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


log in or register to remove this ad

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I'm with you as far as #1 above.

After that, through #8 we probably couldn't be much more opposite if we tried. :)

For #9: I'll only DM in-person games but if I want to play I've no choice but go digitial until the plague is over. Phones and tablets are essential at my table, however, as most (nearly all, now?) player-side rules and resources for my game are online; spell write-ups being by far the most commonly referenced.

I think we have had that discussion about being opposite in approach. lol.

A lot of the reason for my numbers (in taste) - My favorite genre is Supers - so I tend to like my fantasy to be similar - just with classic fantasy approach rather than superpowers - but having the team of strong heroes stopping major threats.

Part of the face to face is preference, but my wife also games, so even if we are groupless, we get to game 1 on 1, so I don't need a group to play.
 

I think we have had that discussion about being opposite in approach. lol.

A lot of the reason for my numbers (in taste) - My favorite genre is Supers - so I tend to like my fantasy to be similar - just with classic fantasy approach rather than superpowers - but having the team of strong heroes stopping major threats.

Part of the face to face is preference, but my wife also games, so even if we are groupless, we get to game 1 on 1, so I don't need a group to play.
wish I was as lucky as you.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I think I'll do the comparison post too. For context, I played 1e once or twice in 1985 and then bought 2e the day it released in 1989 and I've played D&D as often as I possibly can ever since. I've owned a comic and game store since 1993, and it's been part of my job to teach people to play, so I've played a LOT of D&D with a LOT of people and I've switched to whatever edition is current as they've dropped (usually with playtest material). A lot of that probably makes me an outlier in itself.

That said, here goes:
  1. I almost always aim for campaigns that last several years.
I used to do that with my "home" group. These days we switch off running the published adventures. Because there are so many of them, we do them as fast as possible to get to the next one (modifying and skipping stuff to get them done with so we can do the next one.) We've missed a few, because they come out too fast for that to be realistic.

I also run one-shots and mini-campaigns at the store (though not in the last two years).

  1. I never run any adventure as written and tweak everything.
Yeah, for sure. I didn't start running written adventures at all until 4e. I've never minded 4e, but the adventures were pretty terrible (in general) so some of them needed a lot of tweaking.

  1. The majority of what I run for 5E is stuff I have converted from 1E or 2E or that someone else has.
I haven't gone back. That's not entirely true - my only experience with "Classic" adventures like Tomb of Horrors or Isle of Dread are from 4e or 5e conversions - the WotC conversions (I've never converted anything, but I could easily do it. I wouldn't even bother prepping it, because I could convert it on the fly from how loosely I've always run adventures).

  1. 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).
I get what you mean, and if I ran anything on my 2e homebrew world anymore, I'd have a list of what's around on that world (I'd have to homebrew a few races too). But I just play FR these days, and I don't care enough about the setting to restrict anything. I can work whatever my players want. (I also don't mind "refluffing" so they can play something using the rules mechanics of something else, if that makes sense.
  1. 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).
For some reason we almost never multiclass. I don't disallow it, just no one ever bothers. It's probably because I rarely play high enough levels. My favorite D&D is around level 5, give or take. It's why I don't mind starting over at level one regularly.

  1. 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.
I agree. I create problems for the players to solve, and I never have any solution in mind.
  1. 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).
I like combat to be pretty cinematic. I personally prefer it to be grounded in a certain gritty "realism" (though I have a broad view of what is realistic - real life people can do some amazing things).

  1. 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.
I'm not quite sure what you mean here.
  1. 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).
I agree with this. It's not my job to solve the problems, just create them. I am open to whatever they want to try, though.

  1. I still calculate XP. PCs have different amounts, but are in the same neighborhood.
Nah. I ain't got brain space for that. I say "level up" whenever it feels like it's been long enough, or at conclusions of story arcs.

  1. I am not a fan of VTTs and remote play (though I do the latter when necessary and use Owlbear Rodeo a little bit).
I've been playing with my home group on MSTeams for two years and I can't stand it. (I run PBP games here, though, and that's fun, but that's more about keeping myself writing and playing as much as I can). I've quite DMing during that time because I can't bring myself to care about the game enough to run it. I'm not as good of a player online either. I just don't like it. I haven't run a game at my shop in that time either. It sucks.

  1. 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! I much prefer to make unique magic items than use the usual ones.
  1. Travel, exploration, and resource management are a core part of the game.
Travel and exploration I do. Resource management, no. I got sick and tired of auditing players that couldn't be bothered so I gave up. (In a perfect world I would keep it, but I find that most people think of resource management as a chore, and we're here to have fun, so I dropped it).

  1. Players can contribute to "world-building" through their backstories (though one isn't necessary) but mostly through their inquiry during play.
Players can contribute to world building whenever they like. I'm open to good ideas.

  1. 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.
I don't care about alignment at all. I do care about consistency of character. If you can explain to me why your character does what they do, and it sounds like a person, complexities and all, then I'm good. I tend to understand my NPCs as people. If someone wants to know someone's alignment, I guess I could figure it out, but I think of it "backwards" to how I expect most people do.
  1. I like long combats and tactical play - cover, ranges, verticality, difficult terrain, and other obstacles and aims are often a part of combat.
Yeah, I run long combats with a lot of moving parts. Sometimes I wish I would run shorter ones. It's a lot of work.
  1. D&D should be challenging.
I don't think I disagree, but it should be fun first. (As an aside, I once had a player who got mad every time his character was ever challenged at all - if he didn't feel like he was "winning" 110% of the time, he grew frustrated. THAT kind of player I can live without, because I personally find that the best times are a challenge where just when you start to doubt that you will succeed, you do. Triumphant feeling. But I recognize that whole "different strokes for different folks" thing.)

As far as diversity of players goes, well, I've played with many hundreds of people. Not a lot of POC (a few, but sadly not representative of the diversity of where I live), but plenty of women and LGBTQ+ players. My home group is all male and all white, sadly (though not all straight, but mostly). Most of us are in our mid-to-late 40's too.
 

schneeland

Adventurer
I think in most regards, there will always be people like me, so the question is how much of an outlier are we talking :)

Maybe two things:
  1. I'm known to not like 5e that much, but I'm, in fact, not really happy with any edition of D&D. At the same time I do like the concept of D&D.
  2. Despite the former, quite often, when I think about potential changes to D&D that would make me like it more, I acknowledge that they would make the game feel less like D&D, so I think it's actually good that no one asks me to design the next edition of D&D :)
 

I think in most regards, there will always be people like me, so the question is how much of an outlier are we talking :)

Maybe two things:
  1. I'm known to not like 5e that much, but I'm, in fact, not really happy with any edition of D&D. At the same time I do like the concept of D&D.
  2. Despite the former, quite often, when I think about potential changes to D&D that would make me like it more, I acknowledge that they would make the game feel less like D&D, so I think it's actually good that no one asks me to design the next edition of D&D :)
what would you want to be changed anyway?
 

schneeland

Adventurer
what would you want to be changed anyway?
A few examples:
  1. I'm not happy with the way hit points work right now and how they increase over levels.
  2. I prefer armor as damage reduction to armor as hit reduction.
  3. Most special abilities built into class progression need to go, potentially to be replaced by a more low-key and flexible talent system
  4. The skill system needs to be (a bit) more refined.
  5. Archetypes and species that don't align with classic fantasy need to go.
  6. (Pseudo-)Vancian magic needs to go/be replaced by something with a clearer in-world metaphor (potentially channeling/drain).
  7. The swingyness of the d20 needs to be compensated, either by the skill system or by replacing it entirely (e.g. by 2d6)
I'll stop here - it's probably evident now why nobody should allow me to get too close to official D&D design ;)
 

A few examples:
  1. I'm not happy with the way hit points work right now and how they increase over levels.
  2. I prefer armor as damage reduction to armor as hit reduction.
  3. Most special abilities built into class progression need to go, potentially to be replaced by a more low-key and flexible talent system
  4. The skill system needs to be (a bit) more refined.
  5. Archetypes and species that don't align with classic fantasy need to go.
  6. (Pseudo-)Vancian magic needs to go/be replaced by something with a clearer in-world metaphor (potentially channeling/drain).
  7. The swingyness of the d20 needs to be compensated, either by the skill system or by replacing it entirely (e.g. by 2d6)
I'll stop here - it's probably evident now why nobody should allow me to get too close to official D&D design ;)
I doubt your skill system idea would be controversial, now point number 5 have to disagree I like my fantasy strange as classic was old even before my time.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think we have had that discussion about being opposite in approach. lol.

A lot of the reason for my numbers (in taste) - My favorite genre is Supers - so I tend to like my fantasy to be similar - just with classic fantasy approach rather than superpowers - but having the team of strong heroes stopping major threats.
That explains a lot - Supers are great for movies but I greatly prefer my RPGs to be more grounded in (magic-enhanced) reality. :)
Part of the face to face is preference, but my wife also games, so even if we are groupless, we get to game 1 on 1, so I don't need a group to play.
I hear ya well! Running 1-on-1 has been my DMing life for nearly two years now.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Am I an outlier on the use of technology at the gaming table? I have no idea. I think I’m somewhere in the middle.

I started using computers for gaming back in the early 1990s when I wrote up my Supers:1900 campaign in MS Word and did a HERO character sheet in Excel* (or whatever the spreadsheet in MS Office was). To this day, 90%+ of my DM campaign notes are in electronic form. Since I don’t have a laptop, that means I’m either parked by my iMac or using my iPad or iPhone.

When the Palm Tungsten e2 was introduced in 2005, I quickly grabbed one up. I started doing a lot of my RPG note-keeping and brainstorming on it while sitting in waiting rooms or the like. Then I started making my character sheets- and a bunch of other stuff- on them, one character at a time with the stylus**. Since then, almost all of my character sheets exist primarily in electronic form.

(Alas, the Palm died years ago, and the only way I could get my accumulated files was getting Geek Squad to download the files in un formatted form onto a CD-ROM…which is currently hiding from me.)

And as a GM, I sometimes use my electronics to provide images, gifs, sound effects or even backgound noises & music to enhance the evening’s events. (Sometimes, I do so at the request of whomever is running the game if I am not.) Electronic devices also handy for passing along secret messages to individual players at the table via text messages.

Because of all that, a group in which computer devices are banned from the table would be inconvenient for me to join. I could do it, but..I’d have to remember to print stuff up, etc. Woudn’t necessarily stop me from joining a group, but it would be a factor.

BUT…I’m also not one of those guys with everything in electronic form. 99% of my gaming books, modules, magazines and the like are physical. I don’t know if I’ve ever opened any of the hobby pdfs I have been given. (I’ve never purchased any.) When our group tried 4Ed, I didn’t even use the DM’s online tools all that much. I’d possibly work out the sketch of a PC, but my actual characters were written up in my Notes app, using my own books.




* I was very disappointed when MS stopped supporting the spreadsheet and replaced it with a different program, without issuing an automatic data conversion function.)

** I even wrote 75% of a guitar chordbook for New Standard Tuning on it.
 



el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
el-remmen said:
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.

I'm not quite sure what you mean here.

Um, well is the idea that game balance is a lot more loosey-goosey than some people seem to think that is what you don't get, or the idea that differences between character types don't need to be balanced against each other (or even be a benefit) to provide an interesting aspect to the game? For example, smallfolk move slower than anyone else? Well, that is just something to work out a way to account for in-game - it is just another problem to solve that also makes tactical combat more interesting as you work around obstacles. . .
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
When I add homebrew and houserules, it's only for the narrative. That means when I use Gritty Realism or Epic Heroism, I do it because it introduces a theme in the narrative rather than trying to balance characters/classes.

In fact, I've just (like, last year) finished running an adventure where the players can only restore hit points with magical healing or Hit Dice, so characters with low health can be hit pretty hard. They still recover half hit dice, but they obviously need to be more careful.
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
I guess I am also an outlier in that I kinda like swinginess.

I created a game that we played throughout the late 90's/early-oughts that was VERY swingy - a high chance to crit and fumble (far more than 5%), spell mishaps, friendly fire, etc. It was really fun and I don't remember anyone complaining (other than maybe that guy who'd just finished rolling up his first character and in the first round of the first combat, a bandit shot him in the eye with a crossbow and killed him stone dead). Just bad luck, I say!

Um, well is the idea that game balance is a lot more loosey-goosey than some people seem to think that is what you don't get, or the idea that differences between character types don't need to be balanced against each other (or even be a benefit) to provide an interesting aspect to the game? For example, smallfolk move slower than anyone else? Well, that is just something to work out a way to account for in-game - it is just another problem to solve that also makes tactical combat more interesting as you work around obstacles. . .

Same system, I played a character who had no abilities (roughly equivalent to D&D) higher than 13, while another player had most abilities above 13, including a 16 and a 17. (Though he also had a 5 agility (think dex).) These two characters were the best characters either of us have ever played (The one with no stats above 13? Yeah, that's Fitz The Ruke. The name I use here. That's how much I like that character.)

At any rate, my point is, you don't need to be exactly equivalent to everyone else to have a good character and play a fun game. "Balance" is overrated. (And this is coming from a DM who doesn't like optimization... at all.)
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
A few examples:
  1. I'm not happy with the way hit points work right now and how they increase over levels.
  2. I prefer armor as damage reduction to armor as hit reduction.
  3. Most special abilities built into class progression need to go, potentially to be replaced by a more low-key and flexible talent system
  4. The skill system needs to be (a bit) more refined.
  5. Archetypes and species that don't align with classic fantasy need to go.
  6. (Pseudo-)Vancian magic needs to go/be replaced by something with a clearer in-world metaphor (potentially channeling/drain).
  7. The swingyness of the d20 needs to be compensated, either by the skill system or by replacing it entirely (e.g. by 2d6)
I'll stop here - it's probably evident now why nobody should allow me to get too close to official D&D design ;)
Gasp! (Clutched pearls) Stay away from my baby!

;-)
 

Well, honestly, my answers would mostly just add up to yucking other people's yum, since there are all kinds of thing in the D&D paradigm that aren't my gig. I'll occasionally play variations of it or run it if others prefer, but there's almost no design element of it that I particularly like these days, so I usually use other systems.
 

pogre

Legend
The couple of things that are outliers for my games -

I usually run D&D campaigns to 20th or very near 20th level. I enjoy all levels of play. I even run epics every once in a while so the players can roll out some retired PCs and whip some rear

I let players switch PCs if they want to. I want happy players - it is their narrative - I only have one player who does it semi-regularly.
 


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top