5E DnDBeyond: on adapting genre to D&D

An interesting article appeared on DnDBeyond that address converting D&D to other genres. They cite Eberron and Ravenloft as examples, and I wager it's going to be controversial here.

The link: Adapting Other Genres to D&D

Some of the cliff notes parts.

* Adapt the genre to D&D, not D&D to the setting.

* Try to limit restrictions for your players, esp to magic and magic items.

* Add rather than subtract options when possible.

* Find where D&D and the genre cross and focus on those.

* If you're genre requires extensive rewriting of the game, consider a better suited RPG.

Thoughts on his suggestions?
 

Parmandur

Legend
An interesting article appeared on DnDBeyond that address converting D&D to other genres. They cite Eberron and Ravenloft as examples, and I wager it's going to be controversial here.

The link: Adapting Other Genres to D&D

Some of the cliff notes parts.

* Adapt the genre to D&D, not D&D to the setting.

* Try to limit restrictions for your players, esp to magic and magic items.

* Add rather than subtract options when possible.

* Find where D&D and the genre cross and focus on those.

* If you're genre requires extensive rewriting of the game, consider a better suited RPG.

Thoughts on his suggestions?
As Haeck says, "As with all the advice to follow, this rule is a far-reaching generalization. If you think that breaking this rule will help make your game, your setting, or your adventure better, then go for it! These constraints will help you get a good, basic, and fun game—but like all other rules in D&D, these rules are made to be broken."

I'll take his advise with a grain of salt, though he has some good ideas.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Also, I feel, the main purpose of a setting is remove options. For example, if there are no dwarves in the setting, then remove dwarves from the options.

To be fair, I normally do a ‘soft ban’, meaning, the setting ‘normally’ lacks the dwarf, but if there is a player who is desperate to play a dwarf, I try to figure out how it might be possible for a dwarf to exist, or something like a dwarf, within the tropes and logic of the setting.

Also, many D&D players have a low magic or no magic setting (Lord of the Rings, Conan, etcetera), and this by definition would limit magic and magic items.

In short, it is good to ‘sculpt’ a setting for a genra by removing superfluous options.
 

MarkB

Hero
Also, I feel, the main purpose of a setting is remove options. For example, if there are no dwarves in the setting, then remove dwarves from the options.
Except that settings can just as easily add options. If you're adapting D&D to a cyberpunk or urban fantasy setting, you're adding the options that come with modern technology - guns, computers, smartphones, cars etc.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Also, I feel, the main purpose of a setting is remove options. For example, if there are no dwarves in the setting, then remove dwarves from the options.

To be fair, I normally do a ‘soft ban’, meaning, the setting ‘normally’ lacks the dwarf, but if there is a player who is desperate to play a dwarf, I try to figure out how it might be possible for a dwarf to exist, or something like a dwarf, within the tropes and logic of the setting.

Also, many D&D players have a low magic or no magic setting (Lord of the Rings, Conan, etcetera), and this by definition would limit magic and magic items.

In short, it is good to ‘sculpt’ a setting for a genra by removing superfluous options.
Except that settings can just as easily add options. If you're adapting D&D to a cyberpunk or urban fantasy setting, you're adding the options that come with modern technology - guns, computers, smartphones, cars etc.
Both addition and subtraction are valid methods to mold the game.

Some of the most popular Settings ever (Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Ravenloft) were as much about limiting options as adding them.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Except that settings can just as easily add options. If you're adapting D&D to a cyberpunk or urban fantasy setting, you're adding the options that come with modern technology - guns, computers, smartphones, cars etc.
I think there's less involved with adding smartphones. I don't think it'll drastically change the rules if a Wizard can prepare spells from their spellbook app on their phone.
 

MarkB

Hero
I think there's less involved with adding smartphones. I don't think it'll drastically change the rules if a Wizard can prepare spells from their spellbook app on their phone.
But what if you can share spells online via a wizards' chat app, or use your smartphone camera along with a Monster Manual app to analyse creatures, or sign up to an Uber-style service that calls in adventurers on demand?
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
But what if you can share spells online via a wizards' chat app, or use your smartphone camera along with a Monster Manual app to analyse creatures, or sign up to an Uber-style service that calls in adventurers on demand?
I think the app that involves calling in other adventurers would be more like Tindr/Grindr/whatever. And the Monster Manual app, it's probably not free...
 

MarkB

Hero
I think the app that involves calling in other adventurers would be more like Tindr/Grindr/whatever. And the Monster Manual app, it's probably not free...
I had a similar app in one game I ran, for hooking up adventurers (freelancers) with patrons / clients. The app was called Lancer, and pretty soon that's what everyone called adventurers in that world too.
 
Both addition and subtraction are valid methods to mold the game.

Some of the most popular Settings ever (Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Ravenloft) were as much about limiting options as adding them.
Within reason though. All those settings still had elves, wizards and magic weapons, even if they didn't look or act like their Faerun contemporaries. None of them has attempted to replicate a GoT style setting without PC magic or demihuman PCs. I think the point is that amateur designers shouldn't attempt major revisions like those of the 3e d20 era or even The One Ring level, let D&D be D&D and then bend the assumptions to for the genre rather than reinvent the wheel.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Within reason though. All those settings still had elves, wizards and magic weapons, even if they didn't look or act like their Faerun contemporaries. None of them has attempted to replicate a GoT style setting without PC magic or demihuman PCs. I think the point is that amateur designers shouldn't attempt major revisions like those of the 3e d20 era or even The One Ring level, let D&D be D&D and then bend the assumptions to for the genre rather than reinvent the wheel.
Adventures in Middle Earth is an adequate counterpoint.
 

S'mon

Legend
An interesting article appeared on DnDBeyond that address converting D&D to other genres. They cite Eberron and Ravenloft as examples, and I wager it's going to be controversial here.

The link: Adapting Other Genres to D&D

Some of the cliff notes parts.

* Adapt the genre to D&D, not D&D to the setting.

* Try to limit restrictions for your players, esp to magic and magic items.

* Add rather than subtract options when possible.

* Find where D&D and the genre cross and focus on those.

* If you're genre requires extensive rewriting of the game, consider a better suited RPG.

Thoughts on his suggestions?
I'm having a fantastic time running Primeval Thule 5e, which definitely follows this advice of adapting genre to game, not game to genre. So IME it's good advice.
 
Adventures in Middle Earth is an adequate counterpoint.
But that's a completely different game designed by professionals. It actually proves his point: for the amount of work needed to adapt LotR to D&D and keep it genre appropriate, it's better to buy a different, better suited RPG instead.
 

Parmandur

Legend
But that's a completely different game designed by professionals. It actually proves his point: for the amount of work needed to adapt LotR to D&D and keep it genre appropriate, it's better to buy a different, better suited RPG instead.
Hey, if something is worth doing...

As I said, it's not really necessarily helpful advise.
 

Parmandur

Legend
To me it looks like good advice. If you want to depart radically from the D&D genre, use a different game.
His example is inane (revolvers in D&D), considering that the game has rules for revolvers. If you want modified D&D, modify D&D. No need to say "find a better game" if that is what is desired.
 

S'mon

Legend
His example is inane (revolvers in D&D), considering that the game has rules for revolvers. If you want modified D&D, modify D&D. No need to say "find a better game" if that is what is desired.
He says it's fine to ADD revolvers to D&D. The issue is with restrictions and alterations - to make a D&D game feel like Game of Thrones may require radical restrictions such that you'd be better off buying A Song of Ice & Fire RPG. OTOH you could add GoT elements to a 'Birthright' style D&D campaign.
 

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