I encounter it all too often. Players don't "feel" like they are playing a game unless they are using mechanical game rules. And all they want to do is "play the real game".I have never met anyone who refused to engage with the game outside of mechanics. I have met a few that did not know they could, but that is easily resolved with a little care and patience in explaining what an RPG is.
I disagree. While 5E takes the kind of vague "do whatever you want for fun", it's far from saying D&D is game for all types of play. Really, D&D takes the easy way out by being vague and sort of saying they cover 'everything'....without really doing it.Just to reiterate, my thesis is not that games are lying to you about their intent with their mechanics, but that mechanics don't necessarily describe the whole of the play intent. It is clear that D&D is meant to provide more play than just combat.
Looks to begin with a False Premise of a "repeated idea": By who? For what purpose? In what context?There is an oft repeated idea that you can tell what a game wants you to do based on where it puts the weight of its rules (page count wise). I am not so sure.
Let's take the obvious example: D&D (nearly any edition, but post TSR editions especially). The vast majority of rules that exist in the game are focused on the combat system. Note that when I say "rules" here I mean everything from actual gameplay mechanics, to spells, class abilities, monsters, items, etc... I don't think this is a controversial statement.
That said, I do not necessarily think that translates to the intended focus of play for D&D is combat. It is of course important, but it is one of 3 pillars that are generally considered to be equal, as far as play focus goes (from the design intent standpoint). Rather, combat requires more detail in D&D (and other traditional games) because of what it is trying to accomplish in the world of the fiction. The social and exploration pillars could be just as detailed as combat (and in some games they are) but in D&D the GM is supposed to do the work that those systems might otherwise do in the social and exploration pillars, and let the rules make combat "fair." There are lots of reasons this might be the case -- and we can talk about that -- but the main point is that just because there are a lot more rules, that doesn't mean that the things the PCs are supposed to be doing in the world is fighting in the substantially same ratio of rules volume/page count.
Note that this is slightly different than the amount of time spent at the table. Crunchy combat systems can certainly eat up more actual play time, but that still isn't that same thing as saying "lots of combat rules necessitates lots of combat in the story."
You seem nice.Looks to begin with a False Premise of a "repeated idea": By who? For what purpose? In what context?
Then you went to "the obvious example" (D&D), which ran you into a False Entomology (the AD&D 1e Players Handbook has 67 pages on Magic ... and TWO on combat).
Then, confronted on your depiction of D&D, you shifted the goalpost to the Savage Worlds RPG. Is this because you define it as a "trad rpg"?
What is it about "trad rpgs" that generates this discussion about "page count" defining what an rpg is about? Is the focus of a non-trad rpg also defined by page count?
Looks like, and I'm probably incorrect, that you're struggling with a Strawman that's yet to make an appearance - or you aren't willing to reveal?
Yep. It's way, way more than half though.As always, and even today, at least HALF of all players think of D&D as only pure combat. If you do anything else, like talk or role play, you are not "playing D&D" to this type of player. Should someone do anything non combat related and they will whine "can't we get back to the GAME".
Hell, a lot of players seem to think even rolling the d20 to talk to the goblin is a waste of time.And this is on top of, and crosses over with the more then half of players that refuse to take any "non mechanical action". As again, to them, unless you are actively using game mechanics....you are not "playing" the game. If you roll a d20 to talk to a goblin, that is playing the game....should you dare to role play and speak in character "well met goblin", that is just wasting time.
I have. Quite frequently, in fact. Whenever I've played or run any WotC edition of D&D I have tables filled with people who insist that the only thing that matters is the RAW, if it's not on the character sheet it might as well not exist as an option, utterly refuse to do anything that's "suboptimal," etc. It's honestly maddening, which is why I've gone back to TSR-era D&D, OSR, and NuSR games instead. The people in those circles at least understand that RPGs are not video games and will try to solve problems with their heads instead of charging in and throwing dice at it.I have never met anyone who refused to engage with the game outside of mechanics. I have met a few that did not know they could, but that is easily resolved with a little care and patience in explaining what an RPG is.
No, but it is a logical conclusion to draw from your premise. According to you, we can't look to the game's mechanics to discover what a game is about, but we can look to the designers declared intent, which is weird because having talked with and worked with some designers, they don't always know what their game is about. Because they say one thing while the game's mechanics point another direction. If a designer says their game is all about friendship but all the mechanics point to murder-filled post-apocalyptic races in the vein of Death Race...there's a huge problem. Yes, this example is based on an actual conversation with an actual designer.Good thing I never said any such thing.
Exactly. You cannot make a character who’s bad at combat in D&D. It’s not possible. Yes, you can make a character who’s not optimized for combat, but that’s not the same thing. You can make intentionally bad choices, like attacking with weapons you’re not proficient in or not using any of your combat abilities, but your character is still festooned with combat-focused abilities from 1st level.The real heart of 5e is in the ability score system. They provide a general framework (roll high + ability bns + prof bns if you are good at it) that is used to determine success/fail across a variety of situations, combat included. If we go by page count, we may as well say that dnd is a game about magic (which is true, insofar as friendship is magic).
That said, where one can see the combat-orientation of 5e is when looking at the character abilities, which are often exceptions or augmentations to the ability score framework. If they released a subclass where the 6th level ability was not helpful in combat, for example, I think a lot of people would be dissatisfied with that class. Another way to look at this, is that in 5e your character is supposed to be heroic and powerful, and combat is the arena in which they can demonstrate their heroism and power via expressing their archetype (class).
To be fair, it's not like dnd invented the notion that success in battle was heroic and valorous.