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


Victoria Rules
I cannot stand D&D combat that exists as a resource drain but not an actual threat. If there’s nothing but a few spells or hit points on the line that will just regenerate after a nap. Just roll a few dice and tell me how many spells and hit points I’m down until sleeping. Don’t make me waste an hour or more rolling dozens of times when there’s no real stakes. No stakes, no tension. No tension, no excitement. No excitement, no point.
Three things:

1. Sometimes it isn't obvious there's no real stakes until after the combat is finished or mostly finished and you-as-players (both in-character and out) come to realize these foes really aren't/weren't up to your usual standard: either they were glass cannons or were presented (or perceived) as being more of a threat than they really were.
2. In any system where a really bad (or good) single roll can have major consequences, e.g. a fumble can cost a warrior her weapon or cause a mage to blow up his own party, IMO it all has to be played out.
3. In some editions and systems, resource attrition is a much bigger deal than it is in 5e D&D, meaning these little seems-like-nothing encounters now could have a significant impact later.
Predictability is monotonous, boring, and undesirable.
Agreed. The only time predictability is good is on those few occasions where they're surprised things in fact worked out the way it initially appeared they would. :)

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Victoria Rules
In the spirit of randomness, I decided to base my opinion of the subject via a dice roll and random table...

1- Uncertainly is terrible
2- Uncertianly is okay, but there's too much of it
3- I'm neutral
4- Uncertainly can be useful in the right context
5- Uncertainly is okay
6- Uncertainly is great!

I rolled a 4! So there are times when uncertainly is good, and times where it's bad. It can depend on personal taste too!
Shouldn't option 3 read "I'm uncertain"? :)


We will have to disagree there.

Sure. Disagreement is interesting.

I would say that DW is meant to be in the D&D genre, so they share implications of fictional position, and a DW game narrative might sound like it 'could happen' in , say B/X. The process of play and agenda are completely different however.

Like the classic Monty Python skit though, I came for an argument and all you seem to be doing is contradiction. Please explain to me how the process of play is different than say BECMI without making references to rules distinctions. If you would convince me, talk about processes of play that would have no parallel in most versions of D&D play.

The goals and focus of play should entirely stem from player choices, the answers they give to questions etc. all pushed through the mill of moves and counter moves feeding back into XP, bonds, and new choices. This may seem light weight in terms of being a pretty simple architecture but it is a very pervasive and focused thing!

I mean this sounds superficially exactly like classic sandbox play with primarily player driven goals, and in particular with a sandbox-y GM willing to cater to party goals by leaning into the players desired end-game as he perceives it. For example, focusing content creation on the things the players are interested in whatever that is.

You gotta actually play. FATE can definitely do certain things well, but it is no more sophisticated than PbtAs.

Believe me, the comparison was not intended to be unfavorable toward PbtA games, as anyone who is familiar with my opinions of FATE would know. Of all the things you replied with, the one I'm least convinced of is "FATE can definitely do certain things well."
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