D&D 5E Heteroglossia and D&D: Why D&D Speaks in a Multiplicity of Playing Styles

Aldarc

Legend
Either build point systems (though I have a mild preference for binned point systems where you're not fishing from a single pool) or non-random lifepath methods. Some class-but-not-much systems like the old Alternity are okay.
Do you have examples of games you like that follow either of these methods?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Thomas Shey

Legend
Do you have examples of games you like that follow either of these methods?

The Hero System is a general build-point system (as is a large number of superhero games); a binned build-point system would be the D6 System (attributes, skills and special abilities are all taken from pools, but they're three separate pools). An example of a non-random lifepath system would be Morrus' W.O.I.N. (What's Old Is New).
 

Voadam

Legend
The Hero System is a general build-point system (as is a large number of superhero games); a binned build-point system would be the D6 System (attributes, skills and special abilities are all taken from pools, but they're three separate pools). An example of a non-random lifepath system would be Morrus' W.O.I.N. (What's Old Is New).
I remember various editions of Shadowrun being prioritize a bunch of categories (stats, skills, money/equipment/cyberware, magic, race) then you point build from within those categories with the size of the pool of points being based on the priority given to them. So mages have fewer points to assign to stats and skills, certain races give advantages but require a priority category and so take away from other point pools, heavy cyberware generally means not as many skills, etc.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I remember various editions of Shadowrun being prioritize a bunch of categories (stats, skills, money/equipment/cyberware, magic, race) then you point build from within those categories with the size of the pool of points being based on the priority given to them. So mages have fewer points to assign to stats and skills, certain races give advantages but require a priority category and so take away from other point pools, heavy cyberware generally means not as many skills, etc.

The Shadowrun approach is a variation on binned points, since it let you set up the bins itself. Some people didn't like it, but that's inevitable given that binning build points inevitably constrains character generation more than open points; its just a question whether the latter is always a virtue (my own take is "sometimes yes, sometimes no.")
 

Through some kind of magical alchemy and intentional design, D&D manages to hit each and every aesthetic, and can often trigger multiple aesthetics at once in a way that few other games I've seen be successful at. There are built-in mechanics for every step of the way:
a. Sensory Pleasure- Dice, so many dice. Also minis and battlemaps and virtual tabletops
b. Fantasy- Backgrounds - you're not just a collection of stats, you're a character with a history in a living world
c. Narrative- Sure, there are APs, but even the sandboxiest of sandboxes is going to develop a narrative over time.
d. Challenge- This is what I'd characterize as D&D's core aesthetic. Stats, feats, monsters, traps, these are all challenges to overcome.
e. Fellowship- With the exception of heavily PVP games, D&D is ultimately about shared, collaborative problem solving. This one is endemic to most TTRPGs though. Maybe not Paranoia.
f. Discovery- Sandboxes are Discovery on overdrive, but the "Exploration" pillar is pretty neatly mapped to this aesethetic.
g. Expression- And here is the "Social Interaction" pillar, though really the variety of character choices all map to Expression, from your background, to choosing your skill and tool proficiencies. Remember that dork whose 3.x characters always "wasted" skill points in "pointless" skills like Profession? That's the expression aesthetic at play. Also, that dork was me.
I'll add, too, that DMing? That's full-time expression baby.
h. Abnegation- Arguably, D&D might be one of the best TTRPGs at fulfilling this aesthetic. It's not just the Champion Fighter, but it's a lot that. There are very simple playstyles, and there's very simple to run adventures. In my experience, the folks whose key aesthetic is Fellowship are also going to lean in hard here. And, to its credit, D&D is designed to allow a player or two to chill out and hit goblins with swords while the cognitive loads and expressive play are handled by the "party face", for instance.

Name another RPG that's designed not only to appeal to all eight of these aesthetics, but is also capable of engaging players with very different aesthetic pursuits at the same time. There aren't going to be many.

I'd have more trouble naming an RPG that can't satisfy all of these aesthetics to some degree. Dungeon Fantasy RPG, for example, hits all of these aesthetics. D&D 5E may be slightly better at supporting abnegation whereas DFRPG is somewhat better at expression, for example, but they both support all the aesthetics--which is sort of AngryGM's point. The Eight Types of Fun are properties of the game you personally run at the table, not properties of the rule system you chose. If you want to support abnegation better, you just throw a bunch of weak monsters at the players and reward them with treasure afterwards.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top