D&D 5th Edition D&D Next Blog: Tone and Edition - Page 7




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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Is it D&D without Dragonborn/Tieflings/etc.? Yes.

    Is it D&D with those things? Maybe.

    Tieflings have been around a while; there's nothing wrong with a player being able to play one. Putting them in a race chapter in the beginning of the PHB sends the wrong message. It distances the game from the base races that are generic fantasy assumptions now (humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings, principally). It tritely says that "we're cool and dark and gritty" without actually being any of those things. It pushes a style that includes extraplanar beings as everyday things.
    Conversely, I think putting races like tieflings, dragonborn, and the like sends the message that D&D isn't just a poor man's Tolkien (and Tolkien-knockoff) simulator. Which I think is the right message to send in a modern system. The boundaries of what is considered generic fantasy have expanded a lot in the last couple of decades, and I don't think you'd find a whole lot of younger fantasy fans, especially, who would consider dragonfolk or half-demons to be anything out of the ordinary. If races like tiefling were ever "cool and dark and gritty", it was a long time ago. At this point, I think distancing D&D from the idea that "generic fantasy" means human, dwarf, elf, halfling is a good thing, because the larger culture has long since done so.

 

  • #62
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    I have no dog in this race (no pun intended), as I don't really care if races are marked as "common/uncommon/rare" or "basic/expert/advanced" or even "classic/diet/caffeine-free." (Well, okay, maybe that last one.) Or if they're not ranked at all.

    I do have to say that I think this is a silly thing to freak out over, because this sort of thing has been done before. 1E and 2E included "rarity" rankings for every single monster, yet I never heard about hordes of DMs whose world-building plans were dashed because the game wouldn't let them include as many mind flayers or green dragons as they wanted to. It was simply a guideline for those who wanted to use it.

    If you want to argue that it's unnecessary to rank races (or monsters) this way, that's one thing. But claiming that it's somehow harmful or impinging on your ability to design the campaign world you want... I can't even fathom it, honestly.
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  • #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    So, -

    Common = Stuff that was in all editions
    Uncommon = Stuff that wasn't in all editions but was in editions/books that sold well
    Rare = Stuff that wasn't in all editions but was in editions/books that didn't sell well

    Is this the vibe being tested?

    Quote Originally Posted by Essenti View Post
    Try to look at "common, uncommon, rare" from a different perspective. These labels don't have to tell you how common or rare they should be in your game. Think of them as an indication of how often they appeared in the various editions of the game--without having to put a definitive edition label on them, which would probably keep the edition warfires smoldering.

    (. . .)

    "Common, uncommon, rare" works perfectly fine if you think about them from an all editions encompassing frame of reference.

    Did it exist in all editions, pow, common.

    Did it exist in two or more editions, bang, uncommon.

    Did it exist in only one edition, bam, rare.

    Could WoTC use other labels? Indeed they can and perhaps should--judging from some of the reactions in this thread. Having them categorized is still a great idea and offers a straightforward method for a DM to allow or disallow races/classes/whatever.

    You could tell your players:

    "Feel free to use any common or uncommon elements to create your character before the game on Sunday, contact me if their is a rare element you'd like to explore and I'll think about it."

    Or,

    "Feel free to use any common race, except those horrible halflings! Gnomes and half-orcs are okay, but no other uncommon. Oh, and don't even contemplate any of those weird rare races, unless your dragborn is sans the mammaries."

    You can even change the category of an element if you want:

    "Drow are common, they're like dog poop in my campaign."

    At the end of the day, you can still just list straight out what you want to include or leave out, and completely ignore the labels with no additional work required (save what you'd have done in any previous edition by writing out the list of races/classes/whatever).

    The categories are there to make things easier and should have absolutely no game mechanic associations, so they don't actually matter if you totally ignore them.


    That's my take with the addition of popularity by sales of same.
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  • #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Tieflings have been around a while; there's nothing wrong with a player being able to play one. Putting them in a race chapter in the beginning of the PHB sends the wrong message. It distances the game from the base races that are generic fantasy assumptions now (humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings, principally). It tritely says that "we're cool and dark and gritty" without actually being any of those things. It pushes a style that includes extraplanar beings as everyday things.
    Whereas putting elves, dwarves, and halflings up front says, "We're crudely imitating the Lord of the Rings in a blatant pander to get Tolkien fans to buy our stuff... just like we have been since the 1970s."

    Not that I like the 4E races any better. I say every single nonhuman race belongs in a chapter marked "Deprecated" in the back of the book. Put them all on the same level: The basement.

    (Yes, I'm joking... sort of. I understand why elves and dwarves and halflings are getting the red-carpet treatment, and I accept the necessity, but they don't in the least deserve it. If you want "the base races that are generic fantasy" nowadays, the PHB should lead off with vampires and werewolves.)
    Last edited by Dausuul; Saturday, 28th April, 2012 at 07:23 AM.

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  • #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouseferatu View Post
    I have no dog in this race (no pun intended), as I don't really care if races are marked as "common/uncommon/rare" or "basic/expert/advanced" or even "classic/diet/caffeine-free." (Well, okay, maybe that last one.) Or if they're not ranked at all.

    I do have to say that I think this is a silly thing to freak out over, because this sort of thing has been done before. 1E and 2E included "rarity" rankings for every single monster, yet I never heard about hordes of DMs whose world-building plans were dashed because the game wouldn't let them include as many mind flayers or green dragons as they wanted to. It was simply a guideline for those who wanted to use it.

    If you want to argue that it's unnecessary to rank races (or monsters) this way, that's one thing. But claiming that it's somehow harmful or impinging on your ability to design the campaign world you want... I can't even fathom it, honestly.
    Not that it makes a whole lot of difference in the scheme of things but monster frequency in earlier editions was a tool for Dungeon Masters to determine how often the players would encounter a certain type of monster in their travels in the wilderness. They are also used to determine the frequency of the different races in an urban area and the chance of encountering a member of a certain race, especially when this kind of thing wasn't already prepared for. Encounter frequencies I still use in my 3e and pathfinder campaigns.

    The thing people are discussing, railing against, or disagreeing with is the use of such terms in the player's hand book to designate the popularity of a race over another outside of the game world for the purpose of creating one's character.

    The problem is that everyone likes their favorites to be prominent and not relegated to being a second class citizen or completely dismissed as undesirable for inclusion in their games.

    It's mostly them taking umbrage to a design choice that obviously places the newer races in the, "we included them but they really don't fit D&D", category of rare or very rare classes.

    I personally don't like the idea that monsters and the spawn of monsters replacing the original races. As long as I don't have to waste half of a play session arguing with players that want to play those abominations, or kill them off with an angry mob as soon as they set foot into a town, I don't care if they are included.
    Last edited by tlantl; Saturday, 28th April, 2012 at 07:32 AM.

  • #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlantl View Post
    The problem is that everyone likes their favorites to be prominent and not relegated to being a second class citizen or completely dismissed as undesirable for inclusion in their games.
    Completely different points of view, I guess. To me, that's not what common/uncommon/rare means at all. I would never for one moment have thought that a race marked rare was being dismissed as undesirable or second class.

    Here's the thing. Fantasy in general, and D&D in particular, have certain traditional feel to them. This in no way means that the game should be restricted to that feel. But it does mean that that's the feel a substantial portion of market--particularly if they're trying to attract older-edition players--expects.

    To me, the only thing--the only thing--that calling a race "rare" means is "If you're looking to emulate the feel of classic fantasy/the game's history, these guys shouldn't appear much."

    That's it. No value judgment. No demand that a given campaign adheres to it.

    Is that what Bruce, Rob, etc. mean by it? I don't know. I'm not on the design team. But that's how I interpret it, and how I would have assumed it was intended.
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  • #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    If you want "the base races that are generic fantasy" nowadays, the PHB should lead off with vampires and werewolves.
    Good point. The 'My Vampire Lover' section in WHSmith's was massive last time I checked. Only rivalled by the 'My Tragic Life' section.

  • #68
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    A huge wall of text to say "We will mention in the PHB that the DM selects which races are available in the campaign". A useful note, as new players and DMs tend to think they need to use every option in every game, but it could have been said in much fewer words and does not require arbitrary classifications.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    Something like that

    Spoiler:

    Campaign Name:

    Campaign Tone:
    Morality
    Realism
    Lethality
    Continuity
    PC Importance
    Magic Rating
    Divine Rating
    Level Range

    Base Modules:
    Races Allowed
    Race Rarity
    Classes Allowed
    Class Rarity
    Backgrounds Allowed
    Background Rarity
    Themes Allowed
    Theme Rarity

    Other Modules:

    Setting Description:
    Notable Locations-
    Notable NPCs-
    Notable Events-
    Notable Artifacts-


    Fill in.
    Hand to potential players.
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  • #70
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    "I dont use this race in my world so I dont want it to be in core", fine, lets remove Halflings from core.

    No wonder there are DMs worried about their players want to play cooler races instead of hobbits.

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