D&D 5E 5e Players: How often have you been allowed to use 3PP?

How often have you been allowed to use 3PP as a 5e player?

  • Very frequently/always

  • More often than not

  • About half the time

  • Occasionally

  • Very rarely/never


Results are only viewable after voting.

Yaarel

He Mage
It was hard for me to answer the poll, I put "occasionally".

It is fine to include indy options. At the same time, they are carefully vetted for quality and setting flavor.

In the past, I tended to use only official WotC content. (Which was also vetted.)

But I consider "worldbuilding" to be "official" Rules As Written, so I freely create backgrounds and sometimes species options for players.

During the ap-OGL-ypse, I especially appreciated the indy contributions to the D&D tradition, I make an ethical effort to include indy options that are excellent for the world setting and balanced mechanically, and remind myself that D&D is supposed to be "a game whose only limit is your imagination" and welcome the indy contribution to help each player make the game ones own.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
It was hard for me to answer the poll, I put "occasionally".

It is fine to include indy options. At the same time, they are carefully vetted for quality and setting flavor.

In the past, I tended to use only official WotC content. (Which was also vetted.)

But I consider "worldbuilding" to be "official" Rules As Written, so I freely create backgrounds and sometimes species options for players.

During the ap-OGL-ypse, I especially appreciated the indy contributions to the D&D tradition, I make an ethical effort to include indy options that are excellent for the world setting and balanced mechanically, and remind myself that D&D is supposed to be "a game whose only limit is your imagination" and welcome the indy contribution to help each player make the game ones own.
Would you say your experience of running is also matched by your experiences playing? Because my hope was people would focus on their experiences as players. That is, would you say that occasionally (less than half the time, but not rarely) you have been allowed to use 3PP when you played in someone else's game?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Always. The only exception has been when I’ve played AL, at the library, etc, and very early in 5e when we were still getting a feel for how things worked.
 

grimmgoose

Explorer
As a GM, I tell my players that 95% of all official content is good to go (as in, you don't need to ask me). In session zero, I go over my banned/adjusted content. I also mention that if there is something they want from a third party, to talk to me about it, and we'll go over it on a case-by-case basis.

I truthfully enjoy third-party content (especially spells) because they make great magic items, but there are some stinkers out there, that I'd rather not have the player get excited about if I don't want it at the table.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Would you say your experience of running is also matched by your experiences playing? Because my hope was people would focus on their experiences as players. That is, would you say that occasionally (less than half the time, but not rarely) you have been allowed to use 3PP when you played in someone else's game?
I DM about as often as I play. I prefer games that rotate the DM during the same campaign. Everyone takes a turn to run a set of sessions, typically until the next level up, but also after wrapping up any loose story threads. It is a shared world, and characters that arent in the current adventure still exist in the world. All of our characters have some kind of connection to each other.

Whoever is DM gets to decide what the rules are.

But because we take turns, each of us knows not to do anything crazy. Lest it happens to us!

Infrequently, but occasionally, there is a need for intense negotiation because of some conflict of taste. But we are all of goodwill and make an effort to figure things out together. So far, we have always arrived at win-win solutions. Everyone I have ever D&Dd with is decent.

I can honestly say, I have never had to deal with a problem player or a problem DM − and that, considering I have played D&D in a number of different cities. D&D tends to attract decent people.
 

Hussar

Legend
Some years ago, I had a group where we would all share DM'ing duties on a rotation.

I miss that group.

Now? It's been years since someone has stepped up to offer to run something. Even back years ago when I was splitting with another DM, it didn't really work. The players from his group which had merged with my players, basically only put any effort at all into his campaign and straight up told me they were only playing mine while they were waiting for him.

Getting players to get off their asses and actually run a game is not easy. If you have a group with multiple DM's, cherish it. Outside of a handful of years, the majority of play that I've experienced is me DMing or not playing.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Some years ago, I had a group where we would all share DM'ing duties on a rotation.

I miss that group.

Now? It's been years since someone has stepped up to offer to run something. Even back years ago when I was splitting with another DM, it didn't really work. The players from his group which had merged with my players, basically only put any effort at all into his campaign and straight up told me they were only playing mine while they were waiting for him.

Getting players to get off their asses and actually run a game is not easy. If you have a group with multiple DM's, cherish it. Outside of a handful of years, the majority of play that I've experienced is me DMing or not playing.
5e is known for being easy for players, but making the DM do all of the heavy lifting, tracking things, adjudicating things, understanding the narrative, knowing the rules, etcetera.

Possibly, the 2024 DMs Guide will make a special effort to make 5e easy for DMs.

Hopefully, the 2024 Players Handbook will have EVERY rule that necessary to play a complete game of D&D. So, players will see what all of the rules are and become familiar with them. Then the job of the DM is moreso storytelling, while the players accustom themselves to the mechanics. The Players Handbook should even have a brief explanation for how to create a monster statblock. For the players, this can be to customize their familiar or mount, and for the DM this is to build a combat challenge.

An example of a complication I could DM without is the "Creature Rating". Why have a convoluted esoteric gratuitous mechanic for something that should be as straightforward as, "for each character, this level of monster is a standard challenge for this level of character"? In this case, the "monster" might be an other character of the appropriate level.


The biggest challenge for a novice DM is getting over the intimidation. It helps to allow a very brief commitment at first, like to DM a single social encounter, or a single session one evening. Mostly just to get past the stage fright. Focus on narrative, rather than mechanics. Of course, encourage but dont pressure.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
5e is known for being easy for players, but making the DM do all of the heavy lifting, tracking things, adjudicating things, understanding the narrative, knowing the rules, etcetera.

Possibly, the 2024 DMs Guide will make a special effort to make 5e easy for DMs.
I wish the designers luck. They will be actively fighting the system's design if they want to do that. Trying to make a system fundamentally designed for the opposite purpose you intend is a draining effort, even when you're a designer able to actually rewrite things.

An example of a complication I could DM without is the "Creature Rating". Why have a convoluted esoteric gratuitous mechanic for something that should be as straightforward as, "for each character, this level of monster is a standard challenge for this level of character"? In this case, the "monster" might be an other character of the appropriate level.
Because CR (I had understood it as "Challenge Rating"?) is not designed to be a functional system which accurately guides the DM on the impact and utility of a creature. It is designed to feel right, regardless of whether that works or not.

I have read what I consider credible claims from actual consultants for 5e that the CRs they use were, originally, developed using the formulae in the game. And then those formulae ended up being wrong. A lot. Instead of correcting the formulae, they ad hoc modified individual CRs of monsters that got enough playtesting to make a better guess at how strong they were. This is a big part of why CR is borderline useless, and why many experienced 5e DMs explicitly advice folks to just "wing it" or the like--because it generally won't make any difference, and may in fact improve encounter design because your intuitions are likely better than weak, often-faulty formulae.

This is part of why I found it so frustrating and baffling when Mearls said things like "math is easy, feel is hard" (paraphrased but he did explicitly say that "math is easy.") It's not easy! That's literally why we pay mathematicians and statisticians to do it!

The biggest challenge for a novice DM is getting over the intimidation. It helps to allow a very brief commitment at first, like to DM a single social encounter, or a single session one evening. Mostly just to get past the stage fright. Focus on narrative, rather than mechanics. Of course, encourage but dont pressure.
I would agree that that is the biggest challenge for someone who desires to be a DM, and is a novice.

The biggest challenge for someone who does not desire to be a DM, regardless of whether they are a novice or an expert or anywhere in-between, is obviously that they do not desire to do it. Which is the problem I'm actually dealing with. I know maybe two or three people who have even the tiniest degree of willingness to DM, at all, ever, at any point in their natural lives. One is already running full games (and of a system I would prefer not to use if at all possible); the second is unable to play TTRPGs in general right now due to life issues; and the third wanted to, but I guess the game fell through, as I had been coaching them and then it just sort of petered out without further commentary.

If the issue is not "I'm scared of doing it" but rather "I really, really just do not want to do that thing," then no amount of coaching, of minimizing commitment level, of lowering the barriers, of zero-pressure encouragement, will ever get them from not being a DM to being a DM.

ETA: Also, I am genuinely impressed at how stable the distribution in the votes has been. Like, this is a pattern that's been going since there were maybe 20 voters. Four times as many voters, and the pattern remains almost completely unchanged.
 
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Yaarel

He Mage
ETA: Also, I am genuinely impressed at how stable the distribution in the votes has been. Like, this is a pattern that's been going since there were maybe 20 voters. Four times as many voters, and the pattern remains almost completely unchanged.
When the players at the table are also DMs, it both empowers them to add indy content, and understand the concerns about balance and setting tropes.

Learning to be a DM makes the game better for everybody.


Because CR (I had understood it as "Challenge Rating"?) is not designed to be a functional system which accurately guides the DM on the impact and utility of a creature. It is designed to feel right, regardless of whether that works or not.

I have read what I consider credible claims from actual consultants for 5e that the CRs they use were, originally, developed using the formulae in the game. And then those formulae ended up being wrong. A lot. Instead of correcting the formulae, they ad hoc modified individual CRs of monsters that got enough playtesting to make a better guess at how strong they were. This is a big part of why CR is borderline useless, and why many experienced 5e DMs explicitly advice folks to just "wing it" or the like--because it generally won't make any difference, and may in fact improve encounter design because your intuitions are likely better than weak, often-faulty formulae.
Yeah. It is really important to have an accurate sense of what a party should be facing as a "standard" challenge. But after that, the DM can just throw things at the party and see what happens. This unpredictability happens anyway, when an encounter that was "supposed" to be difficult turns out to be a trivial cakewalk, and one that was supposed to be an easy turns out to be a near TPK. It doesnt matter what the plan was. What matters is how it plays out when the players meet it.

For a long time now, I have stopped using experience points. I count the number of "satisfying" encounters until the next level up. For example. During the Professional Tier (levels 5 thru 8), it takes about 15 encounters to level up. The actual level up happens between sessions when convenient. If the encounter was surprisingly difficult, such as a near TPK, it counts as two encounters. If it was a cakewalk, it counts as half an encounter. There is no math beyond counting the number of encounters. Sometimes the players really should run away, in which case it was trivial if unscathed, or difficult if suffering some loss before fleeing. The difficulty is always decided in hindsight, based on the reality of what happened, rather than on theoretical calculation of what might happen.


I would agree that that is the biggest challenge for someone who desires to be a DM, and is a novice.

The biggest challenge for someone who does not desire to be a DM, regardless of whether they are a novice or an expert or anywhere in-between, is obviously that they do not desire to do it. Which is the problem I'm actually dealing with. I know maybe two or three people who have even the tiniest degree of willingness to DM, at all, ever, at any point in their natural lives. One is already running full games (and of a system I would prefer not to use if at all possible); the second is unable to play TTRPGs in general right now due to life issues; and the third wanted to, but I guess the game fell through, as I had been coaching them and then it just sort of petered out without further commentary.

If the issue is not "I'm scared of doing it" but rather "I really, really just do not want to do that thing," then no amount of coaching, of minimizing commitment level, of lowering the barriers, of zero-pressure encouragement, will ever get them from not being a DM to being a DM.

Heh. Can you bribe them? Give their character extra good magic treasure, if they DM an encounter?

DMing cannot be forced. Only a player can decide to rise to the occasion.

Do you know why, exactly, they might not want to DM?

A big reason is, it is alot of work.

In this case, lessening the rules burden on the DM helps alot.


Sometimes, you can have one of the players do all the hit point tracking and make all the dice rolls, on behalf of the monsters. Then the DM focuses on the encounter from a movie scene perspective. And the player learns painlessly how to deal with a mob of monsters.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
When I ran 5E, very rarely / never. Sturgeon's Law. 90% of everything is crap. I have a hard enough time keeping out the official crap. I don't have time to go through hundreds of 3PP books to find the 10% that might work for my table. If any of the players want something new or different we homebrew it ourselves.

When I played 5E, one DM let a player use a "song dragon" that's some kind of were-dragon thing. The DM didn't bother to check the stuff before the player, mid combat, changed into a massive dragon, breathed some kind of nasty on the enemies, and ended what was supposed to be a deadly encounter in a single action. That was the last time 3PP content came into his game.
 

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