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D&D General DM Authority


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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If you want a game without combat, not sure why you'd play D&D.
Certainly not 5e. Combat is baked into virtually everything 5e, but you could do it easily in 3e. There were so many feats, non combat abilities for classes and prestige classes, and spells that are useful in social/exploration settings that a fun non-combat game would be doable. You'd have to re-work exp for social encounters and such, but I don't see a problem with it.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Pro Tip: Never use an absolute on the internet such as "No one would ever want that." You know it's going to be incorrect as soon as you type it.
I'm still going with magic. It's a summoning invocation that summons someone to come forward and disagree. If this was science class, we could all go out and reproduce the results. There's no physical cause. Only thing left is magic ;)
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Like @FrogReaver said, I'm coming in to disagree.

One of my play-by-post games that I've had the most fun in has gone on for a long time with minimal combat. I've had more fun out of combat in most games than in combat, where I generally just race the other side to zero hp.
To test my "it's magic" hypothesis, were you physically compelled in any way to come and disagree? What about emotionally or psychologically?
 

Campbell

Legend
I do not consider having one or two combat encounters over the course of a 5 hour session as being particularly minimal. It's pretty much been the experience I have had over the last 20 years of playing all sorts of roleplaying games.

For me personally what matters is tension. The threat of violence is just as compelling if not more compelling than the actual violence. Outside of a few exceptional games I find the actual process of playing it out not all that compelling. In my experience moderate violence games are not really super compatible with modern D&D, but it's worked well for me in Old School Essentials and other B/X clones, more out there OSR games like Into The Odd, AD&D, 4e, and PF2.
 

Then I have to thoroughly disagree. Nobody is going to put in a set of house rules that they let the players decide mechanical decisions.

(There are games where the specific role of the GM is spelled out in ways that actively tell you if you change them you're changing the rules--some PbtA games do, for example. No incarnation of D&D does that; its a default procedure, but that's not the same as a rule.)
So we are debating procedure versus rule?
 

Rule Zero: All of these rules can be changed.

You admit, you have played a game "round table" as you called it. That means it is possible. I'm not saying every game has to be this way, I'm not saying that everyone would enjoy it being this way, I'm not saying that it is the superior way to play, I'm not saying any of that.

I am saying it is possible.

You could have a group, likely of veteran players, sit down and play DnD without a DM. It can be done. They can have fun in the process.

That is all. That is the extent of my claims. It is possible, people can have fun doing it.
Can you please show me a video of this? I keep trying to picture it in my head, but can't. Not using the D&D ruleset (any edition). A long time ago they made a few solo adventures, which were more like choose your own adventures with dice, but that is the extent of my knowledge. So please, if there is a video out there where people play a D&D game, with D&D rules, using D&D dice and the MM and the PHB and the DMG, and do so without a DM, I want to watch.

I realize you are not saying good/bad, but rather possible/not possible. I would like to see the possible.
 

Just a few things I found.
Here's one from the very first page of the DMG:
"The Dungeon Master
The Dungeon Master is the creative force behind a D&D game. The DM creates the world for others to explore, and also creates and runs adventures that drive the story... The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM, and you are in charge of the game."
Is this a rule? If it is (since someone has referred to it as "rule zero"), then the DM absolutely must exist - per rule zero.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The answer is: why not?
You certainly can, and I've had sessions that had little or no combat. But no combat ever? Just seems like there are better options with more support.

Which is not to say that it's wrong, just kind of leaves me scratching my head is all.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
You certainly can, and I've had sessions that had little or no combat. But no combat ever? Just seems like there are better options with more support.

Which is not to say that it's wrong, just kind of leaves me scratching my head is all.
I think if it happens, it happens because it's the system the people at the table know and have the rules for, and (I'd imagine) getting the people at the table to settle on another system for the low/no-combat game proved harder than running it in D&D.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
You certainly can, and I've had sessions that had little or no combat. But no combat ever? Just seems like there are better options with more support.

Which is not to say that it's wrong, just kind of leaves me scratching my head is all.
I get ya. Though, what leaves me scratching my head is that we waste our time on a forum and we get so worried that someone might not be getting the most out of their time because they are playing a game that might not work as well as some other for them. We are pretty irrational people sometimes ;)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I get ya. Though, what leaves me scratching my head is that we waste our time on a forum and we get so worried that someone might not be getting the most out of their time because they are playing a game that might work as well as some other for them. We are pretty irrational people sometimes ;)
I'm earrational. Anything I hear is rational. Muahahahaha!
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Can you please show me a video of this? I keep trying to picture it in my head, but can't. Not using the D&D ruleset (any edition). A long time ago they made a few solo adventures, which were more like choose your own adventures with dice, but that is the extent of my knowledge. So please, if there is a video out there where people play a D&D game, with D&D rules, using D&D dice and the MM and the PHB and the DMG, and do so without a DM, I want to watch.

I realize you are not saying good/bad, but rather possible/not possible. I would like to see the possible.

Same way for me with a DM never making a final decision. I make little corrections, reminders and rulings on a fairly regular basis in my games. It's almost never anything memorable nor is there a big disagreement most of the time. Occasionally it's a player reminding someone else to make a concentration check or similar but the vast majority of time it's the DM.

It's fine to open a ruling to discussion (personally I do it after the game or during a break to not interrupt game flow) but to do it all the time? On every ruling or disagreement no matter how minor? Kind of like bigfoot. I guess it can happen, I've never seen it in real life and I suspect at least some people are just seeing bears walk on their hind legs interpreting things differently than I would.
 


Can you please show me a video of this? I keep trying to picture it in my head, but can't. Not using the D&D ruleset (any edition). A long time ago they made a few solo adventures, which were more like choose your own adventures with dice, but that is the extent of my knowledge. So please, if there is a video out there where people play a D&D game, with D&D rules, using D&D dice and the MM and the PHB and the DMG, and do so without a DM, I want to watch.

I realize you are not saying good/bad, but rather possible/not possible. I would like to see the possible.

Well, no videos. Not a lot of people record themselves playing DnD in the first place. But found some links. Two involve an app people specifically designed to help with the situation, and one is a person's blog post about running the game with no DM, because no one wanted to be a DM.



 


Thomas Shey

Adventurer
So we are debating procedure versus rule?

Basically. As I said, there's a different semantic loading to one over the other; among other things, the "DM is leader" procedure can theoretically still be in play while being indistinguishable from a group that more formally makes rules decisions group decisions, just because the DM always does it that way anyway when there's any issue.

(Again, just so as to make sure no one conflates the positions together, I'm not talking here about campaign element participation).
 

Thomas Shey

Adventurer
@Thomas Shey - certainly in 1e D&D the idea of the DM being the game's authority was pretty much baked in as a rule. It's become fuzzier since then.

Gygax absolutely had--pronounced--opinions on the matter. But then, he had pronounced opinions on a lot of things that most groups (and even later editions of the game) went "Lol, no," to from day one. He also wasn't consistent (look at various early opinions he had about playing nonhumans).
 

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