D&D General Rules, Rules, Rules: Thoughts on the Past, Present, and Future of D&D


log in or register to remove this ad

Thomas Shey

Legend
Just relaying what I've seen in practice. The more we have specific rules for things outside of combat, the more people tend to try to find a rule that tells them what they can and cannot do. YMMV.

"Trying" is not a problem; if there actually is a rule, I'm all in favor of using it. Its the assumption that if there's no rule it can't be done at all that I question, and I think people who go with that assumption are the problem, not the game.

(There can be some muddy cases; a player who wants to do things that directly fight with core elements of the system needs to get that its just not a place you can go. Someone who wants to potentially be able to lop off most humanoids heads right at the start of the fight needs to be playing a game other than D&D, because the game actively doesn't want you doing that. But there's usually plenty of cases outside of that (though there's no assurance a given player will agree with how hard something is to do, which is why for anything but really peripheral cases having a rule to tell him upfront is useful)

I've absolutely seen DMs (particularly in 4E, but other editions as well) tell people they can't do X because there's a power that does that.

And how does that contradict my statement that's a human problem, not a system problem? If they were playing a rulings heavy game, they could just as easily tell someone it was impractical to do (which I saw any number of times back in the OD&D days, and that was hardly a rules-centric game).
 

Oofta

Legend
"Trying" is not a problem; if there actually is a rule, I'm all in favor of using it. Its the assumption that if there's no rule it can't be done at all that I question, and I think people who go with that assumption are the problem, not the game.

(There can be some muddy cases; a player who wants to do things that directly fight with core elements of the system needs to get that its just not a place you can go. Someone who wants to potentially be able to lop off most humanoids heads right at the start of the fight needs to be playing a game other than D&D, because the game actively doesn't want you doing that. But there's usually plenty of cases outside of that (though there's no assurance a given player will agree with how hard something is to do, which is why for anything but really peripheral cases having a rule to tell him upfront is useful)



And how does that contradict my statement that's a human problem, not a system problem? If they were playing a rulings heavy game, they could just as easily tell someone it was impractical to do (which I saw any number of times back in the OD&D days, and that was hardly a rules-centric game).
The rules are used and interpreted by humans. If the system encourages or discourages certain behaviors it is an issue with the system. Not sure why you think you can separate the two.

We may just have to agree to disagree. My experience with more rules heavy versions of D&D (3 and, even more so, 4) has jaded me. I need rules for much of what happens in combat, I need guidance for most of what occurs outside of combat.
 

I'm not interested in playing the GM, thanks.

I think it's a context thing. Half of my players are just not that into rules. Whatever game we play, it's up to the other half and sometimes just me as GM to keep track of what's going on mechanically. I even try to be super transparent with rules so that they learn that I'm not just making stuff up; for example, I have them roll reaction rolls or morale roles and just in generally openly talk about what's going on on my side of things so they can see how they are not "playing the GM." And...they don't really care? Like they like their characters and they like chatting with NPCs but other than that are sort of blase about system. If players can all get really into the rules, then I can see something like pathfinder 2e working.
 

Clint_L

Hero
No, but I really want to sometime!
It's probably my favourite RPG, and that's with tens of thousands of dollars and countless painting hours invested in D&D, versus the cost of a Jenga set for Dread. It's super easy to run or play as long as you like heavy RP. I sometimes work it into my D&D campaigns, as well.

You can basically write the rules on the back of a matchbook.
 


Oofta

Legend
How is it a waste to have higher perception? It’s not like perception only is used in stealth situations.
Just one of the more important reasons. That and I want sneaking up on an ogre to be easy and sneaking up on a dragon nearly impossible. 🤷‍♂️

The benefit of having one static DC doesn't save much of anything. Glancing at PP for a monster is trivial. But a static DC also takes away possibilities for tension and uncertainty which, for me as a DM and player, can be a big part of what makes the game fun.

If I'm playing that halfling rogue trying to steal something out from under the nose of a dragon, it would be boring if I knew I couldn't fail my stealth check because the lowest I can get is a 15. On the other hand, rolling that D20? When the chips are down and it's make or break time because thingswentsideways and this is the last chsnce? Hoping for a decent number? Succeed or fail, those are the moments I remember.

Don't take those moments away from me. Please.
 


That and I want sneaking up on an ogre to be easy and sneaking up on a dragon nearly impossible.
Sometimes with 5e the mechanical framework around these things feels like smoke and mirrors. Per your example, the narrative you have is that sneaking up on a dragon should be nearly impossible, and the mechanical implementation is a natural 20. But 5e goes through the whole process of assuming what a Rogue's stealth score will be at x level, and then "balancing" monster stats around that assumption at y CR. Meanwhile, a rogue getting a 27 on stealth but still failing feels weird.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Sometimes with 5e the mechanical framework around these things feels like smoke and mirrors. Per your example, the narrative you have is that sneaking up on a dragon should be nearly impossible, and the mechanical implementation is a natural 20. But 5e goes through the whole process of assuming what a Rogue's stealth score will be at x level, and then "balancing" monster stats around that assumption at y CR. Meanwhile, a rogue getting a 27 on stealth but still failing feels weird.
An ancient black dragon (CR21) has a 26 passive perception. A 1st level rogue with expertise in stealth can beat that with a 19-20. That seems wildly off to me.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top