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D&D General The unique nature of TTRPGs, D&D and traps

Fanaelialae

Legend
I'm not arguing that all the D&D fans and hackers are doing so because they don't know better.

I, obviously, don't have any hard data, but I bet that the vast majority of D&D players enjoy D&D for D&D reasons. Good for them! Good for me, also, because I belong into that group.


But I can't deny that there are people who are constantly and actively trying to make D&D into something else. There weren't so much questions asked and debates had about murderhobos with no personality and how to straighten them out if it wasn't the case.

There are people who want conventionally good "Hollywood" stories, so they employ these weird railroading techniques, fudge dice and whatever, because what D&D produces is war stories, where sometimes people die meaningless deaths and sometimes win without struggle. That is fine by me, but that guy over there that I just made up? He wants arcs and inner conflicts and stuff. So he'll have to work his ass off and fight the rules from time to time to achieve that.

I don't care if it's 5% or 10% or 50% of D&D fans, it is a group large enough to be noticeable.
Thanks for clarifying your point.

Sure, there are some people who fall into the category you describe. I think what you describe is just a phase some "hardcore" RPG gamers go through though. Most won't experience this, in the same sense that only a small fraction of gamers frequent these forums. Not all gamers get seriously into RPG design, much like there are far fewer DMs than players. It just so happens that those who delve more deeply into design are also the folks more likely to find their way to a community like ENWorld.

It's essentially experimentation, IMO. Beyond that of making a new feat or monster. Stretching their design muscles and seeing just how far they can push things in making them their own, without having to swim into the dark and unknown waters of designing an RPG from scratch.

Eventually, the person will likely learn the lesson that just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should. I think that lesson, and the capacity to distinguish the two, is a very important for a designer to internalize.
 

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Aldarc

Legend
It's essentially experimentation, IMO. Beyond that of making a new feat or monster. Stretching their design muscles and seeing just how far they can push things in making them their own, without having to swim into the dark and unknown waters of designing an RPG from scratch.

Eventually, the person will likely learn the lesson that just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should. I think that lesson, and the capacity to distinguish the two, is a very important for a designer to internalize.
Maybe, but it feels like history repeating itself. I came into gaming at the very beginning of 3e D&D. I was swept away by the d20 System craze. I watched as designers pushed the d20 system to the limits. I began homebrewing and designing for 3e. I was frustrated by how D&D and the d20 System wasn't particularly conducive to the sort of fantasy adventure that I wanted to simulate. True 20 was really the first d20 Variant that really let me hack the game to pieces and rebuild it to suit my various campaign settings and adventures, but it still started to collapse under the weight of its d20 system architecture. 4e D&D brought me back into D&D, and I loved it, but it wasn't until the explosion of 4e and Post-4e game design that I was really being drawn towards other games outside of D&D and its near kin. And when I see other people, whether newcomers or old timers in our hobby, who seem to be repeating the mistakes of the d20 System era about trying to get 5e D&D's to do everything... shudders
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Maybe, but it feels like history repeating itself. I came into gaming at the very beginning of 3e D&D. I was swept away by the d20 System craze. I watched as designers pushed the d20 system to the limits. I began homebrewing and designing for 3e. I was frustrated by how D&D and the d20 System wasn't particularly conducive to the sort of fantasy adventure that I wanted to simulate. True 20 was really the first d20 Variant that really let me hack the game to pieces and rebuild it to suit my various campaign settings and adventures, but it still started to collapse under the weight of its d20 system architecture. 4e D&D brought me back into D&D, and I loved it, but it wasn't until the explosion of 4e and Post-4e game design that I was really being drawn towards other games outside of D&D and its near kin. And when I see other people, whether newcomers or old timers in our hobby, who seem to be repeating the mistakes of the d20 System era about trying to get 5e D&D's to do everything... shudders
Like many lessons, it has to be internalized at the individual level, rather than as a community.

I write software for a living. When I was learning, I read plenty of books that warned against various mistakes that newbie coders commonly make (over design, not keeping code clean, etc). And, wouldn't you know it, I made those very same mistakes anyway! I've seen newbie programmers make those exact mistakes since then, despite me warning them against it! Some things are most easily learned if you make the mistake yourself. Some things are more easily learned through practical application than theory.

History repeats itself because there's new blood entering the hobby. Of those newbies, a small minority of them will delve deeply into design. One way or another, they'll more likely than not eventually learn the difference between can and should. If they can learn it from someone who's been there and done that, great! IME, they usually have to make the mistake themselves (in many cases, repeatedly) before the lesson sinks in.

There's also a contingent that has internalized the lesson, but chooses to break it. Which is fine. They're well aware of what they're doing, and they have their reasons. As long as the person is aware that welding wings to their Subaru isn't going to turn it into an aircraft, who am I to tell them they shouldn't? Poetic license and all that...
 

For those who prefer games other than D&D, what games do you prefer? What games would you rather be playing but can't because of D&D's popularity? Actual question.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
LOL. Of course you'd think one stray phrase proves you're right when all the rules for the actual use of morale points to you being wrong. Wow. That's...certainly something. Cheers.
It takes chutzpah to declare something that shows you to be wrong is actually wrong and then walk off in smug superiority. Ciao.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It applies in the other direction too: A lot of people want to bend D&D back into what it once was instead of accepting what it is or is becoming.

Because everyone is pinning their identity to a corporate IP rather than the actual games and play groups they are part of. It's all about throwing a war over the title of D&D despite no one in the war having ANY claim to it.
 

payn

Legend
For those who prefer games other than D&D, what games do you prefer? What games would you rather be playing but can't because of D&D's popularity? Actual question.
I dont have this problem anymore, but in the past I certainly did. I wanted to play all of these, Call of Cthulhu, Battletech, Traveller, World of Darkness games, etc.. I could at most get a one shot before the internet and VTT really took off. The reasons were that D&D was super popular, had tons of products, popular and recognized published adventures, and a complex rule system people have experience with. All of the others paled in comparison.

I dont think its anything nefarious or particularly great about TSR/WOTC D&D. It's just a small niche hobby and available players are in short supply. Not enough customers to have multiple thriving products (in the past). People are busy with real life and dont have a ton of time to dive into a multitude of products. I think most of this has changed in the last 10-15 years with internets connecting people and providing a much larger player pool. Also, kickstarter has given life to projects that never would have seen the light of day retail. Though, in the 90's and oughts it was hard to get away from D&D. Damn hard.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It applies in the other direction too: A lot of people want to bend D&D back into what it once was instead of accepting what it is or is becoming.
Yep. The result was 5e, which hearkens back to the AD&D days in a lot of ways. The result is WotC's most wildly successful edition yet. Perhaps what once was, was pretty good. ;)
 


Mallus

Legend
AD&D. You said you were doing good social and exploration using AD&D. Which has literally zero social interaction rules beyond reaction tables. So if you were running great social interactions when you were playing AD&D...that’s not because the system supported it. It literally did not. Because there were no rules for it. Any great social interaction stuff you were doing was 100% you as the DM. Not the game.
I think of AD&D as "a set of tools I use to help make the game", not the game itself. I think of most RPG systems like that, actually. I also think this leads to a fair amount of mutual incomprehension with the diehard 'system matters' crowd.

"I made a RPG for running mysteries."
"Cool."
"So you'll use them to run a mystery?"
<reads rules> "No."
"But it's got these tools specifically for..."
"I prefer other tools. Or none, even, sometimes."
"But my game is about solving mysteries."
"I get that. Still no."
"Then your campaign won't be about solving..."
"Of course it will be."
" ... "
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I think of AD&D as "a set of tools I use to help make the game", not the game itself. I think of most RPG systems like that, actually. I also think this leads to a fair amount of mutual incomprehension with the diehard 'system matters' crowd.

"I made a RPG for running mysteries."
"Cool."
"So you'll use them to run a mystery?"
<reads rules> "No."
"But it's got these tools specifically for..."
"I prefer other tools. Or none, even, sometimes."
"But my game is about solving mysteries."
"I get that. Still no."
"Then your campaign won't be about solving..."
"Of course it will be."
" ... "

If it makes you feel better, the debate is a really old one.

As I allude to in my my other thread, OD&D was seen as a toolkit. As such, and this is a true example, someone could say that they were playing D&D using Runequest rules and a homebrew skill system. Mixing and matching was not just common, it was practically required; so you could have one table adopting more and more complexity and sub-systems, another adopting a universal method of adjudication, and another dropping it completely for a dialogue or freeform approach (as noted in ES, this was so common that in 1978, Traveller included it in Book 4 as an option without comment).

Of course, back then you also had designers complaining that people weren't using their systems, and were instead either using D&D, or were just borrowing aspects of the system to use in D&D.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
If it makes you feel better, the debate is a really old one.

As I allude to in my my other thread, OD&D was seen as a toolkit. As such, and this is a true example, someone could say that they were playing D&D using Runequest rules and a homebrew skill system. Mixing and matching was not just common, it was practically required; so you could have one table adopting more and more complexity and sub-systems, another adopting a universal method of adjudication, and another dropping it completely for a dialogue or freeform approach (as noted in ES, this was so common that in 1978, Traveller included it in Book 4 as an option without comment).

Of course, back then you also had designers complaining that people weren't using their systems, and were instead either using D&D, or were just borrowing aspects of the system to use in D&D.
This is only part of it though, from the other side, and new, it makes a lot of sense to be D&D adjacent at least to take advantage of all the ancillary D&D stuff, like the products that appear daily in adds on facebook or twitter, or like the new roll20 phone app that Morrus posted about today. These things didn't exist back then, nor were there a bunch of huge conventions.

Definitely follow your heart, design from the poetry that is in your soul, nobody can doubt your authenticity there. Nevertheless, keeping an eye on the groundwork already laid by D&D does not hurt either.
 

I thought D&D was just about killing monsters and taking their stuff but Matt Mercer proved me wrong! Look at how he uses D&D to show such strong characterization and in depth story generation!
 


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