What Is The Essence of D&D?

Stereofm

Explorer
The Shadow said:
It's become abundantly obvious that people have widely divergent ideas about what D&D fundamentally 'is', what is at its core. What is the common thread that binds together 1e, 2e, 3e, and presumably 4e, even though they are four very distinct games in both fluff and crunch?

QUOTE]

Magic = Fireball !
monsters = orc, red Dragon, devils, demons, flumph ! (DON'T CHANGE THAT !!!!)
D 20
Classes
Saving throws

And that's it
 

Goblyn

Explorer
Stereofm said:
The Shadow said:
It's become abundantly obvious that people have widely divergent ideas about what D&D fundamentally 'is', what is at its core. What is the common thread that binds together 1e, 2e, 3e, and presumably 4e, even though they are four very distinct games in both fluff and crunch?

QUOTE]

Magic = Fireball !
monsters = orc, red Dragon, devils, demons, flumph ! (DON'T CHANGE THAT !!!!)
D 20
Classes
Saving throws

And that's it
I think dungeons play a pretty big role in it ... there's a note about it in a core book somewhere ... that there's dungeons ...
 
Are dungeons actually essential? 2e moved away from them to such an extent that 3e used the slogan 'Back to the dungeon' as promotion.

I remember at a gaming tournament in the 90s some friends of mine, both really big D&D fans, were complaining about the adventures in the D&D category they had entered - too many dungeons, they said. Didn't the organisers realise there's more to D&D than just dungeon bashes? At the time I did give the obvious reply that dungeons are part of the name but the example shows the kind of attitudes kicking about at the time.
 

Irda Ranger

Villager
d20's
Magic Missile (on a side note, if the 4e Wizard has a at-will magical attack that is called anything other than Magic Missile, it will be re-named immediately. This is my first 4e house rule.)

I think the races are under-appreciated. It's gotta have humans, elves and dwarves (minimum), or it's not D&D. The rest are optional. Monte's Arcana Unearthed is very similar to D&D's rules, but it never felt at all like D&D to me.

Rangers and "spellcasting" Wizards (as opposed to more freeform systems) are necessary. Plenty of games have Fighters and Rogues.
 
The Soul of D&D?

Wizardru said:
It's rolling a natural 20 when you're down to 3 hit points and the cleric's on the floor and you're staring that sunnavabitch bugbear right in his bloodshot eye and holding the line just long enough to let the wizard unleash a fireball at the guards who are on their way, because they're all that stands between you, the Foozle and Glory.
 

Wombat

Villager
The essence of D&D?

Levels, character classes, alignment, armour class, hit points, 3-18 characteristics, Vancian magic, saving throws, spell levels that don't match character levels, colour-coded dragons, hordes of dungeon adventures, and Renaissance armour without the gunpowder.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Classes and Levels.

One must roll multiple polyhedrons throughout a game session.

Kill things, take stuff.

Cheers, -- N
 
Doug McCrae said:
Are dungeons actually essential? 2e moved away from them to such an extent that 3e used the slogan 'Back to the dungeon' as promotion.

I remember at a gaming tournament in the 90s some friends of mine, both really big D&D fans, were complaining about the adventures in the D&D category they had entered - too many dungeons, they said. Didn't the organisers realise there's more to D&D than just dungeon bashes? At the time I did give the obvious reply that dungeons are part of the name but the example shows the kind of attitudes kicking about at the time.
There is a difference between too many and too few dungeons in a given campaign, if there had been no dungeons would you have been happy?
D&D at its core though involves dungeon crawling in order to kill things and take their stuff.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Let's see! Seems familiar .....

A fantasy setting. Of course. You can have variants (the d20 system, portals to other worlds, gritty v. S&S v. high fantasy v. wuxia etc.) but fantasy tends to be part of the base experience.

A class system.

Levels.

Hit points.

Saving throws.

The six ability scores. Whether it's the right way (SIWDConCha) or the wrong way (heh, SDCIWC), you should have six abilities. No more. No less. Six shalt be the number of abilities, and the number of abilities shall be six. Seven shalt thou not have, nor either five, accepting that thou then write down the sixth ability. Ten is right out.

Armor class.

The d20 being the base of most rolls.

The differentiated dice for other rolls (using d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d00 instead of a more unified system).



Oh, and people starting edition wars. That too.
 
Kind of a meaningful necro though, reading people debating the core of the game over a decade ago, and reading it right when 2e comes out.
 

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