Mechanics that support what you want as a Player to feel like you matter

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Why insist no rules are required, or at least useful, yet I hear much love lavished on D&D style subsystems. Are those not rules? Now, maybe you personally would just want to wing it, but it is very common to hear both refrains from the same crowd.
I think any of the 200-page threads here at ENWorld should show you that there is a wide variety of what 5E players and DMs want.

There is no "same crowd" when dealing with literally millions of D&D players.

And you're not really engaging with my point anyway. While mechanical support can be nice, its absence doesn't mean that players don't have the ability to influence the world. In fact, I'd say that rules allowing players to do that are most likely to be used by gamemasters who are more likely to be open to that style of play anyway, so the amount of new opportunities created by such rules is probably not as significant as it it could be.
 

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I think any of the 200-page threads here at ENWorld should show you that there is a wide variety of what 5E players and DMs want.

There is no "same crowd" when dealing with literally millions of D&D players.

And you're not really engaging with my point anyway. While mechanical support can be nice, its absence doesn't mean that players don't have the ability to influence the world. In fact, I'd say that rules allowing players to do that are most likely to be used by gamemasters who are more likely to be open to that style of play anyway, so the amount of new opportunities created by such rules is probably not as significant as it it could be.
Maybe. IME it's been pretty significant though. While there are undoubtedly some who won't benefit I find in practice most will.

And yes there is great diversity in the wide world, yet you cannot possibly have missed the clear divisions and ideologies of play that are most apparent here. The question I posed is pretty relevant IMHO.

Beyond that I myself pointed out the fact that anything is 'possible' even without rules. I think it hardly needs to be stated that HAVING rules is the primary way to actually get stuff to happen.
 


hawkeyefan

Legend
Well, very common complaints about 5e are the lack of crafting rules and the lack of things to spend money on, like keeps and so on... that there aren't formalized rules for these things. Some folks have gotten by without them, sure... I've managed myself... but I do see that kind of absence as an oversight.

Crafting items and establishing realms are just a couple of examples of character goals, but having rules for that stuff would make them more concretely part of play. It would stand to reason that rules for other sorts of goals can similarly scaffold play.
 


I squared that circle by breaking the conventional wisdom that a dice roll shouldn't be dwarfed by a modifier. Specifically, a base max of +30 to a 1d20 roll.

This does a lot of things, but first and foremost is accurately portray competance as a result of increasing your Talents. You clearly and intuitively know you're getting better as things get easier and eventually you just auto-succeed. Eventually you do still hit the max and will be making rolls to hit DC32+, but at that point the challenges you face are things you'd genuinely be struggling against at that level, so it's not a case where you could ever throw a pie into your own face.

And incidentally it also has the added effects of making the game simpler to run and play over time, but also, as I recently realized, handily flips the game from more tactical to strategic, right in time for players to start wielding and fighting armies, and likewise from procedural to narrative, just as players would presumably be making their moves on the world stage to fulfill whatever goals they have, be it to defeat the big bad, finish conquering the land, or heck, to even destroy the world.

So all in all, no strict need for metacurrency gimmes.

Buttttt, that doesn't mean I don't technically have some.

One is my reimagined "Inspiration", which acts as both the reward and basic leveling mechanism for exploring and learning about the gameworld, where you get to utilize a floating modifier to change one of your rolls in exchange for -1 to that modifier (if done repetitively in the same areas, you'll not only begin to increase your Maximum but also start gaining a permanent mod for that area)

This one is more diegetically themed, being an abstract representation of each players accumulated knowledge and the effect that knowledge has on creativity. (Which incidentally is basically how real creativity works, so kudos to realism!)

The other is a more conventional Luck Attribute mechanic, where you can burn Luck for various things (but not dice rolls) and then have to earn it back, if you can.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I’d take a characters Background, Ideals, Bonds and Flaws and allow the player to invoke them for Advantage in play - equally though the DM also gets to invoke them for disadvantage, especially flaws.

I’d also allow Reputation to be used by the players to create assets that influence the world
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
Reliable mechanics / conflict resolution. If the player states an intent and rolls success, they should achieve that success. The GM can contextualize it, but that context must not negate the success. This is how check resolution is handled in my homebrew system.
Something like this is what I think of as crucial to neo-trad. Player ought to have defined fiats over the game (fiction and system) that GM cannot gainsay. With that principle in place, there is a vast space for what specific fiats to define. Including as to their strength of effect.

OSR "skilled play" takes a different approach, where the player does not know exactly what fiats they will be conceded over the game. Hence folk often describe such play as high-trust. And as to what is trusted, surely it is that they will be justly conceded effectual fiats.

OC and narrative play may be more concerned with what player can ultimately say about their own character. And again, this can come down to being able to say things that GM cannot gainsay. (Such as may be protected by the principles you outline for your game.)

So as to @Sacrosanct's OP, I think you need to look beyond individual mechanics, to the up-front contracts at the table. Look for game texts that have written agenda and principles, or for groups committed to conceding one another that say over the game which best matches whatever matters to you. As an example of the latter, a group approaching 5e in what I'd call a neo-trad mode will be committed to giving their feats, spells and class features full effect in play, such that GM will not gainsay such fiats over the game as they supply.
 

Andvari

Hero
Based on those threads, a common theme is:
  • I want my PCs to be able to impact the game from level 1 to end game.
  • I want to have some agency to change the narrative
  • I want to be competent
I suspect the first two are best accomplished narratively than through rules, but the third one usually involves something that tips odds in your favor when your character attempts something they ought to be competent at, and dice rolls determine whether the character succeeds. Pretty much any role-playing game I've seen have that implemented in some fashion, whether it's based on ability scores, skills, or something else.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I suspect the first two are best accomplished narratively than through rules, but the third one usually involves something that tips odds in your favor when your character attempts something they ought to be competent at, and dice rolls determine whether the character succeeds. Pretty much any role-playing game I've seen have that implemented in some fashion, whether it's based on ability scores, skills, or something else.
In 5e that third one ("I want to be competent") demands game knowledge on behalf of DM and players. As an example of the sorts of considerations they should have
  • The group need to play what I call "DMG D&D" which means at minimum applying the DMG ability check rules, the social interaction mechanics, and the full rules for earning XP.
  • GM should simplify their thinking on setting difficulty classes, using a small set of well-telegraphed (if not outright announced) step values
  • Players need to understand their characters mechanically
  • The group should talk about the kind of campaign they will play, so that characters with effective features can be chosen (there's a huge diversity of options, and some are most effective in specific kinds of campaign)
  • Use either standard array or points buy and agree on a judicious subset of races (otherwise you may see overshadowing, which can make some characters feel less competent)
  • Only allow multiclassing if all players have strong game knowledge (otherwise, again, those with stronger knowledge may overshadow those without)
  • Don't allow bladesingers, and restrict sharpshooter's extra-damage attack to heavy ranged weapons (I would call these out as most likely to overshadow, again risking making others feel less competent)
  • Encourage players to confer as they generate characters so that they can create space for and synergies with one another
No doubt folk can disagree with that list. The resilient point is that "I want to be competent" will often demand both game knowledge and choices about the game. To give an example from a PbtA game - Monster of the Week - think carefully before allowing The Divine (and in particular Angel Wings) because that playbook/power can very easily overshadow others, making them feel less competent.
 

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