D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

Many of the objections I've seen to Rime of the Frostmaiden is it isn't linear - indeed it doesn't even have a clear objective, and it's possible to kill the boss monster half way through.

As for designing my own adventures, it feels like this:
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
That's great. But I think it's beyond the skill, and level of commitment, of most players.
I don't think it's beyond the skill of almost any player. Virtually anyone capable of playing an RPG can come up with at least one or two knives. Most people who play RPGs watch movies or TV or consume fiction of some sort, right? I do agree that it's additional work, but it's mostly just a slight modification to or formalization of what a lot of players do anyway in creating a backstory for their character.

I do think the Reddit poster's "I always have at least 7, but more than 15 is getting excessive" represents a level of commitment and effort above and beyond what I would expect from most players, but that poster obviously has a lot of practice and his group had been doing this for a while.
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
Many of the objections I've seen to Rime of the Frostmaiden is it isn't linear - indeed it doesn't even have a clear objective, and it's possible to kill the boss monster half way through.
Funny. I've seen complaints about it being too linear, and about there being things that have to happen before other things can happen. Personally, I bought the book because I was running something set in extreme cold and had heard there were useful rules bits for that in the adventure; I did not find that to be the case.
 

pemerton

Legend
On the issue of whether GMing is, or has to be, hard.

I think that it is possible to provide tools that make it less hard than some posters are saying. Tools that support just-in-time creation of material, rather than lots of prep. Tools that facilitate integration of player contributions to backstory and/or situation.

Of course nothing can substitute for practice, but as @loverdrive said (or at least implied) upthread, that goes for players too!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So, this thread is going swimmingly! :)

I am a firm believer that people in the thread can, and should, take the conversation wherever they want. I would like to mention a few things-

A. The purpose of this thread, and for placing it in "D&D 5e" specifically, was because I was hoping people would discuss 5e. I think a lot of the theory conversations we have are useful, but many can be alienating to the 5e players, so I was hoping to attract some 5e people to talk about their game.

B. The thread wasn't supposed to spark another long conversation about DM Authority (which is tired, boring, and somehow still contentious, IMO). I was hoping that people would talk more about player authority over narrative in 5e, and what that looks like for them.

I don't think that there is a single, correct, answer. For example, if you using 5e to do a "old school" dungeon crawl with a keyed map, and descriptions of the things in each room, you should probably avoid having Players describe new things in the rooms. On the other hand, if the party goes into a bustling metropolis that hasn't been full described, is there any harm in having the Players narrate the name and location of the place they are staying, such that it becomes part of the fiction of the world? Or is this something that your table prefers remains exclusively within the province of the DM?

Obviously, it's way too late for that. Just saying that the specific topic of how different people handle player narrative in 5e seemed interesting!
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Many of the objections I've seen to Rime of the Frostmaiden is it isn't linear - indeed it doesn't even have a clear objective, and it's possible to kill the boss monster half way through.
I could see that. I'm playing in it now; though I guess we're not very close to the end, having just hit 5th level. The early sections have seemed very sandboxy to me, and I love that, but there have been a number of times the group has been unsure what to do/where to go next.

A lot of players DO indeed enjoy relatively linear adventures. Sometimes I've had a long day at work and don't mind just picking up a plot hook and trying to follow the most obvious clues/prompts.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I don't think it's beyond the skill of almost any player. Virtually anyone capable of playing an RPG can come up with at least one or two knives. Most people who play RPGs watch movies or TV or consume fiction of some sort, right? I do agree that it's additional work, but it's mostly just a slight modification to or formalization of what a lot of players do anyway in creating a backstory for their character.

I do think the Reddit poster's "I always have at least 7, but more than 15 is getting excessive" represents a level of commitment and effort above and beyond what I would expect from most players, but that poster obviously has a lot of practice and his group had been doing this for a while.
My players give me backgrounds, and when I play I do as well. It takes me all of 10-15 minutes usually to come up with something coherent, and looking at that list on Reddit, we have like 8-20 knives in a typical background. It doesn't take all that much effort of commitment to come up with a backstory that has them.
 

Funny. I've seen complaints about it being too linear, and about there being things that have to happen before other things can happen. Personally, I bought the book because I was running something set in extreme cold and had heard there were useful rules bits for that in the adventure; I did not find that to be the case.
No, it's not much good as a players vs climate book. But it doesn't dictate any course of action on the players. They can up sticks and head to Luskan if they want.

And things having to happen before other things can happen is pretty much how the universe works, its called causality.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Well, if that is your definition!

But That's not consistent with what is being said. But I'm seeing people here saying WotC adventures are railroads. But I've DMed several, and I've never seen a situation where there is only one choice.

It's not just question of one choice, it's a question of not allowing the PCs choices to matter in favor of plot. Specifically, having the PCs actions be irrelevant to what happens next.

The most blatant example I can think of happens in Waterdeep Dragon Heist and it's a doozy :

The PCs are in search for the McGuffin. IF the PCs find it early (early bring defined by the McGuffin itself, so the DM) through smart play, luck or whatever, the McGuffin will LITERALLY erase the PCs memories of them having found it and set them back, until the McGuffin (aka DM) thinks it is the right time to be found.

If I was a player and this happened, I'd be pretty upset /annoyed!
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I'm not sure why those DMs (what DMs? Where? I'm not seeing them) are so bothered about getting the players "back to the contents". The adventure is there for when the players don't know what to do. If they have some other idea, that's great, just run with it.

With respect, for D&D, preparation is a thing. Not everyone has the ability to present entertaining situations (and, say, challenging and interesting, but not overpowering, combat scenarios) extempore.
 

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