geek culture.

Repeat: D&D is the ONLY TTRPG with even a SPECK of mainstream recognition.  A few pockets of isolated enthusiasts, and self-published retroclones or homebrew systems which distribute a few hundred copies each, at most, are not enough to sustain the number of players necessary.

I disagree highly; The majority of people who get into the hobby nowadays aren't people who get into it through the mainstream influence, but through friends or family who play, or through the impact of actual hobbiests, such as through things like Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, which though it normally focuses on boardgames, also delves into TTRPGs, as it did on the episode it spent on the Dragon Age RPG. Hell, there are many smaller cases of this, with streamed sessions of various systems on vehicles such as ustream and the like.

The stereotypical representations that are shown through mainstream media aren't going to appeal to people, because, besides being a bit insulting, don't convey the positive aspects of the hobby. This isn't what draws up interest. What draws up interest is when people share stories of epic moments from their games, or stuff like that.

Besides, I think you're underestimating the growing acceptance of nerd-culture among the youth of today. They don't need to be pulled into the hobby by the brand of D&D or by grognards in their 40s to 60s. A lot of (I hesitate to say most, but I'd have to guess so) college campuses have RPG clubs, that aren't going to go under if D&D does. The hobby's gotten large enough that it's not dependant on the draw of one sole game, since a lot of hobbiests have games that they play besides, or instead of D&D, and as long as they can continue to draw from the venues, like college campuses, friends, and online communities and streams, the hobby isn't dying if D&D does.

I am currently raising funds to run for President in 2016. Too many administrations have overlooked the international menace, that is Carmen Sandiego. I shall devote any and all necessary military resources to bring her to justice.

There will still be one or two buggy whip manufacturers around ten years from now two.  They, also, will be effectively irrelevant.

Tell that to the Amish.  Or assuming buggy whip manufactruers make similar whips, tell that to harness racers and dressage trainers as well while you're at it.
The TTRPG hobby, by its nature as a cooperative, group activity, requires a minimum threshold of warm bodies to be a going concern.

Are TTRPGs a hobby, or a concern?
I'd say that we're on the 'Life Support' end of that scale at present, eking along at a bare subsistence level, primarily on the basis of aging gamers who are invested in the hobby for nostalgia's sake and having been grandfathered in before CRPGs overtook the tabletop systems around 1990.

I couldn't disagree more.  I find suggestions that CCGs had any impact on TTRPG sales to be both ludicrous and presumption (not even correlation) implying causation.
Those players are now in their 40s to 60s.  Even if each one suddenly took it upon himself or herself to actively recruit younger players, in order to generate interest there must be a popular presence in the mainstream.

Not in today's internet driven world, no.  Word of mouth advertising goes a long ways.  Besides, I am one of "those players", in my 30s, and introducing people who range in age from their 20s to under 10 to the hobby.  Your baseless presumptions are showing again.
That exists, currently, fed mostly by sitcom parodies making fun of the common stereotypes of manchildren who still live in their metaphoric parents' basements and play D&D (see Big Bang Theory and Community).

I'm beginning to wonder if you understand media.  BBT is popular, and to a degree reenforces current "Geek is chic" ideologies.  As far as Community, Joel McHale and Chevy Chase are more interested in parodying modern pop culture than geek stereotypes.
Without even that degree of mainstream presence, the hobby is gone.   D&D will fall of Con activity lists, dissappear from game store shelves, cease to be a touchstone for geek culture.

D&D might, yes.  But that doesn't mean TTRPGs will.  At current conventions, D&D is only a scant fraction of the overall TTRPGs being played anyways.  You're more likely to find a greater number of Fiasco games being played than D&D games.
Repeat: D&D is the ONLY TTRPG with even a SPECK of mainstream recognition.  A few pockets of isolated enthusiasts, and self-published retroclones or homebrew systems which distribute a few hundred copies each, at most, are not enough to sustain the number of players necessary.

In The Communication Age, the definition of mainstream is changing.  It is doing so in a way that provides quality TTRPGs greater recognition than D&D could ever hope for.  Enthusiasts are no longer isolated in geographical pockets, and with Print on Demand options growing, smaller systems of higher quality can be played for decades.  The number of players is much higher than you think.  The right TTRPG can lure video game and CCG players in with ease.  I've seen it done.  I've done it.  The real question is can D&D adapt, not whether or not TTRPGs are going to die.
They're actually planning on releasing a red-box-style product called "Dungeons and Dragons" that comes with basic rules and pregen characters (including character advancement), and the "standard" and "advanced" rules that we're playtesting come in a separate book.

Here's the L&L article about it:
www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...

I've been playing these games since '82 and I have had to re-read parts of "How to Play" multiple times to understand the rules.  I don't know how an 8th grader is going to figure it out, especially with confusing terms like "Hit Dice" being kept for...nostalgia?
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
In Chakravant's universe, the number of TTRPG players is increasing, CRPGs magically transmute into CCGs, and the population at large can name any TTRPG other than Dungeons & Dragons.

For those of us in the real world, I think a key to the success or failure of the product will be marketing. Unlike a toy or even a boardgame which can be quickly evoked in a 30 second commercial spot, D&D needs to convey an almost entirely unfamiliar activity in as concise a manner as possible. One key method may be greater reliance on publicly broadcast play, particularly if Hasbro is invested enough in the brand to pursue celebrity endorsements.
In Chakravant's universe, the number of TTRPG players is increasing, CRPGs magically transmute into CCGs, and the population at large can name any TTRPG other than Dungeons & Dragons.

You are ever the master of hyperbole.  The CCG/CRPG thing was simply a mistake in acronyms.  Video games haven't reduced the number of tabletop players any more than collectible card games have.  And the population at large can't name ANY tabletop RPG.
For those of us in the real world, I think a key to the success or failure of the product will be marketing. Unlike a toy or even a boardgame which can be quickly evoked in a 30 second commercial spot, D&D needs to convey an almost entirely unfamiliar activity in as concise a manner as possible. One key method may be greater reliance on publicly broadcast play, particularly if Hasbro is invested enough in the brand to pursue celebrity endorsements.

20th Century marketing isn't going to work the 21st Century.