D&D General What do you want to be able to DO as a player?

Reynard

Legend
As I DM more often than play these days, I want to give my players the best experience I can given their preferences.

As a player, I want to sink into a good story and get to play it out. I want to feel like my character can make any decision that makies sense to the character, and that the game will accomodate it. I want the world around my PC to respond in a way that makese sense - and I want to make sure everyone at the table is having fun.

I've said this many times, but I'll say it again: If you answer this question without talking about character or role playing as being important, you might want to ask if you're playing the right game for you. I'm not trying to kick you out - I'm suggesting that this game is not optimized for your preferences. There are other tactical / strategy war games that give you the chance to really fight the fight in a way that is entirely about the fight. D&D is designed to be about the fight, the talk, and the exploration. D&D is an RPG - a role playing game. You're only using a small portion of it, and they make sacrifices in combat rules to ensure that the other pillars of the game work well. If you really care about the fight only, play a game that doesn't make those sacrifices. [Examples of those sacrifices - we limit how effective enchantments can be because they can be too strong for social situations and too impactful to role playing options ... we limit how lethal combat can be for PCs to allow the game to continue ... in a tactical game without role playing/story, we can allow you to steal opponent forces and to obliterate enemies].
I think it is important to consider that while a given participant might not be playing a game "optimized for their preferences" they are likely doing so as a concession to their friends at the table. if everyone wanted to play, say, Gloomhaven and just string some combats together with handwaving connections, they would. But if they are playing an RPG, at least one person at the table does prefer the talky bits. So even if all I care about is combat, I am happy to "endure" roleplaying so my friends can have fun, too.
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I think it is important to consider that while a given participant might not be playing a game "optimized for their preferences" they are likely doing so as a concession to their friends at the table. if everyone wanted to play, say, Gloomhaven and just string some combats together with handwaving connections, they would. But if they are playing an RPG, at least one person at the table does prefer the talky bits. So even if all I care about is combat, I am happy to "endure" roleplaying so my friends can have fun, too.
Yeap, I have been thinking about your idea examining the editions based on my preferences. I dont really care for 4E or PF2 because of the tactical nature of combat in those games. However, I could play them if a GM I favor, with a really interesting idea for a game, was presented to me. Though, if I'm looking, I'm not looking in that direction.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
What I am trying to get at (and am probably not explaining well) is finding out what is the best possible actual experience of play for you. What do you want out of your 4 hours? What do you want to be able to do?

There's no fixed list of things I want to do. I am a human being, with attendant whims and desires that change over time. What I want today may not be what I want in the next play session.

When I sit at a table, there's a agreement (perhaps implicit) that I'll engage with what the GM is offering.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
When i sit down to play D&D, I want to be able to playa character that strikes a bonus between ease of use and being complex enough to offer meaningful mechanical decisions. I also want to be able to make meaningful decisions otherwise, both tactical and strategic, as well as "narrative" (not in the "narrative game" sense but in a player agency kind of way). But I also want to be able to experience a coherent flow of events while playing -- not a story per se (it becomes a story after we are done, IMO) but a fulfilling experience at least. I don't mind if the GM is running off the cuff or railroading us if it FEELS like we are making our own choices and things are happening. As a player, I would rather be railroaded than stuck spinning my wheels in a giant sandbox. I also want to be free to make jokes, pop culture references, callbacks and other out-of-character banter. I want to have a few beers and some snacks. I want to be able to know that what we did in those 4 hours will matter for the next time we play, too. I don't mind episodic, but I still want an ongoing campaign.
That's a pretty good general summation of my main thoughts as an RPGer as well. Most other considerations are just gradations that may help decide which game to play and depend on mood, such as:

I like to play a game that allows me to experience a hero's journey from noob to hero - sometimes from start to finish, but also sometimes starting from various points in their development. This is why I like to play D&D, Villains and Vigilantes.

I also like games that allow me to play heroes, not just in a Greek hero kind of way where my powers are great, but also where I'm fighting against challenges that other people can't. This is why I like to play D&D, Mutants and Masterminds, Call of Cthulhu, but generally not Vampire, too amorally focused Cyberpunk/Shadowrun types of games, or games focused too much around being a mercenary.

I like games that do have an ongoing storyline with some kind of overall plot tying groups of episodic adventures together, even if somewhat loosely. This is why I like adventure paths and linked modules more than basic megadungeon crawls or speculative merchant Traveller campaigns just driven by the trade mini game.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
This is why I like adventure paths and linked modules more than basic megadungeon crawls or speculative merchant Traveller campaigns just driven by the trade mini game.
+1 on this notion. Also, I have found my Traveller games to be much improved when there is a campaign goal and/or adventure path over the common folks makin a livin with no direction campaign.
 

Andvari

Hero
In no particular order.

1. I a pleasant cooperative experience where everyone's enjoying themselves.
2. I want to experience adventure in interesting locations.
3. I want my character to have meaningful agency in the fictional world.
4. I want to roll at least a few dice and have opportunities to play to some of my character's strengths.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For the social stuff -- friends, pizza, beer -- the system really doesn't matter (with the possible exception of whether grid and minis reliant versions leave enough room on the table for aforementioned pizza and beer).
We have a solution for that. :)

What we do is put the chalkboard (i.e. the grid) up on solid 10"-high blocks. Dice and minis go on the board, all the rest - food, character sheets, drinks, writing implements, etc. - goes underneath.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There's no fixed list of things I want to do. I am a human being, with attendant whims and desires that change over time. What I want today may not be what I want in the next play session.
That much variability in preference might make it tough on a DM who's trying to take those preferences into account while planning/prepping the next six months worth of adventures. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I like games that do have an ongoing storyline with some kind of overall plot tying groups of episodic adventures together, even if somewhat loosely. This is why I like adventure paths and linked modules more than basic megadungeon crawls or speculative merchant Traveller campaigns just driven by the trade mini game.
There's a middle ground here. A campaign can have an underlying and ongoing long-term plot* behind it while at the same time featuring various standalone adventures and side treks not necessarily connected to said plot.

The risk, however, is that once things get going, if some of the players find that underlying plotline disintersting or unengaging you're painted into a corner.

* - or, preferably, more than one; such that if-when one gets resolved the campaign doesn't feel like it should grind to a halt.
 

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