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

Aldarc

Legend
Picking on you only because you're the most recent person to mention this in the thread, but:

What the hell is a MOBA?
Wasn’t this explained when DOTA was explained? No worries.

Multiplayer Online Battle Arena: a genre of games that originally developed from the Warcraft 3 modding community, namely a game mode called Defense of the Ancients (“Dota”). There should be details on how DotA and MOBAs generally work should be found earlier in the thread.

Notable Examples:
  • League of Legends
  • Dota 2
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Smite
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Picking on you only because you're the most recent person to mention this in the thread, but:

What the hell is a MOBA?
Building off the previous answer:

Because MOBAs grew out of the Warcraft 3 modding community, they have inherited a set of common characteristics to one degree or another. These are:

  • Players choose a "hero"/"champion" to play, as the original DotA map re-purposed the WC3 "hero" mechanic; these heroes defend one base on the map against enemy assault, while trying to assault the enemy base.
  • Each hero has a small, fixed set of abilities. Typically there are three "regular" abilities, which can improve in power once per hero level, and one "ultimate" ability, which can only improve at slower intervals. Some games (like LoL) also give some unique, innate passive ability (that does not rank up, but may improve with use) to each hero, though this is not a universal feature.
  • Heroes primarily gain power from being the person to successfully strike the killing blow against an enemy (NPC mooks or opponent heroes), gaining XP and money. XP works as you'd expect. Money buys magic equipment. And on that note...
  • Magic equipment is vital to becoming strong. Without it, most heroes are not able to hold their own. Correct selection of your item build, in terms of both which items and which order you acquire them, is essential in most MOBAs, though not all (Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's only official entry into the field, did not depend as much on item builds and was more concerned with branching ability options.)
  • Every hero is designed with a spectrum of roles in mind. It may be possible to play outside those roles, but usually this is not intended and may result in gameplay changes (the video game equivalent of errata). These include "tanky bruiser" (someone who hits hard but can also take hits), "CC" (crowd control, those who can prevent enemy escape), "carry" (heroes who can do great damage but, usually, cannot take damage well, so they need more survivable allies between them and the front line), "jungle" (characters that are relatively independently survivable, and who can thus wander outside the usual fighting lanes, killing monsters and securing early kills on enemy heroes), "support" (offering buffs, cleansing, healing, etc. to allies), etc. Most heroes will have at least 3-4 intended roles, some more, but it's rare to see less than that. As noted, item build heavily affects performance so items often determine what a hero is focused on doing in a given game.
That probably covers enough of the mechanical angle to give you more context about what is being described. I imagine the emphasis on items would be reduced but not eliminated, but how one would translate the more underlying mechanical structure effectively is less clear.
 


Following a MOBA model of class design (a small suite of scaling bespoke powers available at the beginning of play, upgrades and new powers available via item acquistion, a high level capstone) is unironically a good idea.
For myself, if I want a game that does all things I want in a ttrpg and lets me ignore stuff I don't care about, the ideal rpg is PathFinder 2e.

But as I think about the people I play with, I feel like, for a lot of them, it might be better to take a few steps in the opposite direction: have character with impact race and background, a class built around a single mechanic that comes online pretty early, and then let the character proceed form there not by class tables or level-based bonuses, but in-universe rewards. This allows the game (the story, the fiction) to guide progression.

This is because I find a lot of people don't think of dnd as a game, really. It's a shared story thing, with gamey stuff tacked on. They want to write characters and tell stories about those characters. Maybe roll some dice. They don't want to do "builds" or master systems. They don't care for the wargaming roots of the hobby, but aren't quite willing to go full improv.

The structure would be something like: you should have all your core/ key/ defining features at level 1, though perhaps in limited versions. By level 5 or so you should get all the basic stuff up and running. Past that, rewards should have direct in-universe causes: you learn spells by finding scrolls and books, you learn maneuvers and feats from... scrolls and books and maybe trainers. (Skill feats would be the rogue-group option.) You get boons from spirits, and magic items to expand and enhance your capabilities.

The decisions you make past level 1 should only be specializing in stuff you could already do at level 1 - ie Fighting Styles. They should not add new options (ie spells at level 3) or change the priority of ability scores.

But level 10 or 11, you stop getting major number improvements: your base attack bonus has peaked, you only get a couple hp per level, no more spell slots, etc. It's all about paragon and epic boons and magic items by then.

Cons to this approach: 20 classes is probably a minimum. (Not as big a deal since classes don't require subclasses or as much mechanics). Races will be less flexible than the current system (though probably not as much as, say, PF2) You absolutely must give dm's solid, understandable guidance on how many rewards to include. (Bad: no guidance. Okay: you must give X items to players at level Y. Great: here's some different rates for rewards you can give, and how those affect the game as a whole.)
 

Aldarc

Legend
Damn that's horrible but true.
Welcome to the Dark Side.

Building off the previous answer:
  • Every hero is designed with a spectrum of roles in mind. It may be possible to play outside those roles, but usually this is not intended and may result in gameplay changes (the video game equivalent of errata). These include "tanky bruiser" (someone who hits hard but can also take hits), "CC" (crowd control, those who can prevent enemy escape), "carry" (heroes who can do great damage but, usually, cannot take damage well, so they need more survivable allies between them and the front line), "jungle" (characters that are relatively independently survivable, and who can thus wander outside the usual fighting lanes, killing monsters and securing early kills on enemy heroes), "support" (offering buffs, cleansing, healing, etc. to allies), etc. Most heroes will have at least 3-4 intended roles, some more, but it's rare to see less than that. As noted, item build heavily affects performance so items often determine what a hero is focused on doing in a given game.
That probably covers enough of the mechanical angle to give you more context about what is being described. I imagine the emphasis on items would be reduced but not eliminated, but how one would translate the more underlying mechanical structure effectively is less clear.
And building off this answer a bit more for @Lanefan:

Heroes in MOBAs are generally designed with a role in mind. League of Legends calls them "classes," but they are closer to 4e-style Roles (e.g., Leader, Defender, Striker, Controller) with further sub-roles:
* Controller/Support: either boosting/supporting allies or locking down opponents
  • Enchanter
  • Catcher
* Fighter/Bruiser: durable, melee-damage focused characters (between Slayer and Tank)
  • Juggernaut
  • Diver
* Mage: damage typically comes more from their abilities/spells rather than auto-attacks
  • Burst
  • Battlemage
  • Artillery
* Marksman: (often fragile) sustained range damage

* Slayer: agile, damage-focused melee champions
  • Assassin
  • Skirmisher
* Tank: low damage, high survivability, often with abilities to initiate fights, crowd control, or peel enemy heroes
  • Vanguard
  • Warden
* Specialist: typically don't fit in other roles, but often exhibit zone control

Compare with the simplified roles from Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm:
  • Assassin: Melee or Ranged (Sustained or Mage)
  • Bruiser
  • Healer
  • Support/Specialist
  • Tank
 
Last edited:

While D&D should be influenced by knowledge of mechanics in other mediums, that influence should be tempered by the demands of the different media. And there's no reason why that influence should necessarily come from media with similar fiction. (eg. a good stealth minigame should probably take influence from stealth computer games which have wrestled with this problem for quite some time, but there's no real reason that influence should be from fantasy sources in particular.)

This thread seems to have drifted from influence of fiction to influence on mechanics. Or we seem to be assuming perhaps that a fictional influence should be linked to a mechanical one - which I don't see as necessarily being the case.
 
Last edited:

Reynard

Legend
While D&D should be influenced by knowledge of mechanics in other mediums, that influence should be tempered by the demands of the different media. And there's no reason why that influence should necessarily come from media with similar fiction. (eg. a good stealth minigame should probably take influence from stealth computer games which have wrestled with this problem for quite some time, but there's no real reason that influence should be from fantasy sources in particular.)

This thread seems to have drifted from influence on fiction to influence on mechanics. Or we seem to be assuming perhaps that a fictional influence should be linked to a mechanical one - which I don't see as necessarily being the case.
D&D is a game. It makes perfect sense that we would consider other games in relation to D&D more than other fiction.
 




Yora

Legend
All that talk about basing RPG character classes on tournament videogames sounds absolutely awful to me.
When players are encouraged to think of their moves in game mechanic terms instead of narrative terms, there's something gone completely wrong.
 

Aldarc

Legend
It's not "vs" or at least it shouldn't be. They should work together to achieve the desired experience.
Hard agree. For many players it comes from a simple desire of "I want to emulate [X] from [media Y]. How can I do that in [TTRPG Z]?"

X is often entails a combined sense of fiction and/or mechanics, particularly if it involves another game, typically computer or video game.

For example, I recall a number of my friends throughout my years of tabletop gaming who said that they wanted to play a necromancer like in Diablo 2-3, Guild Wars 1-2, or some other game (e.g., Elder Scrolls/Skyrim, etc.). Then they find out that being a necromancer in D&D is more akin to playing an accountant who is managing summons. Or they find out that half the necromancer stuff is in the cleric and the other half is in the necromancer wizard.

I often say D&D's class design mentality is decades behind at this point.
It did advance a bit in 2008, but the backlash against the edition set us back another decade, for better or worse.

All that talk about basing RPG character classes on tournament videogames sounds absolutely awful to me.
When players are encouraged to think of their moves in game mechanic terms instead of narrative terms, there's something gone completely wrong.
Then you should be thankful that you have no shortage of TTRPGs out there on the market that cater to your preferences.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
All that talk about basing RPG character classes on tournament videogames sounds absolutely awful to me.
When players are encouraged to think of their moves in game mechanic terms instead of narrative terms, there's something gone completely wrong.
I think the main modern philosophy is not of just mechanics but making the characters mechanically look like the narrative.Even if it makes the class or race a lot more complex.

A Major D&Dism is making a class or race using easy mechanics or via refluffing rather than designing mechanics that match the narrative. D&D is built on "Eh close enough" as the default.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I think the main modern philosophy is not of just mechanics but making the characters mechanically look like the narrative.Even if it makes the class or race a lot more complex.

A Major D&Dism is making a class or race using easy mechanics or via refluffing rather than designing mechanics that match the narrative. D&D is built on "Eh close enough" as the default.
Yeah, modern computer/video game design philosophy leans more into the playstyle of the class/archetype fantasy so that simply playing the game means that classes feel different in play. As you say, D&D (and its heartbreakers) tend to lean more into "fluff it up, buttercup" or "eh close enough."
 


Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
Personally, I cannot stand the direction D&D has taken. Although it was for kids when I started in the 80s, it was Conan. LotR. Swords and Sorcery. Great posters of monsters and warriors and a little more skin... now it is Pokemon and Harry Potter, with some Care Bears thrown in and a PG-13 rating at best, sometimes G.

My two groups still have tons of fun with TTRPGs, but we switched to Cypher System and now PF2 after a while. No new D&D products interest my players (they are the butt of some jokes heh), and they certainly don't like some of the vague mechanics of 5E, let alone trends like it being so hard to die (a reflection on the new generation? You decide :p), all the races being the same mostly (no real differences between the many races with tails and fur), and the nature of the newer generation of RAW fundamentalists.

A shame 5E doesn't have lines of products based on interest or age. Harry Potter for the younger ones, and perhaps something gritty for the grognards. Ahh well, us grognards have so many old books I can make new campaigns for decades!
 

Aldarc

Legend
Personally, I cannot stand the direction D&D has taken. Although it was for kids when I started in the 80s, it was Conan. LotR. Swords and Sorcery. Great posters of monsters and warriors and a little more skin... now it is Pokemon and Harry Potter, with some Care Bears thrown in and a PG-13 rating at best, sometimes G.
With a rant like this, I'm surprised you're not complaining about kids today liking their tinker toys, hula hoops, and hip-hopping wraps.

My two groups still have tons of fun with TTRPGs, but we switched to Cypher System and now PF2 after a while. No new D&D products interest my players (they are the butt of some jokes heh), and they certainly don't like some of the vague mechanics of 5E, let alone trends like it being so hard to die (a reflection on the new generation? You decide :p), all the races being the same mostly (no real differences between the many races with tails and fur), and the nature of the newer generation of RAW fundamentalists.
I've seen more player characters die in 5e than I ever seen die in the Cypher System. And could you remind how races are typically done in the Cypher System again? Isn't it mostly picking a Descriptor like everyone else, which entails adjusting your pools a bit and maybe a skill training/deficiency without much real impact?

A shame 5E doesn't have lines of products based on interest or age. Harry Potter for the younger ones, and perhaps something gritty for the grognards. Ahh well, us grognards have so many old books I can make new campaigns for decades!
I suspect that "gritty" in this context means something closer to "a false history rooted in nostalgia" more than anything else.
 

Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
Sorry it felt like a rant. People have different opinions, is that ok? I hope so!

Not doing the reply to every sentence in the post thing like you. My view is just an opinion. Sorry it does not go with yours.

This is a discussion forum, and I answered the OP. Be well.
 
Last edited:

Now it is Pokemon and Harry Potter, with some Care Bears thrown in.
I mean, it isn't though.

That's just inaccurate. There's pretty much no Pokemon at all in D&D 5E. In fact, if anything, you could complain about the severe lack of Pokemon or indeed any kind of real "monster-tamer" class in D&D. All the pet-oriented classes in D&D tend to have dull, ineffective pets, or very simple ones, and those pets tend to be very fixed and just scale a bit in terms of what they can do. There's none of the main draw of Pokemon - which is hunting new Pokemon.

Harry Potter isn't part of 5E's design. It's not something you could say 5E was significantly influenced by. There is an obviously HP-influenced setting (which is very recent), but claiming that's the "direction" of D&D would be liking claiming 2E's "direction" was Planetary Romance because Dark Sun existed or something equally laughable.

And Care Bears? "Kids today" are barely even aware of them (despite a number of largely unsuccessful attempts to reboot them). What possible influence can you see there from D&D? The over-40 crowd is only 13% of D&D players, and they're the only people who really have any opinions about Care Bears, in either direction. That's a weird and beyond-inaccurate insult which says more about the culture of the complainer than the object of the complaint.

I mean, it seems more like, instead of "hating the direction" 5E is taking, you just don't know much about 5E or the direction its taking. Which is kind of sad really. I mean, there is actually a ton you could criticise about 5E's direction without even getting into silly stuff (particularly that it's increasingly bland), but your approach is just one that says you're not actually familiar with what you're complaining about - neither the actual product, nor the influences.

let alone trends like it being so hard to die (a reflection on the new generation? You decide :p)
I find it really weird as well that you went Cypher and PF2. Neither system is remotely "gritty". Neither system is remotely like earlier editions of D&D. I haven't played PF2 yet, just read the rules, but the death rules seem to be nigh-identical to 5E D&D, except you make a "recovery check" instead of a "death save", and if you make even one recovery check, you stabilize (rather than needing outside help or a 20 like 5E). Just like 5E, if you're healed for even 1HP, you're immediately back on your feet.

It seems like if you really wanted gritty, there are a large number of well-supported OSR-type games, which is why I'm particularly confused by this.
Sorry it felt like a rant. People have different opinions, is that ok?
There are "different opinions" like, "Alignment is useful" or "Alignment is terrible" or "Full HP regain on long rest is too much" or whatever. Or even "I don't like any edition of D&D after 3E", but then there are also really ill-informed or unreasonable opinions, which aren't helpful to anyone, except maybe to illustrate the folly of certain positions.

Your "rant" seems to be largely inaccurate assertions about the influences of 5E, which seem to be based on misapprehensions about both 5E and the claimed influences, and a really strange assertion that it's too hard to die in 5E, and thus you're playing PF2, a game with nigh-identical and possibly more generous death rules.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Sorry it felt like a rant. People have different opinions, is that ok? I hope so!

Not doing the reply to every sentence in the post thing like you. My view is just an opinion. Sorry it does not go with yours.

This is a discussion forum, and I answered the OP. Be well.
"Just an opinion" is the motte to your earlier bailey post. You decided to voice your opinion in a grossly inaccurate manner that was clearly meant to denigrate younger people than yourself. That seems to have exceeded the respectful bounds of a harmless difference of opinion.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top