D&D General Rant: Sometimes I Hate the D&D Community


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jasper

Rotten DM
I am going to disagree with this one because of one specific thing.... Adventurer's League.

For people that only play in home games, I agree there is no reason to get caught up in a lot of this, you can always ignore it/change it. However, for those who play Adventurer's league, they are often bound to the changes that WOTC releases.... and so I feel have a legitimate right to criticize changes they feel will detract from the games they are currently involved in.
AHEM and pass me the new update. Now I got go update my new cheat sheets for newcomers.

I mainly do Adventure League. So, when a new book, or AL update comes out. I have to check my knowledge and reload. Or I get a "Lore Lover" correcting me over a minor issue which really does not matter to the rest of the table. Correct me if I wrong but with SpellJam Or SpellJelly dropping next month, AL will have 54 legal races and WOTC has dropped 67 races.
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
I recently joined a 5e game. As part of actually trying to grock this thing 5e) I have been reading the threads about 5e rules. (Yes, I've also been reading the rules.) From reading of the threads I have to ask, does anyone playing 5e actually like it as a system?

Many posters here wax lyrical and lovingly about favourite campaign settings, lineages, classes, and of course the great moments in their games. But very few posters speak kindly of the actual system.

Am I wrong in this supposition?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Loves probably the wrong word but it's top 3 favorite edition for me and what we play because it's what people want.

The other 2 in that top 3 editions are 2E and B/X. They do things that 5E can't they're not better as such but different enough to be interesting and I like running them.
 


Oofta

Legend
I recently joined a 5e game. As part of actually trying to grock this thing 5e) I have been reading the threads about 5e rules. (Yes, I've also been reading the rules.) From reading of the threads I have to ask, does anyone playing 5e actually like it as a system?

Many posters here wax lyrical and lovingly about favourite campaign settings, lineages, classes, and of course the great moments in their games. But very few posters speak kindly of the actual system.

Am I wrong in this supposition?
I like the rules, it's my favorite version of the game and I've played them all. People I play with enjoy the game and the majority of the rules.

On the other hand nothing is perfect. I think strength based characters should have better range weapon options, and it's dumb that longbow (which require a great deal of strength in real life) use dex. So I make them versatile in my campaign.

There's also no way to please everyone. I think they made the right choice on stealth rules, other people want something I would dislike.

It's a complex game. Everybody finds things they don't like and some people just like to complain.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I think a lot of the criticism does come from a place of...well like Zardnaar said, not love, but affection. 5e has the potential to be a truly great system. But you would expect, after 50 years of gaming, that all the warts and bugbears (not the monsters, lol, they are fine) would be smoothed out by now.

In making their "greatest hits" edition, we got some of the obtuse, and even arcane quirks that every edition is known for, and sometimes the murkiness of why something works a particular way, or even how something is intended to function, is so unclear it reminds me a lot of AD&D.

And the developers like to claim that this is on purpose, so that every table can approach a problem in a way that makes sense to them, and lets them have fun.

But really. You could do that in any edition, any game. People play Uno and Monopoly wrong in households across the world, and that's just fine- it doesn't mean that Hasbro is suddenly going to stop printing a rulebook for Monopoly and say "you can just make up the rules!".

But people accept that with D&D. I've been playing ttrpg's since the 80's, and I'm going to be honest here. I am not a profession game designer. I have made it my mission to try and learn the rules of the games I play, and even try to understand why they are the way they are, so that if I do make a house rule, I'm hopefully making a good one.

WotC are professional game designers. They could have given us a better game, with less strange interactions, odd rules, and bizarre loopholes to deal with. They chose not to, and told us to fix it, like we're Bethesda's modding community.

But that has two problems. One, we can never say that the game is as polished as one made by professionals (if we're all being honest). And even then, even if it's perfect and fine for a given group, it makes it almost impossible to have a discussion about the game, because everyone plays it differently!

Pick any thread about rules debates. You have these long arguments about what the rules say you can and can't do, often over the most trivial things, because we're each interpreting what is "fun" and "fair" from our own experiences alone!

One person might say, for example, that not letting a guy with a two handed sword take his hand off said sword to cast a spell, and then put it back to swing it without the Use an Object action is a proper ruling, because they feel it's unrealistic (as in, it affects their verisimilitude), or it's a balancing factor for powerful builds.

Another might find tracking such things trivial, as you're rarely talking about a difference of more than a point or two of damage for doing the exact same thing with a versatile weapon like a longsword!

But we argue these points because we don't have common ground, because the developers refused to clarify any kind of corner cases.

Can I use an AoE spell while under the effects of Symbol of Hopelessness? One guy says sure, it's RAW. Another says it's against the spirit of the rules. Who is right?

Well the DM is, but this sort of thing means that a guy who plays at one table, who moves to another, might end up having to deal with a completely different set of rules when playing the same game!

You might say, well, every table has house rules, but those are usually handed out in a six page document. In this case, the DM doesn't consider it a house rule, because that's how he thinks the game operates!

And that strikes me as being a ridiculous state of affairs in 2022.
 

Oofta

Legend
I think a lot of the criticism does come from a place of...well like Zardnaar said, not love, but affection. 5e has the potential to be a truly great system. But you would expect, after 50 years of gaming, that all the warts and bugbears (not the monsters, lol, they are fine) would be smoothed out by now.

In making their "greatest hits" edition, we got some of the obtuse, and even arcane quirks that every edition is known for, and sometimes the murkiness of why something works a particular way, or even how something is intended to function, is so unclear it reminds me a lot of AD&D.

And the developers like to claim that this is on purpose, so that every table can approach a problem in a way that makes sense to them, and lets them have fun.

But really. You could do that in any edition, any game. People play Uno and Monopoly wrong in households across the world, and that's just fine- it doesn't mean that Hasbro is suddenly going to stop printing a rulebook for Monopoly and say "you can just make up the rules!".

But people accept that with D&D. I've been playing ttrpg's since the 80's, and I'm going to be honest here. I am not a profession game designer. I have made it my mission to try and learn the rules of the games I play, and even try to understand why they are the way they are, so that if I do make a house rule, I'm hopefully making a good one.

WotC are professional game designers. They could have given us a better game, with less strange interactions, odd rules, and bizarre loopholes to deal with. They chose not to, and told us to fix it, like we're Bethesda's modding community.

But that has two problems. One, we can never say that the game is as polished as one made by professionals (if we're all being honest). And even then, even if it's perfect and fine for a given group, it makes it almost impossible to have a discussion about the game, because everyone plays it differently!

Pick any thread about rules debates. You have these long arguments about what the rules say you can and can't do, often over the most trivial things, because we're each interpreting what is "fun" and "fair" from our own experiences alone!

One person might say, for example, that not letting a guy with a two handed sword take his hand off said sword to cast a spell, and then put it back to swing it without the Use an Object action is a proper ruling, because they feel it's unrealistic (as in, it affects their verisimilitude), or it's a balancing factor for powerful builds.

Another might find tracking such things trivial, as you're rarely talking about a difference of more than a point or two of damage for doing the exact same thing with a versatile weapon like a longsword!

But we argue these points because we don't have common ground, because the developers refused to clarify any kind of corner cases.

Can I use an AoE spell while under the effects of Symbol of Hopelessness? One guy says sure, it's RAW. Another says it's against the spirit of the rules. Who is right?

Well the DM is, but this sort of thing means that a guy who plays at one table, who moves to another, might end up having to deal with a completely different set of rules when playing the same game!

You might say, well, every table has house rules, but those are usually handed out in a six page document. In this case, the DM doesn't consider it a house rule, because that's how he thinks the game operates!

And that strikes me as being a ridiculous state of affairs in 2022.

It may strike you as a ridiculous state of affairs, it strikes me as the decision by the development team to create a flexible game. They tried answering every question with errata or additional source books with 3.x, it was a never-ending rabbit hole of clarifications. They tried locking it down to specific things you can do and had the unintended consequence of practically eliminating creativity and spontaneous approaches to resolve challenges* in 4E. They had a set of concrete rules for stealth, they chose not to use them because they could never cover every scenario and felt it worked better to let each group decide how to handle it. It was the right decision.

I think the fact that we have different ways of doing things so that my game can have a different feel than yours is a strength, not a weakness. There is no way the devs could answer every possible edge case. Even if they could, people would just complain about the answers.

*At least for a lot of groups, I'm sure there were exceptions.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It may strike you as a ridiculous state of affairs, it strikes me as the decision by the development team to create a flexible game. They tried answering every question with errata or additional source books with 3.x, it was a never-ending rabbit hole of clarifications. They tried locking it down to specific things you can do and had the unintended consequence of practically eliminating creativity and spontaneous approaches to resolve challenges* in 4E. They had a set of concrete rules for stealth, they chose not to use them because they could never cover every scenario and felt it worked better to let each group decide how to handle it. It was the right decision.

I think the fact that we have different ways of doing things so that my game can have a different feel than yours is a strength, not a weakness. There is no way the devs could answer every possible edge case. Even if they could, people would just complain about the answers.

*At least for a lot of groups, I'm sure there were exceptions.
One of the things that won me over to playing 4e, as I was very comfortable playing 3.5 with all the books I had amassed- sure the game had lots of warts, but enough options existed that I could cobble together something remotely balanced and fun out of it- and it was a game I knew well, unlike this strange new game that seemed half-baked, was it's public play.

D&D Encounters was a blast, and got me out of the house every Wednesday to head to my local game store. And it was a gateway to Living Forgotten Realms, which represented the majority of my ttrpg gaming for a few years.

Why do I bring this up? Because 5e is atrociously bad for public play. The game is impossible to run "as written", and, if each individual table has it's own rulings to follow (or worse, in the case of my FLGS, tries to use RAW and developer tweets as rules over any kind of common sense, lol), it quickly becomes a headache.

Does my character work the same way at table A or table B? I only occasionally had to worry about that in 4e, but man oh man, is it a pain in 5e. After a year, I was done. IMO, 5e can only be played in a home game successfully, which is sad, since I like meeting and playing with other gamers often.
 

payn

Legend
I recently joined a 5e game. As part of actually trying to grock this thing 5e) I have been reading the threads about 5e rules. (Yes, I've also been reading the rules.) From reading of the threads I have to ask, does anyone playing 5e actually like it as a system?

Many posters here wax lyrical and lovingly about favourite campaign settings, lineages, classes, and of course the great moments in their games. But very few posters speak kindly of the actual system.

Am I wrong in this supposition?
It's everybody's second favorite system!
 

Oofta

Legend
One of the things that won me over to playing 4e, as I was very comfortable playing 3.5 with all the books I had amassed- sure the game had lots of warts, but enough options existed that I could cobble together something remotely balanced and fun out of it- and it was a game I knew well, unlike this strange new game that seemed half-baked, was it's public play.

D&D Encounters was a blast, and got me out of the house every Wednesday to head to my local game store. And it was a gateway to Living Forgotten Realms, which represented the majority of my ttrpg gaming for a few years.

Why do I bring this up? Because 5e is atrociously bad for public play. The game is impossible to run "as written", and, if each individual table has it's own rulings to follow (or worse, in the case of my FLGS, tries to use RAW and developer tweets as rules over any kind of common sense, lol), it quickly becomes a headache.

Does my character work the same way at table A or table B? I only occasionally had to worry about that in 4e, but man oh man, is it a pain in 5e. After a year, I was done. IMO, 5e can only be played in a home game successfully, which is sad, since I like meeting and playing with other gamers often.
I rather enjoy AL games. If there's ever anything I suspect could be ruled multiple ways I'll ask the DM before the game starts. I can't remember the last time I had to do that because AL forbids house rules, I have no idea where this total chaos you seem to encounter comes from. 🤷‍♂️
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I rather enjoy AL games. If there's ever anything I suspect could be ruled multiple ways I'll ask the DM before the game starts. I can't remember the last time I had to do that because AL forbids house rules, I have no idea where this total chaos you seem to encounter comes from. 🤷‍♂️
I'm glad your experience was better than mine. The issue I had was mostly that the FLGS had one guy who organized the game, and he insisted we play by the rules unless there was a developer tweet or errata that covered it.

When I tried running, more than once I would be challenged about a ruling, to have people run to the organizer, or frantically reach for their phones, because surely this is covered!

While I'm just trying to get as much done in the time allotted as possible, so I don't have the time to stop the game to do all that, thank you very much.

And every time a ruling came up that countered mine, I'd be told we have to go with it. Very obnoxious. And heaven forbid I make a change to the adventure to make it more challenging!

No matter how many times I pointed out that I'm allowed to do so by the AL rules, the same couple of people would always gripe that I was trying to kill their characters.

Never no mind I only killed one guy because he thought his 1st level Monk could take on a Troll (albeit a weakened one) in Sunless Citadel!

At any rate, it came to a head for reasons that I can't blame WotC for, lol, (though I do blame them for the way the Dragon fight in Forge of Fury turned out), but I was already soured by the experience at that point, so I ended the adventure (Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan) and never went back.
 

Oofta

Legend
I'm glad your experience was better than mine. The issue I had was mostly that the FLGS had one guy who organized the game, and he insisted we play by the rules unless there was a developer tweet or errata that covered it.

When I tried running, more than once I would be challenged about a ruling, to have people run to the organizer, or frantically reach for their phones, because surely this is covered!

While I'm just trying to get as much done in the time allotted as possible, so I don't have the time to stop the game to do all that, thank you very much.

And every time a ruling came up that countered mine, I'd be told we have to go with it. Very obnoxious. And heaven forbid I make a change to the adventure to make it more challenging!

No matter how many times I pointed out that I'm allowed to do so by the AL rules, the same couple of people would always gripe that I was trying to kill their characters.

Never no mind I only killed one guy because he thought his 1st level Monk could take on a Troll (albeit a weakened one) in Sunless Citadel!

At any rate, it came to a head for reasons that I can't blame WotC for, lol, (though I do blame them for the way the Dragon fight in Forge of Fury turned out), but I was already soured by the experience at that point, so I ended the adventure (Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan) and never went back.

Sorry you had a bad experience, but I don't think that has much to do with the edition of the game.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Sorry you had a bad experience, but I don't think that has much to do with the edition of the game.
Maybe? It just felt like having harder rules helped this sort of thing out more. Not that 4e was exempt from bad rules (Stealth's numerous confusing rewrites and how Animal Companions worked before the Sentinel Druid caused a lot of headaches), but overall, reading the ability explained the ability, and corner cases that forced on the spot rulings were less prevalent.

OTOH, I'm willing to admit that the difference was the people I played LFR with were more experienced than the people who I played AL with.
 

payn

Legend
Maybe? It just felt like having harder rules helped this sort of thing out more. Not that 4e was exempt from bad rules (Stealth's numerous confusing rewrites and how Animal Companions worked before the Sentinel Druid caused a lot of headaches), but overall, reading the ability explained the ability, and corner cases that forced on the spot rulings were less prevalent.

OTOH, I'm willing to admit that the difference was the people I played LFR with were more experienced than the people who I played AL with.
I ran into a lot of this too in Pathfinder Society. Organized games kinda need that structure for consistency, which makes sense. However, there are a legion of players out there that take advantage of it and it gets constraining for a GM and is annoyingly charop driven. You really have to change your expectations of what a game is and how it will be played whenever you go organized, IME.
 

payn

Legend
I really like that quote, payn. It's so true! How often do you hear "5e would be great, but..."?
The funny thing is nobody seems to agree what that great thing would be is. I mean, I love bounded accuracy, but a lot of folks seem to hate it. Other folks are annoyed by its rulings over rules design philosophy, dont mind that either. I do hate the skill system it feels like a tacked on after thought, but some folks seem to see Ronco "set it and forget it" style skills as a feature. Also, a lot of folks like the easy leveling and grande but fewer feats selection, but I miss it from 3E/PF1 so much.

Despite some of these arguments and disagreements they don't seem to generate the divisiveness of past editions. Folks can pinch their nose and go with it if that's what the group wants. I say this as somebody who has a hardcore viewpoint of D&D and I will admit 5E seems to be the best for newbs and casual players. Which, likely makes it a great option for mixed levels of experienced gamers to get together and play.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I recently joined a 5e game. As part of actually trying to grock this thing 5e) I have been reading the threads about 5e rules. (Yes, I've also been reading the rules.) From reading of the threads I have to ask, does anyone playing 5e actually like it as a system?

Many posters here wax lyrical and lovingly about favourite campaign settings, lineages, classes, and of course the great moments in their games. But very few posters speak kindly of the actual system.

Am I wrong in this supposition?

I do. I think it's great. Far and away my favourite RPG.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
The funny thing is nobody seems to agree what that great thing would be is. I mean, I love bounded accuracy, but a lot of folks seem to hate it. Other folks are annoyed by its rulings over rules design philosophy, dont mind that either. I do hate the skill system it feels like a tacked on after thought, but some folks seem to see Ronco "set it and forget it" style skills as a feature. Also, a lot of folks like the easy leveling and grande but fewer feats selection, but I miss it from 3E/PF1 so much.

Despite some of these arguments and disagreements they don't seem to generate the divisiveness of past editions. Folks can pinch their nose and go with it if that's what the group wants. I say this as somebody who has a hardcore viewpoint of D&D and I will admit 5E seems to be the best for newbs and casual players. Which, likely makes it a great option for mixed levels of experienced gamers to get together and play.
I wonder if part of the reason people with such different rules likings "pinch their nose and go with it" as you say is the all-pervasive presence of 5e in the gaming community. In short, almost everybody wants to play "the world's greatest role-playing game", and very few comparatively want to play anything else. You make it work because everyone wants to play 5e.
 

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