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D&D General On Grognardism...

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I went through the first 10 pages or responses and you know what I found. Not one person who actually addressed this fine posters honest and sincere question; "what about that design speaks to you so strongly?" Not one.

Instead what did I see? Page after page of people singing the "praises" of 5e and 4e (forth edition is perhaps the singular WORST edition there is. There I said it to your face. It's horrible. It took the heart right out of the game by taking away even the trappings of injury from the game. A single night's rest makes everything better... just like a crappy CRPG. Go to an inn, rest a single night, and its all better. What a joke of a system.)

So I'm going to answer it. It might take a while, so buckle up.

Doyle wrote for Sherlock Holmes. “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”

That right there is why.

For all the plentiful rules of later editions 3.x and later. For all the simplifications, for all the "untangling" of things and the changing of AC from a downward to an upward number. For all the pretty art in the new books. It lacks silence. Silence is the fecund earth in which our hobby grows, it's imagination.

Earlier versions are silent... on what your limits are, on how to tell you HOW to play the game. They give guidelines, they encourage you, and give you hints they're like the hand of your father hovering next to you after he'd taken the training wheels off your bike. The hand that is there to catch you if you need it, but which trusts you to learn to "fly" on your own.

In new editions you have to roll for intimidate, or investigate, or any of a number of things that in 1e or 2e you just DID. That you role played, not Roll played. In those older editions the rules were silent about how you'd intimidate that guard, or how you searched for treasure, so instead you sat at the table with your friends and you spun stories of how you did those things. You had to talk to the guard and the DM, being a fair minded adjudicator, asked himself, did their friend do enough to pull it off. You didn't have a roll tell you if some NPC lied to them, you relied on the DM's acting skills to carry it off and you became canny to it. You ROLE PLAYED. Sure AC might have been a little bass ackwards... but who gave a flip? That's easy to fix, flip the numbers around, it's 15 minutes of work and done. Tell me, does a table of numbers make that big a deal to you? Honestly? Are you going to claim for an instant that changing a mechanic from down to up made THAT big of an improvement? If so, you're a bald faced liar and you're being knowingly and deliberately obtuse.

So in short, why does the older version speak to me more than the new versions? Look at the prices that A copy of all 4 of the Wilderlands series are going for today. upwards of 900$ with maps in garbage shape, for that new cost 25$ total maybe. Go to a used book store and try to find an original DMG with the efreet cover and look at the price, if you find it for less than $200 you're lucky. People are cottoning in that pretty graphics don't matter. D&D is a game of the imagination, not pretty dice. And the earlier versions captured the essence of D&D better, by being silent when they needed to be. That silence is a quite invaluable companion to gamers, because it gives them more freedom and helps them confidently come up with their own ways of playing "let's pretend" where they don't need rules or dice rolls for everything.
There are a lot of "You"s in your reply to my OP and I'm assuming those are addressed to the audience, not just me.

About a month ago I had a discussion about modern art with a friend of mine. She has a Masters degree in fine art, and I am a simpleton who claims that I could do some of that art myself with a blindfold on.

One point she made to me was that in something like minimalist art oftentimes the void of the canvas is an important aspect of the art as a whole. This seems to me to be what you are saying.

To try to restate your point, but in a less condescending way, are you saying that to you older editions were the pinnacle of design because the areas of the canvas devoid of rules complements the core rules that are there?

I think that concept is a valid one, and can't argue with it. I would add, however, that despite 5e having a skill system, I think it has many less rules governing the system than 1e does. Do you feel that 5e takes up more of the blank canvas with it's ruleset than 1e does?
 

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nedjer

Adventurer
Kind of like the artwork at the time, there was plenty left to your groups' imagination and no legacy to prefill it. Rulings were made in the spirit of the rules rather than the rules because there often were no rules. After tortuous sessions with counter wargames it was straight to the fun compared to praying no one knocked the board with the stacks of counters all over it.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
So this brings me to the grognards of Enworld. I am always baffled at the sheet amount of words in support of RPG gaming having peaked sometime in the late 70s, with no system since that time being in overall comparison sake "better" for them.

I don't really have a question, but more of an invitation for discussion. If you think RPG design peaked in the late 70s, what about that design speaks to you so strongly?
To put it as simply as possible....

"Lack of options and details".

Like you, I started in early 80's (81, to be exact) with the Erol Otis Basic Set 1 (the "Moldvay" version). Thinking about what "feeling" I get when picturing the character sheet, the rule book art, the smell, the feel and sound of the pages turning in my fingers, the amount of detail (or lack thereof) for monsters, magic items and spells....I can only distil it down to that: "Lack of options and details".

Anyway...long story short... B/X or early versions of the game had the DM and Players sitting there with a blank canvas, more or less, for each campaign. Want to play a desert bound dervish? Ok, Fighter; your Normal Sword is a scimitar, your Dagger is a jambiya, and you wear armour that looks like it's straight out of an Arabian Adventures movie from Hollywood. Same with every other class in the game. Your "Dervish" had the same capabilities as your buddies "Viking"...but you each looked different, used different names for things, and roleplayed it up. As the campaign progressed, as well as your PC's, the DM was inclined to actually develop an "Arabian" area and a "Norse" area. Maybe with some special goodies with actual mechanics to back them up. BUT...these were all very specific to individual home-games.

Now? Everything is expected to be codified. If someone sees "Scimitar" on a sheet, they expect it to be just like it says in the PHB. If someone see's "Rage" as a PC ability, they expect it to be just like it says under Barbarian in the PHB. That "blank canvas" is lost with new games.

Yes, you CAN create something new...maybe. There are just SOOOO many rules, spells, options, etc out there in "the wild" that someone, somewhere is going to point to your PC and say "Oh, so you got that from [insert book/site]"...even if you didn't. That "blank canvas" sense of wonder, newness, and unique pride of "Yeah, WE did this for OUR game..." is lost with new games/iterations.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I am 57 and a lot of the people at our tables are from the same generation, but we also play with much younger people, in particular from our children generation (and in completely mixed groups), and I've even ran a game for my 5 years-old step-grandson, or for the 10-years old adopted daughter of some friends along with some adults.

While I'm still a huge fan of BECMI (and for example have translated the War Machine in every single edition of the game, we have a huge battle in Avernus coming up this Friday), and have probably my fondest memories in AD&D, I really welcomed the simplicity of 5e after the disasters of 3e and 4e, where it was so hard to induce new players to the game (all these little intricate rules, all this playing on a grid) and where combat took ages, all so technical (I loved 3e at the start, mind, the standardisation effort that went in there was amazing).

At least in 5e I can do what I had been doing for more than 20 years when 3e came out, running games with just some paper and dices, just sitting anywhere and describing fantastic adventures.

I have considered going back to B/X and the equivalent, but not only are the systems less logical and streamlined, and less supported online, but there are two things that I really like in 5e, skills out of the box and the fact that beginning characters have more than a sword swing or a single spell in a day. Without making it too complex, it still incites players to be a bit creative, especially beginners.
 

Dave [Arneson] and I disagree on how to handle any number of things, and both of our campaigns differ from the "rules" found in DandD. If the time ever comes when all aspects of fantasy are covered and the vast majority of its players agree on how the game should be played, DandD will have become staid and boring indeed. Sorry, but I don't believe that there is anything desirable in having various campaigns playing similarly to one another. DandD is supposed to offer a challenge to the imagination and to do so in many ways. Perhaps the most important is in regard to what the probabilities of a given situation are. If players know what all of the monster parameters are, what can be expected in a given situation, exactly what will happen to them if they perform thus and so, most of the charm of the game is gone. Frankly, the reason I enjoy playing in Dave Arneson's campaign is that I do not know his treatments of monsters and suchlike, so I must keep thinking and reasoning in order to "survive". -- Gary Gygax, Alarums & Excursions #2, 1975

I desire variance in interpretation and, as long as I am editor of the TSR line and its magazine, I will do my utmost to see that there is as little trend towards standardization as possible. Each campaign should be a "variant", and there is no "official interpretation" from me or anyone else. If a game of "Dungeons and Beavers" suits a group, all I say is more power to them, for every fine referee runs his own variant of DandD anyway.-- ibid.

“They [the rules] provide a framework around which you build a game of simplicity or tremendous complexity…” -- Gary Gygax. Introduction to OD&D, January, 1974.

"New details can be added and old "laws" altered so as to provide continually new and different situations." -- ibid.
 

I'm on my phone, so I won't split apart your posts point by point. I'll just say that your posts are rife with pure speculation with nothing really concrete to back up your assumptions, and you're flat out incorrect. On the very first page I laid out in detail what aspects of the design I liked.

As far as the whole roll play vs role play diatribe, that's not accurate as well. You seem to be forgetting how ability roll under checks existed in 1e from the early 80s on. And even today, when a skill like persuasion exists, many still just role play it out. It's a preference thing.

So honestly, your posts read to me as just someone who can't be bothered to actually read the discussion but is looking for an excuse to disparage editions and players without much basis on accuracy--old men yelling at clouds. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how your posts read.
It doesn't help that they actually included a 'you and yours rollplay, me and mine roleplay' line, which I thought was considered a hackneyed self-congratulatory canard back in the early 90s. There are a few valid points buried in the dross, but it is not a good look.
Dave [Arneson] and I disagree on how to handle any number of things, and both of our campaigns differ from the "rules" found in DandD. If the time ever comes when all aspects of fantasy are covered and the vast majority of its players agree on how the game should be played, DandD will have become staid and boring indeed. Sorry, but I don't believe that there is anything desirable in having various campaigns playing similarly to one another. DandD is supposed to offer a challenge to the imagination and to do so in many ways. Perhaps the most important is in regard to what the probabilities of a given situation are. If players know what all of the monster parameters are, what can be expected in a given situation, exactly what will happen to them if they perform thus and so, most of the charm of the game is gone. Frankly, the reason I enjoy playing in Dave Arneson's campaign is that I do not know his treatments of monsters and suchlike, so I must keep thinking and reasoning in order to "survive". -- Gary Gygax, Alarums & Excursions #2, 1975

I desire variance in interpretation and, as long as I am editor of the TSR line and its magazine, I will do my utmost to see that there is as little trend towards standardization as possible. Each campaign should be a "variant", and there is no "official interpretation" from me or anyone else. If a game of "Dungeons and Beavers" suits a group, all I say is more power to them, for every fine referee runs his own variant of DandD anyway.-- ibid.

“They [the rules] provide a framework around which you build a game of simplicity or tremendous complexity…” -- Gary Gygax. Introduction to OD&D, January, 1974.

"New details can be added and old "laws" altered so as to provide continually new and different situations." -- ibid.
Good stuff. I wish more of us had consistently seen that side of him.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
While I'm still a huge fan of BECMI (and for example have translated the War Machine in every single edition of the game, we have a huge battle in Avernus coming up this Friday),
I hate (not really) to derail this thread, but do you mind sharing tha. I've been meaning to convert it to 5e myself for a while, but I've got too many projects on my plate.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I think that this is a matter of people hoping and wishing for things to support their personal view of reality vs actual factual reality.
Forty Percent of Dungeons & Dragons Players Are 25 or Younger states that 40% of players are 25 and under. Conversely that means that 60% of players are 26 and older, and that means that most of them grew up on 2e ad&d or 3.x So those are the versions they are most familiar with. They also point out that only 11% of players are 40+ but that all depends on the question asked. I suspect it was "Do you currently actively play D&D" to which most people 40 and up are too GD busy with work, home, a family, kids, and similar to play D&D except maybe to dm for their kids. I know for a fact that I fall into that demographic. But I suspect that given the income disparity, that while younger players like to throw "shade on the grogs" that WotC knows full well who helps pay the bills. Grogs have kids and they've also got the money to be able to afford to pay for the hobby. And frankly, how many of the new current generation are here because of things like Critical Role, Stranger things, and similar. D&D when we played it, it wasn't cool it was just fun. Now it's cool, so we have a lot of people chasing a fad, and you can be sure that a lot of them will likely exit the hobby when the cool wears off a little.
I was mostly being facetious with my original post. When WotC makes content for D&D, I just don't want them to cut me out. That was how I felt during the 4E era - I felt the game was being designed to discard not only everything that came before, but everyone as well. I am very glad that 5E swung the completely opposite direction and feels like it was designed to be inclusive, even though a lot of the 4E "under the hood" design was carried over. I would like them to continue down the path that brought us 5E in the first place and not discount any particular group who plays now because we don't carry the economic weight of others.

I mean, original D&D writing was college level, but it still attracted the young crowd (I was 10 when I first got into the game). As long as they write the game for those who are actually playing (now) and those who will continue to play, and not for some mythical group of those they could never appease, they should do fine.
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
There are a lot of "You"s in your reply to my OP and I'm assuming those are addressed to the audience, not just me.

Precisely. It's meant in a more metaphorical way.
About a month ago I had a discussion about modern art with a friend of mine. She has a Masters degree in fine art, and I am a simpleton who claims that I could do some of that art myself with a blindfold on.

One point she made to me was that in something like minimalist art oftentimes the void of the canvas is an important aspect of the art as a whole. This seems to me to be what you are saying.

To try to restate your point, but in a less condescending way, are you saying that to you older editions were the pinnacle of design because the areas of the canvas devoid of rules complements the core rules that are there?
In part, yes.

I was trying to emphasize that it's not what is executed in the rules, but where the design of the game chooses NOT to lay down rules. Rules are frequently the death of imagination imo, and when there are gaps, you are encouraged to fill them in with imagination

If you deliberately avoid creating rules for something, that is a design decision just like creating a rule is. (Some might argue that failing to include a rule is an accidental gap, I tend to point to the fact that in 1e they had optional rules for all sorts of things, from detecting invisibility to aerial manuverabilty, that could be taken to ridiculous levels of scrutiny, and ask "If they went this far, do you really think they simply forgot?)

To me, the genius and the feel of the older edition is about what they consciously chose to stay silent on, and that silence is what makes it better. They could have created rules like "If you want to tell if an npc is lying to you, roll a d20 and roll below your wisdom stat and use such and such a modifier, or consult table 51p and roll percentile dice and modify as listed in subsection c. " endlessly, but they did not. They knew that by staying silent, they made it ambiguous and forced you to tread those grounds yourself. How do you tell if the DM's npc is lying to you? Maybe by investigating them? Maybe by charisma? Wisdom? Intelligence? A combination of all or none of these things? Who knows. That right there makes you speculate and invent, and use your imagination. And to me that's the name of the game here.

And for anyone that disagrees with my silence point, I counter with this.

The world's most elegant woman, Coco Chanel, was said to have advised the following when dressing with accessories: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Meaning that by consciously removing that one accessory, you didn't look "made up" you looked fresh and like you were not deliberately trying to pull of a certain fashion look and that you looked disarmingly unprepared, you broke the rules just a little bit, you just "were" as you were, chic. You didn't need to be prepared for every eventuality.

Likewise, Hitchcock, perhaps one of the greatest directors of all time didn't show us the murder in the shower in Psycho, why? Because he deliberately didn't. He was conspicuously silent on that murder visually. He let us fill in the blanks ourselves, because it forced us to use our imagination with what scared us the most out of all the possible bad results.

Artists use negative space to evoke and force the observer to engage and create in their own head. Negative space, or in this case, negative rules, do the same thing.

The old adage of "less is more" was true then and it's true now. Sure there are a lot of specific rules in AD&D, but most of them are "use them or not" type of rules. You can choose to ignore them at ease and it even encourages you to, Gary said that these are guidelines. Not so with later versions. Imagine for example if you cut out feats from 3.x and up. How do you think that your players would respond?

I think a well designed game knows when to talk and give guidelines, and when to stay conspicuously silent and let the DM and his players figure out how THEY are going to rule on things.
I think that concept is a valid one, and can't argue with it. I would add, however, that despite 5e having a skill system, I think it has many less rules governing the system than 1e does. Do you feel that 5e takes up more of the blank canvas with it's ruleset than 1e does?
First off, on this, would you be open to discussing that point more? Maybe on another thread if you like, so as not to derail this fine discussion. I'm really curious about your feelings there because I tend to find that 1e is (in my opinion) actually fairly rules lite save having a much more structured combat round. Surprisingly too, I find that 1e combat is a lot faster than 5e especially in particularly large melees.
 
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Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
I was mostly being facetious with my original post. When WotC makes content for D&D, I just don't want them to cut me out. That was how I felt during the 4E era - I felt the game was being designed to discard not only everything that came before, but everyone as well. I am very glad that 5E swung the completely opposite direction and feels like it was designed to be inclusive, even though a lot of the 4E "under the hood" design was carried over. I would like them to continue down the path that brought us 5E in the first place and not discount any particular group who plays now because we don't carry the economic weight of others.

I mean, original D&D writing was college level, but it still attracted the young crowd (I was 10 when I first got into the game). As long as they write the game for those who are actually playing (now) and those who will continue to play, and not for some mythical group of those they could never appease, they should do fine.
I was likewise 10 I think. And likewise I'm glad that they swung hard back toward the a more classic style with 5e. They just need to lose feats, the long rest full heal, the 3 death saves and such and I'll be much happier.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think that concept is a valid one, and can't argue with it. I would add, however, that despite 5e having a skill system, I think it has many less rules governing the system than 1e does. Do you feel that 5e takes up more of the blank canvas with it's ruleset than 1e does?
5e's unified design means that a lot more "blank canvas" can be covered with a lot fewer actual rules; and yes, I think it does cover quite a bit more than 1e.

For example, look how many different rules etc. were replaced with simple advantage-disadvantage. One rule covers at least the same amount of blank canvas* as a boatload of different rules in 1e.

* - whether it covers it as well or with a more/less attractive painting is a very open question; what not debatable is that the canvas is in fact covered.
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
It doesn't help that they actually included a 'you and yours rollplay, me and mine roleplay' line, which I thought was considered a hackneyed self-congratulatory canard back in the early 90s. There are a few valid points buried in the dross, but it is not a good look.
eye quirk In my experience the only sort of people that unironically use the comment "it is not a good look" would also use the word "optics" with a straight face.

But To address that "you and yours rollplay, me and mine roleplay line". Please... quote me where I said that precisely or retract the statement. I never made a me and mine vs thee and thine and claiming so is dishonest.

In fact let's give it a read.

"In new editions you have to roll for intimidate, or investigate, or any of a number of things that in 1e or 2e you just DID. That you role played, not Roll played. In those older editions the rules were silent about how you'd intimidate that guard, or how you searched for treasure, so instead you sat at the table with your friends and you spun stories of how you did those things. You had to talk to the guard and the DM, being a fair minded adjudicator, asked himself, did their friend do enough to pull it off. You didn't have a roll tell you if some NPC lied to them, you relied on the DM's acting skills to carry it off and you became canny to it. You ROLE PLAYED. Sure AC might have been a little bass ackwards... but who gave a flip?"

Hmmm, looks like it's all "you" and no "me" and I'm talking about where the current incarnation of the game puts emphasis.
I'll be clear on this.

In older editions you were encouraged to role play because in many cases there wa no mechanic otherwise, no call to roll dice, so you just either invented your own mechanic, or you roleplayed it. And yes there always have been people that "roll played" instead, because they derived pleasure from that , and more power to them, maybe one day they realized there was more to it all but if that was their joy, far be it from me to take that from them. But in newer editions it's encouraged to "roll" dice to decide things, and it's not done in a healthy or imagination stimulating way. It's done in a These are the rules, this is how you should do this way.

I can point to real world examples if you like.

1. In the Visual Media: Critical Role is one of the single biggest draws for new players today, and seen by many new players as "the way to play" . Their method is extremely heavy on dice rolls to decide everything. Even when the character's have extremely good reasons and describe their actions where you or I might not call for a dice roll due to outstanding rp, there are inordinate numbers of rolls for intimidate, deception, perception, investigation, and similar. This show is a big draw bringing in tons of new players and old ones as well, and with the full blessings of WotC to the point that they published the DM's own home brew world as an official setting. The message in the media is clear, "This is the ideal method of play, use this as a template for your play" There's even a term for it, the Matt Mercer effect. If they are presenting this as the ideal, players pick up on that and pattern their expectations on that. And many DM's are obliged to follow this expectation to ensure players have a positive table experience.

2. The official rules now put a heavy emphasis on use of stats, feats, skills and similar as a pure decision making instrument in game and place heavy emphasis on dice rolling to the point that people are encountering this sort of player regularly now. WotC - So, when do the announce the July book? Guesses on what it'll be? 🤔 I know I am, and others are as well. Mind you I am full aware there have always been people that refuse to look outside the box, I've played with them for decades from 1e on, and those people will cycle themselves out of the hobby eventually as they always do, but the number of them is increasing and it's becoming an issue considering WotC is exploiting this trend to drive sales and that encourages the rules to continue to emphasize roll over role. Corporations gotta corp I guess.

3. Official events and Adventurer's league type things are being instructed to push the rules and game mechanics.
From the Adventures league DM Guide. p3
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Adventurers League play uses fifth edition Dungeons and
Dragons. You can issue rulings to your table when the rules of
the game are ambiguous or vague, but you must otherwise
adhere to the rules as they are provided in the core rulebooks,
and can’t change them or make up your own; “house-rules”
aren’t permitted for use. You must always use the most
current incarnation of a rule.
I'd suggest you think about that. This is how the WotC is running things. That you must follow THEIR rules, and only theirs with the implication that doing otherwise makes you "other", and you must keep your game using the most current incarnation of those rules. What the hell happened to our hobby?

4. OSR groups are even publishing documents that compare and contrast modern play styles vs OSR play styles, with Modern being characterized as driven by dice rolling over player and character agency. If you want examples I'll be happy to send them to you. The common thread being that modern play emphasizes roll over role.

I'm not trying to draw some sort of one-upsmanship analogy here. I'm pointing out that WotC is not being a good custodian of our Hobby. They're pushing the game in a disturbing direction and in doing so they are trying to standardize and dictate terms to the community. In turn this authoritarian push is embedded in the rules, and will drive out the creativity and diversity of play that has been the hallmark of the genre.
Good stuff. I wish more of us had consistently seen that side of him.
I had the pleasure of working with Gary on the Legendary Adventures game. He was actually a joy to work with.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Precisely. It's meant in a more metaphorical way.

In part, yes.

I was trying to emphasize that it's not what is executed in the rules, but where the design of the game chooses NOT to lay down rules. Rules are frequently the death of imagination imo, and when there are gaps, you are encouraged to fill them in with imagination

If you deliberately avoid creating rules for something, that is a design decision just like creating a rule is. (Some might argue that failing to include a rule is an accidental gap, I tend to point to the fact that in 1e they had optional rules for all sorts of things, from detecting invisibility to aerial manuverabilty, that could be taken to ridiculous levels of scrutiny, and ask "If they went this far, do you really think they simply forgot?)

To me, the genius and the feel of the older edition is about what they consciously chose to stay silent on, and that silence is what makes it better. They could have created rules like "If you want to tell if an npc is lying to you, roll a d20 and roll below your wisdom stat and use such and such a modifier, or consult table 51p and roll percentile dice and modify as listed in subsection c. " endlessly, but they did not. They knew that by staying silent, they made it ambiguous and forced you to tread those grounds yourself. How do you tell if the DM's npc is lying to you? Maybe by investigating them? Maybe by charisma? Wisdom? Intelligence? A combination of all or none of these things? Who knows. That right there makes you speculate and invent, and use your imagination. And to me that's the name of the game here.
It's hard to respond to a giant wall of text, but I wanted to point out this part. As a fan of 1e, and as my preferred edition I played from 1981 to as recently as 2012, I am pretty familiar with the actual rulebooks. I suggest you open them back up. I'm guessing you started playing before me, but it appears you haven't actually looked at the 1e rulebooks in a long while.

1e had more rules than 5e does. Sorry, that's a fact. Do a word count. And what you quote as being optional aren't. Well, they weren't called out as such. They were the actual rules. I mean, sure they were optional in so far as any rule is optional, but to say they were optional while inferring that modern rules for skill checks aren't is disingenuous. Not only did 1e have rules for flanking, and attacks of opportunity that most old schoolers seem to keep forgetting, but it had a bunch of wonky rules newer editions got rid of, like weapon vs armor tables.

So when you keep making this argument about how great AD&D was because of what it didn't make a rule for, it tells me you have no idea how AD&D was actually written, because when you look at the actual rulebooks, that white space is filled with archaic rule after archaic rule.

This is coming from a guy who loves AD&D--me. I'm not hating on the system, but we have to be honest here. It may seem more rules lite with more white space because we (and everyone I knew at the time) just ignored most of those rules. But that doesn't change the fact they existed. And we are to be fair, we have to apply the same standard to every edition. It's dishonest of us to ignore half the rules in AD&D while complaining about and judging modern editions by all of their rules. AD&D was notorious for NOT choosing to stay silent, but to create a rule for everything. Gary was a pretty big stickler on that, just open up any editorial on the topic from Dragon, or his own passages from the DMG.

3. Official events and Adventurer's league type things are being instructed to push the rules and game mechanics.
From the Adventures league DM Guide. p3
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Adventurers League play uses fifth edition Dungeons and
Dragons. You can issue rulings to your table when the rules of
the game are ambiguous or vague, but you must otherwise
adhere to the rules as they are provided in the core rulebooks,
and can’t change them or make up your own; “house-rules”
aren’t permitted for use. You must always use the most
current incarnation of a rule.

I'd suggest you think about that. This is how the WotC is running things. That you must follow THEIR rules, and only theirs with the implication that doing otherwise makes you "other", and you must keep your game using the most current incarnation of those rules. What the hell happened to our hobby?

That's AL. It was very much the same in tourney modules back in the day. Why did you think the RPGA started? This isn't Wotc changing how things are run. They have always been that way at convention or organized play.

Edit Heck, go read the PREFACE in the 1 DMG. Gary is pretty explicit saying how the rules must be followed if you are to play AD&D, and variation to the rules is "dangerous". I'm sorry, but your arguments hold no water and are factually inaccurate.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
In older editions you were encouraged to role play because in many cases there wa no mechanic otherwise, no call to roll dice, so you just either invented your own mechanic, or you roleplayed it. And yes there always have been people that "roll played" instead, because they derived pleasure from that , and more power to them, maybe one day they realized there was more to it all but if that was their joy, far be it from me to take that from them. But in newer editions it's encouraged to "roll" dice to decide things, and it's not done in a healthy or imagination stimulating way. It's done in a These are the rules, this is how you should do this way.
Yeah, that's because there's been a bit of a change in design philosophy in the player's favor. They now give you more tools to have a challenge apply to a PC and their defined abilities and not just the player. You can still play out the interaction - that's never changed. But now, there's a more systematic method of determining how well the PC performed rather than having the DM simply determine how well the player played him. Moreover, these systematic methods were designed to enable the player to have a better estimate of how good at a challenge their PC is likely to be so they can make more meaningful decisions.
Of course, with 5e, the DM can and is encouraged to just adjudicate it if they think the outcome is clear. So the game is coming full circle despite corporations having to corp (or whatever)...

3. Official events and Adventurer's league type things are being instructed to push the rules and game mechanics.
From the Adventures league DM Guide. p3
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Adventurers League play uses fifth edition Dungeons and
Dragons. You can issue rulings to your table when the rules of
the game are ambiguous or vague, but you must otherwise
adhere to the rules as they are provided in the core rulebooks,
and can’t change them or make up your own; “house-rules”
aren’t permitted for use. You must always use the most
current incarnation of a rule.
I'd suggest you think about that. This is how the WotC is running things. That you must follow THEIR rules, and only theirs with the implication that doing otherwise makes you "other", and you must keep your game using the most current incarnation of those rules. What the hell happened to our hobby?
I submit you really don't understand the point of Adventurer's League and other forms of public shared campaign or society play (which, at various point, extended to other games and companies other than WotC games). The rules lay out a common standard as a measure of quality control so that players taking their PCs from event to event have some element of a uniform experience with a variety of DMs.
But as far as home games go, the D&D rules are also quite clear - the rules aren't in charge. The DM is. That also applies to any other public event like a convention game that isn't specifically Adventurer's League.
 


Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
3. Official events and Adventurer's league type things are being instructed to push the rules and game mechanics.
From the Adventures league DM Guide. p3
THE RULES OF THE GAME
Adventurers League play uses fifth edition Dungeons and
Dragons. You can issue rulings to your table when the rules of
the game are ambiguous or vague, but you must otherwise
adhere to the rules as they are provided in the core rulebooks,
and can’t change them or make up your own; “house-rules”
aren’t permitted for use. You must always use the most
current incarnation of a rule.
I'd suggest you think about that. This is how the WotC is running things. That you must follow THEIR rules, and only theirs with the implication that doing otherwise makes you "other", and you must keep your game using the most current incarnation of those rules. What the hell happened to our hobby?
I have a little experience with this facet, having run Adventurers League games for conventions and hobby shops for several years. In League play, there is a heavy emphasis on the Rules As Written, precisely because people otherwise unknown to one another must play together at these events. Few people can bring their whole regular group to a convention, and even when they do why would they pay money to play an adventure with the same people they play with for free? In order to level the playing field for convention play, an emphasis has been put on running the most recent incarnation of the RAW, and de-emphasizing DM creativity in rules creation. DMs are still encouraged to make up encounters to fill areas where the module authors or playtesters didn't think to push the boundaries and an edge case crops up, with a table doing something unexpected. That's fine and a joy to see happen. However, as with any system, once you have a system in place someone will try to game it. Some people feel that they "win" when they have ruined someone else's experience, either with their own skill at character creation or with some item or benefit they have derived from another scenario. So, a lot of effort is put in to smooth out wrinkles and make it possible to accommodate as many people of differing playstyles as possible.

However, if you check out Dragon+ articles, Wizards goes out of their way to encourage new and different things in people's home games. They love it when somebody Twitch streams their home game where everybody is a member of a Victorian England occult society adventuring on a Sword & Planet version of Mars, or whatever. Because that drives D&D into people's headspace, and that's just good advertising. People complain that "D&D" is synonymous with "RPGs" in the minds of many non-gamers, and it is -- they've spent a lot of advertising dollars to make it so, because that's just good marketing. They've put a lot of "OSR-adjacent" optional rules in the DMG to try to cater to a more OSR-style of play. They are also big on emphasizing inclusiveness, and representation, and a lot of other things; they may be a little more hit-and-miss on those. But the signs seem encouraging to me. And I don't even do D&D as my main RPG.
 

I have a little experience with this facet, having run Adventurers League games for conventions and hobby shops for several years. In League play, there is a heavy emphasis on the Rules As Written, precisely because people otherwise unknown to one another must play together at these events. Few people can bring their whole regular group to a convention, and even when they do why would they pay money to play an adventure with the same people they play with for free? In order to level the playing field for convention play, an emphasis has been put on running the most recent incarnation of the RAW, and de-emphasizing DM creativity in rules creation. DMs are still encouraged to make up encounters to fill areas where the module authors or playtesters didn't think to push the boundaries and an edge case crops up, with a table doing something unexpected. That's fine and a joy to see happen. However, as with any system, once you have a system in place someone will try to game it. Some people feel that they "win" when they have ruined someone else's experience, either with their own skill at character creation or with some item or benefit they have derived from another scenario. So, a lot of effort is put in to smooth out wrinkles and make it possible to accommodate as many people of differing playstyles as possible.

However, if you check out Dragon+ articles, Wizards goes out of their way to encourage new and different things in people's home games. They love it when somebody Twitch streams their home game where everybody is a member of a Victorian England occult society adventuring on a Sword & Planet version of Mars, or whatever. Because that drives D&D into people's headspace, and that's just good advertising. People complain that "D&D" is synonymous with "RPGs" in the minds of many non-gamers, and it is -- they've spent a lot of advertising dollars to make it so, because that's just good marketing. They've put a lot of "OSR-adjacent" optional rules in the DMG to try to cater to a more OSR-style of play. They are also big on emphasizing inclusiveness, and representation, and a lot of other things; they may be a little more hit-and-miss on those. But the signs seem encouraging to me. And I don't even do D&D as my main RPG.
Essentially Adventurers League is the 5E incarnation of the old RPGA, then. So standard rules would be the norm and expected.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
WoTC embraces Critical Role, and Matt is very loose with the rules. Any argument that WoTC forces rules only while AD&D was all about houserules isn't all that up to speed with AD&D rulebooks or with Critical Role and it's relationship with WotC. 🤷‍♂️
 

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