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D&D General What elements does D&D need to keep? ENWorld vs. rpg.net

JEB

Hero
Another comparison of two versions of the same poll: this time, between the responses to the above question as posted here on ENWorld and later on rpg.net. Got 34 responses on rpg.net, compared to 130 on ENWorld, so the sample size for rpg.net is only about 1/4 of ENWorld's... but the responses had some big differences still worth noting, IMHO.

As a reminder, as laid out in the original post, voting for an element meant the respondent actively wanted to keep it; not voting for an element was either indifference, or actively wanting the element removed.

Important caveat: As with previous polls ported to places other than ENWorld, I asked ENWorld folks to avoid answering the rpg.net version. Which may have skewed the results a bit from their "natural" form.

Here are the results from both, in five tiers (bold items were in different tiers between each set of responses):

ENWorldrpg.net
Very important to keep (80% and up)Distinct character classes [95.4%]
Levels [93.1%]
Ability scores (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) [88.5%]
Hit points [86.9%]
Using multiple types of dice [84.6%]
Levels [84.8%]
Distinct character classes [81.8%]
Important to keep (60% to 80%)Armor Class [80.0%]
Saving throws [76.9%]
Distinct character races/lineages [74.6%]
Lists of specific spells [70.0%]
Initiative [66.9%]
Ability scores (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) [75.8%]
Hit points [69.7%]

Distinct character races/lineages [63.6%]
Armor Class [63.6%]
Debatable (40% to 60%)Lists of specific magic items [57.7%]
Advantage/disadvantage [49.2%]
Damage types [48.5%]
Multiclassing [45.4%]
Proficiencies [45.4%]
Lists of specific equipment [45.4%]

Conditions [43.8%]
Creature types [43.8%]
Experience points [43.1%]
Feats [42.3%]
Using multiple types of dice [54.5%]
Saving throws [54.5%]
Lists of specific spells [54.5%]
Initiative [51.5%]

Damage types [48.5%]
Lists of specific magic items [48.5%]
Conditions [45.5%]
Experience points [42.4%]
Creature types [42.4%]
Less important to keep (20% to 40%)Hit dice [40.0%]
Backgrounds [37.7%]
Alignment [34.6%]
Surprise [30.8%]
Deities [30.0%]
Deities [39.4%]
Advantage/disadvantage [39.4%]
Multiclassing [36.4%]
Lists of specific equipment [36.4%]
Feats [33.3%]
Proficiencies [33.3%]

Backgrounds [30.3%]
Hit dice [27.3%]
Surprise [24.2%]
Great Wheel cosmology [24.2%]
Not important to keep (20% and below)Great Wheel cosmology [20.0%]
Challenge ratings [20.0%]
World Axis cosmology [8.5%]
Alignment [18.2%]
Challenge ratings [18.2%]
World Axis cosmology [12.1%]

Observations:
  • Overall, rpg.net is much more willing to toss out, or at least live without, lots of established D&D elements. Most elements are around 10% less popular on rpg.net, even some of the biggest stuff. (Also of note - one of the "other" responses actually advocated for throwing everything out!)
  • However, both forums do broadly seem to agree that D&D should keep levels and distinct classes - although ENWorld favors classes over levels, and rpg.net levels over classes.
  • Ability scores and hit points are less valued on rpg.net, although still considered fairly important to keep. Armor Class and character races/lineages less so, but also still considered important.
  • One big surprise - multiple types of dice are about 34% less popular, knocked all the way down from "very important" to "debatable"! I don't know if that means many rpg.net folks would be happier with fewer dice, or if some even want to go diceless...
  • Alignment is also significantly less popular on rpg.net - about 16% less popular and a full tier lower.
  • Damage types are exactly as popular percentage-wise on both (and both equally "debatable" too).
  • Experience points are ranked about the same on both forums, though still in the low end of the "debatable" tier.
  • Deities are actually more popular on rpg.net, almost into the "debatable" tier.
  • Clearly a lot of folks have issues with challenge ratings.
  • The World Axis has a little more support on rpg.net, as with the "feel" poll, but so does the Great Wheel, surprisingly.


Combining both sets of results (164 results) to get "what forums might want D&D to keep":

Very important to keep (80% and up):
Distinct character classes: 151 [92.07%]
Levels: 149 [90.85%]
Ability scores [Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha]: 140 [85.37%]
Hit points: 136 [82.93%]

Important to keep (60% to 80%):
Using multiple types of dice: 128 [78.05%]
Armor Class: 125 [76.22%]
Distinct character races/lineages: 118 [71.95%]
Saving throws: 118 [71.95%]
Lists of specific spells: 109 [66.46%]
Initiative: 104 [63.41%]

Debatable (40% to 60%):
Lists of specific magic items: 91 [55.49%]
Damage types: 79 [48.17%]
Advantage/disadvantage: 77 [46.95%]
Conditions: 72 [43.90%]
Creature types: 71 [43.29%]
Multiclassing: 71 [43.29%]
Lists of specific equipment: 71 [43.29%]
Experience points: 70 [42.68%]
Proficiencies: 70 [42.68%]
Feats: 66 [40.24%]

Less important to keep (20% to 40%):
Hit dice: 61 [37.20%]
Backgrounds: 59 [35.98%]
Deities: 52 [31.71%]
Alignment: 51 [31.10%]
Surprise: 48 [29.27%]
Great Wheel cosmology: 34 [20.73%]

Not important to keep (20% and below):
Challenge ratings: 32 [19.51%]
World Axis cosmology: 15 [9.15%]
 

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People really still use alignment in DnD? I mean, as more than a vague thing you write on a sheet and forget about when you establish a personality.
 

JEB

Hero
People really still use alignment in DnD? I mean, as more than a vague thing you write on a sheet and forget about when you establish a personality.
Considering about a third of respondents on both forums want to keep it, the answer appears to be yes. And if any of them are DMs (I can guarantee that at least some are), then their players are presumably using it too...
 

Considering about a third of respondents on both forums want to keep it, the answer appears to be yes. And if any of them are DMs (I can guarantee that at least some are), then their players are presumably using it too...
I still use it in my game although I don't enforce it with players unless its a blatant and egregious disregard of their chosen alignment. I generally just use it as a gauge for creatures and NPCs. Its so open to interpretation that its not worth arguing with players who are trying to justify why their actions weren't against there alignment. As alignment has played a lesser role in the game we haven't used it as much in our games and it wasn't a conscious decision, just kind of happened.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I find it interesting that the non-mechanical items (alignment, deities, cosmologies) are towards the bottom. I would have expected the reverse.
 


I find it interesting that the non-mechanical items (alignment, deities, cosmologies) are towards the bottom. I would have expected the reverse.
It ight be a split on how the question is being read.

My games always contain deities. They do not, however, contain DnD deities unless those happen to be the best ones for the campaign. There's always a cosmology, but rarely either the Great Wheel or World axis per se. So saying "we need to keep deities" feels like a no, although I'm not in favor of removing them.
 


cmad1977

Hero
People really still use alignment in DnD? I mean, as more than a vague thing you write on a sheet and forget about when you establish a personality.

No. It serves no purpose except to satify some people need for nostalgia. We’ve all agreed that it’s vestigial and has been supplanted by superior mechanics.
 

You know, it might be useful to construct a new set of polls in the future that ask the question in the negative sense, e.g. "what five things from this list would you accept being COMPLETELY REMOVED from the game, so they'd never be seen or used again except as explicit house-rules?" or the like.

It's obviously harder to construct a negative poll than a positive one in this context, but that might help differentiate the "we see this as a MUST" from more middling "it's not for me but it's a D&D thing, sure."
 

JEB

Hero
You know, it might be useful to construct a new set of polls in the future that ask the question in the negative sense, e.g. "what five things from this list would you accept being COMPLETELY REMOVED from the game, so they'd never be seen or used again except as explicit house-rules?" or the like.

It's obviously harder to construct a negative poll than a positive one in this context, but that might help differentiate the "we see this as a MUST" from more middling "it's not for me but it's a D&D thing, sure."
Well, I was pretty clear with the poll that voting for it meant "I actively want to keep this". There's more ambiguity to what not voting for a thing meant (could mean "get rid of it", could mean "meh"), but voting for it was supposed to be pretty clear.

Granted, I can't control if respondents interpreted the question differently anyway, but that would also be true of the "what do you think should be removed?" version... you might get folks who also think "well, it isn't for me, but it's a D&D thing so I won't vote to remove it."

Basically, no poll is perfect.

EDIT: That said, if you or anyone else want to field a "what elements should D&D get rid of?" poll, I'll certainly be interested in the results... just pointing out that it would only be as definitive as the above, but in reverse.
 
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