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

I mean, it's fair to observe a difference over the last 5 years, specifically.

In 2014, D&D was considered a very low-value brand by WotC. The reason 5E was allowed to be made was because WotC didn't think D&D was going to make a lot of money after 4E, where their marketing/branding efforts had largely failed to get traction, or at least to get the traction they wanted. That's also why the "slow-and-steady" product release cadence was chosen, and why D&D went back to the OGL in 2016, after abandoning it in 4E.

But in the last 5 years, particularly through the pandemic (but starting before), D&D has exploded in popularity, and WotC's approach to marketing and merchandizing has become significantly more aggressive. Stuff like the VTT project would have been completely unimaginable in 2014, because the VTT development (allegedly with 350 employees) has to be costing WotC about as much as they were expecting D&D to even pull in back in 2014. And stuff like the cadence of products, and what the products are is also changing or has changed.

There now D&D Toasters, D&D Waffle Makers, D&D Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate makers, D&D Mugs/Shirts/Socks/Underwear, D&D MtG set that made over a $100,000,000, D&D Wallets, etc..., so yeah its partly a life style brand.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I mean, that's one valid take.

Personally I assumed they were leaning extremely hard into D&D-specific IP stuff was because that's all stuff that D&D can merchandise and has a stronger IP grasp on. So rather than it being a "proud to be different" thing it's a "this is what we own" kind of thing.
Yeah, I liked the movie a lot, but the IP hammer came down  hard.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Yeah, I liked the movie a lot, but the IP hammer came down  hard.
During the opening exposition, I could practically hear the trademark symbols. It really could have used the Coco Chanel treatment and had the most glaring stuff plucked out in favor of more generic terms, which is how people speak more generally outside of Star Wars, where many of the scripts are legendarily stilted.
 

And this is why I won't see the movie... because what the movie is isn't D&D to me.

While D&D has it's own things, it also has everything else from the early influences, and without them, it becomes something else (again, to me). My preference is for the dark medieval-like world, with orcs and goblins and trolls, etc. where the D&D-unique "own stuff" is rare and magical and what separates it from other fantasy. But when such things are commonplace, it takes away the magic for me.

So, what you've described is what D&D can be, certainly, if that is what you want, but it isn't what it IS. What it is, however, is different to everyone who enjoys it, and that is part of what makes it great. :)
Missing out, it's good.
 

For me D&D is high fantasy, high magic and a somewhat comic-book level of reality. A 10th level fighter can take out an entire phalanx of enemy soldiers! A wizard throws fireballs and turns people into toads! A cleric calls down miracles in the name of their god multiple times a day! A druid wildshapes into animals! A warlock fires eldritch blast at will! The monsters unique to D&D: beholders, displacer beasts, mind flayers, mimics, etc. reinforce the high magic setting.

In Honor Among Thieves, Doric's near-unlimited wildshaping was not 5E RAW. But it felt in the spirit of what D&D is.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
For me D&D is high fantasy, high magic and a somewhat comic-book level of reality. A 10th level fighter can take out an entire phalanx of enemy soldiers! A wizard throws fireballs and turns people into toads! A cleric calls down miracles in the name of their god multiple times a day! A druid wildshapes into animals! A warlock fires eldritch blast at will! The monsters unique to D&D: beholders, displacer beasts, mind flayers, mimics, etc. reinforce the high magic setting.

In Honor Among Thieves, Doric's near-unlimited wildshaping was not 5E RAW. But it felt in the spirit of what D&D is.
Honestly, the problem with the Druid is that it's three classes in a trench coat.

You have the "rage and restoration of nature" spellcaster, which should be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Cleric.
You have the "warrior of the wild" shapeshifter, which should be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Barbarian.
You have the "spiritual seer and supernatural summoner" spellcaster, which should be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Wizard.

3e made it really obvious how much the Druid was a franken-class, but we've been chasing the end of this particular rainbow--a class that somehow lets you do all of those things, and makes all them actually worthwhile, while not overshadowing everyone else in the doing--ever since. The one and only truly elegant solution I've ever seen to this problem is 13A's, but the Druid stans would howl bloody murder if you tried to apply that to D&D proper. (TL;DR, for anyone unfamiliar with 13A: its Druids in general are all of these; each specific Druid can only be a specific subset.)

It's the class-feature version of exactly the same problem as the Wizard: in being expected to be the ultra-generalist, the D&D Wizard is required to be everything magic has ever been in every branch of fantasy. Which...yeah, that means it's overpowered. It couldn't be anything else. And it lifts every other caster along with it, albeit to a lesser extent since they split their focus between "everything magic has ever been" and "some other thing."
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Missing out, it's good.
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.
 



That's a little harsh. The high-magic, everything blended together style is one way to see D&D, one which is hot and commercial right now. Plenty of folks prefer a style that's more classic, "old school" if you will.
The rules have never supported that though - even back when there where only four classes, half of them where spellcasters. D&D has always been high magic, if you want to play it otherwise you need to make substantial alterations to the published rules.
 

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