D&D General What *is* D&D? (mild movie spoilers)


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It really hasn't been since WotC took over... 🤷‍♂️
Or before WotC took over. I was playing back then too.

Edit, to expand on this:

Whist "medieval" is a nonsense, someone mentioned "frontier", and it's probably fair to say that the very early D&D stuff, coming out of the American mid-west, was very Wild West influenced. But that had changed long before WotC took over, with stuff coming out of TSR UK and 3rd party publishers. When I started playing, the most popular setting (locally) was The City State of the Invincible Overlord.

HAT does not take place on a frontier. It is based in a large city, most people seem to live fairly comfortable lives, and folk travel around without having to fight off wandering monsters every couple of miles (or if they do they cut that out the movie).
 
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I think the main reason OSR and its predecessors feel like low-magic settings is because the art style we associate with them is generally always depicting low-magic settings.

DCC is the best case study in that effect. The gameworld it presents is not in any way, shape, or form low-magic. But it sure does feel like it is when you look at the art and don't see the usual trappings we see with high magic art.

High magic should look more like this:

View attachment 280913

But a lot of OSR style artwork tends to look like this:

View attachment 280914

Its also something I think can follow from the rules themselves. Having to track mundane things like food, water, etc can lend themselves to a low magic feel even in spite of what magic actually looks like.
What makes you think the first image is less medieval than the second? Tolkien knew his history, and the layout of Minas Tirith has a striking resemblance to Edinburgh Castle. If I remember correctly, it even has the same number of tiers (7).

You think the lower image looks more medieval because it uses less sophisticated techniques and materials, but if you look at the subject matter there is no reason to favour one over the other.

A medieval building:
R.711fa3f1c7ccad182bb11c9e2cd6146a
 
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Yeah 5E finally managed to make gold/money basically totally meaningless, because there's essentially nothing to spend it, and no overheads.
This was an issue pre-third edition as well. That's why they added rules for XP gain for gold and expensive training to level up. So players would actually have a reason to crave gold. But the 3rd edition magic item economy did impose an even higher magic level on the D&D world. That's why they tried to make Eberron the default setting to justify it.

In my experience, my players prefer story based rewards in any case.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm sure as a movie it is perfectly fine. Great actors, direction, special effects, etc. But, it isn't D&D to me. Also, there are many movies most people like (and are called good by many), which I never cared for once I watched them. So, I can't miss out on something I don't want. ;)

But, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Well lots of movies aren’t D&D. I assume you watch those?
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Or before WotC took over. I was playing back then too.

Edit, to expand on this:

Whist "medieval" is a nonsense, someone mentioned "frontier", and it's probably fair to say that the very early D&D stuff, coming out of the American mid-west, was very Wild West influenced. But that had changed long before WotC took over, with stuff coming out of TSR UK and 3rd party publishers. When I started playing, the most popular setting (locally) was The City State of the Invincible Overlord.

HAT does not take place on a frontier. It is based in a large city, most people seem to live fairly comfortable lives, and folk travel around without having to fight off wandering monsters every couple of miles (or if they do they cut that out the movie).
FWIW, I have no idea of any of the things you're talking about in your edit. 🤷‍♂️

And none of them have anything to do with what D&D is to me. Obviously they have something to do with what D&D is (or was maybe?) to you, which is cool for you.

Well lots of movies aren’t D&D. I assume you watch those?
None that claim to be a "D&D" movie and present a fiction not in line to what D&D is to me. :)

Why would I bother to go see a movie that I won't enjoy? There are a LOT more movies out there that I don't watch because they won't appeal to me than movies I watch because I they do appeal to me.




Anyway, I've said (repeatedly) that for people who want to see the movie and enjoy it, that's good for them. But the points laid out in the OP easily represent reasons why I know it won't appeal to me, namely:

1. It's not a boiling pot of Tolkien, Vance, Howard, Leiber, and all the other Appendix-N influences any more
2. not including orcs and goblins and ogres and trolls

3. The monsters in the arena are all iconic D&D-specific monsters.
4. The adventuring party isn't the traditional elf, dwarf, halfling, and human.
5. The non-human NPCs are dragonborn and aaracokra and tabaxi.
6. The world itself isn't medieval or dark ages, it's a bright, colourful fantasy rennaisance with giant skyscraping supermax prisons and magical arenas with shifting mazes and hot air balloons.

None of these things appeal to me at all, and I find them patently anti-D&D.
 

This was an issue pre-third edition as well. That's why they added rules for XP gain for gold and expensive training to level up. So players would actually have a reason to crave gold. But the 3rd edition magic item economy did impose an even higher magic level on the D&D world. That's why they tried to make Eberron the default setting to justify it.

In my experience, my players prefer story based rewards in any case.
There was a lot more to buy and even save up for in pre-3E that wasn't magic items. You also had more overheads and they got actually engaged with more. Money could potentially have become meaningless by I never saw it actually happen in the decade I ran 2E.

As you say, 3E and 4E had economies based around magic items, though it's wild historical revisionism to suggest 3E tried to make Eberron the default setting. It didn't even come out until 2004 and no particular effort was made to drive people there. Further the brief that inspired it didn't actually require that, AFAIK - but Baker did an astonishing job of making a setting that fit 3E. The default setting, to the limited degree 3.XE had one, was, bizarrely, Greyhawk. Further if that was the intention one might have expected 4E to make Eberron the default, but it very much did not.

Re: "prefer" I'd say it's apples and oranges. Story based rewards are a separate thing. 5E has no real use for cash beyond level 1-3 or so is something unique to 5E because it's cut away everything previous editions used it for except spell components and even that's been reduced. That said introducing ways to blow cash is a common feature in 3PP products and individual DMs often do things like reintroduce purchasable magic items and so on.

Part of it is simply a change of what D&D is about. In early editions, getting rich and powerful was a major focus, in line with the aspirations (often not met) of Sword and Sorcery characters. Whereas today most parties are more straightforwardly heroic, sort of pretending to be acquisitive, but generally more focused on doing good. This is reflected in the recent movie. I don't think the current situation will be the final position of D&D, either.
 

And none of them have anything to do with what D&D is to me.
But how can you expect someone to make a movie of your D&D, when your D&D is so different to everyone else's D&D?! I mean half elf PCs have been part of D&D since 1977, and Tieflings since 1994!

You are basically in the same position as all the non-D&D players who go to see the movie. It's still a good movie irrespective of if you happen to play the game it's based on.
 
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There was a lot more to buy and even save up for in pre-3E that wasn't magic items. You also had more overheads and they got actually engaged with more.
Strongholds and stuff, yeah. But we where never interested in resource management mini-games.
Whereas today most parties are more straightforwardly heroic
"Today" meaning any time since 1984 (DL1).
 
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