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D&D General Hot Take: Uncertainty Makes D&D Better

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
This deeply concerns me, because I think systems abstraction (or, if you prefer, fudging) is a fundamental responsibility of the dungeon master.
Absolutely not. The DM does not and should not ever have a responsibility to deceive the players, and the very suggestion is terrifying.

On occasion, the best way to honor trust is to break it.
...and this is even more terrifying. "We had to burn the village in order to save it"? Really? That's where we're going with this.
 

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DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
Absolutely not. The DM does not and should not ever have a responsibility to deceive the players, and the very suggestion is terrifying.
There is no deception if understanding is established at Session Zero. If your methodology works for you, I'm glad for it.

Along with genned up tales of 'bad players' who conveniently like anime, videogames, Critical Role and furries so the audience knows who to hate?

Nah, fam.
You color the narrative the way you like and I will do the same.

...and this is even more terrifying. "We had to burn the village in order to save it"? Really? That's where we're going with this.
You do like hyperbole. I'm happy to actually discuss this topic with you, if you can keep from doing whatever this is.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Again, though, this misses the point. What sucks about swing in an TTRPG isn't that it is unfair, it's that it reduces or eliminates the impact of player choice in character design. In D&D5, you don't get bonuses high enough to outweigh the impact of utter random chance in a +/-10 point range until around 8th level.

Being your character "on statistical average" is excruciatingly lame. Players should be their characters with each and every action, from 1st level on.
Take it up with Rob Donoghue. The "point" I provided was a TDLR for people who didn't want to read the fine points of the Twitter thread. Also, just because you have a separate point to make or issue to take up with the d20 system doesn't mean that Rob Donoghue missed the point with his own assessment of it. 🤷‍♂️
 

Specifically, uncertainty in potential results. Swinginess. Random happenings because the dice get a mind of their own. That sort of thing.

I have played and like some "story" games, but one thing many of them lack is uncertainty. Their mechanics tend to favor participants being able to say things that become true in the fiction (even if they don't call it that).

I prefer when participants in D&D (and similar "trad" games) say what they would like to be the case, and then the dice decide how that turns out. That goes for the GM, too, btw -- the GM being subject to the same uncertainty is equally important in creating a truly surprising and novel experience.

This isn't to say that no participants should have certain choices. I think players should get to design their characters without having to deal with dice, and GMs should be able to build the initial conditions of play (the "situations") with as much or as little random information as they desire. But once play starts, I say roll those bones in the open and stick by what they say, whether it's a random encounter with an ancient wyrm (don't forget to roll reaction!) or the BBEG gets one shotted by the torch bearer.
I don't really understand your characterization of 'story games'. I chose a rival for my BitD character at game start. Recently the GM interpreted some check or devil's bargain as my rival engaging in some plot against me. So I initiated a score to resolve it. Dice were not on my side, I was forced to kill him as a last resort. After the score part of the session wrapped up, I created a new rival by extrapolation of the fiction. The dice, uncertainty, is a major part of the game!
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Funny. I see it quite frequently. E.g. people explicitly saying the DM has absolute power. Which multiple people have said and even more have responded positively to on this forum, much to my shock and dismay.
I see a lot of people interpret relatively innocuous things, like the GM saying "no" to a race or class choice, but I can't say I have seen an actual example of viking hat authoritarian GMing on this board.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
And I refer you to r/rpghorrorstories and the rising wave of player entitlement as the community grows.
It is difficult to discuss things with you while you are seated upon a stallion of such prodigious height. Perhaps you should dismount.

Perhaps the rhetoric wouldn't get so heated if you didn't openly insult players by calling them "entitled." Particularly when it isn't the player demanding absolute and unquestionable power and the latitude to use it secretly or even outright deceptively. On the one hand, a demand for absolute power that may be exercised entirely secretly; on the other, a plea for equitable results and inclusion in the adjudication process. One of these things is entitled, that's for sure.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I see a lot of people interpret relatively innocuous things, like the GM saying "no" to a race or class choice, but I can't say I have seen an actual example of viking hat authoritarian GMing on this board.
Ask @Maxperson. They've explicitly said they, as DM, wield absolute authority. Several people agreed. I used that phrasing very intentionally; it was their words verbatim.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Thanks for the hints. Maybe I have just not seen a game that ultilized those distribitions well.
Not that it’s likely to be available any time soon (or possibly of interest to others), but my homebrew system also uses 2d10. I looked at other dice, but 2d10 ended up being the best fit for the mechanics I wanted. In particular, d20 with degrees of success yields progression that feels weird to me (the chance of Mixed Success stayed the same no matter your modifier until it got to the extreme—only the other degrees changed). For an example of how it works in action, I have posted a recap of our last session in the give words commentary thread.
 

Because I don't see the value in uncertainty.
Fair enough
Because either you have uncertainty or you can choose the outcome. They can't both exist at the same time.
But that doesn't mean you can't have both in the same game
And I refer you to r/rpghorrorstories and the rising wave of player entitlement as the community grows.
I've run an open table. I've run for literally dozens of players, and I've never once run into an "entitled player" and only once ever had to kick someone from my table (for attempting to bully the other PCs). There are players that I won't run certain games for (and they mostly share the sentiment about those games) and others for at the same time - but that's the only player I wouldn't have back in the right game (and one other player whose RPG stories made me say "Oh hell no.").

Meanwhile, counting only experienced DMs, there are two I don't want to sit at the same table as again and a further one who I might play in a one shot with if I'm bored and really want to hear an amateur thesp's voice putting on an improv show, but a campaign would be wasting my time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Speaking as someone who DMs about 90% of the time entitled and toxic DMs are, in my experience, a vastly bigger problem than entitled and toxic players. And most of the DMs who complain about "entitled players" should, in my experience, look in a mirror to see where the problem is.
I further refer you to the ridiculous and insulting "dungeon master shortage" phenomenon, although that is only tangentially related.
You know it's odd. I didn't ever play (including DMing) at a 4e table where there were less than three regular DMs out of a total of five or six. I've never played at a 5e table with more than two people who regularly DM'd. System matters as do tools - and 5e doesn't have good tools. Which is why people learn to fudge, to make up for the game's deficiencies.
 

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