D&D General Does D&D Have an Identity Crisis?


This past summer I went to see the D&D movie. It was a lighthearted movie appropriate for the whole family with no bad language, the cutest fattest dragon I've ever seen, bloodless violence, and comedy. In contrast, I've been playing Baldur's Gate 3 and there's a party member who frequently drops F-bombs, you can bone a bear (apparently), and I interrupted a bugbear as he was about to rawdog an ogress from behind. I'm suffering from tonal whiplash here. And the table top RPG material is different still as it's not usually a lighthearted comedy though ther's at least some sexually related shenanigans in Ravenloft.

Who the hell is D&D for? Or, as Drax might say, "I'll do you one better, 'What is D&D?'" Because the movie, the computer game, and TTRPG seem to be aimed at different audiences. Don't they have some sort of IP manager who figures out what kidn of tone a D&D product should have? I'd be mightly confused if my introduction to D&D came from the movie and I went into Baldur's Gate expecting a similar experience. It's not that I'm offended by the content of BG3, it's a good game and I'm enjoying it, but I can't help but think if WotC published an adventure where you interrupted some hot bugbear on ogress action it'd be pretty devisive.

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It wants to be everything from Witchlight, to Out of the Abyss, from Radiant Citadel, to Book of Vile Darkness (lol nope, it doesnt but yeah) ok maybe not, but BG3.

It wants to ride the fence, and be everything, to everyone.

Morgan Freeman Good Luck GIF


I don't want a unified tone in my D&D. Let the worlds be as different as the gamers who play in them. This isn't the MCU.

D&DHat was one take, BG3 is another. So was Neverwinter Nights and Planescape: Torment. They all have their own feel, and that's not a problem. You can gear individual releases for different groups, you can range it from PG to R (and I suppose beyond, but I'm not into that sort of thing myself) and people will still enjoy it. Trying to make it for the non-existent "everyone" just waters things down to blandness.

Essentially, we need a serious take on a 5E Dark Sun.


Isn’t that kind of like saying Star Wars should only have one take?

After all, Andor is a very different take on SW than most of the rest.

Personally I think the bigger problem is people expect a particular IP to be one and only one thing. And then get very testy when other people don’t enjoy that one thing but like a different take.

We see this in Star Trek quite starkly. Claims of “x isn’t really part of this experience “.

DnD has always filled a huge area. From kiddie friendly to really damn dark.

That’s the strength not a weakness.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yeah, I think it’s 100% fitting that different D&D stories have different tones. I have played in D&D games that were tonally similar to DaDHAT; I have played in D&D games that were tonally similar to BG3; I have played in D&D games that run the full range in-between; I have played in D&D games that were lighter and darker than either. That versatility is one of D&D’s selling points.
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5ever, or until 2024
Why, this came up in another thread....

“Part of the power of D&D is that it is this big tent that accommodates so many different play styles, different tastes in terms of genres of fantasy, and different moods about what's appropriate at the table," Crawford said. "D&D has a really vast territory that it covers and that to me is a challenge when we work on it, but it's also one of the beauties of the game. It's part of why it appeals to so many of us.”


B/X Known World
D&D is for making WotC’s shareholders money.

There is no identity crisis. Whoever pays up to slap the name and lovo on their product can. Simple as.

Besides, what kind of identity is “that generic fantasy tabletop game with dice”?

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