What is the essence of D&D

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Well. As a 2E player there is an optional rules that allows calzones.
Sorry, I was reading that, and all I could see was, "As a 2e player, I like to stuff my pie-hole with Papa John's pizza coated with Ragu spaghetti sauce while talking about how aweomtacular Paladins are."

Was I close?
 

Nagol

Unimportant
I despise nostalgia. I genuinely view it as a poison in our social nature; something we should be taught to sublimate and hold in low regard.

5e is fun as hell without any nostalgia.

Couldn’t possibly disagree more. Or, well, I guess I only care at all about roughly 3 editions, and even then only really 4e and 5e, but still. 4e and 5e are very close to each other, but no other edition comes close on the scale.


eh, I don’t care much about this particular argument. IMO having lore in the entry for every single option in the game promotes role playing, for a start.

As does making out of combat challenges have more mechanical weight, and keeping the binary result paradigm to simple checks.

Skill challenges alone helped turn “Garthok moves x [movement] and then attacks using [ability or weapon]/ I want to roll to intimidate the Duke” players into players who inhabit their characters and spend the entire session paying attention and thinking in the “voice” of their character about what’s going on.

The powers themselves also [try to] encourage thinking about how your character moves, fights, defends, and views the battlefield. IOW, they encourage and support roleplaying in combat.

The thing is, no mechanics can succeed at generating roleplaying, for every player. But even if we could somehow prove that 4e mostly failed at this, and that’s why it divided people (even tho they were divided before the PHB even came out), it wouldn’t mean that 4e doesn’t support RP. It would just mean they failed to engage most people with the game to the degree they needed to.


So, this is what I mean about presentation.

What laser-like focus on combat? Are skills, utility powers, rituals, magic items with no direct combat use (or movement stuff that clearly has use just as much in as out of combat), feats that do social or exploration/travel stuff, the mountains and mountains of lore in every single book and mag issue, skill challenges, etc all somehow focused on combat in a way that I missed?

What abilities are only usable in combat? Damaging powers? Even if we ignore that you can absolutely use those out of combat, how is that different from other editions?

Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong to have seen these things this way, I’m just saying that this perception is the result of presentation, not the actual nature of the things in question.

Thus my theory that the essence of DnD for many/most is at least half presentation and socially shared acceptance. Another significant factor is magic feeling as different as possible from the mundane. Make magic a set of skills with basic uses laid out that you have to “stunt” with just like physical skills and attacks in order to do wild stuff, and it probably won’t feel like dnd to most folks.
Take a look at the 1st level spell list my 1e Magic-user has. 11 spells. 1 mandatory, 3 random assignments.

1 attack spell. I got that one randomly at 1st level.

For my 1st 3 levels, all I had was a subset of those 11 spells. At 3rd, I think I had 5? in my spell book.

Do you know how any time I cast magic missile in those 3 levels? Once.. More often than not I had no more than one memorized.

By 3rd level, how many combat abilities would my Wizard have in 4e? How many of those can be optionally swapped out for additional utility abilities?


Our credo is "If we're fighting, something has already gone wrong."
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'm telling you this as a friend.

You may want to re-evaluate your life-choices if you have optimized your fast food pizza. :)
I am certain I left out a few Zios pizzeria in Omaha - vegetarian with those nifty tomato slices

I kind of do it with any eating place... though

Amu Manu - Tan Tan Men
Bisonwitches - Wisconsin Cheese bread bowl soup and half a Rueben sandwhich.... oooooh yeh
Kelleys fish market (Walleye sandwich to die for)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I am certain I left out a few Zios pizzeria in Omaha - vegetarian with those nifty tomato slices

I kind of do it with any eating place... though

Amu Manu - Tan Tan Men
Bisonwitches - Wisconsin Cheese bread bowl soup and half a Rueben sandwhich.... oooooh yeh
Kelleys fish market (Walleye sandwich to die for)
Woah!

Not to put words in your mouth (or food) but are you saying that you are doing some CharOps on your dining choices?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Just because people like something doesn’t mean it’s nostalgia. Many people never stopped playing ad&d and becmi. Why concert their campaigns and characters. They have the tools to play their game. And some mechanics from that era are better for certain playstyles. Especially those that love save or die among other things.
I’m trying to figure out if this is a response to me or not. I certainly didn’t suggest anything of the sort. There’s old stuff I like. Nothing wrong with that. Even @Tony Vargas seems to have interpreted hating nostalgia as...hating anything old?

Idk folks, that simply ain’t what those words mean.

Nostalgia isn’t “liking stuff that happens to be old.” It is “liking stuff because its from a time or setting that you view through a positive associative lense, such as your childhood or a relationship that you recall fondly.”

It’s pop culture traditionalism. Traditions that create positive things when applied to our lives are good. Those that don’t should be burnt and forgotten outside of cautionary tales. Sticking to something because your grandmother did it is bad for society, IMO.

Anyway, nostalgia is off topic. Sorry I brought it up!

I can only speak for myself when it comes to this, but it wasn't presentation that decided this for my group it was the sheer amount of time combats (as suggested by the encounter guidelines) took at low level and continued to increase as we went up in level. Our games, through no fault of our own were focused on combat because we had a limited amount of time to play and combat ate up the lion's share of it. And I'm talking trying to do 2 maybe 3 combats in a 4 hour period. This is the main difference my players (mostly casual) see between 4e and the rest of D&D, that the majority of our time was spent on a grid moving minis around in battle. It's why they view it as board gamey, samey (continuous calling out of mostly your best at-will) and pulling the focus away from roleplaying. We experienced this with no other edition (at least at low/mid-levels). And this for us at least was what made it an outlier... not primacy of magic
If you’ll excuse a nitpick, and forgive me the contradiction as someone who has a burning hot hatred of nitpicking in general, that does rather seem like combat length created the perception that the game is laser focused on combat.

Which is totally valid! But it isn’t exactly a whole different game when you play with the less meaty monsters of later 4e, and hand the players with analysis-paralysis issues and the players who can’t improv if there are defined ability widgets (both perfectly valid issues with 4e that essentials sought to fix while leaving the basic game alone for those of us who lacked those issues) an essentials class so they have 1 encounter power they can use 7 times. It speeds up combat dramatically, though.

Some of us kept fights fairly short by rarely fighting to the death (losing side flees or surrenders rather than being slaughtered), not using standards ever and only using brutes if they are the centerpiece of the fight, and cutting nearly all monster HP in half from the start, but damage vs hp math in 4e is simply wrong. They screwed it up. Full stop.

But! I am 90% sure that I could run a handful of 4e games for you and your group that would be chock full of roleplaying. We had many whole story arcs that feature maybe 3 fights over the course of 5-8 sessions. And if I can get some of my players improvising in 4e, I can get anyone doing it. 😂

The problem, IMO, is that 4e looks so combat centered, and deals with combat so differently in terms of designing a fight, and gets the math so wrong on HP vs damage, that these things compile to cause many groups to expect to be able to run x fights per session and still have time to RP out of combat, but then be unable to do so.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
When some of us mention 4e didnt balance the utility of caster style characters and non caster style ones, perfectly rituals and the extreme and eventually kind of cheap functionality MOST ALL OF IT not combat they are part of it.
 
There is no version of dnd where I can see what you’re saying about the rogue and fighter playing a different game.
Back in the day, the fighter stomped around in heavy armor and traded damage with all comers, and died in honest combat, so the casters could live on. The thief skulked about listening at doors, meticulously searching every square inch of dungeon for traps, and died, so the fighter & casters wouldn't get caught in said traps or surprised by monsters.

OK, yeah, I was going for contrast, but there was a definite similarity.

4e and 5e are the only numbered editions of dnd where I can see much difference between the two classes. I mean, the rogue had some inaugural abilities, but was absolutely playing the same game, while the wizard really wasn’t.
And I wasn’t employing any satire. That’s what was said. The mundane classes need to feel like basically a different game from the magic classes.
OK, that's convincing, but it does open up the question of what's the point of playing two different games at the same time like that. I mean, it's not something we see done in the context of gaming, more generally. (Not even the same thing as the 'game within a game' conceit. It's like, we'll play chess, while you play checkers on the same board.)
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Take a look at the 1st list list my 1e Magic-user has. 11 spells. 1 mandatory, 3 random assignments.

1 attack spell. I got that one randomly at 1st level.

For my 1st 3 levels, all I had was a subset of those 11 spells. At 3rd, I think I had 5? in my spell book.

Do you know how any time I cast magic missile in those 3 levels? Once.. More often than not I had no more than one memorized.

By 3rd level, how many combat abilities would my Wizard have in 4e? How many of those can be optionally swapped out for additional utility abilities?


Our credo is "If were fighting, something has already gone wrong."
I’m quite confused.

First of all, purely combat abilities you will have less, but...ya know...rituals and skills. 🤷‍♂️
And 4e wizards can swap spells from their spellbook. Tome Wizards can even do some swapping during a short rest. And you don’t have to swap combat powers for non-combat powers. You get non-combat abilities separate from the combat ones. No need to choose one or the other. Every day you can do both. Always.

Other wizards just spammed magic missile all day long, btw. Meanwhile we had campaigns where fighting was always the last resort in 4e, and campaigns where it was step one in other editions.

I don’t even know what in my post this was a response to, though?
 
Hey @Tony Vargas the stuff you "quoted" me on isn't actually from me. Just a heads up.
Sorry. It's like, multi-quote finally works, but I'm so used to it not working, that all the stupid user tricks I'm used to using to get around it are getting me into trouble.

I'll try to figure out the correct attribution and remove your name in the mean time.

Thanks
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Back in the day, the fighter stomped around in heavy armor and traded damage with all comers, and dying in honest combat, so the casters could live on. The thief skulked about listening at doors, meticulously searching every square inch of dungeon for traps, and dying, so the fighter & casters wouldn't get caught in said traps or surprised by monsters.

OK, yeah, I was going for contrast, but there was a definite similarity.

OK, that's convincing, but it does open up the question of what's the point of playing two different games at the same time like that. I mean, it's not something we see done in the contest of gaming, more generally. (Not even the same thing as the 'game within a game' conceit. It's like, we'll play chess, while you play checkers on the same board.)
It isn’t my argument, so I’m not much inclined to try and defend it.

I was told that this was the issue. The heart of what 4e lacked, and why “all classes feel the same”, was that in other editions the magic classes and mundane classes have little similarity of play experience.

I think it’s a strange thing to want in a game, but at least it seems accurate to what the different editions actually do, so far as I can tell.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
If you’ll excuse a nitpick, and forgive me the contradiction as someone who has a burning hot hatred of nitpicking in general, that does rather seem like combat length created the perception that the game is laser focused on combat.

Which is totally valid! But it isn’t exactly a whole different game when you play with the less meaty monsters of later 4e, and hand the players with analysis-paralysis issues and the players who can’t improv if there are defined ability widgets (both perfectly valid issues with 4e that essentials sought to fix while leaving the basic game alone for those of us who lacked those issues) an essentials class so they have 1 encounter power they can use 7 times. It speeds up combat dramatically, though.

Some of us kept fights fairly short by rarely fighting to the death (losing side flees or surrenders rather than being slaughtered), not using standards ever and only using brutes if they are the centerpiece of the fight, and cutting nearly all monster HP in half from the start, but damage vs hp math in 4e is simply wrong. They screwed it up. Full stop.

But! I am 90% sure that I could run a handful of 4e games for you and your group that would be chock full of roleplaying. We had many whole story arcs that feature maybe 3 fights over the course of 5-8 sessions. And if I can get some of my players improvising in 4e, I can get anyone doing it. 😂

The problem, IMO, is that 4e looks so combat centered, and deals with combat so differently in terms of designing a fight, and gets the math so wrong on HP vs damage, that these things compile to cause many groups to expect to be able to run x fights per session and still have time to RP out of combat, but then be unable to do so.
Funnily enough I kept all my 4e Essentials books and it is actually the only version of 4e I'd run now. Don't tend to discuss it much though since fans of classic 4e tend to dislike at the least (and more often than not hate) that era of 4e.

It's funny I sometimes wonder if more of them had been supportive of Essentials whether 5e would have come as soon as it did.
 
I am certain I left out a few Zios pizzeria in Omaha - vegetarian with those nifty tomato slices

I kind of do it with any eating place... though

Amu Manu - Tan Tan Men
Bisonwitches - Wisconsin Cheese bread bowl soup and half a Rueben sandwhich.... oooooh yeh
Kelleys fish market (Walleye sandwich to die for)
Zio's just ain't what it used to be, unfortunately.
 

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