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General Player Preferences

What things are important to you as a player in a D&D campaign?

  • An overarching story/plot.

    Votes: 34 39.5%
  • A highly detailed world.

    Votes: 27 31.4%
  • NPCs with depth and personality.

    Votes: 56 65.1%
  • Interesting factions with which to interact.

    Votes: 28 32.6%
  • A high degree of player choice in the direction of the campaign.

    Votes: 36 41.9%
  • Varied adventure or subplots in different types of environments or locations.

    Votes: 48 55.8%
  • Detailed exploration as a mode of play.

    Votes: 25 29.1%
  • Detailed downtime as a mode of play.

    Votes: 15 17.4%
  • Mechanical character advancement options (aka levelling).

    Votes: 37 43.0%
  • Non-mechanical character advancement (aka fame, titles, etc...)

    Votes: 25 29.1%
  • The ability of the PCs to directly and significantly impact the world.

    Votes: 50 58.1%
  • Dungeons.

    Votes: 30 34.9%
  • Dragons.

    Votes: 20 23.3%
  • (Monetary) Treasure.

    Votes: 11 12.8%
  • (Magical) Treasure.

    Votes: 32 37.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 10.5%

  • Total voters
    86

Reynard

Legend
Just a quick poll from the player side of things. Basically the question is: which of the listed things are important to you as a player in a regular, ongoing campaign. Obviously you can pick as many as you want and you should certainly vote "Other" and explain if there's something I did not list. The intent is to simply paint a broad strokes picture for no particular reason than curiosity.
 

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I like to immerse myself, inhabit, and explore detailed fantasy world. I don't want an overarching story. The story is just what happens during the game.

In fiction terms, I want a game driven by character interacting with a larger world, not an artificially planned plot (yuck!).
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Factions, NPCs, and player impact for me. That tends to get you a detailed world, but one that emerges out of play, and also tends to lead to whatever play styles and modes the table wants to explore. The players can impact the fiction and the fiction can impact them back. NPCs and Factions have goals and motivations that have movement, effects, and teleos, as do the players. Once you have some conflict there pretty much everything else that happens will be pretty cool.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
This is going to depend on the version of D&D we're talking about for me. I adapt my preferences and expectations according to the game I'm playing. I chose my responses above according to what I want to see in a D&D 5e game.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
I like having my character's actions affect the world in some way. It could be small: rescue an NPC, or allow a mook bandit to live and then, later, find out how that small decision changed something: The rescued NPC's teenager becomes an adventurer that we meet later or the bandit becomes a thorn in our side, or starts doing good after we showed mercy.

I really enjoy long-term plans. Creating my own faction, become the leader of a faction etc... So, a sandbox with lots of varied groups is important.
 

Tallifer

Hero
My favourite campaigns as a player have been sandboxes à la Westmarches. But I always want to turn them into a big Quest to change the World. I have to confess that I also like gaining levels and magical bling.
 

Fenris447

Explorer
I like the big hero stories. Start small, and eventually effect change on a global scale. I can see the appeal of small, local stories. But once you go long enough and gain enough power, it only makes sense to have epic adventures.

My campaign is set up to eventually lead to all that. There are big things happening in the world, and the characters are going to get involved one way or another. How and why they do that is up to them, and the world will react to them as they make bigger and bigger waves. I see my campaign as a slightly more open-ended Mass Effect. The conflict is happening whether you participate or not. But the major players are decided by you and your actions, and the ultimate outcome belongs to the choices you've made to get there.
 

aco175

Hero
I like varied places. Not all need to be fantastic, but tombs with traps and basic dungeons get old so mix it with a cemetery, a tower, sewers, a hedge maze, a river boat, etc...

I also like a cool item or two. I tend to combine items like a magic sword and boots of flying.
 

One thing I didn't see, that's pretty important to me when I'm a player, is that I have lots of opportunities to play my character. That is to say, the DM doesn't just chivvy us from one dungeon to another, from combat to combat, but allows us all to role-play our characters. This gives the game room to breathe, and gives us each the chance to interact with each other and the world.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Factions, NPCs, and player impact for me. That tends to get you a detailed world, but one that emerges out of play, and also tends to lead to whatever play styles and modes the table wants to explore. The players can impact the fiction and the fiction can impact them back. NPCs and Factions have goals and motivations that have movement, effects, and teleos, as do the players. Once you have some conflict there pretty much everything else that happens will be pretty cool.
It's funny, because I agree 100% with you on NPCs (and in fact voted that way) but I loathe just about every faction element in every game I've ever played, and I don't use them as a DM. I also think I'm more willing to live with the DM working out more of the world than you are, so long as the PCs have a chance to change it.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I voted for at least half of the things on this list. I also need my own character to have a fully-developed personality and backstory, not just the NPCs. I'll sometimes come up with pages of backstory.
 

Saelorn

Hero
There are two things that I look for in a prospective D&D campaign:

1) Don't assume that everyone will want to use all of the supplements, as though we were still playing 3E.

2) Some sort of plan to address the non-sensical natural healing rate. If it's possible to go from 1hp to perfectly fine over the course of eight hours rest, then I'm out.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
It's funny, because I agree 100% with you on NPCs (and in fact voted that way) but I loathe just about every faction element in every game I've ever played, and I don't use them as a DM. I also think I'm more willing to live with the DM working out more of the world than you are, so long as the PCs have a chance to change it.
Factions are not automatically cool, and they aren't necessarily plug and play either. You need factions that add to the specific table fiction and that are there for a reason, not just added 'because'. What I like about them is that they are actors in their own right, and push back or with PC impact on the fiction. They give characters a chance to have authentic connections, allies, and enemies in the game world too. I have pretty broad definition of faction too. Politics is factions, social class stuff can be factions, as well as stuff like guilds and actual organizations. When you have a common frame of reference for those they get easy to use as the GM, and easy to relate to one another, as well as to the characters. For example, cities are, in some ways, more profitably described in terms of interlocking factions and loyalties than in terms of geography.
 

Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
I ticked about half-a-dozen, but my top two (for RPGing in general) are a variety of adventures in a variety of locales; and clear PC impact on the world. For D&D specifically, add on mechanical advancement of PCs (ie, "Ding! Time to level up, woot!").
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Voted "other" as merely "Dragons" doesn't cover my preference for "A large variance of cool and interesting monsters and-or villains".

Another thing not listed at all that's important for me is this:

"The freedom to play my character(s) in the way I want to play it(them)". As in, an underlying ethos of almost-anything-goes.

EDIT: thought of another important factor:

"The campaign is open-ended with no pre-set conclusion or end point in mind".
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I ticked about half-a-dozen, but my top two (for RPGing in general) are a variety of adventures in a variety of locales; and clear PC impact on the world. For D&D specifically, add on mechanical advancement of PCs (ie, "Ding! Time to level up, woot!").
Funny - level-up and mechanical advancement is probably the very least important thing for me on that whole list, and that's coming from a D&D (old school) background.
 


Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
Funny - level-up and mechanical advancement is probably the very least important thing for me on that whole list, and that's coming from a D&D (old school) background.
Yeah, it's generally the least important thing for me, too.
Except for "D&D". ;)
 

I'd consider almost everything on there important to some degree, though not in every game. I made a arbitrary mental line of importance for purposes of voting so I only ended up with 2/3 of them.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Many of those are somewhat important but not essential. The only essential part of the game I cannot live without is exploration, and in a regular long-term campaign a detailed fantasy world also becomes necessary.
 

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