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jgsugden

Legend
What are some classic elements of D&D that you disregard in your campaigns in favor of your own constructs? Here are a few examples from my setting where I either changed or introduced something as a core feature of my setting that changes the game dramatically from how most campaigns work:

Planar Structure: I have a simplified planar structure that combines most of the outer planes into a singular Heaven Plane, a singular Hell plane, and some pocket dimensions floating in the Astral Plane. I also combine all of the elemental Planes into a single plane. The first version of this was created in the 80s and it has evolved with the editions, but I find it so much easier to run. This also gives me more freedom when building my pantheon of Gods as there is more comingling.

Dragon Heads: Dragons do not have different style heads based upon type. I can have red dragons with the curved horns typically seen in the books on a black dragon.

The Magical Weave: The magic in my setting comes in 5 types: Arcane, Divine, Nature, Supernatural and Psionic. The first three types reach spellcasters via the Spell Weave - with Nature casters drawing power through the weave directly from the Positive and Negative Energy Planes, Divine Spellcasters having their magic delivered to them through the weave as it is pushed out by Outsiders, and Arcane Magic being stolen/harnassed from the weave. Psionic Energy and Supernatural Magic (like ghosts and chemistry) originate outside the weave and thus are not impacted by Counterspell, Detect Magic, etc... (which all connect to magic via the weave).

God Touched: Heroes and other major figures in the game have a trait called God Touched. It essentially means they get to benefit from the normal rules for class advancement, death saves, etc... that are in the PHB/DMG/etc... If you're not God Touched, it is much harder. If you devote your human life to magic you might reach 5th level as a wizard in your elder years. If you are wounded and drop below zero hps, you continue to track hps and die when your negative hps equal your hd + your con modifier. You also lose 1 hp per turn until you are stabilized, and a failed death save does 5 damage to you. As managing this can be tough 'in game', I have a sheet with prerolled death saves and hp tracking so that I can just use the next column to track what happens to downed foes if it matters.

Destiny: Fate plays a huge roll in my games. Certain events are predestined. The path to them can change easily, but avoiding them is extremely difficult and is not something the powers of the universe like to tolerate as it 'changes the plan'. It is a common trope in my setting that the PCs have to change destiny to prevent a wrong - and then they have to suffer the consequences of rewriting future history.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What are some classic elements of D&D that you disregard in your campaigns in favor of your own constructs? Here are a few examples from my setting where I either changed or introduced something as a core feature of my setting that changes the game dramatically from how most campaigns work:
Some of your examples - planes, dragons, weave - aren't so much pointing to disregarding something (which to me implies tossing it out or ignoring its existence without replacing it) as simply tweaking it for your own homebrew setting and-or system; and if that's the benchmark then I can probably say I've "disregarded" well over 90% of the entire game.

What have I tossed out without replacement? In 1e:

weapon speed
weapon vs armour type
xp for gp
various spells
barbarian and thief-acrobat classes from UA

What have I tossed out and replaced with something that serves the same general function?

just about the entire Players' Handbook
large swathes of the DMG and UA
some bits of the MMs
nearly all the lore, pantheons, etc.

It's been a 40-year process and it ain't done yet. :)
 

cbwjm

Legend
What are some classic elements of D&D that you disregard in your campaigns in favor of your own constructs?
Like you, I use a simplified planar structure for my homebrew games, quite similar to yours. I have a celestial plane, a lower plane, as well as the elemental chaos, feywild, and shadowfell. The lower planes can have fiends from anywhere serving in any kingdom, so the dominion of the Nine Hells might have a Balor serving one of the lords of hell, and a pit fiend might be serving one of the independent Abyssal Lords.

Can't think what else I do that disregards classic game elements.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
XP as a pure gauge--the way they are in 5e--are crap. I don't use them. The PCs level up when they accomplish stuff that seems relevant to their goals (short-, mid-, or long-term). If there was anything else one could do with XP, I might use them.

Alignment--especially the vestigial form of it in 5e--is mostly crap. I haven't ever asked any of the characters in the campaigns I'm running what their alignments are. I use it some to determine how NPCs and monsters will behave, but that's ... not always--or often--player-facing.

I don't have any deities in my setting, because the way D&D handles them is--and has mostly always been--crap. I blathered and otherwise BSed my way to an answer to why clerics still work, because my distaste for the way D&D handles deities doesn't extend to clerics, at least not enough to nuke them.

There might be others, but they're not springing to mind.
 


cbwjm

Legend
Alignment--especially the vestigial form of it in 5e--is mostly crap. I haven't ever asked any of the characters in the campaigns I'm running what their alignments are. I use it some to determine how NPCs and monsters will behave, but that's ... not always--or often--player-facing.
Oh yeah, I normally don't bother with alignment either, hardly anything Interacts with it in 5e so it rarely matters.
 

Massively simplified planar structure, and my deities don’t “exist” in the way they do in FR. Religion is about faith and belief, not being the dogsbody of some active planar being.
 


Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Fiendish subtypes (and most subtypes, really) and most traditional lore.

For example, I go with a mix of Buddhist and Hermetism-themed bio-mechanical horrors, like corrupted godflesh machines.

The Goetiasuran Spirits, Interlopers of the Maat-Me:
  • Adharma Meggido (Destroyers, ex: Rakshasa, Demogorgon, Jormugandr etc)
  • Adharma Grigori (Corrupters, ex: Incubi, Naga )
 

Oofta

Legend
Dungeons and dragons. Well, okay, I did use dragons a bit in my last campaign but for the most part they almost never appear. It's not that I have an issue with them per se, but my campaigns tend to be urban and dragons should fight dirty and overall be quite cautious. After all you don't get to be an ancient dragon by landing and going toe-to-toe with people running around with sharp pointy things.

Classic D&D dungeons with multiple (frequently unrelated) different encounters are something I haven't used since high school. Occasionally he group needs to find something in ruins, but it's just a location for 1, maybe 2 encounters and they'll be going there for a specific reason. Occasionally I'll use a haunted house or similar which is kind of a type of dungeon but that's as close as I'll get.
 





Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I never really played it, but was 4E really that much of a departure from "classic D&D"?
Nha, that more a meme than anything else.

You had class, you had races with 6 ability scores, rolled a d20 and some other weird shaped dice. Just because power progression and such worked differently, it was still pretty much D&D. Its like saying 3.5 wasnt really D&D because it was such a departure from 2e.

But I guess that depends on how much importance you give to the mechanical expression of the game.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Care to elaborate here or an other thread? My friend and I were just talking about something like that at breakfast yesterday. I'd like to know how you did it.
The players got stats, race, and backgrounds as normal. Every character starts with simple weapon and light armor proficiencies, 2 more skills of their choice, and proficient in 2 saves, which are their highest and lowest stats. Everyone uses d8 for Hit Die. Then they get feats, 3 at level 1, and then 1 every additional level. (We started at level 2, so each PC got 4 feats.) I made a document with a bunch of houseruled feats to give them more options.

In terms of worldbuilding, the campaign is seeded with a bunch of minor and major spirits, petty gods, strange magic items, and NPC mentors which give the ability for the PCs to acquire new abilities. As an example, in the last session, one of the PCs bonded with a friendly earth elemental, sort of like forming a minor warlock pact. The bond gave the PC minor tremorsense, the ability to use the cantrip move earth, and the ability to cast Maximillian's Earthen Grasp once per short rest.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
How many hours do ya got? Let's see...

  • Alignment
  • Rolling Stats or anything but Arrays
  • XP
  • Species-based personality/culture
  • Adversarial DMing
  • Color coded dragons
  • fear of flying PCs
  • Undeath, lying and poison being wrong
  • Everything fantastic is magic
  • fear of arcane healing
  • medieval stasis
 

Dragon Heads: Dragons do not have different style heads based upon type. I can have red dragons with the curved horns typically seen in the books on a black dragon.
Wait dragons are supposed to have specific head types? This is news to me.
Dungeons and dragons. Well, okay, I did use dragons a bit in my last campaign but for the most part they almost never appear. It's not that I have an issue with them per se, but my campaigns tend to be urban and dragons should fight dirty and overall be quite cautious. After all you don't get to be an ancient dragon by landing and going toe-to-toe with people running around with sharp pointy things.

Classic D&D dungeons with multiple (frequently unrelated) different encounters are something I haven't used since high school. Occasionally he group needs to find something in ruins, but it's just a location for 1, maybe 2 encounters and they'll be going there for a specific reason. Occasionally I'll use a haunted house or similar which is kind of a type of dungeon but that's as close as I'll get.
☝️ This! As they say.

@Oofta It's funny to me because we argue a bit but when you describe your games it usually sounds a lot like my games!
  • Alignment
  • Rolling Stats or anything but Arrays
  • XP
  • Species-based personality/culture
  • Adversarial DMing
  • Color coded dragons
  • fear of flying PCs
  • Undeath, lying and poison being wrong
  • Everything fantastic is magic
  • fear of arcane healing
  • medieval stasis
Another good selection. I haven't entirely got rid of some of those, but I'm certainly at least reducing all of those. Gary Gygax accidentally guaranteed I would forever oppose adversarial DMing with his book "Role-playing Mastery", which basically is an instruction manual on how to be an adversarial DM, and made me realize when I read it (at like 11 or 12) that I hated literally everything it stood for!
 

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