D&D General What D&D reflects today, media wise...

I saw someone mention in another post that D&D no longer reflects LotRs (and Conan). Society has moved on and now D&D is or is expected to lean more into DOTA and The Witcher (funny enough is based heavily on classic fairy tales like Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, etc etc)

I found the poster choosing DOTA and Witcher really odd choices. If anything I'd say more like MMOs and Anime...

Anywho, it got me to thinking while LotRs is far far more widely known period, what younger D&D fans may care about more now-a-days is Pokemon or Warcraft. Should D&D reflect the more current modern popular fiction? A monster hunter that catches Beholders in special magic balls?

Would it even be D&D anymore if you pushed to the side Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, etc?

Does D&D NOW reflect current media as opposed to the old and dusty LotRs (What Amazon tv series?). What do you think it should reflect? Lean back into more MMO play like 4th ed?
I think, from a societal piece, it still reflects LotR a lot. The D&D clubs at high school still adhere to a Tolkien mind-set. That said, anime, Harry Potter and some more fantastical mindsets are also prevalent. It is a mixture.

From a gaming perspective, it is definitely shifting away from serious and strategy to a more entertaining and humorous tone. I find this to be on both sides of the screen. Expectations maybe? (Note: I am not discounting that strategy has left the game, just saying it appears less prevalent.)

As far as the Witcher goes, I think it has moved further away. It is also one of the reasons for the show's popularity. Outside of maybe a few creatures, and some fantastical parts in the books, like the Djinn, I see very little resemblance to D&D.
 

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5ed made great effort to allow multiple genre, play style, settings.
Media wise that may look very confusing, because usually you play a game with same rules and similar experience everywhere. which is not the case for DnD.
media wise it can be hard to explain those who laugh, make jokes, make voice, play the same game that the other table who use a kind of military precision and concentration.
 


The thing is, it wasn't a "one true way". There was still room for Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun, and Eberron to have their own settings with their own cosmologies and lore. Granted, some of the changes were forced to fit with the new rules and not really appreciated (even by me). But the idea was that Nerath was, specifically, the world of the D&D game. The rest were just worlds that you could play D&D in.

Now, as far as diversity and openness, etc... well, you can see the mess that it creates daily when brought up in a public forum. ;)
I meant creative diversity and openness to new ideas. Not touching other definitions with a standard-issue 10 foot pole.
And we have a difference of opinion regarding Nerath's assumed place. Eberron appeared well into 3rd ed's life cycle. Nerath was a series of setting assumptions built into the core books of the game. This left FR and DS as alternatives, but Nerath remained the default that nearly all the "generic" lore was built around.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I don't know about that. Unintended consequences are still consequences.
Right, but they’re consequences of using the rules differently than intended. Like giving players money when the land on Free Parking in Monopoly. If you do that, and it makes the game take way longer, that isn’t Monopoly’s fault.
 

Right, but they’re consequences of using the rules differently than intended. Like giving players money when the land on Free Parking in Monopoly. If you do that, and it makes the game take way longer, that isn’t Monopoly’s fault.
Was it 3rd Ed's fault that people used its rules in a way different than intended?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Was it 3rd Ed's fault that people used its rules in a way different than intended?
It’s been a long time since I played 3.5 and I never played 3.0, so I don’t really know what you’re referring to. But, taking your word for it that people were using the rules differently than intended, then I would say no, the consequences of the way they were (mis)using the rules was not the rules’ fault.
 

It’s been a long time since I played 3.5 and I never played 3.0, so I don’t really know what you’re referring to. But, taking your word for it that people were using the rules differently than intended, then I would say no, the consequences of the way they were (mis)using the rules was not the rules’ fault.
I'd push back on this: if everyone is using the game in an unintended way, the designers didn't make the game work as intended.

If a few people change things, that's on them.

Using the Monopoly example: free money at Free Parking is because people didn't like the death spiral ending of the game. Soo they tried to fix it. The fix is bad, but it's there because of a problem with the base design: the death spiral.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Even then, I'm not sure if Nerath was intended to be "the world of the D&D game." It kind of grew and evolved from what felt like an initial starting point of "here is a sample basic setting to get you started." It was built with the conceits and such of 4e in mind - much like Eberron was with 3e or Greyhawk was with 1e - but I agree that Nerath wasn't really ever THE "one true way" to play 4e D&D or even D&D.

I meant creative diversity and openness to new ideas. Not touching other definitions with a standard-issue 10 foot pole.
And we have a difference of opinion regarding Nerath's assumed place. Eberron appeared well into 3rd ed's life cycle. Nerath was a series of setting assumptions built into the core books of the game. This left FR and DS as alternatives, but Nerath remained the default that nearly all the "generic" lore was built around.
Its easier to make assumptions when we're not informed. But if you really want to know more, I suggest reading Wizards Presents: Worlds & Monsters. It specifically calls attention to "Team Scramjet", the world concept team charged with the flavor side of the game for 4e, which the book covers in great detail. There is a lot of insight from the insiders and designers who were working on the project at the time it was being developed. I'll give you an excerpt from Ed Stark that applies to this topic:
If you say "D&D" to anyone who knows anything about the hobby, the phrase conjures up images of wizards, dragons, epic adventures, magical treasures, and all sorts of fantastic things. But in presenting the rules of the D&D game, we have to remain cognizant of the fact that not everyone thinks of fantasy in the same way or creates adventures in the same sort of world. Our earlier 3rd Edition rulebooks tended to be "rules heavy, flavor light" for that reason. As a result, some resemble textbooks with nice artwork rather than evoking excitement and anticipation in the reader.

The world team ("Scramjet") recognized this problem and, after some discussion, decided that the best solution lay in fleshing out specific game elements. Over the game's 35-year history, D&D has incorporated iconic features recognizable to players in any campaign. Artifacts such as the Hand and Eye of Vecna, legendary locations such as the Tomb of Horrors, and unique deities such as the dwarven god Moradin--all remain in the collective identity of the game, edition after edition and year after year. Some originated in the original Greyhawk campaign, while others arose in various campaign settings or in supplements not affiliated with any game world, but they all resonate with fans as representative of the Dungeons & Dragons game as a whole. Individual Dungeon Masters pick and choose which of them to place in their own adventures, alongside wonders of their own invention that are important to their worlds' mythologies.

We decided to build on that, creating specific stories and flavor elements to complement the basic rules text. Elves, for example, aren't just a set of numbers and abilities as a race; they originated in the Feywild, a magical place that borders the "real" world, overlapping it in a strange, mystical way. Telling the history of the elves defines them in the reader's mind and lets a player make an elf character more alive.

Instead of listing the planes and their game effects, we describe the origin of the universe and the war between primordial beings and the gods, calling out particular battles as they become important to the development of the game. When possible, we drop in well-known names of locations such as the exotic City of the Spider Queen to explain the origins of monsters, magic, and artifacts.

By creating these stories, we help build the shared mythology of the game. We will never tied down every detail of the universe to such elements, however. We want to leave the joy of creativity and imagination to Dungeon Masters and players.
For the record, I only recently got a copy for myself as I never thought there was anything of interest after 4e came out. But it contains some of the most interesting secrets regarding the 4th Edition designs and philosophies from those who worked on it. Regardless if you think it succeeded or not in those regards, their intentions are clearly stated in this book. :)
 

reelo

Adventurer
(...) we're talking about sort of slightly exaggerated aesthetic (...) with a lot of bright colours and warm metals, inevitable steampunk/magitech devices, clothing trending towards the stylish and quasi-modern rather than the realistic or historical, and generally a trend away from quasi-realism (...)

Exactly what I absolutely can't stand.
 



reelo

Adventurer
But realistic is harder to draw, especially in video games and animation.

(no really, that's a key driver of the shift.)
I don't mind some stylization in terms of drawing/painting technique, but anything that looks 17th century or (gasp!) later—be it clothing, accessories, or tech—is an immediate turn-off for me.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Does D&D NOW reflect current media as opposed to the old and dusty LotRs (What Amazon tv series?). What do you think it should reflect? Lean back into more MMO play like 4th ed?
Yes, I would say that today's D&D reflects the popular fantasy media of our time...but "our time" doesn't necessarily mean today's date. I think it is closer to each of our developmental years. The period we grew up in.

Take a look at the popular books, movies, and comics from the early to mid 1950s, and compare it to the original D&D game. The authors of OD&D likely grew up reading and watching them, and so that influence really carried through when they started writing the material 20-something years later.

Then look at the popular fantasy books and movies that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, and and compare it to the published 2nd and 3rd Edition adventures. Consider the material being published today for 5E D&D, and compare it to the video games, movies, books, and comics that were popular back in 2000. Yeah, we've still got LotR influence in there, but we also have anime and MMORPGs and Critical Role.

Also--bit of a tangent-- I feel that LotR's continued influence in 4E/5E wasn't D&D tradition; I think its a resurgence thanks to the immensely popular Peter Jackson movies of the early 00s.
 

Reynard

Legend
Yes, I would say that today's D&D reflects the popular fantasy media of our time...but "our time" doesn't necessarily mean today's date. I think it is closer to each of our developmental years. The period we grew up in.
Many of the people making D&D (and other RPGs) today are Millenials, who grew up with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and lots and lots of video games. That isn't to say some of us oldies don't also like those things or take inspiration from them for our games, but there is a generational lag in entertainment because people often are at least partially creating things out of a nostalgia for their formative influences. The wave of 80s nostalgia in film and television is due in no small part because the people finally in a position to make film and television are around 50 years old now.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don't the modern D&D is as as shiny as some thing

I see it more like an old Bioware game. Pockets of color, darkness, grey, and white. Comedy, serious, and trauma. The main difference is the magic isn't dead nor wanting and it isn't odd that you spend time there.
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'd push back on this: if everyone is using the game in an unintended way, the designers didn't make the game work as intended.

If a few people change things, that's on them.

Using the Monopoly example: free money at Free Parking is because people didn't like the death spiral ending of the game. Soo they tried to fix it. The fix is bad, but it's there because of a problem with the base design: the death spiral.
A game works as intended when it’s played as intended. That doesn’t necessarily mean the game as intended is something people will want to play. Monopoly, for example, is supposed to have a death spiral, not because it’s supposed to be fun, but because it was supposed to be contrasted against a different ruleset, which was much better balanced. It was intended as political propaganda. It works exactly as intended without free money on Free Parking, it’s just that it’s supposed to be unfun when played as intended.
 

Are you kidding me? Just going by the Animes,, DOTA 2: Dragons Blood central plot is about Dragons, it has Elves, Orcs, etc..., I spent the time thinking what characters would be what D&D class. Lina Sorcerer, Merci Monk, Devon Eldritch Knight multiclassed with Red Dragon Sorcerer, that Australian sounding Elf Arcane Trickster, Invoker Wizard, Bran Eldrich Knight (and other Dragon Knight), etc...
You seem to missing the direction of influence.

That's "influenced by D&D"*

Not "influencing D&D"

They're kind of the opposite. DotA 2 is ultra-derivative and frankly extremely boring drivel. There's a reason Arcane is an absolutely huge hit (despite/because it fits the aesthetic I descried) and DotA 2 anime is not particularly successful.

* = Actually Warcraft III, which is where DotA originates, which is just a mash-up of D&D and Warhammer. Both of which were just a mash-up of Tolkien and Moorcock.
 

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