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D&D General Styles of D&D Play

Imaro

Legend
While I agree that D&D is geared for combat, there are definitely rules provided for other things. They are in both the PHB and DMG. It is just there are a lot more rules for combat.
Yep one thing I find interesting is that many claim social interactions boil down to a single roll but the DMG actually has a pretty in depth system for changing the attitudes of NPC's and even talks about using bonds, ideals and flaws in those mechanics...
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Character-driven" is not about skills. It is about personality, relationships, and player-defined goals. Now, I agree that D&D doesn't give you a whole lot of mechanics around personality, relationships, and goals either.
Character driven can be about skill or not about skills. That's why I say it's 2 different styles not 1.

I can have a thief with 18 INT and 4 lore skills to play a elf smarter than I am. And I want to roll my INT to be that genius.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
"Character-driven" is not about skills. It is about personality, relationships, and player-defined goals. Now, I agree that D&D doesn't give you a whole lot of mechanics around personality, relationships, and goals either.
5e has the whole personality/ideal/bond/flaw thing, whereas older editions had alignment (or gave it more importance).

They might be underwhelming character tools but they are there as a supported aspect of character-driven play. So, points for trying?
 

Laurefindel

Legend
But otherwise, I tend to agree with the OP. Even if some play styles are less supported by rules, D&D allows for a wide variety of play styles.

The only thing it doesn’t do is give players the ability to affect/change the narrative without going through their characters first, whereas some other games include rules that allow players to make stuff up on the way (pulling out the right item even if it wasn’t noted down on their character sheet, making the NPC happen to be a long-time friend, running flashback scene putting the PCs at advantage, etc) which is traditionally solely the province of the DM.

D&D is a big combat engine; that’s where the design focus is. Anything else is small in comparison. Even if it takes minimal tweaking to change an aspect of D&D, or put emphasis on an already existing aspect of D&D, it will always be eclipsed by how tuned-for-combat D&D is. But even in the shadows of D&D’s combat engine, these small aspects can still be significant and can alter/adapt/support better a style of play over another.
 
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Digdude

Just a dude with a shovel, looking for the past.
At least Birthright was an attempt at doing rules for a political game within the framework of DnD. It wasnt perfect but it was there.
 

Skill based rollplay and Freeform roleplay are both valid playstyles.

The ironic aspect of a large coterie of fans deriding the first even though D&D handles it better than freeform due to the strong magic and difficulty of wearing down resources in low combat play.

Good old "Give me a Wisdom check. You can add X if you are proficient" is sooooo good. D&D in all editions handles that well.

The attribute system is quite flexible in that respect. For me, my sweet spot is more 2E era NWPs than WOTC era skills (though I played plenty of 3E and think it does a lot of stuff very well). What I like about the 2E NWP approach, which basically just expands on the attribute roll you mention, is, at least in the core PHB, it avoids impinging on my role play sensibilities (the example I always give is Etiquette is the closest thing to a social skill besides CHR but in that system Etiquette is treated more as a knowledge skill, it never replaces interaction, it just informs the player). But I can happily play 3E where you have more robust skills for that (and other systems that get more involved). I would just tend to use each version for different settings depending on how I want them to feel
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The attribute system is quite flexible in that respect. For me, my sweet spot is more 2E era NWPs than WOTC era skills (though I played plenty of 3E and think it does a lot of stuff very well). What I like about the 2E NWP approach, which basically just expands on the attribute roll you mention, is, at least in the core PHB, it avoids impinging on my role play sensibilities (the example I always give is Etiquette is the closest thing to a social skill besides CHR but in that system Etiquette is treated more as a knowledge skill, it never replaces interaction, it just informs the player). But I can happily play 3E where you have more robust skills for that (and other systems that get more involved). I would just tend to use each version for different settings depending on how I want them to feel
One of my main light criticisms of 5e is the missing skills. 3e and 2e had too much. 4e and 5e too few.

The designers heavily leaned to Hack and Slash combat and Freeform everything else with gotchas as the core supported playstyle of 5e.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
One of my main light criticisms of 5e is the missing skills. 3e and 2e had too much. 4e and 5e too few.

The designers heavily leaned to Hack and Slash combat and Freeform everything else with gotchas as the core supported playstyle of 5e.
Which skills do you see missing from 5e? I know I’m missing a gather information type skill, or some kind of courtesy/intrigue/etiquette or other « function well in society » that isn’t Persuasion or Deception.
 

So I totally agree that you don't need much rules support for doing a lot of interesting things in RPGs, and personally I feel that for a lot of things rules light approach is better. I don't actually want complicated personality mechanics for character drama nor extensive social combat mechanics for intrigue. So in that regard D&D's "skill + d20 to beat the DC" seems pretty sufficient amount of rules for handling lot of things.

That being said, what D&D definitely has a lot of detailed rules for is combat, so if your game is not going to feature that rather prominently using D&D seems like a waste. Generally I feel that D&D is best for running some sort of fantasy action adventure, that by no means needs to be all about combat, but it should still contain good amount of it.
 

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