D&D 5E Changes in Interpretation


But, why are people so steadfastly insisting that one and only one interpretation must be the only interpretation and rejecting any other interpretation that could work? Is it simply stealth edition warring? X comes from Edition Y and thus must never be seen again?

I've been guilty of intractability from late 1E on, so it's not something that just showed up in 3E. For me, it grew out of so slavenly disregarding the rules early on and being chided or teased over it, so I decided to become a "master" of the rules (to my infinite woe).

I do think however, because more areas of the rules were covered as the editions advanced that inflexibility became more and more prominent (heck, one of the things 3E touted was "creating a standardized system that wouldn't be a slave to DM fiat")

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Crazy Jerome

First Post
The WotC needs to make good rules, fill page count, and spark interest in the products are not always in sync--with each other or with particular fan expectations or wants. Then there is communication of design intent versus communication of actual rules versus adapation by particular fans to their wants. All of these are fault lines that can cause friction--not even counting any bad blood. And to a certain extent, the more interest in the product, the more friction created! :D

Any kind of insecurity, doubt, etc. about the rules can manifest as an attempt to exploit those frictions: "If I can only get WotC to say to do it my way, I'll get my way." And so forth. Mix that in with the bulk of people that merely enjoy exploring design and "what ifs"--it gets messy.


First Post
A playtest not of the playtest materials but of whatever you make up and modify does not seem to be particularly useful.

By the same token, the rules are what I'm paying for. There are plenty of interesting games out there; I don't need to put a lot of work into tweaking DnD into a useful state after I buy. I can just buy something else that's better designed.


First Post
Well, this is a playtest. We are at a point where we can still influence the shape that the final rules take. If all you ever played were your own house rules replacing over half of the playtest packet, you would be unable to provide Wizards with any valid feedback. About the only way I can see playtesting with house rules might be something like this:

1) Play rules as written. Observe that something does not work right for your group.

2) Take what does not work right and replace it with a house rule.

3) If that house rule did not improve the game, try something else.

4) If you come up with something that does work better, you have a suggestion for a rule revision to provide.

But the key point is that in a playtest you cannot skip step 1 -- you need to be able to judge the rules as written and provide feedback on them.


I wasn't specifically thinking of the playtest rules to be honest. More on the ongoing, simmering edition bickering that seems to be happening. And it spills over into 5e in the sense that people, instead of recognizing and articulating reasons for disliking a specific mechanic, paint with an overly large brush.

But, I was thinking more in terms of give and take. Instead of digging in the heels and declaring that THIS (whatever this is) should never appear in the game, why not simply try to find compromises that make everyone happy? But it seems like if something is too much one edition or another, it's the fact that it comes from edition X that makes it bad, rather than the mechanic itself.


The notion of selling us 4e preview books was itself kind of insulting to our intelligence.
I don't think Races and Classes was all that interesting, but Worlds and Monsters is one of the better GMing books I've ever read. Whereas D&D Monster Manuals, from AD&D through 4e, talk about story elements only in ingame terms; and whereas the 4e DMG talks about encounter design only from the point of view and tactics; Worlds and Monsters talks about story elements, and their use, from a metagame story perspective: what themes various monsters are intended to express, how they can be used to evoke particular fantasy tropes or experiences, etc.

The 4e DMG would have been a lot better if it dropped a whole lot of usesless guff on adventure design (it reallly is woeful, compared to its discussion of encounter design) and instead included some of the stuff from Worlds and Monsters about building encounters from the story/thematic point of view.


Something to that. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call 4e itself 'offensive', but the promotion of it was certainly off-putting.

At times, it almost came across as, "The game you've been playing all this time - and which we've been selling to you - is now suddenly bad! How can you possibly go on with it, when we now have something so superior to sell you?"

They have changed their tone immensely for 5e, and the change is welcome. But I think they themselves helped stoke the fires of the edition wars, and those fires are still blazing.
Of all the 4e criticism, this one is by far the truest and fairest.

People might discuse forever about AEDU, Vancian, or healing surges, which at the end of the day, it's a matter of tastes. The way it was marketed, was a horrible failure.

Tequila Sunrise

Something I've noticed for some time now, is a very, very strong sense that people are no longer willing to apply any sort of personal interpretation to the rules. That if something is written in the game in a certain way, that way must absolutely be followed, must never be deviated from and must never be given a moment's introspection on how to make it work
IME, most DMs assume that anything written in the Book is there for really good reason, without giving it much thought. 'Net forums are the only place I know where other DMs really think and talk about rules.


I kind of agree with the OP's broader point, but in the case of the Next Playtest, I think it's off base. This is a playtest. That means we should really be dealing with the rules as they are written in order to test the problems rather than applying our interpretations, or houseruling them.


First Post
I like Ze Frank's theory about polarization:

FacePunch - YouTube

To sum up: essentially it takes a lot of emotional energy to write a post or comment, and therefore we only really do when we have a strong opinion about something. It also tends to come out a lot stronger then we really feel.

Towards your other point: I think there was a push to make the D&D games very "solid" and straight forward "Here are the rules, they mean what they mean." like they were in other game systems.

This in my opinion was a direct contrast to how 1e/2e were setup. Dragon itself was a never ending source of alternate rules and ideas. Everything about the game seemed optional and open to interpretation. Sometimes the rules we used changed from week to week. :p

3e started the process with the idea of a balanced set of rules as written. What 3e had going for it was the OGL. Even though WoTC didn't specifically support the idea (as in with their own alternate rules and ideas) the OGL allowed for endless options and ideas.

There were already people who banned all OGL products though, so the "divide" was in the works.

Once you removed the OGL from 4e, the idea one "one game style supported above others" started to show more.

I think this is where 5e can really shine. If it can give us a solid (modernized) base system with the adaptability of earlier systems (which is supported by "official" sources) it'll be golden.

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