D&D 5E Does/Should D&D Have the Player's Game Experience as a goal?


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jgsugden

Legend
This is an insanely bizarre thread.

Some of the questions being asked here are huge red flags. If you've posted in this thread, I thoroughly encourage you to calendar a reminder to come back and reread the thread in a few weeks. I have trouble believing the people that are asking some of these questions are really thinking about what they are asking - and seeing it again with fresh eyes and not in the muiddle of a back and forth conversation may be illuminating as to why people are confused by this thread.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But there’s no guidance on how to develop one’s style. That’s my point.
That guidance might boil down to 'trial and error', which when it comes to developing one's style has IMO always been the best method anyway.

The best a DMG could do would be to offer conflicting suggestions (e.g. to tell the DCs or not to; to roll in the open or not, etc.) and tell DMs to choose, which would open the designers wide to accusations of not being able to make up their minds.
The text should discuss the different ways and what they mean for the player experience.
"...what they might mean...", as no two players are the same and nor are any two DMs.
The second possibility is one I hope isn’t the case, but which I just can’t dismiss. It’s that people DMing just want stuff to be vague and fuzzy so that they don’t have to adhere to any kind of standard of play. They get to do whatever they want without concern how the experience is for the players.
Or they get to do whatever they want/whatever it takes in order to make their players' experience better.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Y'know, just once it would be nice to have a discussion without people telling me what I'm trying to say and instead actually respond to the things I'm saying.

Look, it's not exactly rocket science to say that game design should be as transparent as it can be. Even taking the magic item economy thing we're talking about. Yes, I agree you cannot ever have a perfect system. But, the Rarity system is very, very bad. There are numerous items with exactly the same effect that have different rarities. There are numerous items of the same rarity that are wildly different in power level.

So, wouldn't a transparent system be similar to the monster building guidelines in the DMG? A list of many of the most common effects ranked as to how they impact a magic item. After all, monsters are every bit as difficult to judge as magic items. A monster of a given CR might be a complete cakewalk to one group and a death sentence to another. Yet, we have pages 273-283 in the DMG detailing how to build monsters in 5e. And these guidelines are pretty decent, by most accounts.

So, if I can have a transparent system for building monsters in 5e, why is it considered completely impossible to have something similar for magic items?
 

pemerton

Legend
That guidance might boil down to 'trial and error', which when it comes to developing one's style has IMO always been the best method anyway.

The best a DMG could do would be to offer conflicting suggestions (e.g. to tell the DCs or not to; to roll in the open or not, etc.) and tell DMs to choose, which would open the designers wipe to accusations of not being able to make up their minds.
This doesn't seem right to me. I would have thought that it's possible to describe different likely consequences of different methods. For instance, one likely effect of telling players DCs is that it creates a sense of correlation between the challenges in the fiction, and the mathematics of difficulty. (I take this point from Luke Crane, who makes it in relation to Burning Wheel; the same method, and purpose, is carried over to Torchbearer.)

One likely effect of not telling players DCs is that they find situations in the game more opaque/shrouded. Earlier D&D rulebooks explicitly make this point in relation to listening and searching checks: the GM should roll the dice, and keep the parameters of the roll secret, because the players shouldn't know what is really going on in the situation unless the GM's roll for them succeeds. The Traveller rulebooks (1977) make a similar point (Book 1, pp 2-3):

Routinely in the course of Traveller, dice must be thrown to determine an effectively random or unpredictable course of action. These dice throws may be made by players for their characters, or by the referee for the effects of nature, non-players, or unseen forces. Rolls by the referee may be kept secret or partially concealed depending on their effects. In situations where the players would not actually know the results of the roll, or would not know the exact roll made, the referee would make the roll in secret.​

Departing from the practice described has consequences that can be described. For instance, a type of irony in play becomes possible, as per this example from the Maelstrom Storytelling supplement, Dacartha Prime (p 92):

The character is the player's tool in the story, and the player contributes to the story using that tool. The trick is to make interesting choices that add flavour and interest to the game while remaining true to the role. Just doing what makes sense for the character is only half of it. Find new ways to approach dilemmas, and make choices that other players can "play off of". Information that the player has, but that their character does not have, should never be used to benefit the character - however, that information can be used to add flavour and colour to the story.

Example: Pendleton has a lot of money, all safely kept in a safe deposit box. His friend Lilith winds up with the key by accident, but doesn't know where it came from. Pendleton looks frantically for the key, describing it to his friend as he searches. "A little silver key? Like this one?" Lilith asks, showing him the key. "Yes. A silver key. Very much like that one," he answers, continuing to search​

I don't think the skill to do this sort of thing is beyond the D&D designers, and as I've indicated in this post there are many examples in published RPGs over the past 40+ years from which they might draw inspiration.
 

SableWyvern

Adventurer
So, wouldn't a transparent system be similar to the monster building guidelines in the DMG? A list of many of the most common effects ranked as to how they impact a magic item.
I suspect that 95% of the confusion and disagreement in this thread is due to the word "transparent" regularly being treated as if it means something along the lines if "clearly quantified, ranked and priced".
 

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