D&D 5E Deal Breakers - Or woah, that is just too much

Tectuktitlay

Explorer
Deal breakers for me:

Before the campaign starts, or before I join in:

- point buy or array for character build and-or non-rolled hit points...life is random, so should the game be

I do have to admit, the absolute need for random stats instead of simply having everyone having a firm mechanical baseline is actually fascinating to me. I prefer points-based systems to level-based systems, in no small part BECAUSE everyone has the same foundation; it's what they do with it that matters. Someone having a rolled set of stats vastly higher than another player at the table often leaves the latter feeling pretty useless in most situations, and having to hyperfocus just to contribute meaningfully. While the former is naturally able to accomplish much more every session by simple virtue of having better numbers. I am not in it to play a game where the character with the better luck in a single set of rolls has such far-reaching repercussions. It's one thing to win a fight on a lucky roll. It's another to perform vastly better than everyone else because of one set of lucky rolls at the start of the campaign. That, to me, is just not fun. For anyone but the person who rolled the lucky stats.

And yes, I know that you can roleplay and have fun with a gimped character. Been there, done that, and it can be amusing. But...it's much, much more fulfilling to do so when that is actually your idea, and not something you are forced into. When a campaign starts, and we all start talking about characters and what we want to play, I want everyone to actually get to play what they WANT to play, not what some dice rolls railroaded them in to. Fine, fine, you get to play a near-god because of your insane rolls, Jeff gets to play someone barely competent at tying their own shoelaces, and Beth gets to play Captain Meh, The Most Average Person in the World (tm). All because of a handful of dice rolls before the campaign even starts.

You know what that tends to cause to happen? PCs taking stupid risks on purpose so they can die, reroll, and play what they ACTUALLY wanted to play. I'd rather everyone just play what they want from the beginning, because the whole bloody point is for everyone to have fun playing characters they connect with.

So yeah, I am firmly the exact opposite of this. I prefer point-based character generation to random generation in all but the most outlier of games, or without some safety valves (i.e. roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, do two such stat arrays, pick one). The randomly generated everything of Gamma World? Sure, that's fun, and you know you're likely to have many character die horribly, so randomly playing a living swarm of cockroaches one session, and an insane android the next, can be highly amusing.


- a campaign where I'm going to level up every other session and it's thus going to end in just one or two years; I'm in for the long haul if I join at all, and the campaign had better allow for that

This one is equally fascinating to me. Life is change. Endless change, both large and small. I find that running under the assumption you'll be playing in any sort of campaign for any planned length of time is just asking for disappointment. Just one or two years? One or two years can be a LONG AS HELL campaign for many of us. If a campaign does last over a year, and life doesn't get too busy for various members with kids/grandkids, changing work schedules or situations, and so much more, that IS being in it for the long haul, imho. Not because we don't WANT it to last longer, but because life just happens, and never stops happening. And we're all much older, now, with many more responsibilities, jest generally juggling more day-to-day.

- Drizz't, or any chance of ever encountering same

This is just amusing to me. The visceral loathing of Drizzt, a character that has obviously connected with an awful lot of people (hence being one of the few D&D series to hit the NYT bestsellers consistently), and who reads like so very many characters at so very many tables long before the character was released, is utterly fascinating. I personally find him to be eh, a pretty standard fare amalgamation of many common tropes and archetypes, not terrible, not fantastic. With some of his stories, especially the ones set before he left Underdark, being interesting enough.

After it starts, or I join in:

- drugged-out players or DM

The flip side: things I don't mind at all that seem to bother lots of others here

- getting drunk (but not to the point of passing out) at the game - as long as everyone's having fun and has a safe way home, what's the problem?

Ok, and this I have to nitpick. Getting drunk is getting all drugged out. Alcohol is flat out, point blank, a drug. One of the more addictive drugs, to boot. One of the drugs that is most prone to causing violent outbursts, no less. You might personally have more fun on alcohol than other drugs, but a lot of people are really, incredibly, horribly unfun to be around when they are drunk. Even when they think they are the life of the party. And there are a lot of people doing other drugs that you might not even know are on anything, or they are actually interesting to be around. Pot is the obvious one, and some people are fun to be around while stoned, others aren't, just like any drug, including alcohol. But some of the hallucinogens? Especially when people are taking light doses and not tripping hard? Or on small doses of various cutting edge experimental synthetics and whatnot? Those can lead to some pretty neat places for a group.

Like anything, it's about trusting the people you are with.

But yeah, being drunk IS being drugged-out, and saying being drugged out is a deal-breaker, but being drunk is NOT a deal-breaker, is pointedly ignoring a fair bit of cognitive dissonance.
 
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TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
But yeah, being drunk IS being drugged-out, and saying being drugged out is a deal-breaker, but being drunk is NOT a deal-breaker, is pointedly ignoring a fair bit of cognitive dissonance.
While I agree with you that alcohol is simply another kind of drug, one can also point that various substances also produce various different kinds of altered states, and some of those states are much more amenable to a gaming environment than others.
 

Tectuktitlay

Explorer
While I agree with you that alcohol is simply another kind of drug, one can also point that various substances also produce various different kinds of altered states, and some of those states are much more amenable to a gaming environment than others.

Which I believe I said in the large paragraph shortly before the one you quoted?
 



You know what? Nobody is saying people are wrong for enjoying evil characters. Please stop trying to tell us that we're wrong (or closed-minded, or what have you) when some of us say we don't enjoy having them in many of our campaigns.

No matter how well you might play them, sometimes evil characters simply do not fit the sort of game or shared story we're running or want to be involved in. And that decision is based on careful thought and prior experience, not just us being arbitrary or having a bad player or two.

You're not required to agree. You're certainly not required to play in our games. But I do insist you not assume you know better than we do, or that the right player would somehow miraculously show us the error of our ways.

(All this is especially true when we've said, specifically, that we make occasional exceptions.)

For a good long while, this was a thread about personal preference in deal-breakers. I was enjoying the fact that we'd avoided getting into pissing matches about why somebody's deal-breaker was inferior.
 


Tectuktitlay

Explorer
You know what? Nobody is saying people are wrong for enjoying evil characters. Please stop trying to tell us that we're wrong (or closed-minded, or what have you) when some of us say we don't enjoy having them in many of our campaigns.

No matter how well you might play them, sometimes evil characters simply do not fit the sort of game or shared story we're running or want to be involved in. And that decision is based on careful thought and prior experience, not just us being arbitrary or having a bad player or two.

You're not required to agree. You're certainly not required to play in our games. But I do insist you not assume you know better than we do, or that the right player would somehow miraculously show us the error of our ways.

(All this is especially true when we've said, specifically, that we make occasional exceptions.)

For a good long while, this was a thread about personal preference in deal-breakers. I was enjoying the fact that we'd avoided getting into pissing matches about why somebody's deal-breaker was inferior.

Ok, but people are flat out saying that having ANY evil characters in a campaign at all is a deal-breaker. When many evil characters not only fit, but add a lot to a campaign, even a campaign that saves the world from BBEG. It's actually a really common trope that someone who is evil is part of the team, most people even get along with smashingly, but when push comes to shove they are flat out evil.

Some people play LG or LN characters like what I would consider a LE character to be. That LG paladin who has zero problems engaging in genocide on a village of orcs or goblins? Because he considers their entire species to be evil, period, so the lands much be purged of the foul beasts? Those are sentient beings, living life in ways quite similar to early bands of humans, caring more about the health of their own tribe than anyone else. That doesn't actually mean they deserve genocide, and a LG or LN character who engages in that behavior is being evil. The kind of evil that leads to horrific atrocities that history does not look kindly upon in the real world.

So when people say having ANY evil characters in a campaign at all is a deal-breaker, that is, in my experience, ruling out a lot of very apropos heroes/anti-heroes. People who make the world a better place for selfish, evil reasons. Secret agents. Assassins. So many other archetypes that can easily be both evil, and still make the world a better place with their actions, as twisted and evil as those actions might be.

Considering how many adventurers regularly engage in genocide? In wiping out many, many tribes or bands of people living in ways very similar to members of their own species, or how their own species used to live? Or who regularly go out and slaughter animals out in the wild to such degrees that really, they would be collapsing ecosystems with the kind of bloodshed they are engaging in?

I love seeing campaigns where an elder council of orcs ends up engaging in diplomacy with a nearby city of humans, and describes the horrific atrocities PCs are committing on their people, and formally requesting aid, or sanctuary. Because a lot of the actions taken by GOOD player characters are evil, evil, evil. It often really is in the eye of the beholder. Perspective is everything.

While it's perfectly fine to have "evil PCs" as a deal-breaker, and I won't actually tell anyone that's not ok, it is perfectly valid to let them know that hey, evil people actually serve the greater good successfully quite often, and make for fascinating characters. Throwing them out entirely is akin to tossing the baby out with the bathwater.
 



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