D&D (2024) What could One D&D do to bring the game back to the dungeon?

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I don't sympathise at all, to be honest. I think it's absurd to describe my Torchbearer play as a dungeon-survival wargame. The fiction has more potency, the characters more vibrancy, and the situations more drama than any of the 2nd ed AD&D RPGing I did in the 90s that absolutely fits the "trad" model that I assume Starfox has in mind when they think of a RPG.

Here's my most recent AP report: Torchbearer 2e - actual play of this AWESOME system! (+)

How is that not an utterly straightforward instance of RPGing?

Lots of people thought jazz wasn’t music at first, when in many ways it was (is) more sophisticated than what preceded it.

That’s all I was saying.

(And I suspect that poster didn’t read your thread.)
 

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Starfox

Adventurer
In Mouse Guard the optional way to advance was to succeed at a number of tests and to fail a somewhat smaller number of tests. As a player, you had an incentive to fail. That is gameism to the level of a boardgame to me.

Then again, 4E was a boardgame to me as well.

As I said , different takes for different folks.

Edit: Browsed the first post in your link, it reads like most any RPG session, perhaps with more rolls than I would have used. I don't see any impact of the rules to either help or hinder role-playing.
 

In Mouse Guard the optional way to advance was to succeed at a number of tests and to fail a somewhat smaller number of tests. As a player, you had an incentive to fail. That is gameism to the level of a boardgame to me.
In real life it's a well-recorded fact that people learn more from failure than success, so how was that possibly game-ist? If anything rewarding people for success is pure game-ism.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
In Mouse Guard the optional way to advance was to succeed at a number of tests and to fail a somewhat smaller number of tests. As a player, you had an incentive to fail. That is gameism to the level of a boardgame to me.

Then again, 4E was a boardgame to me as well.

As I said , different takes for different folks.

Edit: Browsed the first post in your link, it reads like most any RPG session, perhaps with more rolls than I would have used. I don't see any impact of the rules to either help or hinder role-playing.

My understanding, from that thread, and from reading Mouse Guard (which I own) the mechanics tie into the roleplaying more than in a game like D&D. For example, in D&D you can say your character is fearless, and has a strong relationship with his mentor, but roleplaying that is entirely a matter of choice, both yours and the DMs (who may or may not provide "hooks" into that story.). In Torchbearer and Mouse Guard, on the other hand, those characteristics become part of the mechanics of your character.

Which is one reason you see a lot of dice rolling in the description: in D&D you just narrate going to see your mentor, and the DM just decides if that leads to anything interesting, or maybe the DM will ask you to make a dice roll with a DC and consequences that he/she has made up on the spot. In TB/MG you roll dice, in a pretty pre-defined way, to see what happens as a result of that visit. (I'm hoping I got that right. Others can correct that description.)

EDIT: And I can see why, if you're used to "just roleplaying" those kinds of encounters, it can be seem weird and board-gamey to roll dice. But I don't think that's really the case.

While I admire this from a design perspective, it doesn't actually appeal to me (although I'd love to try it with an experienced GM). So far, for the last several decades, I've been quite happy with separating RP and mechanics. That may very well be a less sophisticated form of RPGing, but I'm ok with that.

Then again, I've also never really understand the appeal of jazz music.
 

Clint_L

Hero
In 1E you got xp from gold, which made the game very objective-oriented. You did not want to fight monsters, you wanted to steal their gold, preferably without them noticing. Heist-style play.
This is such a myth about 1e. None of the 1e modules were written like that, as far as I can recall, and I never heard of any campaigns that played like that, either. In 1e, you almost always got the loot by killing monsters. Typical sessions had a lot more combat and a lot less story than 5e, because RPGs in general have evolved to be more story focused.

I think a YouTuber who was way too young to play AD&D noticed that you got most of your EXP from treasure in it, which is true, and then deduced that therefore people must have logically tried to avoid monsters and just made the game about treasure, which is not true at all. Killing the monsters was its own reward...and almost always the best way to get the loot.

Get people back to the dungeon by making really good dungeon adventures. The game has become much more setting agnostic, but there is always room for a great dungeon!

If you build it, they will come.
 

pemerton

Legend
In Mouse Guard the optional way to advance was to succeed at a number of tests and to fail a somewhat smaller number of tests. As a player, you had an incentive to fail. That is gameism to the level of a boardgame to me.
Does this mean that classic D&D, in which the only way to advance your character is to take gold out of the dungeon and to kill monsters, is not a RPG?

I have neither read nor played Mouse Guard, but Torchbearer deliberately sets out to emulate classic D&D.
 


Starfox

Adventurer
In real life it's a well-recorded fact that people learn more from failure than success, so how was that possibly game-ist? If anything rewarding people for success is pure game-ism.
What makes this gameist is that your motivation is that of the player, not the character. The character wants to succeed, but the player wishes their own character to first fail and only then succeed. The player's role goes from protagonist to author and the game is third person instead of first person. This can happen in any game, but having game mechanics actually reward it is IMO to go too far. It might work both from a gameist and simulationist perspective, but makes a poor narrative.

Since I already failed my resolve as set in my previous post I might as well talk about the other thing that annoyed me in Mouse Guard. More advanced conflicts are resolved in a rock-paper-scissors game where you play multiple rounds. You basically always take at least a little "damage" in this game. Final success is determined by how little damage you have taken at the end. This is achieved by playing a rest-type move in the game in your penultimate move. The task as a player is to clothe this in narrative language. That is, the rules drive the narrative rather than the narrative using the rules to drive the action. Also gamist IMNSHO.

These are first impressions after one session and subsequently reading the rules. I would not mind trying out Mouse Guard (et al) more to see if these first impressions hold, and this might not be true in similar games like Torchbearer.

No set of game rules can really prevent role-playing. Little kids can role-play the boot in Monopoly. What rules can do is formalize role-play. My first experience of this was in Pendragon, and I was charmed, especially by passions and inspiration. But after several years of play and introducing a magic system, we left Pendragon behind - we had learned to game the system and the personality traits got to the point where they feel childish. Reading Permeton's log from Torchbearer, I got similar wibes, particularily when Fea-bella read the cursed summoning runes. Then she made a Will check to stop reading. This is where I frown. In a narrative game, it ought to be Fea-bella's player who decides how far to play her obsession. I don't hate that this was decided by a die roll, but it seems like a lost narrative opportunity. I love it when players make self-destructive decisions like this, playing their characters to the hilt - but I would try to avoid having the rules force it on them.

I may use the terms gamist, narrative, simulationist here, but I do so as common language, not in the NTS sense that I never agreed with. I strive to explain my opinions here, not to convince anyone else. Again, different takes for different folks, and that is how it should be. Also, I feel this has become a threadnap, so I think we should call it a day on this subtopic or create a new thread.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
What makes this gameist is that your motivation is that of the player, not the character. The character wants to succeed, but the player wishes their own character to first fail and only then succeed. The player's role goes from protagonist to author and the game is third person instead of first person. This can happen in any game, but having game mechanics actually reward it is IMO to go too far. It might work both from a gameist and simulationist perspective, but makes a poor narrative.

Since I already failed my resolve as set in my previous post I might as well talk about the other thing that annoyed me in Mouse Guard. More advanced conflicts are resolved in a rock-paper-scissors game where you play multiple rounds. You basically always take at least a little "damage" in this game. Final success is determined by how little damage you have taken at the end. This is achieved by playing a rest-type move in the game in your penultimate move. The task as a player is to clothe this in narrative language. That is, the rules drive the narrative rather than the narrative using the rules to drive the action. Also gamist IMNSHO.

These are first impressions after one session and subsequently reading the rules. I would not mind trying out Mouse Guard (et al) more to see if these first impressions hold, and this might not be true in similar games like Torchbearer.

No set of game rules can really prevent role-playing. Little kids can role-play the boot in Monopoly. What rules can do is formalize role-play. My first experience of this was in Pendragon, and I was charmed, especially by passions and inspiration. But after several years of play and introducing a magic system, we left Pendragon behind - we had learned to game the system and the personality traits got to the point where they feel childish. Reading Permeton's log from Torchbearer, I got similar wibes, particularily when Fea-bella read the cursed summoning runes. Then she made a Will check to stop reading. This is where I frown. In a narrative game, it ought to be Fea-bella's player who decides how far to play her obsession. I don't hate that this was decided by a die roll, but it seems like a lost narrative opportunity. I love it when players make self-destructive decisions like this, playing their characters to the hilt - but I would try to avoid having the rules force it on them.

I may use the terms gamist, narrative, simulationist here, but I do so as common language, not in the NTS sense that I never agreed with. I strive to explain my opinions here, not to convince anyone else. Again, different takes for different folks, and that is how it should be. Also, I feel this has become a threadnap, so I think we should call it a day on this subtopic or create a new thread.
It's funny how some games do feel the need to have a hard rule to keep players roleplaying appropriately. Vampire the Masquerade can saddle you with a weakness (or you can saddle yourself with a Flaw) that enforces behavior like this. Ideally, sure, the player should roleplay these traits, but if one can resist the urge to press a red, shiny, candy-like button, when is it appropriate to do so?

A person with an obsession isn't necessarily ruled by it 24-7; they may have the willpower to resist or control their urges. If we leave this entirely up to the player, then when do you cry foul?

Let's assume we have a kleptomaniac. Do we cry foul if they are always stealing things? "I just have poor impulse control!"

Do we cry foul if they only steal irrelevant things? "Come on, I'm not suicidal, I'm not going to pickpocket Emirikol the Chaotic, he's been known to magic missile people that look at him funny!"

Rather than avoid any arguments about when it is or is not "kosher" to resist one's urges, or try to police someone's roleplay, perhaps a die roll to resist is the most fair solution.
 

What makes this gameist is that your motivation is that of the player, not the character. The character wants to succeed, but the player wishes their own character to first fail and only then succeed.
I've played dozens of sessions of a game with a mechanic were you gain like 70% of your XP from failure (Dungeon World) and this is absolutely false.

The players want their actions to succeed. That they get XP on a fail it's a consolation prize, not a desired result. Half the time they forget to even mark it! So the idea that they're preferring to fail is pretty funny.

You're talking about it like it's a videogame where you get infinite tries with no consequences. In most games which give XP on a fail, if you fail a roll it's bad - sometimes really bad.
 

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