D&D 5E L&L: Monsters and Stories

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think it's far too easy to shoot the messenger here. Traditional power structures are eroding because our society is changing. Authoritarian command and control leadership is no longer the norm. Decision making in businesses is becoming more distributed. 20 years ago people were also far more likely to take what their immediate supervisors told them at face value, and entertainment media were a much more passive pursuit.

You're saying a cooperative game invented in the 1960s and 1970s and frequently played by the hippie crowd moving away from wargaming, has changed to be more questioning of authority over time?

I disagree. The population of gamers is used to playing video games, board games, card games, and other games which have even more rigid rules structure than D&D. Even if you think society has changed that way (and I disagree it has - I think we question authority less now than we did in the 60s and 70s), the population of RPG players is right around where they always were.

If your players are trying to tell you that you're running your monsters "wrong", you need to have a frank discussion with them about how the DM makes these decisions, while the players make decisions for the characters, and that's how this game works. Rules lawyers as players have always existed, even back to OD&D, and they are helpful sometimes and harmful other times. If you have a rules lawyer who feels entitled to dictate that the rules override the DMs decisions, that player needs to be talked to (likely privately) about the line between player and DM in D&D.

And one major theme of D&D Next is giving power back to the DM, where it traditionally was in the TSR era of D&D. If that's something you don't like, it's possible D&D Next is not for you.
 
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Vyvyan Basterd

Adventurer
When the supposed absurdity of this is brought up, this is my go-to link, becuase it's a decent media's-eye-view on how insanely powerful this phenomenon actually is in practice. 12% vs. 99% -- or even 35% vs. 60% -- is a dramatic shift. This isn't nothing. That isn't insignificant, trivial, or easily handwaved. Simply changing opt-out to opt-in results in a huge change in actual human behavior. According to Science.

I've not commented particularly on this, but since you keep trotting it out...

The 12% to 99% change is comparing an opt-in country (Germany) at 12% to an opt-out country (Austria) at 99%. That's a HUGE swing in favor of opt-out, not opt-in! And it has nothing to do with a huge change in human behavior. The populace of Germany must go do something to consent to organ donation. Like most people, they are too lazy to go out of their way to do that, so only 12% consent. In Austria, they are even lazier (apparently) because only 1% of their populace goes out of its way to deny consent.

And as a resident of Illinois, where the 38% to 60% comparison is coming from, the higher rate of consent has NOTHING to do with it being opt-in. The reason Illinois has a higher than average consent rate is because they made the opt-in process part of something necessary to make a living in Illinois (having a license). If the opt-in process were separate you would see a rate much closer to the national average.

And this factor of human laziness doesn't, IMO, apply to RPGs because, as a DM, you've already taken more initiative than the average human to get something started. That momentum will more often overcome the default stories told in the core books and lead to you personal take. Like readin a book and then writing a screenplay. Your campaign will be "based on" not a word-for-word re-creation of the core stories.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Same ridiculous argument.

"I have to tell my players that I'm not using every single thing that appears in any of the books completely as written. I'm changing some stuff for my campaign."

How heartless could WotC be? Making you actually talk with your players? DAMN THEM!!! DAMN THEM TO HELL!!! ;)

Thanks for that. I really appreciate it.

It is annoying. I had this come up recently, where a player is citing some retconned BS (which can be found through wikipedia and other sources, the physical MM is only relevant as a source that will be drawn from) and I have to explain how it wasn't like that, and some guy just decided latter it was, but it isn't like that it in my game...annoying. And apparently ridiculous.
 

Vyvyan Basterd

Adventurer
It is annoying. I had this come up recently, where a player is citing some retconned BS (which can be found through wikipedia and other sources, the physical MM is only relevant as a source that will be drawn from) and I have to explain how it wasn't like that, and some guy just decided latter it was, but it isn't like that it in my game...annoying. And apparently ridiculous.

I don't think its ridiculous. I agree that a frank discussion is needed. And the times this has happened in my games it usually boils down to the player feeling I didn't communicate the nature of the creatures in my campaign world. The players rely heavily on the DM to relay the specifics of his world, especially when it comes to creatures that heavily populate the world. If your orcs are peace-loving hippies, but you only mention that after a player has slaughtered one, then you didn't communicate what should have been well-known in your campaign world. That's an extreme example, but the little details can make the players annoyed as much as the DM if they came in with expectations and the DM doesn't communicate the differences well. It's something I've worked to get better at for my entire GMing career.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Mistwell said:
You're speculating like you don't know for sure people will change it as they please. This isn't something you need to theorize about - you have years of experience knowing people do change it constantly for this game.

The fact that people don't change it constantly is evident from your very own post upthread about being a busy adult who doesn't want to have to change things to make them work, concurred with by a big chunk of people, including me.

Mistwell said:
It's exceptional, that was already proven

No, it was asserted. That assertion does not have the status of proof. It's actually pretty clear that D&D isn't a special snowflake in this regard, as a casual perusal of this thread, or any thread about D&D lore, will clearly show the power of the default effect just here at ENWorld (a cabal of fairly elite elf-dorks who should be quite adept at making their own stuff anyway!). Saying "You can change the default if you want!" and then seeing how often people did is exactly what the studies looked at. People didn't. Thus the findings, and their applicability here, because D&D says "You can change the default if you want!" and people don't. And since I feel like I'm repeating myself here, I'm gonna have to leave it there.

TwoSix said:
I'm just wondering which edition presented monsters with zero backstory.

None, but the alternative to The Backstory is not no backstory, it's a diversity of backstories.

TwoSix said:
The debate between "D&D is a genre" and "D&D is a fantasy toolbox" isn't exactly a settled one.

It's not a zero sum game, though. It can be both.

Vyvyan Basterd said:
And as a resident of Illinois, where the 38% to 60% comparison is coming from, the higher rate of consent has NOTHING to do with it being opt-in. The reason Illinois has a higher than average consent rate is because they made the opt-in process part of something necessary to make a living in Illinois (having a license). If the opt-in process were separate you would see a rate much closer to the national average.

The distinction the study makes for IL is that it is a state that requires that you state your preference, rather than having a default state. In every state, getting a license is linked to organ donation, but in IL, there is no "default," thus, for the study, explaining the higher sign-up rate: you HAVE to pick one, versus being assumed a "no" or a "yes" if you leave it blank.

Vyvyan Basterd said:
And this factor of human laziness doesn't, IMO, apply to RPGs because, as a DM, you've already taken more initiative than the average human to get something started. That momentum will more often overcome the default stories told in the core books and lead to you personal take. Like readin a book and then writing a screenplay. Your campaign will be "based on" not a word-for-word re-creation of the core stories.

For the lazy DM's, for the newbie DM's, and for all the reasons mentioned in the papers themselves, the default effect will still be present.

The only real question is whether WotC is going to try and exploit it, try and ignore it, or try and work with it.
 

Vyvyan Basterd

Adventurer
The distinction the study makes for IL is that it is a state that requires that you state your preference, rather than having a default state. In every state, getting a license is linked to organ donation, but in IL, there is no "default," thus, for the study, explaining the higher sign-up rate: you HAVE to pick one, versus being assumed a "no" or a "yes" if you leave it blank.

I misunderstood the distinction then, thanks for clarifying.

I would hope that the MM page on medusa covers the real-world mythology and adds other ideas for different takes.
 

Warbringer

Explorer
The debate between "D&D is a genre" and "D&D is a fantasy toolbox" isn't exactly a settled one.

It's because its both; the latter by definition (rules that enable us to be pretend-elves), the former because it created the category and will always be synomous with the category no matter the compete entries, like "Kleenex" ("I have a cold, I need a kleenex (rather than tissue"; and "Hoover" (I need to hoover te floor as I spilt milk (rather than vacuum").

When Everquest and WoW were gaining popularity the short had was "oh, that's dungeons and dragons on the computer?"
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
The fact that people don't change it constantly is evident from your very own post upthread about being a busy adult who doesn't want to have to change things to make them work, concurred with by a big chunk of people, including me.



No, it was asserted. That assertion does not have the status of proof. It's actually pretty clear that D&D isn't a special snowflake in this regard, as a casual perusal of this thread, or any thread about D&D lore, will clearly show the power of the default effect just here at ENWorld (a cabal of fairly elite elf-dorks who should be quite adept at making their own stuff anyway!). Saying "You can change the default if you want!" and then seeing how often people did is exactly what the studies looked at. People didn't. Thus the findings, and their applicability here, because D&D says "You can change the default if you want!" and people don't. And since I feel like I'm repeating myself here, I'm gonna have to leave it there.

So you're seriously asserting that, IF SOMEONE DOES NOT LIKE THE FLUFF FOR A MONSTER IN THE MONSTER MANUAL, that they will use it anyway rather than change it for their game? That if I ran a poll on that question, you think people will either answer yes they will use it anyway, or lie, or mistakenly think they will change it but really won't despite their years of experience knowing how they react to such things in this game?
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
Since it hasn't been mentioned here, did anyone notice that when WotC linked to this particular L&L article on their Facebook page, they did so also including some artwork, and they used the Pathfinder medusa from the first PF Bestiary?

It was taken down after a few hours.

:D
 

Greg K

Legend
So you're seriously asserting that, IF SOMEONE DOES NOT LIKE THE FLUFF FOR A MONSTER IN THE MONSTER MANUAL, that they will use it anyway rather than change it for their game?

One of my players had just taken over the DM chores for another group when he joined my group about three years ago. At the time, he had only been playing DND a few months and his other rpg experience was limited to a year of LARPing and White Wolf tabletop games (as a player). He had no idea that he could he could ban things, house rule things, or make any changes to what was published by WOTC until he joined my campaign and saw me house ruling.

He is not the first player (and beginning DM) that I have had holding that mentality before joining my group.
 
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