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D&D 5E As a Player, why do you play in games you haven't bought into?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Hey we found a thing we agree on!
Alert the media! News at 11! :)
Well, except that I'd rather still create characters more or less together, and just reassure players that it won't matter if there are two clerics. Because IME a lot of players just aren't going to have fun if the player next to them is playing the same thing as them.
I don't often (if ever) find this to be much of an issue. At worst a bit of rivalry might arise, but that's fine; more often having someone else around who can do the same kind of stuff as you acts like a safety net - you have a backup.

And it's true that no matter what you can never have enough front-liners. :)
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
You're overselling the "GM was present" angle, here and trying to make it seem like the GM was actively engaged with whatever character creation the players performed. However, when you present specifics, there's nothing here about discussions with the GM, or the GM providing hooks for characters. Instead, you present the rather anodyne statement that GM involvement was telling you the generation method and races/classes available and then providing instruction to not create characters until session zero. That you ignored this and did so anyway does not indicate the GM was okay with that.

If the DM was present, heard the entire conversation the players were having where they designed their characters, and disapproved of that action... why did he wait until the next session to raise objections?

Because it was pre-zero that this conversation happened. So, if he disapproved, this was within plenty of time to say so.

If you are in the habit of making characters beforehand, so what? In what way does that actually excuse not paying attention to the GM? I mean, you certainly don't have to, but you can't claim a moral high ground in the discussion by effectively saying you ignored him because it wasn't what you were used to.

Just to make sure we are clear, it was not only "it was habit for this player" it was additionally "habit for this group with this DM."

Not sure if that changes your opinion, but if I'm the guy who brings pepsi to the game, and I always bring pepsi to the game. And the DM asks me to not bring Pepsi... It is fairly likely that if I bring it, it is because I'm in the habit of doing so, and forgot, rather than choosing to purposefully ignore him.

Perhaps my understanding of connected is different from yours, and perhaps the GM's. I don't see anything in there that suggests actual connection. Your story is utterly generic -- it works in any town -- and doesn't give you any motivation to actually do anything except for money, which, presumably, if the task is too dangerous or too onerous then you just move to the next mark of a town. The connection to another PC is mercenary -- he's your hired hand. No loyalty, no personal connection, nothing. The NPC connection is similar -- a NPC thinks I swindled them? That's not a connection, it's an accusation -- there's no motivation to do anything for or against this NPC.

Maybe that's what the GM thought was a good connection, although, given his posts, that seems unlikely. It seems more like that was the maximum extent to which you were willing to accommodate, and seems in line with many stories where a player doesn't actually want levers on their PCs the GM has access to. As such, none of the hooks you're touting for your character have a barb -- they're pain free to ignore.

Wow, again, we seem to be shifting gears a lot here.

The DM wants a connection between the two characters.
Players: "I hired him to protect me"
You: "That is nothing, no connection, no loyalty. There is no way for me to leverage this against you."

I mean... you didn't ask them to have a personal, loyal connection and deeply held feelings for each other. You just asked for a connection, and a contractual connection is an connection. If you want them to be secret lovers or something, you need to ask for more than "just have a connection"

And.... how is "it works in any town" a criticism? I made a character who was a town guard once. He could have been a town guard in any town. I could have made it work if the setting suddenly shifted, does that mean I'm not connected to the town I'm in? I mean, what if a player came with "I'm the former mayors son, and I grew up in this town helping the people through many difficult times?" That could be any town. Does that somehow make this less of an embedded story?

And attacking that his motivation was money? Are we now demanding that the PCs have not only the proper proficiencies, and the proper connections, but also the proper motivations?


You've moved into wanting such highly specific things, do you truly demand so much from your players?


Look, I hate pregen adventures for precisely the reasons shown in this thread -- they work best with strong direction of PC generation by the GM. I don't like that. I do, however, insist that players work within the themes we've decided to play. My current 5e game is a Planescape game, and so anything goes PC wise. However, I did insist that the PCs must be ones that would seek adventure and that they would be willing and able to work in a group and to not finalize characters until the first session of play (session 1/2, as it was a mixture of 0 and 1). In the first part of that session, we ran a mini-game where I had the first select player select another player and tell me what they were doing together when they met or became friends -- ie provide the scene. I then provided a setting NPC or organization that complicated things and we rolled a die to determine how that scene went, and the second player narrated the result of what happened. This way, each character had a story binding them both to the setting and to each other. We repeated this for each player selecting a different character and then reversing the result of the first die roll. So, each character had close connection and shared stories with two other characters, the group as a whole was tightly interconnected, and each character has a positive relation with a setting NPC or organization and a negative one. This set the scene for the game, and we finalized PCs (one player made a large change because he thought it better fit with the fiction generated) and proceeded to play. The first adventure was pre-done, but also not very consequential, and was used to set up campaign themes more strongly, but since then it's been character backstories and the rogues gallery we created together to see what happens next.

I say this because if you followed what you've outlined you did here, we'd probably have strongly clashed, especially given your position that you were correct to do as you did because that's how you always did it.

I've read through your little mini-game three times. Do you know what I don't see?

Any reason at all that it can not work with characters that have partial backstories already created. I see no reason that what you describe could not have been done with characters that are more than 85% completed. In fact, having mostly finished characters would seem to make that game easier, since they have hooks and connection points in their stories already.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Alert the media! News at 11! :)

I don't often (if ever) find this to be much of an issue. At worst a bit of rivalry might arise, but that's fine; more often having someone else around who can do the same kind of stuff as you acts like a safety net - you have a backup.

And it's true that no matter what you can never have enough front-liners. :)
Yeah, I don’t actually see the problem, but I’ve met a lot of players who just don’t like it.
 

Hussar

Legend
Hussar's mini-game helped us establish that connection to each other and to the town.

How would you know that? We never actually played the mini-game because, when I presented the mini-game, everyone said, "Why are we doing this, we already made our characters?" So, no, the mini game never helped you to do anything. It couldn't since it wasn't actually played.

To be honest, I completely forgot about someone in town being suspicious of you @Raunalyn. It has been a while. So, sure, you had a sort of link to one person in town. What link did any of the other characters have? Sure, the smuggler had decent links to the town. Unfortunately, as soon as I presented three maps and a sailing ship to the smuggler character, the player dropped the character and flushed my work straight down the toilet by creating a character that had nothing to do with Saltmarsh, ships or show the slightest interest in the maps.

Look, I freely admit, I was the WRONG DM HERE. Absolutely. 100%. Nothing I tried worked. I'm certainly not blaming anyone here but myself. ((Note, I NEVER used the word special snowflake @Raunalyn - and certainly would never use such language about people I consider to be friends)) I was the WRONG DM. There is point in me trying to assign blame anywhere else but myself. I should have stepped back a LONG time ago. And, I blame myself for not having the stones to stand up and walk away before I did. It would have saved a lot of hard feelings and been far, far more productive. I was a poor fit for the group. That's the long and the short of it.
 
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Raunalyn

Adventurer
How would you know that? We never actually played the mini-game because, when I presented the mini-game, everyone said, "Why are we doing this, we already made our characters?" So, no, the mini game never helped you to do anything. It couldn't since it wasn't actually played.
Actually, it's on the forums. There was this grid and there were several questions and cards we were supposed to pick. I honestly don't recall anyone saying what you quoted, though considering one of the players in the group, I can certainly say that it is possible this was said.
To be honest, I completely forgot about someone in town being suspicious of you @Raunalyn. It has been a while. So, sure, you had a sort of link to one person in town. What link did any of the other characters have? Sure, the smuggler had decent links to the town. Unfortunately, as soon as I presented three maps and a sailing ship to the smuggler character, the player dropped the character and flushed my work straight down the toilet by creating a character that had nothing to do with Saltmarsh, ships or show the slightest interest in the maps.
I think that was after I left. Hell, if my illusionist would have been presented with that, I would have been all over it! I get a ship? Treasure maps? Hell YEAH!!
Look, I freely admit, I was the WRONG DM HERE. Absolutely. 100%. Nothing I tried worked. I'm certainly not blaming anyone here but myself. ((Note, I NEVER used the word special snowflake @Raunalyn - and certainly would never use such language about people I consider to be friends)) I was the WRONG DM.
I didn't say you did...look a few posts up from the one you're quoting.
There is point in me trying to assign blame anywhere else but myself. I should have stepped back a LONG time ago. And, I blame myself for not having the stones to stand up and walk away before I did. It would have saved a lot of hard feelings and been far, far more productive. I was a poor fit for the group. That's the long and the short of it.
I get that. And, there were indeed hard feelings (though, those hard feelings are unrelated to the game).
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I get what the OP is, but that was not what Sabathius was presenting.

He presented a hypothetical. Raunalyn answered that hypothetical as presented.

Then Sabathius countered by asking if the characters could be recognize each other and be recognized by the town in minute one.

That was not part of the hypothetical they presented, so why act like it was a legitimate counter to the response Raunalyn crafted. If that was supposed to be part of the initial hypothetical, I certainly didn't catch it. And so I'm wondering why there were these additional stipulations added in after the answer was given.



Sure, for the OP, being recognized by the town is important... but if we are taking the OPs exact scenario, then that could still be trivially accomplished in some ways. Such as the townsfolk recognizing the author bard, or maybe the soldier has an old war buddy in town.

Yes, the characters did not already include those elements, but they came into session 0 with characters, and those characters could still be molded to match those expectations. So I'm still not understanding how what the players did was so terrible. Did they do something he told them not to do in making the characters early? Yes, but that was standard practice for this group, so that is a minor infraction at best. And everything the DM wanted to accomplish sounds like it was still accomplishable. So... why wasn't it?
By assigning my questions the attribute "goalposts" you are implying there is a way to score and a way to win in a discussion. I'm not trying to win....I'm trying to help one poster understand the viewpoint of another.

If the players at the table all collaborated to create interesting characters by choosing races classes, backgrounds , etc during a session 0 that is only part of creating a PARTY to begin session 1.

Creating your characters also would imply you establish some of their story for what happened to them up to the point the game begins. Unless you are going for the "everyone meets in a bar and takes a wuest from the mysterious stranger" tired trope, the characters should begin already having some sort of connection.

Similarly if the Game wanted them to have some ties to Saltmarsh, then it would follow that some of the townfolk would recognize them.

Saltmarsh isn't New York City. If the PCs have been in the town any length of time interacting with it then they would be recognized by some of the townfolk.

When, instead , the PCs show up at session 1 as 5 complete strangers to each other then the GM has to run several sessions cramming everyone into a party (which may not be the actual adventure) with the goofy "I have no idea who you are but I'm entrusting my welfare to you in battle" that strain narrative credibility.

If the GM let's the players pass through session 0 without the players having created the backstory and ties necessary to a good session 1 then that is on the GM for failing to communicate things clearly.

When session 1 commences and the players realize the GM is struggling to keep things on track then it's up to EVERYONE at the table to make the changes necessary to right the ship. The GM needs to be clear what they need and the players need to be flexible to accommodate what the GM is requesting.

I'm not saying anything that hadn't been said 40 times in this thread already. People just want to keep arguing and "win with goalposts that don't move" rather than hear and understand each other.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I read the second question more as a followup to the response given to the first rather than a modification to the first hypothetical. YMMV.
Yes. It was a follow-up to discuss story separate from crunch.

I'm ready to ditch ENWorld discussion because almost every thread ends up with people trying to "win" a discussion rather than just remaining friendly and giving people some benefit of doubt and credibility in their statements.

I've heard "OK. I see your point." and "I've never thought of it that way." more this week having deep political discussions with coworkers IRL than I have seen it said on ENWorld this year. That's a problem.
 

Is that terribly old-fashioned and undemocratic? Yup. And it works a treat. The referee creates the setting, the setting determines the rules (as opposed to the rules determining the setting), and the rules constrain character generation. When you do it that way, there's not a lot of room for a player to sneak their attention-sucking Donut Steel into the campaign.

Old fashioned and undemocratic I don't have an issue with. Pointlessly rigid and narrow, I do; I stopped playing OD&D because I thought it was annoyingly rigid, and well I think D&D 3e had serious problems (but they weren't so much because of free choice but because it is almost impossible to balance exception based design in a simple fashion), going back to "this is what your class does and nothing more" strikes me as a massive step backwards to no real good purpose.
 

Old fashioned and undemocratic I don't have an issue with. Pointlessly rigid and narrow, I do; I stopped playing OD&D because I thought it was annoyingly rigid, and well I think D&D 3e had serious problems (but they weren't so much because of free choice but because it is almost impossible to balance exception based design in a simple fashion), going back to "this is what your class does and nothing more" strikes me as a massive step backwards to no real good purpose.
Hey, I was just explaining what works for me. Rigid and narrow, for me, is emphatically not pointless—there is real, good purpose in constraining player choice. In my experience, players are more creative when they're given less to work with. If your only available choices are fighter, mage, cleric, and thief, you don't get players trying to be half-dragon/half-celestial/half-elemental (which is annoying) and you don't get players who try to pass "elf ranger with Rapid Shot" off as a viable character personality (which is depressing).
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Old fashioned and undemocratic I don't have an issue with. Pointlessly rigid and narrow, I do; I stopped playing OD&D because I thought it was annoyingly rigid, and well I think D&D 3e had serious problems (but they weren't so much because of free choice but because it is almost impossible to balance exception based design in a simple fashion), going back to "this is what your class does and nothing more" strikes me as a massive step backwards to no real good purpose.
Old school design, where characters have much less options . . . it's not pointlessly rigid and narrow. You're confusing "what I don't like" with "bad design".

If old school design isn't for you, fantastic. But it emphasizes different aspects of the D&D hobby that some folks do enjoy. If each time you play a fighter, your character abilities are mostly the same you have to differentiate your characters with . . . wait for it . . . ROLE PLAYING. Not that you can't role play in modern D&D with it's plethora of character options, you certainly can. But in old school D&D, you are kind of forced to engage your creativity muscles a little more if you want your character to feel unique and fully realized.

To have a preference for modern games over old school games is fine, you're likely in the majority. But to categorize an entire (sub)genre of games as "pointlessly rigid and narrow" lacks vision and an empathy that different folks like different things.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
If the DM was present, heard the entire conversation the players were having where they designed their characters, and disapproved of that action... why did he wait until the next session to raise objections?

Because it was pre-zero that this conversation happened. So, if he disapproved, this was within plenty of time to say so.
We don't actually know this. The responses to my asking for specifics here are cagey, to say the least. There seems to be no specifics on what the GM's role was as far as conversation goes and there's also a lot of switching between pre-0 and 0 as far as discussion on the issue goes, so I'm not at all certain that your postulation is correct. It would seem very odd to me that the GM would announce a character creation mini-game, ask that players not create characters prior to session 0, and then immediately engage in assisting character creation. The response so far is that the GM was present -- which is a very careful thing to say.
Just to make sure we are clear, it was not only "it was habit for this player" it was additionally "habit for this group with this DM."
Was it? I missed the clarification. Are you certain this is correct (I looked back and didn't find it, but I'm not rereading the whole thread).
Not sure if that changes your opinion, but if I'm the guy who brings pepsi to the game, and I always bring pepsi to the game. And the DM asks me to not bring Pepsi... It is fairly likely that if I bring it, it is because I'm in the habit of doing so, and forgot, rather than choosing to purposefully ignore him.
Roger that, and then what happens? Do you insist that the Pepsi now must be consumed and nothing else could be?
Wow, again, we seem to be shifting gears a lot here.

The DM wants a connection between the two characters.
Players: "I hired him to protect me"
You: "That is nothing, no connection, no loyalty. There is no way for me to leverage this against you."
Your last is stretching too far. I'm not interested in leveraging the players' connections unless they put them in play themselves. Instead, if Character A has a strong bond to Character B, it improves play. If the relationship is a mercenary one, it really doesn't. Now, I'll grant that many players establish this weak bond and then do the "but we're PCs, so of course we help each other" thing, so sure. But, that's playing against or orthogonally to the establish relationships rather then with them.
I mean... you didn't ask them to have a personal, loyal connection and deeply held feelings for each other. You just asked for a connection, and a contractual connection is an connection. If you want them to be secret lovers or something, you need to ask for more than "just have a connection"
I guess you like stories where the characters are just hired hands and don't really have any reason to care about each other, huh? See, hyperbole and strawmanning other's arguments doesn't really work very well. I prefer connections to be actual connections rather than mercenary transactions. There's zero reason for the illusionist character to care about his hired guard except that the hired guard guards them. This isn't a character connection, it's a hireling. It's only the "fellow PC" meta-connection that lets this kind of thing function.
And.... how is "it works in any town" a criticism? I made a character who was a town guard once. He could have been a town guard in any town. I could have made it work if the setting suddenly shifted, does that mean I'm not connected to the town I'm in? I mean, what if a player came with "I'm the former mayors son, and I grew up in this town helping the people through many difficult times?" That could be any town. Does that somehow make this less of an embedded story?
Sorry, but did "town guard" come with anything related to the town you were the guard of? Or was it a label, and you didn't know your way around, or the major NPCs in town, or have any relationships to the town or duties or responsibilities to it? "Town Guard" is generic right up until you pick the town you're the guard of, and then it's specific. There's nothing in the presented backstory that makes it unique at all to Saltmarsh. Town guard at least has to pick a town and then gets tied into that -- it's not nearly as generic as you're trying to claim.
And attacking that his motivation was money? Are we now demanding that the PCs have not only the proper proficiencies, and the proper connections, but also the proper motivations?
Yes. Motivations are what drives the character to action. If money is the motivation, then unless the reward is commensurate with the risk and better than what you can do elsewhere, then it's not a motivation to do anything. "Money" only works if you're engaging the meta-motivation of "playing the GM's adventure." You're essentially arguing for employment of meta-motivations instead of character motivations.
You've moved into wanting such highly specific things, do you truly demand so much from your players?
Absolutely, and I have hella fun games. Because it's not really demanding that much -- make a character that engages and is engaged by the themes of the game.
I've read through your little mini-game three times. Do you know what I don't see?

Any reason at all that it can not work with characters that have partial backstories already created. I see no reason that what you describe could not have been done with characters that are more than 85% completed. In fact, having mostly finished characters would seem to make that game easier, since they have hooks and connection points in their stories already.
Sorry, did you think I made that claim? I didn't. Each character in my game already had a backstory when they showed up. This wasn't an argument for not having any player backstory prior to the mini-game to tie players to the themes of the game, but instead suggesting that they not be fully locked in so they can adapt to what happens during the minigame. If the players wanted their backstories integrated into the mini-game, that was up to them in how they framed their scenes or in how they narrated the results. I couldn't care less. My point was that if you did show up with a fully formed character, then you were going to have issues because you couldn't fully control the outcomes of the minigame -- you would end up friendly with one faction and at odds with another and you couldn't predict that. Further, if you had a fully formed character, with the BIFTs all set up, then you'd be out of room to add Bob the Fighter as your best bud because of the cool thing you did with each other raiding a Dustman outpost for burial trinkets because you were hired by a mage to do it. The goal of the minigame wasn't to thwart character building, but to engage the characters deeply in the setting and each other from the start.
 

Hussar

Legend
The responses to my asking for specifics here are cagey, to say the least

Honestly? The reason I'm being cagey is I really don't want to air dirty laundry in public and I don't want it to look like I'm blaming anyone other than myself. So, I'm trying to keep things as high altitude as I can while still engaging in a conversation.

But, here's me being fairly specific: Hussar's Faulty Memory Timeline of Events:

A. Hussar pitches the Saltmarsh campaign to the group and everyone seems on board. Campaign is pitched as a naval sandbox where the players are meant to be in the drivers seat. ((Now, later on, I learned that I maybe wasn't clear on this, or it was missed in the scrum - some of the players didn't understand this point and that's 100% on me.))

B. Hussar previews a mini-game for character creation and tells the players not to come with characters to session 0 as we will make characters together. The mini-game features a grid of Magic cards. Each round, each player chooses one card and can use anything on that card to incorporate into the character - the image, the text, anything. Each round features a different aspect of the character - history, current events, etc. In later rounds, cards will be traded between players and those cards must be incorporated as an agreed upon connection between the characters. Additionally, many of the cards are directly linked to NPC's and factions withing Saltmarsh, although that information is not revealed until after the cards are chosen. Meaning that at the end of play, each character will be connected to at least two other characters, will be grounded in a faction within the town and will have probably 2-5 NPC connections within the town.

Note, this takes several hours to prepare as we play online and I have to edit all the images to fit on the grid, making sure they are still legible and high enough resolution, but, not too high to crash people's Fantasy Grounds, plus, I need to make up the background information for several of the cards to link to factions and/or NPC's in Saltmarsh.

C. Session 0. Hussar opens up the game table, everyone joins in. Hussar pops up the mini-game and the players all inform him that they have already completely created their characters, complete with backgrounds. Hussar, looking lovingly at the hours of prep work he's about to flush down the toilet, cedes to the group and then tries to figure out how to pound square pegs into round holes in the campaign.

Now, I might be misremembering a few details, but, that's pretty much how it went. We never played the mini-game, but, @Chaosmancer, that's why the players making their characters at home precluded running the mini-game. They would have had to eject pretty much their backstories to incorporate the material in the mini-game because, well, none of their backstories included any connections whatsoever to the setting or Saltmarsh.

I hope that clarifies things.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
Now, I might be misremembering a few details, but, that's pretty much how it went. We never played the mini-game, but, @Chaosmancer, that's why the players making their characters at home precluded running the mini-game. They would have had to eject pretty much their backstories to incorporate the material in the mini-game because, well, none of their backstories included any connections whatsoever to the setting or Saltmarsh.
Not quite, because again, not all of us had finished with our characters. And again, we're all first level...how difficult would it be to change characters over? I do remember posting on the board and in Discord expressing interest. Maybe my voice was drowned out.
 

Hey, I was just explaining what works for me. Rigid and narrow, for me, is emphatically not pointless—there is real, good purpose in constraining player choice. In my experience, players are more creative when they're given less to work with. If your only available choices are fighter, mage, cleric, and thief, you don't get players trying to be half-dragon/half-celestial/half-elemental (which is annoying) and you don't get players who try to pass "elf ranger with Rapid Shot" off as a viable character personality (which is depressing).

And I was explaining that when the only meaningful choice among "fighters" I have is their gear and personality, I consider that strikingly inadequate, and did 40 years ago. If you've got people who are willing to deal with that, more power to you, but I consider it a cure immensely worse than either of the diseases you mention.
 

Old school design, where characters have much less options . . . it's not pointlessly rigid and narrow. You're confusing "what I don't like" with "bad design".

If old school design isn't for you, fantastic. But it emphasizes different aspects of the D&D hobby that some folks do enjoy. If each time you play a fighter, your character abilities are mostly the same you have to differentiate your characters with . . . wait for it . . . ROLE PLAYING. Not that you can't role play in modern D&D with it's plethora of character options, you certainly can. But in old school D&D, you are kind of forced to engage your creativity muscles a little more if you want your character to feel unique and fully realized.

To have a preference for modern games over old school games is fine, you're likely in the majority. But to categorize an entire (sub)genre of games as "pointlessly rigid and narrow" lacks vision and an empathy that different folks like different things.

Edit: I removed the original post I responded to this because I thought I just took the heat level up further. I will just state I don't consider my post more judgmental and dismissive than the one I responded to and leave it at that.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
Session 1 today felt sorry for the DM.

I had 3 hours sleep.

Very puzzle heavy at level 1. I couldn't think and fell asleep. Another player puzzles not her thing, another completely new and the 4th couldn't carry it alone and puzzles not his thing either I suspect.

Magical dungeon with shifting walls so no one mapped. Turned out it was only a section.

Early on seemed it didn't matter what we did resulted in failure so eventually people stopped looking for stuff such as traps, secret doors etc.

Puzzles not really my thing, I don't mind the occasional one but not a whole dungeon of them.

Wasn't a massive misfire was still fun.
 

And I was explaining that when the only meaningful choice among "fighters" I have is their gear and personality, I consider that strikingly inadequate, and did 40 years ago. If you've got people who are willing to deal with that, more power to you, but I consider it a cure immensely worse than either of the diseases you mention.
You do you. Suffice it to say, implying that my players have to "deal with" my games is . . . you know what? Nope. Bait someone else, I'm done here.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Old fashioned and undemocratic I don't have an issue with. Pointlessly rigid and narrow, I do; I stopped playing OD&D because I thought it was annoyingly rigid, and well I think D&D 3e had serious problems (but they weren't so much because of free choice but because it is almost impossible to balance exception based design in a simple fashion), going back to "this is what your class does and nothing more" strikes me as a massive step backwards to no real good purpose.
It has many good purposes.

Each class being good at what it does and bad at what it doesn't do fosters interdependence among the various characters of different classes and, by extension, teamwork. Other than multi-classers, which are easy enough to curtail or ban, you don't and can't get "I can do everything" characters. (well, not until the level range few if any ever see, anyway)

Each class having pre-set more-or-less-locked-in abilities moves focus away from the "build" game to the "play" game; and level-up becomes a breeze. Huge win. Even if there were nothing else, this alone is more than reason enough to take this route.

Each class having those pre-set abilities gained at known levels (as opposed to at whatever level the player decides to take that ability, if ever) makes the DM's job a tiny bit easier in that she a bit better knows what to plan ahead for.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And I was explaining that when the only meaningful choice among "fighters" I have is their gear and personality, I consider that strikingly inadequate, and did 40 years ago. If you've got people who are willing to deal with that, more power to you, but I consider it a cure immensely worse than either of the diseases you mention.
Where to me, differences in gear and personality is all I need. Hell, it's more than I need; I could live with the gear being the same too.

But try restraining what personalities I can give these guys and you'll have an argument on your hands! :)

Underlying philosophy: differentiating between similar characters (e.g. two female Human 3rd-level Fighters) does not require game-mechanical support.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Session 1 today felt sorry for the DM.

I had 3 hours sleep.

Very puzzle heavy at level 1. I couldn't think and fell asleep. Another player puzzles not her thing, another completely new and the 4th couldn't carry it alone and puzzles not his thing either I suspect.

Magical dungeon with shifting walls so no one mapped. Turned out it was only a section.

Early on seemed it didn't matter what we did resulted in failure so eventually people stopped looking for stuff such as traps, secret doors etc.

Puzzles not really my thing, I don't mind the occasional one but not a whole dungeon of them.

Wasn't a massive misfire was still fun.
DM's being kind and chucking non-combat stuff at you at 1st level, rather than combat which could kill you. Too bad it didn't work out - some of the more interesting (if frustrating!) sessions I've played in have involved shifting walls and passages...and-or teleporters, and-or miniature gravity wells such that a seemingly-endless flat corridor is in fact the outside of a cylinder that you're going round and round...that sort of thing. :)
 

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