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


First Post
I am not a fan of gaming groups that meet too infrequently/irregularly.

I'm also not a fan of games where non-gamer boyfriends/girlfriends jump into the game and bog everything down.

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Good responses to the thread. Interesting to see what would make a game not fun for someone. Seems like feats and stat generation are fairly big for rules. I am surprised multiclassing didn't come up.

Multiclassing is a way of dynamically generating combinatorically-more classes than base D&D, and while it is entertaining, the lack of multiclassing wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me because there are some fun pure class combinations: wizards, eldritch knights, moon druids, and maybe even bards come to mind. I wouldn't play a paladin in a pureclass game because paladorcs are illegal, but I would play an Enchanter or a Necromancer.

Greg K

Really? All of those are dealbreakers for you? Some of them I can kind of understand, like players who hog the spotlight or DMs who favour their partner over others, but I feel like some of these are a little excessive as dealbreakers. But whatever floats your boat, I guess (or, considering the thread topic, whatever sinks your boat).

Yes, really. I have walked out on a Spelljammer campaign. I have walked out on a campaign in which characters were modeled on super-heroes (specifically, Wolverine, Green Lantern, Doctor Strange, and Iron Man). I have turned down offers to play in Eberron and Planescape.

Things like he Dm having thought about their setting and having house rules ready prior to character generation are important for me to decide if I have an interest in what the DM is offering. The campaign information is also important to help ground me in the setting and therefore my character.

With regards to specific campaign settings and styles, I have a strong dislike for many elements in Eberron, Planescape, and Spelljammer. I am also easily bored by both hack n' slash, dungeon crawls, and Monty Haul style games as well as campaigns built around puns, camp, parody. There is no point in my wasting my time with those settings or styles. Finally, for Evil campaigns, I don't see the point. I am there to play a heroic character fighting evil.

In terms of races, my preference is for all human campaigns. Barring that, I am fine with the traditional races of 1e and 2e along or perhaps one or two of the following as PC races: half-ogres, orcs, kobolds, gnolls, lizardman, and minotaurs as PCs (just no more than one or two in the party) . In an Asian themed settng, I am fine with some other races. However, many of the PC races introduced starting with 2e are not the type of fantasy in which I am in interested or I find the concepts to be extremely lame (and often a desperate attempt to create something interesting and hope it "gains traction")-again, not the fantasy that interests me, personally. Therefore, why waste my time playing in such a game. Others mileage may vary and all that stuff.

Some of the things make me wonder why we are not playing with a different system or wish we were. For instance, if the characters are based on super-heroes, I am going to be wondering why we are not just using a system like Icons: Assembled, Marvel Heroic, Supers! Revised, Mutants and Masterminds, etc. Similarly, if we are blending fantasy and technology, I would much rather use one of several other systems other than D&D (Savage Worlds, Cartoon Action Hour) . I don't like the AC system, Levels, Hit Dice, etc when technology is introduced. Furthermore, there better be a strong theme for the blending of fantasy and technology (e.g., a Thundarr the Barbarian type apocalypse).

Take advantage on flanking for instance. To me that indicates that the group wants more tactical combat, so a higher focus on combat. Okay, that is not my thing but not a deal breaker. Only, it removes tactics from combat by invalidating creative ways to get advantage. It also invalidates many character's abilities. So yeah, don't think I would play in that game as there are probably going to be other areas that I also find invalidate my choices.

Obviously your choices and likes are your own, but I note that here you are making some really extreme assumptions based on a single optional rule choice.

Based on the groups I've played with, there's almost no link between combat-oriented optional rules and how combat-oriented a group is. That might seem counter-intuitive, but my experience is that optional rules are often selected on the basis of the way the group or DM feels about a scenario, not with an eye to "does this make the game more tactical" or whatever.

Resting optional rules in 5E are a good example - most DMs I know, both those making them more generous/action-oriented and less generous/strategy-oriented, are doing so not because of the long-term mechanical effects, but because of the atmosphere the rules create, or simply because they like the rules that way.

Now, you might sneer at that or not, but I think that's more common than selecting rules on the basis of "I want a more tactical game" and so on.

Further the "there are probably going to be other areas that I also find invalidate my choices" doesn't follow at all. There's literally no reason to believe that that I am aware of it. It appears to be a baseless fear. Unless you can provide an example of something which would naturally flow from that of course - I could be convinced.

I'd also note that this optional rule simply does not "invalidate" your choices, rather, it changes what choices you will make. If the rule was introduced half-way through a campaign, and you had some character specialized in granting Advantage, it would absolutely "invalidate" your choices. But if you're joining a group with it in place, you don't have an existing character. So you're not going to select abilities which focus on granting Advantage, if you're finding the DM allows you to flank easily - instead you'll select ones which trigger on Advantage, quite likely.

It's akin to playing a Sorcerer in a setting full of fire-resistant monsters. Unless you already built the Sorcerer, and then the DM said "Oh, yeah, everything is fire resistant, sorry about all your fire spells and Feats lol!", you just wouldn't select fire spells (unless you had some sort of cunning plan!).

More about who you play with than the exact rules IMHO.

Indeed. I think it's pretty obvious that almost everyone will have more fun playing with friends and people they like with dubious rules than they will with strangers or annoying people and perfect rules. But I suspect most of the people with lengthy lists of dislikes either have a group that already caters to them perfectly so are talking entirely theoretically, or have to play with strangers they don't necessarily like due to circumstance.
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I only have one deal breaker.

If we sit down at a table and we don't have fun.

That's it. Other than that I'm good to go. Hack and Slash or Deep Immersive Role Playing, Tactical Wargame with miniatures or theater of the mind. Rule Crunch Extreme or without rules at all. With house rules or without.

It just doesn't matter to me. I can play anything and have fun as long as the people I'm playing with are fun people.

The best game in the world will not protect you from playing with a arsehat. The worst rpg in the world can't stop the good times from rolling with a good gang of friends.

Regarding Sage Advice:

It was said that Sage Advice does never change rules but only clarifies how rules has been meant. For me that means if you think that Sage Advice is a houserule, it just means that you interpreted a rule wrong and have a hard time admitting it.

If the question doesn't even come up during play it doesn't really matter, so it's no problem if DMs don't actively keep up with Sage Advice.

For me Sage Advice is more of a tool to settle discussions globally once and for all. Often when I ask SA to clarify a rule, this comes from page-long discussions on forums how a rule is meant in which people just couldn't agree on something. SA is basically a judge that says which one of the two+ possible interpretations is the correct one. A DM intentionally going against that consequently is a killer for me, because in the end I want to rely on a global understanding of the rules and not re-learn the interpretation per DM.

Regarding the examples given for "Too strict" and "Too much railroading", I see there are quite some different levels here.

1. Not allowing alternative solution and making up weird explanations why they don't work --> This one I can understand as long as the explanations really don't make sense. This really shouldn't happen. A DM should be able to work with the ideas players have as long as they are reasonable and possible. On the other hand, players also have to accept that when they have bad ideas, they might actually get a disadvantage rather than the advantage they hoped for.

2. Forcing certain locations --> This I would do too to some extend myself. At the very least players need to stay in the scope of the adventure. And the adventure paths actually encourage steering the PCs into the right directions, e.g. they might say something like "If the PCs don't dare care of the threat, make it become more and more horrifying until they can't ignore it anymore". I wouldn't see this a bad railroading, just as making sure the players go somewhere they actually can have fun in.
Honestly, this almost NEVER comes up in my own games because my PCs voluntary want to go to the right places if I narrate it properly.
As for choice of the location... it depends on situation! Sometimes players might have the free choice whether to go to Dungeon A or Dungeon B or return to turn, but sometimes, no going from B directly to C can cause the whole campaign to not end well. When players neglect the warning signs and just stay in town all day or mess around, they can't complain when they get swarmed by an army of dragons or elementals or whatever with no chance to survive.

3. Making sure on the hand rules --> That's also something I would do myself. Rules are rules. If it was established that you hold a torch and a sword when initiative is rolled you can't start the combat with a shield. Even worse, you need to use a whole action to equip the shield, so you are probably better off not using a shield this combat at all. That should just be a lesson learned and next time the groups gets the Wizard or someone else who doesn't use shields to hold the torch.
On the other hand, if it wasn't established at all what the character is holding, then I would also find it annoying if the DM just decided that. Holding a torch is a very special case, this establishes what the character is holding. On the other hand, if it wasn't established (e.g. group did a long rest and didn't say that equip their armor and shield after rest), I usually allow the PCs to decide themselves what they are holding and wearing and won't force them to start combat naked (I usually ask my players to tell me what their default equip setup is and then usually roll with that).

4. The examples from Ruin Explorer are just horrible DMing. I'd go so far and say a heroic DMPC is already a deal breaker in itself. Sure it's tempting to put yourself into the story like "The group finds a boy, I'll play the boy and at the end the boy casts a holy spell that is the only way to save the world", but I realized that it messes up the decisions I do as DM. I prefer to stay neutral, don't fudge dice and give players a real challenge in which they could actually die and that works best without me playing anyone on the "good" side.
The orc babies can be more difficult. In that particular situation I would have allowed the players to do it. But I often also find my group wanting to recruit everyone they meet that can hold a sword and I really am against DMPCs, so I often either just OOC tell my players "For your own good, don't do this." or make the NPC make up a reason why he can't join (or usually both).


First Post
For me Sage Advice is more of a tool to settle discussions globally once and for all. Often when I ask SA to clarify a rule, this comes from page-long discussions on forums how a rule is meant in which people just couldn't agree on something. SA is basically a judge that says which one of the two+ possible interpretations is the correct one. A DM intentionally going against that consequently is a killer for me, because in the end I want to rely on a global understanding of the rules and not re-learn the interpretation per DM.
It's called "advice" for a reason, because there's not really meant to be a "global understanding" of the rules, it's only meant to help DMs who can't figure out how to rule on a particular issue by themselfes. This is a game of "rulings, not rules".

Voidrunner's Codex

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