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D&D General On Grognardism...

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
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.\
I have had a couple responses to your earlier posts that I've nearly posted but which I then asked myself, do you really want to respond to someone that is clearly this combative and clearly looking for a fight, and I erased them.

A question for you, do you not realize that this thread is about what we think and feel is unique about the earlier systems and how it speaks to us as individuals?

That means you saying "BUT YOU'RE WRONG" is you saying "NO THATS NOT WHAT YOU THINK! I KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY THINK BETTER THAN YOU DO. YOU THINK THIS INSTEAD"

Do you not see the sheer out and outright disrespect of this sort of attitude?

Me, I have disrespect for a game system, but I don't have disrespect for people. I am not accusing you of being wrong, or trying to invalidate your opinions, while you are clearly not showing me the same respect. Adjust your attitude please.

If you do not see this, message me directly and we can discuss this man to man, I'll be happy to pick up the phone or skype or whatever and we can work out whatever has your dander up. Fair?

Now, to the point.

P9 1e DMG
Col 1 Paragraph 5.

The final word, then, is the game. Read how and why the system is as if is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement.

Gary and others went more into this later in other works and in later (2e) dmg, saying clearly that the rules as presented in the DMG were guidelines and that ultimately it was the DM's job to choose what he wanted for his game.

And what you quote as being optional aren't.

Except they are. As pointed out above
Well, they weren't called out as such.
Again points up.
I'm sorry, but your arguments hold no water and are factually inaccurate.
See the start of my response. Message me at your convenience.
 
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Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
Well, it all got standardized; and, unfortunately, as @Sacrosanct points out, Gary lead the charge with that, even though he personally never DMed that way. WotC has continued with the standardization started with AD&D and perfected it.
Except Sacrosanct is wrong. As I pointed out, Gary gave very clear consent to "and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement" yes Gary did try to standardize D&D to a degree to help people not make the same mistakes he and his playtesters did in earlier iterations and while trying out new classes, races, and rules changes. And yes, Gary never DMed using the base rules, he used home rules aplenty, I'd know. And that should be a clear indication of how he intended the rules to be received, as a set of guidelines, like training wheels to help fledgling dms and player find a firm footing, and then modify and play as best worked for them. Standardization was intended for giving people what's called a "base case" or "happy path" Everything else springs from there and should be welcomed.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I have had a couple responses to your earlier posts that I've nearly posted but which I then asked myself, do you really want to respond to someone that is clearly this combative and clearly looking for a fight, and I erased them.

A question for you, do you not realize that this thread is about what we think and feel is unique about the earlier systems and how it speaks to us as individulas?

That means you saying "BUT YOU'RE WRONG" is you saying "NO THATS NOT WHAT YOU THINK! I KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY THINK BETTER THAN YOU DO. YOU THINK THIS INSTEAD"

Do you not see the sheer out and outright disrespect and hubris of saying that?

Me, I have disrespect for a game system, but I don't have disrespect for people. I am not accusing you of being wrong, or trying to invalidate your opinions, while you are clearly not showing me the same respect. Adjust your attitude please.

If you do not see this, message me directly and we can discuss this man to man, I'll be happy to pick up the phone or skype or whatever and we can work out whatever has your dander up. Fair?
YOU were the one to start your discussion edition warring, and making false claims to do so, not me. This isn't a matter of opinion or telling you what you think, this is you making demonstratedly false claims (like saying you read 10 pages and no one listed the parts of the system they liked, when clearly that isn't true). If someone pointing out to you that the basis of your argument used to disparage other systems is objectively wrong, and you take that as a personal attack or disrespect, that speaks more of you than me. You're welcome to your opinions, and I couldn't care less about them. But you are not entitled to treating your opinions as fact, especially when they have been proven to be otherwise.
Now, to the point.

P9 1e DMG
Col 1 Paragraph 5.

The final word, then, is the game. Read how and why the system is as if is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement.

Gary and others went more into this later in other works and in later (2e) dmg, saying clearly that the rules as presented in the DMG were guidelines and that ultimately it was the DM's job to choose what he wanted for his game.



Except they are. As pointed out above

Again points up.

See the start of my response. Message me at your convenience.

I'll repeat what I said above, because it seems you've missed it even though you quoted it 🤷‍♂️ :
"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."

You made disparaging attacks on other editions based on false claims. Me pointing those out to you isn't an attack. It's simply calling out double standards when making an argument to attack other editions. You make a comment about modern editions and WoTC forcing RAW when that's only in AL (which is the same as AD&D did with the RPGA), and then make a citation like this above to infer all rules in AD&D were optional while ignoring how the DMG in 5e says the same thing. Those are double standards I'm referring to. If you don't want those pointed out, then don't make them.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Except Sacrosanct is wrong.
No I'm not. Regardless of how Gary played personally, it is a fact that in the preface of the DMG, he says stresses several times how you should not deviate from the rules, calling it "dangerous' as a matter of fact. This is something that is easily verifiable by looking the actual words in that preface.

What you're doing is saying that all rules in 1e are optional by a later vague comment, and saying WoTC is forcing RAW instead of rulings, despite the 5e DMG literally saying:

The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren’t in charge. You’re the DM, and you are in charge of the game.

It’s Your World

In creating your campaign world, it helps to start with the core assumptions and consider how your setting might change them. The subsequent sections of this chapter address each element and give details on how to flesh out your world with gods, factions, and so forth.

The assumptions sketched out above aren’t carved in stone. They inspire exciting D&D worlds full of adventure, but they’re not the only set of assumptions that can do so. You can build an interesting campaign concept by altering one or more of those core assumptions, just as well-established D&D worlds have done. Ask yourself, “What if the standard assumptions weren’t true in my world?”



Of the two editions, which one says following the rules is critical, and deviating from them is dangerous? It's not 5e. And yet, you're trying to make the argument that is literally the opposite of what each rulebook actually says. This isn't my opinion or your opinion, this is actual text from the books.
 
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Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
YOU were the one to start your discussion edition warring, and making false claims to do so, not me. This isn't a matter of opinion or telling you what you think, this is you making demonstratedly false claims (like saying you read 10 pages and no one listed the parts of the system they liked, when clearly that isn't true).

You are the one that started this with accusations of "rife with speculation and nothing concrete." This is a ridiculous attempt at provocation and was frankly beneath me to reply to other than to point out that starting a post by claiming another's "posts are rife" with anything or that there is "nothing concrete" in them, is a base attempt at provocation via insult by claiming their opinion has no merit and shows a disturbing lack of character. There, now that is an insult. The fine gentleman that I replied to read what I had to say and saw at least in part what I was saying and put it in terms of Art and negative space. He understood, something clearly you did not.

That said I beg to differ that you laid out in detail an answer to the specific question as you claimed you had. The question as asked, was

"If you think RPG design peaked in the late 70s, what about that design speaks to you so strongly?"

you stated

"the things that appealed to me the most about early D&D were rulings over rules,"

In my opinion that is not you answering the question about what about the DESIGN speaks to you, at all. How people interpreted or ruled on the rules, is not design, it is the minutia of defining ambiguities in the rules, as a designer you should know, that is not design. And while that is an entirely valid (for you) reason why you liked it and I'd not gainsay you your preference or cast aspersions on you for deriving enjoyment from the system in that way. (That you gain pleasure in the discussion and clarification of the rules and the reasons behind them is absolutely a valid reason to enjoy something,) But it really doesn't speak to the design itself, does it? So, you did not answer the posters question as it was asked, did you? The answer should be obvious that NO you did not.

Further you stated;
I don't think it "Peaked" in the late 70s, but that style of play has an appeal to me, and it's not just nostalgia. As I mention in the preface of the OSR project I'm working on:

Now that is partially on topic, explaining that you feel it did not peak in the 70's kudos to you on that score. I likewise think it still hasn't peaked. There is always a higher peak to reach for.

"I firmly believe that just because an edition may be newer (even if it does a lot of great things), that it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a better experience for everyone, and thus I honestly feel like there is room in the modern gaming world to enjoy an old school style of game play and to give gamers that option."


Again, in my opinion you failed to answer the question. You mentioned a like for the style of play, not what in the game design appeals or fails to appeal to you. A style of play can be encouraged or discouraged by constructing the game experience to reflect that style, but style of play does not speak to the design of the system.

If you disagree with this summary, please indicate why you feel you answered the question.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
You are the one that started this with accusations of "rife with speculation and nothing concrete." This is a ridiculous attempt at provocation and was frankly beneath me to reply to other than to point out that starting a post by claiming another's "posts are rife" with anything or that there is "nothing concrete" in them, is a base attempt at provocation via insult by claiming their opinion has no merit and shows a disturbing lack of character. There, now that is an insult.

Your posts were rife with speculation and nothing concrete. That's not an attack. That's a fact. You entirely speculated why the survey results were how they were, unless you have some proof to back your claim up. And your other comments about how each edition is structured were factually untrue, as has been shown.

I'm sorry you seem to take disagreement of your claims as a personal attack or insult. I'd suggest if you want to avoid that, then stop making false claims and edition warring. 🤷‍♂️

In my opinion that is not you answering the question about what about the DESIGN speaks to you, at all.

As far as design, I said this:

" ...rulings over rules, easy to modify to your own preferences, speed of play, lethality (sense of danger) and the emphasis on creating your own gameworlds and adventures."

Those things are speaking to the actual mechanics and design. I note how you omitted the last part of that sentence in your quote however. Perhaps if you didn't omit the parts that contradict your argument, you wouldn't have an argument...
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
In fairness this was also true with regards to the RPGA in 1e / TSR days: you had to play it pretty much by the book, mostly so chatacters could be transferred from one game ot another without too many headaches.
 

Gary did try to standardize D&D to a degree to help people not make the same mistakes he and his playtesters did
We, that is, Gary and myself as play-testers, co-designers and co-DMs, made no mistakes, whatever that means.

Gary standardized the rules for 3 reasons:

1) In a move to extricate Arneson from AD&D and thus from the initial concept, which TSR lost in an out of court settlement;
2) To sell adventure modules one had to have a consistent, standardized rules set--TSR's catalog AD&D era was 80% adventures; it was about empowering TSR's market, mostly. The RPGA was a mirror image of that;
3) To guard against encroaching competition from other RPG companies.

Just for the record Gary never played by the rules, he was the rule as a DM, so was I. That philosophy originated (commercially) with OD&D, but even though it was mentioned as "possible" in AD&D, that old ideal was subsequently squashed by the newly minted Random House deal in concert with the burgeoning of TSR's customer base because of that, which introduced a tidal wave of predominantly by the book players who were groomed to purchase pre-made materials and who had not experienced the previous DIY model we at first extolled and made successful (i.e., a full 100% of players roughly 1974-1977 were DIY only). With the changed and standardized rules leagued with pre-made adventures (1977-present) DIY has diametrically decreased to the point of insignificance. Your assuredness is misplaced, kinda like saying that even though the circus pulled out of town their tent stakes are still there. I should know, I watched it rise to its apex and then fall overnight to an establishment model. Its blood was shed long ago, and only droplets remain to be curiously examined, kinda like any ancient ruin...
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
No I'm not.
Yes you are, and this quote
" The final word, then, is the game. Read how and why the system is as it is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement"
proves it.

He is saying it very clearly to paraphrase, "Learn the rules, understand them in context, then cut what you want. " That he says in the preface that he expects you to add to it, and later says "cut portions as needed" is pretty freakin' clear.

I can say that this was his attitude in general because, as I mentioned, I did in fact work with Gary, happy to provide proof of it if you like, and spoke extensively with him about his thoughts on rules, home brews, and their applications thereof. His goal in 1e was not what you claim it to be.
in fact here ya go. I even got a "who rocks" out of him.
20210628_125027.jpg


Regardless of how Gary played personally, it is a fact that in the preface of the DMG, he says stresses several times how you should not deviate from the rules, calling it "dangerous' as a matter of fact. This is something that is easily verifiable by looking the actual words in that preface.

you mean this?

When you build your campaign you will tailor it to suit your personal tastes. In the heat of play it will slowly evolve into a compound of your personality and those of your better participants, a superior alloy. And as long as your campaign remains viable, it will continue a slow process of change and growth. In this lies a great danger, however. The systems and parameters contained in the whole of ADVANCED DUNGEONS 8 DRAGONS are based on a great deal of knowledge, experience gained through discussion, play, testing, questioning, and (hopefully) personal insight.
Limitations, checks, balances, and all the rest are placed into the system in order to assure that what is based thereon will be a superior campaign, a campaign which offers the most interesting play possibilities to the greatest number of participants for the longest period of time possible.

Or do you mean this.

The danger of a mutable system is that you or your players will go too far in some undesirable direction and end up with a short-lived campaign. Participants will always be pushing for a game which allows them to become strong and powerful far desire is to issue a death warrant to a campaign.

Or this?

Variation and difference are desirable, but both should be kept within the boundaries of the overall system. Imaginative and creative addition can most certainly be included; that is why nebulous areas have been built into the game. Keep such individuality in perspective by developing a unique and detailed world based on the rules of ADVANCED D8D. No two campaigns will ever be the same, but all will have the common ground necessary to maintaining the whole as a viable entity...


So, let's see... he acknowledges that the campaign, and even the rules and complexity of your games will change and grow over time, and he warns against having a mutable system that will create short lived campaigns if the participants become too strong and powerful too quickly. So he warned against the dangers of munchkins, min maxers, and optimizers and running a system that caters to them...And this is him warning about deviating from the rules as canon is where precisely?


What you're doing is saying that all rules in 1e are optional by a later vague comment, and saying WoTC is forcing RAW instead of rulings, despite the 5e DMG literally saying:

It’s Your World

In creating your campaign world, it helps to start with the core assumptions and consider how your setting might change them. The subsequent sections of this chapter address each element and give details on how to flesh out your world with gods, factions, and so forth.

The assumptions sketched out above aren’t carved in stone. They inspire exciting D&D worlds full of adventure, but they’re not the only set of assumptions that can do so. You can build an interesting campaign concept by altering one or more of those core assumptions, just as well-established D&D worlds have done. Ask yourself, “What if the standard assumptions weren’t true in my world?”



Of the two editions, which one says following the rules is critical, and deviating from them is dangerous? It's not 5e. And yet, you're trying to make the argument that is literally the opposite of what each rulebook actually says. This isn't my opinion or your opinion, this is actual text from the books.

You seem to be claiming that Gary warned "deviating from the rules is dangerous". Is that what you're saying? If so please state it directly, say
"Gary said that the rules are critical and deviating from them is dangerous"
I can find no such statement to that effect from him saying this in the preface.
I've included the only uses of "dangerous" in that entire preface. Perhaps you are mistaken?
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Essentially Adventurers League is the 5E incarnation of the old RPGA, then. So standard rules would be the norm and expected.
I also ran RPGA stuff previously for years, and agree wholeheartedly. Nothing much changed in the approach of the Organized Play campaign to rulings and houserules. I wasn't a member of it when the RPGA was 1st edition/2nd edition AD&D, but I have to think that it was pretty much the same. I've spoken with long-time members who remember characters with hundreds of magic items and hundreds of hours of playtime.
 

Ifurita'sFan

Explorer
We, that is, Gary and myself as play-testers, co-designers and co-DMs, made no mistakes, whatever that means.
Hey Rob! , nice to see you here.
re misakes. Of course you didn't. Everything was always a learning experience, never a mistake. :)
What I meant of course was that while play testing, the various things that were tried and which you all decided did not work. That you were trying to pass on your valued and hard won experience.
Gary standardized the rules for 3 reasons:

1) In a move to extricate Arneson from AD&D and thus from the initial concept, which TSR lost in an out of court settlement;
Too true and a sad situation. Wish it hadn't gone down like that.
2) To sell adventure modules one had to have a consistent, standardized rules set--TSR's catalog AD&D era was 80% adventures; it was about empowering TSR's market, mostly. The RPGA was a mirror image of that;
3) To guard against encroaching competition from other RPG companies.

Just for the record Gary never played by the rules, he was the rule as a DM, so was I. That philosophy originated (commercially) with OD&D, but even though it was mentioned as "possible" in AD&D, that old ideal was subsequently squashed by the newly minted Random House deal in concert with the burgeoning of TSR's customer base because of that, which introduced a tidal wave of predominantly by the book players who were groomed to purchase pre-made materials and who had not experienced the previous DIY model we at first extolled and made successful (i.e., a full 100% of players roughly 1974-1977 were DIY only). With the changed and standardized rules leagued with pre-made adventures (1977-present) DIY has diametrically decreased to the point of insignificance. Your assuredness is misplaced, kinda like saying that even though the circus pulled out of town their tent stakes are still there. I should know, I watched it rise to its apex and then fall overnight to an establishment model. Its blood was shed long ago, and only droplets remain to be curiously examined, kinda like any ancient ruin...
I can understand the sentiment, but at the same time from my discussions with him, he made it clear to me at least, that his goal was to provide a framework to start with, and that individuals should be smart enough to read and understand that you keep what you can use, cut the useless bits out, and develop from there. We've all had to deal with people that take the written word as somehow sacrosanct, rules lawyers, power gamers and the rest. But the intent, the way I understood it, was there to not be a "by the book" player or DM.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Yes you are, and this quote
" The final word, then, is the game. Read how and why the system is as it is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement"
proves it.

He is saying it very clearly to paraphrase, "Learn the rules, understand them in context, then cut what you want. " That he says in the preface that he expects you to add to it, and later says "cut portions as needed" is pretty freakin' clear.

I can say that this was his attitude in general because, as I mentioned, I did in fact work with Gary, happy to provide proof of it if you like, and spoke extensively with him about his thoughts on rules, home brews, and their applications thereof. His goal in 1e was not what you claim it to be.
in fact here ya go. I even got a "who rocks" out of him.
View attachment 143618



you mean this?

When you build your campaign you will tailor it to suit your personal tastes. In the heat of play it will slowly evolve into a compound of your personality and those of your better participants, a superior alloy. And as long as your campaign remains viable, it will continue a slow process of change and growth. In this lies a great danger, however. The systems and parameters contained in the whole of ADVANCED DUNGEONS 8 DRAGONS are based on a great deal of knowledge, experience gained through discussion, play, testing, questioning, and (hopefully) personal insight.
Limitations, checks, balances, and all the rest are placed into the system in order to assure that what is based thereon will be a superior campaign, a campaign which offers the most interesting play possibilities to the greatest number of participants for the longest period of time possible.

Or do you mean this.

The danger of a mutable system is that you or your players will go too far in some undesirable direction and end up with a short-lived campaign. Participants will always be pushing for a game which allows them to become strong and powerful far desire is to issue a death warrant to a campaign.

Or this?

Variation and difference are desirable, but both should be kept within the boundaries of the overall system. Imaginative and creative addition can most certainly be included; that is why nebulous areas have been built into the game. Keep such individuality in perspective by developing a unique and detailed world based on the rules of ADVANCED D8D. No two campaigns will ever be the same, but all will have the common ground necessary to maintaining the whole as a viable entity...


So, let's see... he acknowledges that the campaign, and even the rules and complexity of your games will change and grow over time, and he warns against having a mutable system that will create short lived campaigns if the participants become too strong and powerful too quickly. So he warned against the dangers of munchkins, min maxers, and optimizers and running a system that caters to them...And this is him warning about deviating from the rules as canon is where precisely?




You seem to be claiming that Gary warned "deviating from the rules is dangerous". Is that what you're saying? If so please state it directly, say
"Gary said that the rules are critical and deviating from them is dangerous"
I can find no such statement to that effect from him saying this in the preface.
I've included the only uses of "dangerous" in that entire preface. Perhaps you are mistaken?


Again...


You made the claim that WoTC is pushing RAW, when back in the day all those rules were optional in 1e. And 1e was great because of all that "white space." That was the core argument you were making in several posts. Let's break this down:

White space claim: Not true. There were more rules in 1e DMG than in 5e. Heck, the 1e DMG has over 300,000 words compared to 5e's 80,000. That doesn't mean there are more than 3x as many rules because you can't compare word for word, but it is a pretty good indicator, especially when you look at the actual content of those books, that 1e had significantly more rules for things. This isn't my opinion or your opinion. These are things we can verify by looking at the books.

That alone makes your claim dubious. But where it really goes off the rails is when you claim that all those rules in 1e are optional based on that one line despite 2 pages of warning against changing the rules right before it, but don't consider 5e rules optional when it says the same thing about being optional and doesn't have 2 pages of warnings telling you to adhere to the rules or it's dangerous.

Is that clear enough?

So I stand by my original post. You went on a diatribe against modern editions using false assumptions and speculation, showing a lack of understanding about both 1e and modern editions. Old men shouting at clouds to take a dig at modern editions laying on your lawn.

Edit I don't know why you keep name dropping him, or have to show a book with your names in it. No one is asking for that. And quite frankly, it doesn't matter. What matters is what appears in the actual books because that's what gamers had in front of them. That's how the masses were told to play. You could have been Gary's personal pool boy and that wouldn't change how your claims are factually incorrect. If it did matter, Rob (who grew up with Gary and presumably has a better knowledge of who he was than you), agrees with me in how the book was presented to be played.
 
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Hey Rob! , nice to see you here.
re misakes. Of course you didn't. Everything was always a learning experience, never a mistake. :)
What I meant of course was that while play testing, the various things that were tried and which you all decided did not work. That you were trying to pass on your valued and hard won experience.

Too true and a sad situation. Wish it hadn't gone down like that.
Nice. Ever hear of quitting when you're behind?

Anywhoo, happy trails... pard...
 

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 ran it twice a week at a nearby FLGS for years before covid in a high population high density high tourism area & one thing I've found to be true is that the playerbase breaks down into two groups
  • Group one is by far the largest. They don't really care much about what is AL legal & what isn't as long as they can sit down to have some fun playing d&d with strangers & maybe strangers turned friends
  • Group 2 used to be pretty sizable but shortly before covid the GMs involved collectively decided they were going to ditch AL in favor of a peudo westmarches thing in a semi-shared sandbox. These players were a blight on d&d similar to goldfarmers in an MMO. They would do things like ask all the GMs what they were running that night & join the table expected to have the most awesome magic item with a PC that had no magic items in order to just automatically get said item. Why?... who knows. A lot of AL treasure changes were made to thwart the worst aspects of these types of players but wotc very much appears to have internalized those changes & modified the magic item/treasure allowance in the HC adventures they publish for AL's stupid system (nutshell in here) could pickup the slack without bothering to mention it in the HC itself for less experienced GMs to feel empowered picking up the slack in interesting ways that fit their table when not running AL.
 
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Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
  • Group 2 used to be pretty sizable but shortly before covid the GMs involved collectively decided they were going to ditch AL in favor of a peudo westmarches thing in a semi-shared sandbox. ... A lot of AL treasure changes were made to thwart the worst aspects of these types of players but wotc very much appears to have internalized those changes & modified the magic item/treasure allowance in the HC adventures they publish for AL's stupid system (nutshell in here) could pickup the slack without bothering to mention it in the HC itself for less experienced GMs to feel empowered picking up the slack in interesting ways that fit their table when not running AL.
In my experience, the more accounting-heavy, gold-value treasure method they put in was one of the least-popular decisions made by the AL organizers. I understand its purpose, but it led to several AL tables ditching the AL rules for home games; the only tables that stayed AL had players who were planning to bring their characters to conventions.
 

In my experience, the more accounting-heavy, gold-value treasure method they put in was one of the least-popular decisions made by the AL organizers. I understand its purpose, but it led to several AL tables ditching the AL rules for home games; the only tables that stayed AL had players who were planning to bring their characters to conventions.
That one went in with ToA & yea it was an abomination due to punishing everyone in group1 to insulate them from the worst of group2. Said system was pretty much dropped immediately after ToA so now at level 5 players get a +1 item then at various level tiers after that (10/15/17?) they again can just pick things from a list (see earlier link). There was a great section in the 2e dmg about the importance of treasure as a reward mechanism on page 115, the current HC stuff since ToA very much tries to avoid the problem of AL folks not being able to get the treasure they find by pretty much never putting anything of value in. Doing that creates players who spend serious amounts of their adventuring gear saving for basic gear, unable to afford the inks needed to scribe spells from a spellbook they found, etc. What little treasure & magic items they sprinkle in is so rare that players pretty much need to metagame the adventure itself with a list/map of treasure along with where/how to get it.
 

lingual

Adventurer
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.



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.
I remember in ADnD, you actually rolled for your skills. Or secondary skill in the old DMG. Wanna be a pirate? Well you technically didn't have that choice.

As far as rules complexity? You are totally right. Just take a look at the grappling, pummeling rules. And psionic combat! That just plain sucked imo. Did we need a complete listing of diseases and mental illnesses?

And I love ADnD and still play it. Just gotta admit it's faults. The notion of distance was overly complex too with the 10feet vs 10yards thing... It's partly because of these eccentricities that I love it. Not going to proclaim that it's more creative or "better" in anyway though. Nostalgia is what it is.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I remember in ADnD, you actually rolled for your skills. Or secondary skill in the old DMG. Wanna be a pirate? Well you technically didn't have that choice.

As far as rules complexity? You are totally right. Just take a look at the grappling, pummeling rules. And psionic combat! That just plain sucked imo. Did we need a complete listing of diseases and mental illnesses?

And I love ADnD and still play it. Just gotta admit it's faults. The notion of distance was overly complex too with the 10feet vs 10yards thing... It's partly because of these eccentricities that I love it. Not going to proclaim that it's more creative or "better" in anyway though. Nostalgia is what it is.
Yep. There are a lot of legit reasons to like 1e, and more than just nostalgia. But we can't ignore how the game was actually written to disparage other editions. Maybe I'm just tired of the same old edition wars, I dunno. I don't even like 4e, but I try to be honest about my criticisms.

B/X was rules lite. 1e was very much not. I am convinced that it felt rules lite to people because many were learning the game during 1e as their first exposure to an rpg (because they were still a relatively new thing), and the rules were so wonky, complex, and overly confusing that most people just ignored most of them and just winged it. THAT'S where the rulings over ruled came from; certainly not from the rules themselves.

As I said upthread, 1e was my preferred game from 1981 to 2012 when the next playtest was announced, and that whole time, I never played with more than half of the rules. I don't think my situation was unusual.

But let's be honest. Many of the things people complain about in newer editions: flanking rules, opportunity attacks, skill checks, magic item bloat, etc? They all existed in 1e.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
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.

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.

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.
I don't see the need to split off a side discussion about rules comparisons. I can sum up my case pretty adequately here.

3e went a long way towards unifying D&D by unifying behind the basic "Most things you do are going to have you roll a D20 and add something and you are going to try to equal or beat a DC". This concept is actually separate from the idea of blank canvas space, but it's an important concept of why I say that 5e is the most rules light version of the game.

By removing the various subsystems of Old School and consolidating them you empower a player to gain system master easier (which speeds up gameplay) but also it allows a GM to improvise something while remaining within the bounds of challenges the party might encounter.

As a concrete example....let's say I want to include some undead in my adventure design. The party had a 9th level cleric. In am Old School game I would have to break out the turning chart to see what kind of undead the cleric could turn, destroy, or have no power over.

In 5e I don't have a codified chart, as any undead can be turned by any cleric. This frees me up as the GM to include, let's say a mummy for theme purposes" without fear it isn't going to work with the party.

I feel more empowered to improvise in a system that doesn't have those codified bits that limit things.

As another example, let's take the idea of a surprise round. In 5e it's very simple and relies entirely on GM fiat to decide if any person or thing is surprised. Then you run combat as normal and all the surprised beings can't take a tions on the first round. That's it...the entire rule.

I can't even begin to tell you the rule for surprise rounds in 1e, because we never used the actual rules when we played back in the day. I know it's an opposed d6 roll with I think mtiple rounds of surprise, but then you have classes that roll different dice and monsters that have different interactions....and it's kind of a mess.

Finally I'll point to something pretty basic, the weapon table. Weapons have reach values, initiative modifiers, different damage versus different sized foes, and even adjustments based on the AC of the opponent in 1e. 5e has nowhere near this comexity.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
As another example, let's take the idea of a surprise round. In 5e it's very simple and relies entirely on GM fiat to decide if any person or thing is surprised. Then you run combat as normal and all the surprised beings can't take a tions on the first round. That's it...the entire rule.

I can't even begin to tell you the rule for surprise rounds in 1e, because we never used the actual rules when we played back in the day. I know it's an opposed d6 roll with I think mtiple rounds of surprise, but then you have classes that roll different dice and monsters that have different interactions....and it's kind of a mess.

Finally I'll point to something pretty basic, the weapon table. Weapons have reach values, initiative modifiers, different damage versus different sized foes, and even adjustments based on the AC of the opponent in 1e. 5e has nowhere near this comexity.
Yeah, the surprise rules in 1e were a mess, particularly when you had some characters who surprised 4 in 6, others who were surprised only 1 in 6, and monks who were surprised only a decreasing percentage of time, and other newly introduced creatures surprised on other dice. It sucked badly. 2e cleaned it up significantly though.
 

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