No flips for you!
That's not... look, genre is characterized by recurring themes, styles, forms, or subject matters. It isn't "pick one of each and write them down and you have a genre!" We could do Dune this way, and end up with book, physical tome (paperback), prose, and desert planets. This is a useless approach!Can you explain "the D&D genre" using that definition so I can understand what you mean?
This is where I'm coming from...
Where does "the D&D genre" fit? Under form, style, or subject matter?
- category of artistic composition: game
- genre/form: tabletop, pen and paper
- genre/style: roleplaying
- genre/subject matter: fantasy, science fiction
Instead, you look for the recurring things, the things that group together that are distinct from other such things. In D&D, that's going to be the zero-to-hero, or the massive and fast power-fantasy curve that D&D provides. It's going to be the group-first play where everything is about the group and not the individual characters. Here, players are expected to subsume any character wants for the group, doing otherwise is considered bad play. And it's also about how combat is the primary way to deal with things -- games of D&D that don't heavily feature combat are notable as exceptions.
If you're inside the D&D bubble, it's really hard to see this stuff, because it's just normal and everyday for you.
I have been. Zero to hero; combat as primary resolution method, even the specific kind of detailed in some ways but very abstract in others combat engine; group focused play; I'll even add murderhoboism, because this is a nearly natural state of play that GMs have to do extra things to counter. Dungeons or adventure sites as a unit of play, even!Can you explain "the tropes of D&D" using that definition so I can understand what you mean?
It has been my stance that the rules for personality and background are a device that establishes a predictable or stereotypical representation of a character in the game of Dungeons & Dragons.
I mean, for instance, if I were to guess about your game, I would guess that it features a party of characters who, for reasons that are largely superficial, have banded together and go on dangerous adventures with each other. That these characters don't do much at all on their own, or for their own agendas, unless the party agrees to do so. That most problems the party encounters are solved through combat, or are things that need to be overcome to get to a combat. And that the party started as zeros -- easily dispatches and dealing with low level threats -- and have rapidly increased in ability and power -- usually moving from this state to one of distinctly more power within a matter of a few weeks of in-fiction time. And that, with this increase in power there is no commiserate increase in responsibility or connection to the fictional world.
But, one of the huge ones, is that D&D is a game where play is mostly to find out what the GM thinks the fiction is. Note I didn't say story, although that can fit in there, but even in the sandboxiest D&D games you're still usually playing to find out what the GM's fiction is.
ETA: and to forestall any complaints I'm being mean, the above describes my D&D games. I even make effort to more closely tie the PC in my games to the world, lean on BIFTs with houserules to beef them up, and even try to encourage individual goals by making action adjudication less sensitive to "there's talking get the bard" style play of needing the best bonus. And, yet, compared to other games, all of the above is still true in D&D. Yet, I still play it and enjoy it, I just do so for what it is. Because despite this, there's still a good game there.