5E DnDBeyond: on adapting genre to D&D

DnD is very much a genre unto itself. That, to me, is a feature though. I quite liked the article, it's kinda like the MCU, keep the core superhero elements and then flavor with Space Opera or Political Thriller. Do the same with DnD, don't try and make a Western, but run DnD with Western elements.
That I think it the best takeaway from this; D&D is best when its D&D with added flavor, not when it tries to be something else. That goes double for official settings; I wager they will continue the trend of "add what's needed, change only what's necessary" like Ravnica and Eberron has. In that regards, they will appeal the widest swath of players by making only the most required replacements or removals and instead add new options to emulate the genre. It makes the product appeal to fans of the setting AND those who want to add elements of the genre to a homebrew if they want.
 

S'mon

Legend
DnD is very much a genre unto itself. That, to me, is a feature though. I quite liked the article, it's kinda like the MCU, keep the core superhero elements and then flavor with Space Opera or Political Thriller. Do the same with DnD, don't try and make a Western, but run DnD with Western elements.
Yeah, I think the analogy to the superhero genre & MCU is a good one.
 

S'mon

Legend
Why not? It's not like game design is dangerous. It's a fairly risk-free activity.
I guess the risk is disaffected players and an unfun game?
I don't think professional vs amateur in the RPG hobby/industry is much of a marker of competency, but there are some fairly obvious mistakes people tend to make like crudely chopping away at a game in Procrustean fashion to try to get it to fit one's idea of a genre - looking back on my old posts about planning a Primeval Thule 5e game I saw I was doing a lot of that, whereas in the end I learned to relax and run it as intended, a D&D game with an S&S flavour.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Why not? It's not like game design is dangerous. It's a fairly risk-free activity.
I think the point of the column is to suggest the most effective way to do something, especially for inexperienced players, not to dictate the ONLY way to do something.

Sure, you could redesign the rules from scratch, but it's a lot harder than most people think, takes a huge amount of work, and is quite possibly going to produce a result inferior to what a team of professional game designers could do.

The suggestion is, by fitting the target genre to the existing rules, genre bending can be done much more easily and with less chance of inadvertently breaking the game.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
So Dungeons and Dragons has certain core competencies. It is a great game for adventure fantasy. I think when designing settings you should embrace that because that is what players expect, but also because when you try to go against the grain those elements in the rules of the game that encourage a certain approach to solving problems do not go away.
 
Why not? It's not like game design is dangerous. It's a fairly risk-free activity.
There is graveyards full of 3e-era OGL supplements and DMsGuild products that show some people aren't as good at creating or modifying rules as they think they are. The more extensive the changes, the more things have to go wrong.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There is graveyards full of 3e-era OGL supplements and DMsGuild products that show some people aren't as good at creating or modifying rules as they think they are. The more extensive the changes, the more things have to go wrong.
I think you’re missing my point. The possibility of failure is not a good reason to attempt a harmless activity.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I think you’re missing my point. The possibility of failure is not a good reason to attempt a harmless activity.
That's very true. However, some good advice so as to not waste one's effort on a fruitless venture. Much like painting is largely harmless even when done badly, a bit of good advice like "make sure your canvas has primer on it" goes a long way to making what you're doing work. Or at least it gives you a good start.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
To keep it current, let's consider Dark Crystal Age of Resistance as an example. As a setting, there are no standard D&D races or creatures. This is central, all players have to play the setting specific races. They cannot under any circumstances play as a human.

However, whilst many characters have access to some magic, the setting does not appear to have "full casters*". I would say the thrust of the article is - that doesn't matter. You can allow full access to standard D&D classes without breaking the feel of setting, even though it isn't 100% literal.

*One maybe.
 
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 would do the opposite of every single suggestion here.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
That's very true. However, some good advice so as to not waste one's effort on a fruitless venture. Much like painting is largely harmless even when done badly, a bit of good advice like "make sure your canvas has primer on it" goes a long way to making what you're doing work. Or at least it gives you a good start.
Yes, but “amateurs shouldn’t try to paint” is not good advice.
 
I used to be like you ...But I'm a lot happier now doing it the article's way.
I'm with you; younger Remathilis would lovingly craft unique settings with custom races, classes and house rules. They never worked right, sometimes broke spectacularly, and took too much time to fix.

Older Remathilis uses FR and Eberron, and is much happier and focuses on story rather than world-building.
 
" Adapt the genre to D&D, not D&D to the setting."

Wow. I'm not sure if the point is setting out to fail, or just laying the groundwork to migrate to a different game, but either way, seems defeatist.

D&D, 5e in particular, gives the DM tremendous latitude to modify, overrule, overhaul, and generally take the game in entirely different directions. That can be by all but re-writing the rules into another game, or by simply ruling in accord with the conventions of the genre you're adapting the game to, without regard to it's many oddball counter-genre rules.
 

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