D&D 5E D&D and who it's aimed at

However I could feel my eyes glazing over at '....positivity, bright colours, peaceful solutions...' it simply holds no interest with me. These themes, drives, whatever simply do not appeal in what I view as a game about kicking in doors, killing bad guys, and taking stuff for profit.
I should have replied to this directly in addition to the above.

What prevents you from also doing that?

Absolutely and unremittingly peaceful solutions rarely work all the time. Hell, they rarely work in general. Conflict is a sad necessity sometimes, and I say this as someone who values pacifist solutions whenever they can be pursued. E.g., there is no negotiating with a mindflayer as they are usually depicted, where they can only live by eating the brains of sapient beings and require the deaths of sapient beings to incubate their young. Two of my favorite class archetypes are Paladin and Warlord, which specifically train for violent conflict.

Good things eventually coming to good people goes hand in glove with defeating bad guys (whether by violence or not). Positivity is pretty much orthogonal to everything you mentioned, other than toning down the Game of Thrones vibes and toning up the "Paladins and Princesses" ones, where you have Good Guys fighting Bad Guys and actually saving the day, where Han Solo goes from amoral gritty merc to heroic scruffy adventurer with a cool girlfriend and willingness to risk his life to ensure victory for the Rebels. (I reject the new movies' canon for the reason of it being really dumb, so the whole "abandoned all character development and became a static copy of his younger self" thing is irrelevant to me.) And, I mean, Superman fights evil and saves the day all the time, and he literally wears all three primary colors in extreme saturation. Can't get much more "defeat the bad guys" than that.

So...why assume the mere existence of these characteristics, which are mostly orthogonal or (in the case of peaceful stuff) simply won't work a decent chunk of the time, inherently means a no-adventure snooze fest? We can be engaging in a reconstruction, one that recognizes the value in the old ways but builds a new, wider perspective that includes more than just those ways.
 

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Retreater

Legend
OK so...why are you in a D&D thread? Not that you CAN'T be in a D&D thread, but it's a genuine question as to why?
Fair question. I considered myself a 5e "mega fan" for several years. I purchased nearly every official book up through Tasha's in Nov 2020 - with the exception of the MtG setting books. I was running multiple games a week, spending a lot of time on messageboards, social media, etc.
But then it hit me I was getting very disillusioned with the products. Adventures were dipping in quality. Some of them were barely run-able as presented (Dragon Heist).
And for someone who has run nearly every official adventure for 5e, I hope that something new will be announced that will get me excited for 5e again. So I'm a lapsed fan. I spend a lot of time on these boards discussing 5e, because it's honestly the only game in town. I (think) I know enough about it to contribute to discussions, and I hope I bring something to the boards (despite my grumpiness).
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I'll try not to speak for anyone else. My reasons for not being on the 5e bandwagon has little to do with who I think it's target audience might be. From where I sit, I imagine it is aimed at everyone with a wallet, a pulse, and a desire to play D&D. So why shouldn't it provide products with a diversity of styles and tastes instead of just one flavor all the time?

For me, I have been through all the previous editions since I was 12 years old. The edition that was the most fun and most satisfying for me was 4th. It addressed a lot (but not all) of the issues I had with the system for years. And I had hopes that 5e would have taken it further. Instead, it took some huge steps back.

Don't get me wrong. I think 5e is a solid iteration based of an older design. But I've already played that game for many years. What really sucks is I can't get any official (or even 3rd party) support for the edition I liked best. And some days, like today, I just want to quit everything.
 
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Retreater

Legend
I'll try not to speak for anyone else. My reasons for not being on the 5e bandwagon has little to do with who I think it's target audience might be. From where I sit, I imagine it is aimed at everyone with a wallet, a pulse, and a desire to play D&D. So why shouldn't it provide products with a diversity of styles and tastes instead of just one flavor all the time?

For me (and me alone), I have been through all the previous editions since I was 12 years old. The edition that was the most fun and most satisfying for me was 4th. It addressed a lot (but not all) of the issues I had with the system for years. And I had hopes that 5e would have taken it further. Instead, it took some huge steps back.

Don't get me wrong. I think 5e is a solid iteration based of an older design. But I've alreadyplayed that game for years. What really sucks for me is I can't get any official (or even 3rd party) support for the edition I liked best. And some days, like today, I just want to quit everything.
Not to get too off tangent, but maybe if you can isolate what you liked about 4e (which I was also a fan), maybe you can find other games doing something similar? There is some overlap in PF2, 13th Age, Soulbound, etc.
I hate to see someone give up.
 

Scribe

Hero
What prevents you from also doing that?

Nothing, but I dont find it...accurate to the tone of how I personally perceive the modern work Wizards is doing. Theres a dissonance, to me.

So...why assume the mere existence of these characteristics, which are mostly orthogonal or (in the case of peaceful stuff) simply won't work a decent chunk of the time, inherently means a no-adventure snooze fest?

It doesnt, these are indeed adventures (or settings in which adventures take place) but there is something wrong with the tone, or at least how I perceive the tone being communicated, and what I personally would rather see, to the point that it is limiting my purchases to 1 book (Fizbans) recently.

We can be engaging in a reconstruction, one that recognizes the value in the old ways but builds a new, wider perspective that includes more than just those ways.

Thats fine for those who want it, but I'm not that guy. ;)
 


Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Fair question. I considered myself a 5e "mega fan" for several years. I purchased nearly every official book up through Tasha's in Nov 2020 - with the exception of the MtG setting books. I was running multiple games a week, spending a lot of time on messageboards, social media, etc.
But then it hit me I was getting very disillusioned with the products. Adventures were dipping in quality. Some of them were barely run-able as presented (Dragon Heist).
And for someone who has run nearly every official adventure for 5e, I hope that something new will be announced that will get me excited for 5e again. So I'm a lapsed fan. I spend a lot of time on these boards discussing 5e, because it's honestly the only game in town. I (think) I know enough about it to contribute to discussions, and I hope I bring something to the boards (despite my grumpiness).
I certainly have a lot of good memories of you posting positive things about 5e. I was kinda surprised to hear you're not a fan these days.
 


Micah Sweet

Legend
I'm seeing a lot of people dismiss things as "too light and fluffy" just from first glance alone, and, having dismissed them, never follow up to find out they really aren't. Basically "Tell me that you've never actually read Witchlight without telling me you've never read Witchlight", I expect the same thing with Radiant Citadel...
You don't think WotC is counting on some people seeing the fanciful whimsy of either product and judging a book by its cover?
 

dave2008

Legend
I don't know if I'd say they're "for kids," but they're not for me.
  • Candlekeep Mysteries - weak adventures with next to nothing to do in them.
  • Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft - rebooted Ravenloft that misses the mark of the original campaign setting.
  • Wild Beyond the Witchlight - displacer beast kittens and talk your way out of fluffy challenges.
  • Fizban's Treasury of Dragons - boring book about the most boring creatures in the game.
  • Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos - Harry Potter by way of modern American college life
  • Call of the Netherdeep - I'm not into Critical Role
  • Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel - More cuddly kittens and adorableness
  • Spelljammer: Adventures in Space - Was a joke in the 1980s. Still going to be a joke.
  • Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen / Warriors of Krynn - Boring campaign setting about the most boring creatures in the game.
This sounds like a post by someone who doesn't know what they are talking about! If these one-liners are what you think about these books (3 of which are not even out yet) then it tells me you haven't really looked at them very deeply.
 
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Medic

Neutral Evil
I actually had a firsthand experience with this recently and spent more time investigating it than I probably should have. To spare readers the lengthy tale of my adventures in reading and deep personal immorality, I wouldn't say that 5th Edition's content is being "Disneyfied" or "aimed at unborn infants" so much as it's being defanged and cleaned up to make it more palatable for a broader audience.
 


Micah Sweet

Legend
I actually had a firsthand experience with this recently and spent more time investigating it than I probably should have. To spare readers the lengthy tale of my adventures in reading and deep personal immorality, I wouldn't say that 5th Edition's content is being "Disneyfied" or "aimed at unborn infants" so much as it's being defanged and cleaned up to make it more palatable for a broader audience.
Not much better from my point of view. Obviously their view differs. I still miss save or die effects.
 

Scribe

Hero
I actually had a firsthand experience with this recently and spent more time investigating it than I probably should have. To spare readers the lengthy tale of my adventures in reading and deep personal immorality, I wouldn't say that 5th Edition's content is being "Disneyfied" or "aimed at unborn infants" so much as it's being defanged and cleaned up to make it more palatable for a broader audience.
I'd say it amounts the same thing in the end, but I dont know if 'disneyfied' has a proper definition. :)
 

Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
Is "disneyfication" seriously a controversy here? Like, seriously?

Sweet zombie Jesus on a pogo stick, that's sad. I'll take some lighthearted whimsy over the "ouch, I almost cut myself on all that edge!" gritty grim darkness that dominates the artpunk wing of the OSR these days.

The only thing that keeps me from buying Wild Beyond the Witchlight is all the trouble I'd have to go to in converting it from 5e to 1e. You know, in addition to reading the module before running it. Might as well just write my own adventures at that point, given the effort required.
 

"more palatable for a broader audience" is the entire point of 5e from the beginning. Characters are resilient and do not die easily with three death saves and numerous healing options. It is a high magic game, with cantrips and character abilities that bypass entire core elements of earlier editions (like tracking light sources). It is heroic, with characters zipping past lower levels quickly and easily. That's all phb 5e.

I get wanting to play a game that is "grittier," less magical, and more down to earth; personally, I love OSR games and don't see myself returning to 5e. But all that has to do with no liking base-5e, not with any trend in their products. 5e grognardism is so silly when you look at the base game
 

I’ve mulled this “Disney-fied” critique, and I’m mixed on it. It’s hard for me to separate what I see as the shift in 5E compared to the shift in my own interests within the hobby. (I think both are shifting.)

I do feel like 5E is shifting toward a lighter, less mechanically complete vision of D&D than I like. I also dislike WotC’s revisions of classic D&D settings and hamfisted approach to canonicity. I think these factors are just me becoming a grognard lol

But also, 5E products do seem to feature a lot of cutesy, whimsical, and goofy stuff now, which used to be used more sparingly in prior editions. Is this Disneyfication? Idk, but it’s not really for me.

I am pretty hyped for that new Spelljammer stuff! It looks cool and also promises a modern take on something super different. The only reason I hesitate is that 5E products mostly leave me feeling disappointed lately… Pathfinder 2e is doing a much better job scratching my itch, for reasons I haven’t isolated.

I do feel like WotC is trying to make 5E be all things to all people, and despite their obvious success, I do think that approach is repelling longtime players like me. But again, it could just be that I’ve grown away from it while WotC pursues lucrative new markets.
 

Medic

Neutral Evil
Not much better from my point of view. Obviously their view differs. I still miss save or die effects.
I'd say it amounts the same thing in the end, but I dont know if 'disneyfied' has a proper definition. :)
I'm not awfully torn up about it, but I must confess that scrubbing away some of the grit and evil takes a little bit of the wind out of my adventuring sails. It was a reason to get out into the world and do stuff.

"more palatable for a broader audience" is the entire point of 5e from the beginning. Characters are resilient and do not die easily with three death saves and numerous healing options. It is a high magic game, with cantrips and character abilities that bypass entire core elements of earlier editions (like tracking light sources). It is heroic, with characters zipping past lower levels quickly and easily. That's all phb 5e.

I get wanting to play a game that is "grittier," less magical, and more down to earth; personally, I love OSR games and don't see myself returning to 5e. But all that has to do with no liking base-5e, not with any trend in their products. 5e grognardism is so silly when you look at the base game
I suppose that I should have specified, but I was referring to the fluff. A lot of uninviting stuff is not removed, just played down or hidden under the rug. A game can be high magic and heroic while still having such elements.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I'm very much of the C.S. Lewis mindset on this stuff. A critic that uses the word "adult" as a form of praise or any form of "this is for children" as criticism has fallen short of maturity themselves.
Well, not entirely. "Adult" as a form of praise is perfectly reasonable, but then, so is "for children" or any other formulation that targets a segment of the market.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I wouldn't say that 5th Edition's content is being "Disneyfied" or "aimed at unborn infants" so much as it's being defanged and cleaned up to make it more palatable for a broader audience.
To me the two things I've bolded here are one and the same.

I've always maintained that D&D is best designed for and "aimed at" college-age people and above, both in content and in level of writing/prose; and if kids want to play it anyway that's fine too but they're not the intended market.

Defanging it and cleaning it up just makes it boring.
 

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