D&D General On Grognardism...

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
So you agree that it is a spectrum (or continuum) but disagree that it is not? ;-) I think you just fleshed out my point: there is no clear boundary between grognard and non-grognard except, perhaps, for certain groups of purists who circle the wagons around whatever group of editions they feel is "true D&D."

We could also call such folks "Grognard absolutists," with a relative perspective also possible - as you say re: 3E. Relative to new players who started up with 5E, 3E players are grognards, or at least groggy. As with most things, it really depends on how you look at it, where you draw the line.

This is why I see it as existing on a spectrum: a grognard is in relation to what the current, dominant demographic is. As someone fast approaching the half-century mark, I kind of laugh at millenials making comments about feeling old, out-dated, starting to be passed by by zoomers. Hey, it is the way of things. Time waits for no nerd, and we're all doomed for grognardism eventually.

Grognards are just the previous generation. "But I was the one that used to be cool!"

To be honest, it's better to come by your grognard-ism honestly, than to try to hard to stay all hip and relevant. Or, to put it in more relatable terms- there is nothing worse than ....

giphy.gif
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I have to push back on this point, at least, because however true it might be on paper, it was never true in practice. Unless for whatever reason you played campaigns where fighters and thieves never got magic items, which would clearly run against the design intent of old D&D. There's a reason that fighters and thieves can use magic swords (you know—the best magical weapons, the ones with all the coolest powers, and the commonest results on the treasure tables) while clerics and mages cannot.

Codifying player abilities via feats or proficiencies, meanwhile, absolutely does limit what players can do. If you don't have the proficiency or the feat, you can't do the thing. That's inarguable. Having a mechanic in the game that gives a PC permission to do a thing isn't transferring power from the DM to the player—it's transferring power from the DM to the rules framework.
I remember similar with the flip side of that typically ignored coin being casters fearfully depending on their crunchy allies to protect them from that zomgdeadly skeleton chasing them around the room. As much as the squishies depended on the crunchy types, the inverse occurred too with those caster allies to giving them the buffs needed to be even more awesome & engage in the sort of battlefield management needed to keep rougher encounters safe & wise application of oh $@#@ emergency nukes when everything goes sideways that spells could do so they don't get swarmed in ways that create potentially death spiral adjacent situations. The martials got tons of cool magic items to do awesome magic stuff & both groups needed to work together at all levels to keep each other safe from the things they couldn't handle alone.

Before someone pipes up "but codzilla", even in the heyday of 3.5 codzilla was generally acknowledged as a design problem. Thoughtlessly sticking concentration on nearly every buff & debuff even while putting a thumb on the scale with monster design & what are frequently unused by design almost good barely ok spells doesn't "solve" the codzilla problem, it overreacts to shatter the give & take crunchy/squishy bond where they need to work together
 

Mercurius

Legend
Grognards are just the previous generation. "But I was the one that used to be cool!"

To be honest, it's better to come by your grognard-ism honestly, than to try to hard to stay all hip and relevant. Or, to put it in more relatable terms- there is nothing worse than ....

giphy.gif
Ha, true.

On the other hand, I think many of "our" generation (I think you are X?) have a bigger case of puer aeternus than previous generations, and that at least part of that is healthy: keeping child-like wonder alive, being interested in new things, still playing. The alternate is the kind of atrophied, desiccated adulthood that, well, has given us the world we live in. I'm thinking of Ursula K Le Guin's excellent defenses of fantasy from the 70s, when she spoke of the value of imagination and remaining playful. As she put it, "the healthy adult is the child who survived."

Of course the problem is avoiding the "Peter Pan syndrome," which is embodied by your gif.

My daughters are now 12 and 16 and while most of our cultural references and interests diverge, I do find that there are some commonalities that exist that wouldn't if I hadn't kept my interest in new things alive. They tease me about my limited smartphone skills, but on the other hand my 16-year old and I enjoy listening to downtempo electronica while I'm teaching her to drive.
 

5e PCs are very sturdy... but there is a lot less munchkinism than 3e. The importance of your "build" is lessened, and because of attunement rules, you are very limited in the number of magical items you can have. Furthermore you can't buy/build them easily. Also, the concentration rules mean you can't "stack" a lot of buffing spells to transform yourself in an unstoppable magical juggernaut.
I should point out that I have bare bones knowledge of both 3E and 5E, and can only compare them to 1E/2E, so I'll take your word for it. As I said earlier, no matter what dislike I have for the newer versions, lots of people like them, so AFAIC, WOTC is doing a great job giving people what they want, more power to them. If I'm a grognard, at least I'm a tolerant one :)
 

jgsugden

Legend
I'm not going to have an edition war, though you seem to want to have one, and frankly need to chill a bit...
Pot. Kettle. Black.
But you're arguing that people couldn't do other stuff, and as such it was bad for certain kinds of fantasy. That's factually wrong...
I'm arguing that the game structure tended to push people away from storytelling and more towards 'pick your action off the menu' game play, with most abilities being too similar. Again, we both agree this has been litigated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. No need to say anything further.
 

I hate to insert myself in the middle of a semiheated argument brewing, but I think there is a lot of misinformation or just badly misinterpreted things being said :D

This is something I largely agree with entirely those rules structures present in 3.x enabled all of this and included room for the sort of let the gm decide unfilled space @transmission89 (or at least some others) are advocating for in the 1e/2e style of some areas that were just brought forward largely void of rules in 5e with the one size fits all (dis)advantage system. that allowed the player to confidentially act with greater freedom backed p by the rules themselves do do things within the shared fiction feeling like they have at least some capability of understanding what the cause & effect will be. For whatever reason 5e chose to ignore that in favor of nu rules are somehow best rules & (dis)advantage is the perfect hammer in all situations.

Specifically that mechanic was the combination of two parts known as "the dms best friend" & "stacking bonuses]"/bonus types. A lot of hate gets applied to bonus types over how they could be poorly used if you ignored the advice explaining not to in the rule itself, but if you actually read those sections rather than kneejerk regurgitation of decades worth of misinterpretations (totaling less than a page here) it's easy to see how it helps meet the needs of both osr ask your gm style & the more modern rules heavy. Not only that, it does so in a rules light easily extensible framework that can be applied to nearly any situation or simply tossed aside in favor of letting the gm make something else up.

The different editions did different things better & had different weaknesses. The +2/-2 & bonus types is one example, standardizing where bonuses & penalties kicked in on the attribute arrays in 3.x over the attribute by attribute from earlier editions is another. Having those arrays generally kick in with -1/+1 at 6 & 15ish rather than 8 & 12 is an area the older editions did it better by not making players feel so forced to use the most optimal attribute placements.



Actually crafting items in 3.x took a feat, (generally) someone having the ability to cast a particular spell, potentially unique ingredients, a boatload of gold, and a nontrivial amount of exp consumption. If bob could craft a kickass sword because he took the relevant feat instead of powerattack or whatever good for bob. Being able to craft that badass sword didn't allow him to craft rings boots armor or whatever too unless he further invested in even more feats to make becoming a custom crafted christmas tree all that more difficult.

You & so many other proponents of 5e''s choice to go with an exclusive 3 attunement slot system as the only limiter are ignoring another important factor on magic item availability though. If I as the gm did not put a particular magic item out for the players to find it simply did not exist for them to put on their character sheet. That lack of existence was not something players could sidestep by going to a npc crafter/shop either because I as the gm still had the final say over what was available & what if any limitations or changes it had over PC buying hopes.

Attunement is a good system, but like (dis)advantage it should not be the only system even if others are simply options for the gm to employ. Slot types & affinities was something that had value but getting rid of it means that I can't throw out minor magic items that don't need attunement due to not being worth attunement for +1 to baketweaving checks made on the deck of a ship in stormy seas even if that's somehow cool. 5e's perfect hammer for all situations tendency is one of its greatest weaknesses.
Insert away. There's no argument from my part. Just bafflement!
I understand what you're saying about 3.x, but from my point of view about it, I respectfully disagree. Of course, this is entirely subjective. I'm more than happy to play it, but will never DM a 3.x based system again. It may have had those spaces you described, but to be honest, I never felt like it. I felt suffocated by those rules, being afraid to make rulings on the fly in case they contradicted some RAW buried away somewhere.
Those feats were a pain point, and again, from my subjective point of view, I do feel they inhibited my players rather than empower. They were also an absolute PITA for me as a DM. I spent so long trying to focus on the feat aspect of the monsters, and the mechanics, It took an age to create encounters and worry about if I was running them right or they were balanced. This is why I feel older games are more liberating. Monsters I can whip up on index cards, not have to worry about mechanics and just enjoy the fiction of it. OFC, YMMV
 

S'mon

Legend
I would have rather they had consulted others that had more actual old school experience... Like, perhaps, Rob Kuntz, Luke Gygax, Lawrence Schick, Frank Mentzer, or what not.
I suspect that wouldn't have worked, because few in the first generation can or have introspected about what they do/did, or why it works so well. Although Rob Kuntz here does seem like a smart fellow. :D
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Insert away. There's no argument from my part. Just bafflement!
I understand what you're saying about 3.x, but from my point of view about it, I respectfully disagree. Of course, this is entirely subjective. I'm more than happy to play it, but will never DM a 3.x based system again. It may have had those spaces you described, but to be honest, I never felt like it. I felt suffocated by those rules, being afraid to make rulings on the fly in case they contradicted some RAW buried away somewhere.
Those feats were a pain point, and again, from my subjective point of view, I do feel they inhibited my players rather than empower. They were also an absolute PITA for me as a DM. I spent so long trying to focus on the feat aspect of the monsters, and the mechanics, It took an age to create encounters and worry about if I was running them right or they were balanced. This is why I feel older games are more liberating. Monsters I can whip up on index cards, not have to worry about mechanics and just enjoy the fiction of it. OFC, YMMV
And that could be a weakness of 3.x, it doesn't make5e's decision to treat everything else in 3.x as some kind of untouchable sin that must be excised from the thinking of fine upstanding people who only need a single hammer for all situations & all items in all types of campaigns that all groups play through.
 


And that could be a weakness of 3.x, it doesn't make5e's decision to treat everything else in 3.x as some kind of untouchable sin that must be excised from the thinking of fine upstanding people who only need a single hammer for all situations & all items in all types of campaigns that all groups play through.
You'll brook no opposition from me there either as I'm just as disinterested with 5e as well. After a few years, I've grown bored with it, It's not what I want from D&D and to me, it is becoming something that is not what I personally see "as D&D". Of course, "What is D&D?" is another totally subjective view point. If people enjoy it, all power to them.
 

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