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D&D General Let's Talk About the Changing Game

Clint_L

Legend
The people I started playing with went from OD&D to AD&D, and I joined as that transition was wrapping up. I had the Basic game as a gift, but we saw it as an oddity, along with the two follow-up sets. There were quite a few kicking around because they were the kind of things you got as gifts from older relatives who heard you were into D&D. But we never actually played them because we were already playing AD&D, and we saw those sets as not real D&D.

So my late game experience was different. We typically got to around 10-11 level, which meant we had followers per the rules and I think I once claimed a stronghold? Can't remember. I do remember that my ranger got lucky and rolled a Storm Giant follower, which was cool, but we didn't know what to do with it, so those rules mostly were just fun little tables that you rolled on and then went back to questing.

Do I think that aspect of gameplay should be a focus of the core rules? No, way too idiosyncratic. But OneD&D isn't like some big watershed moment where the game will transform, so it would make sense to do that kind of campaign outline as a supplementary adventure. I think the risk is that it dilutes the brand and tries to make an RPG into a sort of half-assed war game or strategy game that doesn't work very well (c.f. AD&D's attempt). Maybe a better solution would be for WotC to create an actual war game or strategy game that does not try to be part of D&D but uses the IP and can be tied into campaigns. That way it wouldn't be tied to RPG-oriented rules (i.e. the d20 system) and could be its own thing.

Edit: In re-reading the OP, maybe you are describing more transitioning from role-playing being about individual and party quests and more about statecraft and stuff? Maybe that could be in a DM's Guide that included more information about different styles of campaign? I've never had players who wanted to go in that direction so I haven't thought about it much. Or, since you write that the Companions guide still works, do an updated version of that. As its own thing, not in the core rules.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
You don't necessarily have to, but at least as presented in BECMI, these things cost a lot of money -- money you gathered while gaining levels (since XP came primarily from gold acquired).

Well, castles cost a lot. And you have to pay followers, or otherwise see to their well-being.

But my question was why can't you have things that the characters care about. The OP seemed to be noting, basically, that after a while, fighting for the sake of fighting gets boring, so give the PCs something else to deal with.

I am questioning why "build a castle and get followers" is really the only "thing they care about" on the table here. It is, honestly, kind of specific, and probably doesn't apply to a lot of PCs.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I miss it every time we play.

Not always, but when we did it was a blast.

No. Because almost no one’s heard of it and it seems poorly tacked on to people who only every knew about endless combat.

I know MCDM has two great books for 5E. Stronghold & Followers. Kingdoms & Warfare.

For older editions, as you say, the RC and CMI still work just fine.

Matt Colville has a great video series on politics for anyone interested in including some of this in their games.
As @Reynard said, the old rules work just fine for that style, even in 5e. There are OSR games that are amazing at this (ACKS is a wonderful example). So it's out there and very usable.

The issue is, all that stuff is comparatively pretty low profile compared to whatever WotC's pushing now. That's why I want this stuff included in the DMG, so new players who haven't had the opportunity to experience something other than the approved Most Popular style of gameplay can decide for themselves.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Well, castles cost a lot. And you have to pay followers, or otherwise see to their well-being.

But my question was why can't you have things that the characters care about. The OP seemed to be noting, basically, that after a while, fighting for the sake of fighting gets boring, so give the PCs something else to deal with.

I am questioning why "build a castle and get followers" is really the only "thing they care about" on the table here. It is, honestly, kind of specific, and probably doesn't apply to a lot of PCs.
It doesn't have to be, but it used to be a big part of the assumed play cycle, it served and serves a purpose, and including it as an option would, IMO, be beneficial. We should also include other ways to break out of the eternal combat treadmill.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Well, castles cost a lot. And you have to pay followers, or otherwise see to their well-being.

But my question was why can't you have things that the characters care about. The OP seemed to be noting, basically, that after a while, fighting for the sake of fighting gets boring, so give the PCs something else to deal with.

I am questioning why "build a castle and get followers" is really the only "thing they care about" on the table here. It is, honestly, kind of specific, and probably doesn't apply to a lot of PCs.
Well I didn't say anything about "other stuff to care about" except in the context of how I experienced the positive effects of the changing game. I'm not sure why you want to actively not-engage the premise. Saying one thing answers a specific issue doesn't necessarily say anything about what else might answer that issue.
 


Bring the game into politics, warfare, power don’t require specific minimum level or additional rules.
I play in a campaign on those terms with a level 6 character and actual 5ed rules and it’s pretty satisfying.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
Experienced quite a bit of this in AD&D. In one of my favorite 2E campaigns, about 2-3 times a year we'd have a session that was nothing but planning and maintenance of our domains. Very few dice were rolled that session (at least by the players) and absolutely zero combat.

3E and 4E never played out that way for me, mostly because I ended up playing/DMing the biggest group of murder hobos. Eventually we moved away from this (I now only play with 2 people from this era), especially with 5E, but even so most campaigns tend to be more story based, leaving very little downtime for such things.
 

Has anyone played Forbidden Lands? From my understanding the game is built around characters having a stronghold from level 1. Vaesen, another free league game, works this way too. What's appealing is that the home base can be upgraded and provides certain mechanical bonuses (BitD works this way too).

That said, I think there is a certain fantasy around being able to just carry everything you need in your backpack, traveling the world with your friends. A stronghold game that is merely home design invoices and taxes will not be that appealing by contrast.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Has anyone played Forbidden Lands? From my understanding the game is built around characters having a stronghold from level 1. Vaesen, another free league game, works this way too. What's appealing is that the home base can be upgraded and provides certain mechanical bonuses (BitD works this way too).

That said, I think there is a certain fantasy around being able to just carry everything you need in your backpack, traveling the world with your friends. A stronghold game that is merely home design invoices and taxes will not be that appealing by contrast.
Especially if you characterize it that way.
 

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