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D&D 5E Randomness and D&D

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
For my 13yo and his friends' game, I've taken to using a d12 for a luck die when they try something that is outside the rules (and not obviously an ability check) or in place of wandering monster checks.

"That seems a bit sus. Roll me a d12 and get really high..."
"That sounds reasonable, let's see if anything goes wrong. Roll me a d12 and don't get a one..."
"Lets see how much trouble you have getting there... higher is more trouble..."
etc...
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
For my 13yo and his friends' game, I've taken to using a d12 for a luck die when they try something that is outside the rules (and not obviously and ability check) or in place of wandering monster checks.

"That seems a bit sus. Roll me a d12 and get really high..."
"That sounds reasonable, let's see if anything goes wrong. Roll me a d12 and don't get a one..."
"Lets see how much trouble you have getting their... higher is more trouble..."
etc...
Nice. I’ve done similar with 2d6.
 

So how do you feel about this? How much randomness do you want in a game? Do you hate it when a named, powerful NPC goes down due to a lucky crit or a flubbed save? Do you groan with dismay if a Wild Magic Sorcerer sits down at your table?
I think there's a difference between randomness and swing.

A lot of swing has been taken out from combat, certainly. I think I read somewhere that there was a design goal of having a 60% chance to hit for a level appropriate opponent. I dislike how WotC mechanical achieved that result, but I respect the design goal.

Randomness is great for some magic items, bags of beans and... the one where you throw a furry friend at something. I appreciate those since you have a random chance of 6-8 results. Eventually, it is likely that you as a player will experience every result that the item can produce. It is unlikely that would happen with a wand of wonder, which has 30+ results. (Although that may be a poor example. Arguably you shouldn't.)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I think the books lean further into the 'less random' category because it is easier for newer players who are learning all the ins-and-outs of DMing to figure out how to work around the dice rolls and keep the game moving when that randomness is not so extreme or providing wildly weird results.

Especially considering it is much easier for the longer-running and more experienced DMs who enjoy that randomness to re-insert that randomness into their own games in whatever places they so choose. From a design perspective, I suspect WotC feels it is much better to have experienced DMs choosing to explode out a more conservative system, than it is for inexperienced DMs having to try and rein in a crazier one.
 

HaroldTheHobbit

Adventurer
I hate random tables during play. For me, it takes away a lot of the fun of being a GM, as I love to improvise and riff of my players actions and choices in-game. And my players are very good at building suboptimal characters on their own, focusing on roleplaying and interesting concepts, rather than "winning" by rolling 18/00 in STR.

For me, randomness in the roll-the-dice sense is a gamey way of playing, while we focus more on letting the roleplaying take us where it may. It's more social pillar, drama, webs within webs of intrigue, rather than rolling dice on treasure tables.

But different strokes etc.
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
Now with this I disagree. Published adventures (we call them "canned modules") can and do work very well in a randomness-heavy game*. Most of the adventures I run are canned, either written by someone else or by me. It's very rare if ever that I run a whole adventure off the cuff, though almost all none of the between-adventures stuff, travel encounters, etc. is preplanned.

Where randomness causes headaches is if one is trying to run a hard AP as the campaign, or keep things on a tight course.

* - either that, or I've been mighty lucky all these 38 years.
It is possible that I've just been extraordinarily unlucky over a similar length of time, but I've never--not once--played in a published adventure that was more than a time-filler, and I've never--not once--been able to make enough sense out of any to run them.
 

I feel like randomness is more in charge, not less in 5e. Yeah, your ability score rolls aren't so important, but that's because so few of your stats matter more than the d20 roll now. And I hate it.

When roiling my own, I have way more 'slay the dice' abilities like rerolls, setting the roll to a specific number, etc.
With no disrespect or sarcasm intended, I can't tell if you are being serious or not.

In what way do you find ability scores not important in 5e? They are a third to half of the bonus to the roll, aren't they?
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
It is possible that I've just been extraordinarily unlucky over a similar length of time, but I've never--not once--played in a published adventure that was more than a time-filler, and I've never--not once--been able to make enough sense out of any to run them.
What do you mean by time-filler? How are non-published games not time fillers?
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
What do you mean by time-filler? How are non-published games not time fillers?
The ones I played in that were ... OK, were OK to play in, in groups that were gaming together primarily as an excuse to hang out (if that makes sense). There were some that were ... OK, at least for a while, if a GM insisted on running them instead of trying to come up with their own material. There was some overlap in those.

An adventure or a campaign about the PCs and their interests and goals feels different to me, as a player and as a GM. I don't remember any instances of any such adventure I was involved with feeling like a time-filler to me, but it's possible there was at least one I don't remember.

In my experience, playing a published adventure is almost never about the PCs or their interests or their goals, precisely because the adventures are written to be dropped into play at just about any table. I've found that the longer the adventure (or series of), the more likely this is to be a problem.
 


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