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D&D General How am I a D&D outlier? How are you one?

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Data point of one, but yeah...I think that's unusual. I've been a member of several gaming groups over the years, and few of them last more than 6 months.
Yea, my groups are 22 years old, 12 years old, 7 years old, and 4 years old, respectively. I've been in a few groups for shorter periods, but I can't imagine that as my norm.

Honestly, at age 43, I'd rather just quit RPing than go around looking for groups.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Out of curiosity (as I am a GenX white dude whose gaming peeps are mostly GenX white folk) have you seen a marked increase in people of color playing D&D in your gaming cicles (whatever those may be)?
Some, but not much.

There were no other PoC in my first exposed to D&D in 1977. I used to game with one black guy (different group, city & state) back in the 1980s, and another briefly joined a group I was in in the early 2000s*. There’s another black dude I know who is a veteran gamer who works at one of the better game stores around here, but weve never tossed dice together.

In the same period, I’ve gamed with 3-4 “East” Asians and a similar number of Hispanics.

So that’s 10-12 PoC gamers I’ve gamed with in 44 years?**

I’ve seen a fairly sizable number of southeast Asians and middle-eastern gamers in the stores I frequent, though, so I know change is occurring.




* although, hilariously Clark Kent/Superman-like, we were almost never at the same session. I think we only gamed together twice.

**And, FWIW, in that same stretch of time, just over half that number in women gamers, 4 of whom were in one group.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Yea, my groups are 22 years old, 12 years old, 7 years old, and 4 years old, respectively. I've been in a few groups for shorter periods, but I can't imagine that as my norm.

Honestly, at age 43, I'd rather just quit RPing than go around looking for groups.
Ditto a lot of that. Most of my gaming groups lasted years, not months.

My last group (of 20+ years) and I parted ways a few years ago. I still talk, think, discuss and BUY RPGs, but I haven’t so much as looked for a new group.
 

Reynard

Legend
**And, FWIW, in that same stretch of time, just over half that number in women gamers, 4 of whom were in one group.
About 8 or 9 years ago I started running games at cons and met many great folks, and my gaming circle expanded. Most of those people are GenX white people, but there were quite a few women (where my previous circle had only had very few women gaming, and most of those by way of 90s not-D&D games like WoD).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
About 8 or 9 years ago I started running games at cons and met many great folks, and my gaming circle expanded. Most of those people are GenX white people, but there were quite a few women (where my previous circle had only had very few women gaming, and most of those by way of 90s not-D&D games like WoD).
That’s not a surprise to me, honestly. But I’ve personally only been to a couple of cons, and didn’t really have a great time. The last one, I was scheduled to run a game, only to have all but one of the sign-ups bail in me. So I cancelled the session and just shopped the con. Yay!/Yay.
 

Reynard

Legend
That’s not a surprise to me, honestly. But I’ve personally only been to a couple of cons, and didn’t really have a great time. The last one, I was scheduled to run a game, only to have all but one of the sign-ups bail in me. So I cancelled the session and just shopped the con. Yay!/Yay.
Yeah, that's the worst.
 




Jack Daniel

OD&D Referee
Very interesting subject! How am I a D&D outlier? Uff da, let me count the ways…

1. My go-to edition is OD&D (by which I mean the white box, blue box, red box, and black box* editions; they're all coequal in my eyes and not different enough from each other for me to go about drawing pedantic distinctions).

2. My ideal campaign model—the one I always strive for, even if I rarely achieve it—is a Lake Geneva style "fantasy wargaming" club. Lots of players with lots of characters who form their own parties West Marches style to explore a persistent sandbox milieu containing many dungeons, possibly playing within the same world for years, possibly reaching very high levels and building dominions that could eventually lead to some entertaining large-scale (and possibly PvP) wargaming.

3. Because I learned to play from 90s DMs who idealized "role-playing, not roll-playing!", railroady epic fantasy stories, and fudging whatever (dice-rolls, encounters, the game-world itself) in the name of telling a good story, I now have a deep, abiding, visceral hatred for narrative-heavy, thespianism-heavy, improv-heavy play-styles. Players want to treat their characters as blank-slate (or self-insert) pawns in the dungeon? Cool by me if it means I don't have to put up with Alefist MacAxebeard, Stereotypical Scottish-Accented Drunken Violent Boorish Dwarf #8,572.

4. I believe that my job as Dungeon Master is to create the game world—populating each hex, dungeon, and town with as much fleshed-out detail as is reasonable to produce ahead of time—so that the players can meaningfully explore it on their own terms. Once the game starts, I'm not the players' enemy, I'm not their fan, I'm just the impartial referee trying to fairly portray the world I've built. I won't fudge dice, I won't fudge monster stats, and I'll never ever move some piece of the game-world or lovingly-crafted encounter into the players' path just because I'd like for the players encounter this or that bit of content. For me, that would be literal cheating on my part.

5. I vehemently disagree with anybody who claims that D&D "can't do" genres beyond sword & sorcery or pseudo-medieval high fantasy. In fact, my preferred milieu is Victorian steampunk or gaslamp fantasy. But I'll also happily use the OD&D rules to run games set in ancient, historical, present-day, or futuristic worlds, both magical and mundane. The period or genre, after all, is just a backdrop—a coat of paint on the game. As long as there are "dungeons" (or the period-appropriate equivalent) to explore and hexes to crawl (even if a hex represents a cubic parsec of interstellar space rather than a square league of wilderness), the game itself works just fine. The key to making OD&D function in any setting is simply to keep the game about exploration and treasure-hunting.

6. I pretty much don't run modules at all if I can avoid it. Entirely aside of the fact that I just plain don't like most published adventures, dungeon-design and adventure-creation are entirely too much fun for me to ever want to skip that part!

* For the curious, I'm a Millennial who started gaming on black box OD&D and 2nd Edition AD&D.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Out of curiosity (as I am a GenX white dude whose gaming peeps are mostly GenX white folk) have you seen a marked increase in people of color playing D&D in your gaming cicles (whatever those may be)?

I was actually playing with the idea of doing a "Who have you played D&D with?" demographic poll on ENWorld, but have hesitated because I can't imagine anyway that thread would not become a lot of bragging about what is essentially tokenism or the applying of individual experience to everyone's (not to mention the folks who would just need to explain why it shouldn't matter).

Anyway, I'm Latino (Puerto Rican) and GenX and most of my early gaming days the majority of people I played D&D with were other kids of color (mostly Black/Latinx, some Asian). It wasn't until I was in college and after that the demographics changed for me and white folks dominated the circles of gamers I was a part of. Interestingly (mostly likely because we were older and also times have changed) the number of queer folk in my games has increased significantly from those early days as well. As for women, unfortunately I have found that number to hang consistently at around 20 to 25%, save for one game I played in in which I was both the only man and the only straight person.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Honestly, at age 43, I'd rather just quit RPing than go around looking for groups.

I'm 50. I hadn't run a game in 10 years when I started my most recent game and a move and friend break-up kind of ruined the chance I'd get to run something again or play in a game run by one of the other people in the group (which I did for 4 of those 10 years). I had played with some iteration of those same people since 1996 - but then a friend of my wife, new to the game, convinced me to run a game for her and her husband. She found another player for the group and we invited someone who had never played before who is part of our board game night and suddenly not only did I have a new group, but I felt refreshed in my love of the game and we've been going strong for 2 years this month. So I would say, don't give up. Introducing new people to the game is fun and with D&D's increased popularity there are a lot more people who might express interest in at least trying than in any other time in our history with the game.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
One note: I tried to make my list without over-generalizing about or putting down other people's preferences, and I would appreciate it other people tried to respond with the same care to avoid that as well. Thanks.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Sometimes I remember why I had you blocked for a while. :unsure: :p🦶

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The Dream of the 90's is alive in Snarf's Comments
The tattoo ink never runs dry
 

dave2008

Legend
Well thank you this thread. I thought I would just take a look at your list and see where I compare to you. For reference I stared playing in 1e/ BECMI in the 80's. I've played 1e, 4e, & 5e. I took a substantial break from RPGs between 1e and 4e (the game that brought me back to D&D).
1. I almost always aim for campaigns that last several years.
Me to. My current campaign has last since the beginning of 5e.
2. I never run any adventure as written and tweak everything.
Me to, with a caveat. I don't really run published adventures. I may borrow a bit from a published adventure, but everything is in our homebrew world.
3. The majority of what I run for 5E is stuff I have converted from 1E or 2E or that someone else has.
Not me, see my response to #1.
4. I have a list of available PC races that is more restrictive than the 5E PHB (but sometimes unlock other possibilities through the course of the game based on in-game events).
Not me. I had giants, minotaur's, and unicorn PCs back in the 80s and I still allow any intelligent creature as a PC option.
5. I have a hard time imagining D&D without multiclassing (except for BECMI, which had the original version of what I'd called prestige classes for switching things up as you advanced).
Not me. I could easily play the game without it. My current group doesn't have any MC characters.
6. While I love the stories that emerge from D&D sessions, I do not try to make the game fit "story beats" or narrative conceits - I play to see what happens - even if "what happens" is a TPK on a random encounter.
Me too. Nothing to add here.
7. I eschew most cinematic comparisons and don't think of D&D as an "action movie." While there are certain scenes and events that might fit in an action movie, that is not the aim. I describe everything from the POV of the PCs (no cut scenes to what the villains are doing, for example).
Me too - generally. I do sometimes to travel cut scenes (or I have done them - not so much anymore).
8. I think of mechanical balance as a general neighborhood to aim for and not some kind of granular precision that can ever be achieved. Some restrictions or benefits (like slower speed or darkvision) are more about shifting the tactics between individuals and developing a group approach.
Me too. However, I go a bit further. I don't do class design, but I don't worry about balance at all when I do race design. I design them for how they make sense on our world, not game balance. Just not an issue with my players.
9. I don't think every encounter should be designed with the notion of allowing every PC to do their best thing (or even allowing any of them to do their best thing) and definitely not every round. (Basically, I design the encounters that make sense for the scenario and let the players figure out if they can use their best thing - that's their job, not mine).
Me too.
10. I still calculate XP. PCs have different amounts, but are in the same neighborhood.
Not me. I haven't used XP consistently since the mid 80s. I always give it a try with each edition, but quickly abandon it.
11. I am not a fan of VTTs and remote play (though I do the latter when necessary and use Owlbear Rodeo a little bit).
Me too. If I can't play in person with my friends, there is not really a point for me.
12. Nearly every magical item introduced in my games are designed by me, not from a book (or highly adapted/revised versions of what appears in a book). They are never for sale. They always have a history. There are rarely magical items that make common everyday tasks easier. Magic is magical and for heroic action.
Me too - with regard to how magic items are introduced. It wasn't until 4e that I started designing my own magic items and that has continued into 5e.
13. Travel, exploration, and resource management are a core part of the game.
Not me. This has become more of thing in 5e for me, but in 1e I didn't care about those things at all. The idea of including travel and exploration in our campaigns really started in 4e and picked up from there.
14. Players can contribute to "world-building" through their backstories (though one isn't necessary) but mostly through their inquiry during play.
Me too. Though I allow other forms of contribution too.
15. I play with alignment, finding it a useful shorthand for running NPCs and a guide to help players consider the consequences of their behavior. For example, this didn't happen, but when the party's neutral good bard was considering killing a defenseless captive because of the inconvenience of guarding her or bringing her with them, I was ready to ask for the player's character sheet, and cross out the "good" part of the alignment and hand it back with just "neutral." I never say "You can't do that because of your alignment.
Me too.
16. I like long combats and tactical play - cover, ranges, verticality, difficult terrain, and other obstacles and aims are often a part of combat.
Not really. Those things a fine, but I am more interested in group fun and my group is not really interested in those things.
17. D&D should be challenging.
For the players or the Characters? I agree it should be challenging for the Characters (difficult encounters or tasks, substantial risk of failure and/or character death, etc.), but not so much for the players. My guiding principal is to make it fun. When running the game as a DM I want to have fun, not challenges, and my players are generally the same. Things can be challenging, but that is not generally what I or my players find fun.
 



billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
How are you an outlier? How do you feel like one?
I've got a few similarities:
  1. I almost always aim for campaigns that last several years.
  2. The majority of what I run for 5E is stuff I have converted from 1E or 2E or that someone else has.
  3. While I love the stories that emerge from D&D sessions, I do not try to make the game fit "story beats" or narrative conceits - I play to see what happens - even if "what happens" is a TPK on a random encounter.
  4. I think of mechanical balance as a general neighborhood to aim for and not some kind of granular precision that can ever be achieved. Some restrictions or benefits (like slower speed or darkvision) are more about shifting the tactics between individuals and developing a group approach.
  5. I don't think every encounter should be designed with the notion of allowing every PC to do their best thing (or even allowing any of them to do their best thing) and definitely not every round. (Basically, I design the encounters that make sense for the scenario and let the players figure out if they can use their best thing - that's their job, not mine).
  6. Players can contribute to "world-building" through their backstories (though one isn't necessary) but mostly through their inquiry during play.
  7. I play with alignment, finding it a useful shorthand for running NPCs and a guide to help players consider the consequences of their behavior.
  8. D&D should be challenging.
Other topics of difference:
  1. I like small groups but can and will DM for larger (one of my current games has up to 11 players)
  2. I treat die rolls like anything else coming into the game from my end - subject to DM edits. I think some people are far too fetishy about letting the dice fall where they may and downright rude about it on discussion boards.
  3. One of the ways I like for D&D to be challenging is to challenge perspective, viewpoints, and morality - not the low-hanging fruit of the contrived paladin dilemmas, but issues of whom you associate with in society, who do you/can you work with to achieve your goals knowing that a lot of people are compromised here and there.
  4. I don't really care that much about the poorly named linear fighter/quadratic wizard controversy. You having fun playing that fighter? Great! Then the game works well enough to be getting on with.
  5. Game-altering magical abilities that tend to be available to full spellcasters aren't a game balance issue. If the martial characters aren't getting enough input into where the game goes, that's a group dynamic problem, not a game mechanic problem.
  6. 2e doesn't get enough respect.
  7. Saying "No" is sometimes necessary and appropriate.
 

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