D&D 5th Edition With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base


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    With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base

    Is because as this thread shows, though we've been loathe to admit it as a "gamer" community, we've never really been united in the first place.

    I've spent some time lurking recently at RPG.net, and if that community's any indication, D&D as a whole is one of the least-well-regarded systems out there (at least from a mechanical standpoint).

    I've also been thinking about the so called "edition wars," and why the 4e/3.x schism seemed to be particularly bad (though apparently the 1e/2e vs. 3e split was fairly divisive as well).

    And I think maybe it's because the 4e / 3.x split finally put out in front of us, in the full daylight of blogs, forums, and chat rooms, something that we had maybe suspected but weren't really willing to admit to ourselves---That when it comes to D&D, rather than being "united" in our game of choice, we'd actually been demanding radically different things from E. Gary Gygax's magnum opus all along. The fact that it remained somewhat of the community's "lingua franca" for nearly 25 years is a testament to Gygax's original vision.

    One reason the 4e / 3e split was so divisive, I think, is because when the 4e fans threw up their hands in joy and said, "FINALLY!!! CLASS BALANCE!!", all of us 3e fans went "Huh? Really? THIS is the game you wished you'd been playing for the past 25 years? Hmm. Didn't see that one coming." The concept that entire groups of players would so wholeheartedly embrace 4e's conventions seemed almost foreign to the 3.x-ers.....and the 4e-ers couldn't for the life of them figure out why the 3.x-ers couldn't see that the mechanical improvements were producing a "superior" style of game.

    As a community we were forced to look across the table, across the room at our FLGS, and realize that what we assumed was a "shared D&D nationality" was more akin to groups of isolated city-states battling it out for territorial control. (I realize some of the more long-standing gamers probably came to that recognition long before 2008.)

    D&D Next will not be a "commercial" failure by any stretch. It will certainly be as profitable as 4e. But I have a hard time seeing it really uniting the fanbase into this wonderful "Stepford Dungeon" community. There's too much competition--strong competition--from outside vendors now. We've all tasted what it's like to find a system tailored to us---and not the other way around.

    Unless D&D Next can REALLY be as "modular" as they claim, it's really going to be nothing more than "another way to pretend to be an elf, kill orcs, and take their stuff." Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just not drinking the "TEAM UNITY!" kool-aid at the moment.
    Battling the worldwide midget infestation since 1987.....

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    I think it's fair to say that someone playing 4e (or 1e, for that matter) is probably doing something virtually unrecognizable to me as an rpg (which is not a statement on the merits of that activity). They're going the right direction with the concept of customizable rules and modularity, but they're a long way from achieving a game that works for all these different people and different mentalities.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

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    It was a thought creeping up on me as 3E launched that the divisions ran deep. Those that thought 2E settings were the cat's meow didn't like all kinds of stuff that I liked in 3E. As the started talking about Next, all doubt was removed. I even said as much in the other thread you referenced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I think it's fair to say that someone playing 4e (or 1e, for that matter) is probably doing something virtually unrecognizable to me as an rpg (which is not a statement on the merits of that activity).
    Really, though? Unrecognizable? Honestly?

    They're still playing at being frakkin' elf. That elf's powers are structured differently, but it's still a darned elf. You know, pointy ears, snooty attitude, waves around a longsword, spells, or arrows, thinks dwarves smell funnily of mushrooms? Yeah, and elf. And he's still pretending to be it, sticking that sword or arrow into a troll...

    I'm sorry - that's not "unrecognizable" unless you put on horse blinders on what you consider "an rpg". If you're going to be narrow, there is nothing any game designer will ever be able to do for you, except by accident.

    Do what you like in your game, but I honestly think we'd be better off if people freed their minds a little bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    They're still playing at being frakkin' elf. That elf's powers are structured differently, but it's still a darned elf.
    And the powers may be structured differently in how they're acquired, but when you use them you roll a d20 to hit and then some other dice for damage. And you make skill checks, and tell the DM what you're doing as you explore the dungeon, and argue with fellow players about what the best course of action is. Seriously, large swathes of playtime are indistinguishable from earlier editions.

    Edit: Didn't notice that 1E was included in the quote as well. Yikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Really, though? Unrecognizable? Honestly?
    I was specifically thinking of a time when I walked into a comic book store and saw some people playing what I assumed was Warhammer or something, but eventually realized that it was D&D. The idea of battlemaps and miniatures is a familar asthetic to me, as I used to have a friend or two who were into wargaming, but the idea of using such things for an rpg is completely foreign to me personally. So if you are part of the crowd that does use miniatures in D&D, you're playing something that I literally wouldn't immediately recognize as such.

    Speaking more broadly, I run fantasy games, but I never really got into an "old-school" or "dungeon-crawl" mode, so a lot of content that people use is foreign to me as well. Even by a very broad definition, I've probably run only a single-digit number of "dungeons" in over ten years of DMing. I remember reading the one published adventure I ever got (as a gift), which was Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and I could not imagine what I would do with it. It didn't look like D&D at all. So if you're running "classic" D&D, that probably doesn't ring any bells to me either.

    And yet, the games I run are full of tropes and D&D-isms; I definitely run D&D. So yes, there are some pretty substantive differences between different people's games, in my opinion.

    Do what you like in your game, but I honestly think we'd be better off if people freed their minds a little bit.
    I surely will. My mind's pretty open already though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    And yet, the games I run are full of tropes and D&D-isms; I definitely run D&D. So yes, there are some pretty substantive differences between different people's games, in my opinion.
    Sure, but you said they weren't recognizable as an RPG. That's someone quite different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fifth Element View Post
    Sure, but you said they weren't recognizable as an RPG. That's someone quite different.
    Given that I (as do many others) consider D&D to be the archetypical PnP rpg, I was not focusing on that distinction, which in this context I would consider to be a small one. The point remains that many people's games, which they would consider to be D&D (and necessarily an rpg) are quite foreign to me, which is intended to exemplify the difference in what is commonly referred to as playstyle but which really goes deeper than that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Really, though? Unrecognizable? Honestly?
    Well, they're different enough.

    d&d of yore

    Fighter player: I block the troll's way to give the wizard time to cast his spell!
    DM: You can't. The troll is much bigger and stronger than you.
    Fighter player: What? Those kobolds blocked me last session and they're frigging rats!
    DM: That's different because uhhhh... different body mass rations and also they had spears. Anyway the troll doesn't care about being hurt since it regenerates so you can't block him.
    Fighter player: So if the troll doesn't care it means I'm slashing as he goes past me?
    DM: That "attacking out your turn" notion is preposterous


    more recent d&d

    Wizard player: I cast Charm monster at the troll!
    DM: let's see... Will is his poor saving throw, which means he must roll a... 23!? Curse you, wacky saves and arbitrary stats!
    Cleric player: Cool, it's been a while since we didn't have a fighter.


    current version

    Fighter player: I move, uh, 1,2,3,4 squares circling around the ogre to avoid OAs then activate Rain of Steel and cast I mean use Tide of Iron on the ogre with +2 from combat advantage from flanking which pushes him 1 square into that difficult terrain and slows him from hindering shield feat and I can shift forward 1 square and I gain +1 to AC and Ref from the boots, and the ogre is Marked and takes 1d8+9 damage from the tide of iron and 1d8+2 from Rain of Steel in it's turn.
    DM: It's not an ogre, it's a troll. I didn't have a troll mini.
    Fighter player: Who cares?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Someone View Post
    Well, they're different enough.
    There are differences, of course. But not so much that make one "unrecognizable". The mechanics of, say, White Wolf's WoD games are more different from either 3e or 4e than the two forms of D&D are from each other. But WoD is still clearly a role playing game.

    Edition wars are, in large part, built on intolerance and overstatement, which is why I took exception to the statement.

    For a long time, I would not eat olives. I don't have an allergy, or a philosophical problem with olive farming practices. I just didn't like 'em. If you offered me a dish with olives in it, I'd politely pass. But, then I got married, and my wife really likes olives. Now, making completely separate dishes for me would be inefficient, a lot of extra work, so we never made anything with olives in it.

    And, I realized, that's not really fair. Do I dislike olives *that* much? Why don't I at least open myself up to a little bit of olive? And, after a little practice, I learned that good green olives in moderation do not ruin dishes for me. They still aren't my favorite thing of all, and I don't generally seek them out, but neither am I repulsed by them. In a few dishes, I find they can even be an enhancement. I've learned to accept a little olive in my life. By being open to things that aren't my absolute favorite, I enhanced my culinary life, and made someone I care about more happy.

    I find most of the absolutism and overstatement about game design and playstyle to be rather like my previous position on olives. Getting exactly and precisely what you want can sometimes actually limit your enjoyment, overall. It often pays to be a little more flexible.
    Last edited by Umbran; Saturday, 21st July, 2012 at 09:04 PM.

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