D&D General DM Says No Powergaming?

Synthil

Explorer
As long as whatever way is chosen has exactly the same mechanical effects? It feels like 4e to me, where making sure you get the effects the rules say trumps any fiction, twisting the world to the crunch.
Yes. I don't see that as rules trumping fiction and more as unshackling them from each other. You can have whatever fiction you like and then apply the rules the most closely approximate that fiction. If anything that puts fiction first. If a player wants to play a warlock more like a sorcerer, a cleric like a white mage or a wizard as a priest, I have no problem with that. Classes are a metafictional thing, not a specific thing in the worlds themselves. That, to me, is less immersion breaking than all gods giving their priests access to the same spells apart from domain spells.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I mean I know it's fun to rag on 4E, but 4E did the best job of any WotC edition of actually explaining how the power sources of various classes worked. For example in 4E, Clerics are given a tiny fragment of the power of the god they follow, and that power isn't on a string, so if the Cleric "goes rogue", they keep it.

Narratively and fictionally this is more detail that we'd seen since 2E (including 5E), and on top of that, it's really great for stories, because you can have "rogue Clerics" misrepresenting gods, who need to be dealt with. You don't have to just be the one in trouble, you could be the one ending trouble. Indeed one of the elements of my campaign was that a number of senior Clerics of Bahamut had broken away and created their own, more warlike church, which was far more successful follower-wise than the "main" church. Of course they had the issue that that because Bahamut wasn't happy with them, they could not create new clerics - so they had to try and indoctrinate/poach/brainwash existing Bahamut Clerics... or even go to darker powers!

Don't you think that's kind of neat? I don't think that's "rules trumps fiction", at least with Clerics. I think that's actually pretty rockin'.
That is a very cool idea, but I don't think its worth that "rules over story" philosophy, which certainly isn't necessary for a story point like that, especially since the idea that even a god can't take back their powers has such far-reaching effects.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
To me, the fiction is far more important than the mechanics. So when people say things like "ignore the fiction and focus on the mechanics" I nope out. Some people play D&D like it's a board game or video game, and that's fine for them. But I have zero interest in that. For me, the fiction is the point of the thing. Without it, there's no point playing this game instead of some other. There are hundreds of infinitely better designed games to play if you don't care about the fiction. On the flip side, if you care about the fiction there are hundreds of infinitely better designed game to play.
 

I would be fine with opt-in, but certain character concepts really lend themselves to having these kind of issues.
Sure, but that's why we go with opt-in, because otherwise it's just too much of a "low-hanging fruit" deal where most DMs are going to only harass the "usual suspects" whilst the others get a free pass (mix those metaphors!), mainly due to a lack of imagination on the part of the DMs.
Incidentally, every situation you described is something that has or can happened in a story, so it's not like those things wouldn't make sense, even if the rules don't support that sort of thing.
Absolutely, that's where I'm getting most of it from. In fantasy fiction Fighter-types and Rogue-types fairly often "lose their mojo" to injuries, depression, addiction, grief and so on. Arcane-types often lose their powers for reasons even they don't understand initially (this has been the plot of entire books). Divine types almost never appear in fantasy fiction (not with actual magic powers FROM GAWD anyway - and I can't think of even one with revocable powers), but that's a whole other discussion. But a lot of this would extremely novel to players, and as you say, it's not supported by the rules, and it's not really something people necessarily expect.
That is a very cool idea, but I don't think its worth that "rules over story" philosophy, which certainly isn't necessary for a story point like that, especially since the idea that even a god can't take back their powers has such far-reaching effects.
Oh they can take them back alright. From your cold dead body!

(You could probably also make a ritual so a willing or unwilling subject could have their powers repo'd by their god.)

I don't think it is rules-over-story as much as "create lore that doesn't encourage the idea that DMs should be snatching power from certain PCs".
Classes are a metafictional thing, not a specific thing in the worlds themselves.
So this is the question, are they? And D&D is inconsistent on point in most editions. 4E was the one where classes were least metafictional and most "an actual thing in the world", I think. 5E is more vague on this point.

I think whichever way you go, consistency actually matters here, Emerson noted (he's usually misquoted anyway, it's "foolish consistency" he didn't like, not all consistency). It's kinda dumb if Cleric is an actual class but Fighter is purely metafictional.

Notably the first attempt truly all-round "fix" D&D, and one that prefigured 3E, 4E, and 5E in many important ways was Earthdawn, and one of the key things Earthdawn did was to make sure all the classes were NOT metafictional, but very much real things, part of the world, not just part of how we think about a game.
There are hundreds of infinitely better designed games to play if you don't care about the fiction. On the flip side, if you care about the fiction there are hundreds of infinitely better designed game to play.
So the summary is that there are hundreds of infinitely better designed games than D&D? I mean I can't entirely argue with that...
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
So the summary is that there are hundreds of infinitely better designed games than D&D? I mean I can't entirely argue with that...
If people don't care about the fiction and just want a board game or video game experience, those style games would do a better job. If people just want an RPG that's well-balanced and well-designed, there are RPGs that fit the bill like Fabula Ultima...but 5E is neither. If you want more crunch and more options, Pathfinder is right there...5E has less crunch and fewer options. If you want more story and less crunch, Fate, PbtA, 24XX, and hundreds more are right there...5E is not designed as a story forward game. The only thing 5E does better than any of those games is being popular.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Again, it’s not a problem for me, but if he says powergamers tend not to share his priorities in the game, how can you say he’s wrong? How can he be “disproven”? He’s not making some absolute claim that powergaming is incompatible with roleplaying—the “YMMV” is right there!
Please read what he actually wrote: "It's because I think power gaming is usually detrimental to running a game that is focused on character and story development, which is my whole thing."

(Bolding mine.)

THAT is a disproved statement. Powergaming is not contrary to running games focused on character or story development.

Sorry, making decisions based on stereotypes, that because someone is X they can not be Y or Z, is a harmful and incorrect opinion.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I could go on. Even a Gunslinger could forget the face of his father ;)
:ROFLMAO:

DM: "Finally, after years of adventuring, you have have the warlord who killed your family in your sights."
PLAYER: "I picture the face of my father, realizing my beard is whiter than his was when he was killed, I cock my gun and---"
[record screech]
DM: "Waaait a minute. You never said anything about your father having a beard. You lose your proficiency with firearms and..."
PLAYER: "Just a second. Please wait while I go to the other room for a minute."
...
DM: "Are you opening a safe?"
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Feats and multiclassing are optional. Just don't give your players that option and you'll never have to fear power gaming ruining your campaign.
Because that's all they exist for!

Wait, no.

If we want to go this route, better get rid of skills, gear and backgrounds too. Anything that allows character customization and making the character capable of doing what you envision them doing is powergaming after all.

Powergaming is basically just an insult and is worthless as a guideline for players.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I wouldn’t be comfortable with a blanket rule against “powergaming” because that’s too nebulous of a term. I would want to know specifically what was being disallowed.

You see this kind of thing a lot playing Commander in MTG; groups will have some sort of general agreement that “unfair decks” aren’t allowed, but no consensus on what counts as “unfair.” If there are certain cards or combos you want to ban, just ban them!

For groups that regularly play together, it feels like social Commander can be regulated by seeing if you are "winning your fair share". If someone is winning more than half of the four player games (with other competent players they like to play with) they might be aiming too high for the group, and if they never win they might bea iming too low.

Is there something similar about dominating play in DnD too much?
 

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