D&D General What Would You Base A non-OGL 5e-alike Game On? (+)


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DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
The bolded bits are setting lore--which I've always ignored to the point that I actually find it surprising when people adhere to them religiously and insist they must be objectively true
So... you consider D&D to be generic because you ignore the universal setting-specific information? :)

I tease, but the line you describe between rules and lore is absolutely not as clear cut as you are suggesting.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The bolded bits are setting lore--which I've always ignored to the point that I actually find it surprising when people adhere to them religiously and insist they must be objectively true--and the other bits are actually game rules, not lore.
That a given person ignores something does not indicate that said thing is not implied.

And those game rules imply elements of setting. If it tells us part of how the world works, it implies setting.
Any system with combat has it works a certain way because of that system, and the same with magic. If the system has magic, then it works a particular way within that system.
First, that means that any system with magic has an implied setting. How magic works is absolutely part of a setting.

Second, D&D spells, annd Spellcasting, are very specific. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter implies the existence (past or present) or an arcanist named Tasha, and further implies that spells can be created or invented, and thus sometimes get named after someone.

The mechanics of banishment, certain warlock patron abilities, even the text of Divine Sense and Detect Evil and Good, imply that beings come from other planes of existence, and that their nature is tied to the planes and to ideas of Good and Evil in some way.

Perhaps the issue here is that you are translating “implied” to mean “default” or “assumed”, and assuming that “setting” means “a specific published setting”?

To clarify, implied is simply being used to refer to an implication. “Y+X implies Y”.

Setting here means “an element or elements of worldbuilding, lore, or other information that tell us how the world works”.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
Just as an example, reasonable minds can and do disagree, but I have always strongly considered the D&D classes to be part of the implied setting. A Fighter isn't just a dude who fights, they're a Fighter, and that means something relevant to the context of (most) D&D worlds.

That's also something big I'd like to see retained.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
So... you consider D&D to be generic because you ignore the universal setting-specific information? :)
The planes, which gods exist, and even the monster lists have never been universal. Every world had a specific list of gods and monsters (at least back in 2e, where I started, where every Monstrous Compendium Appendix had a list of the monsters for that setting), and those planes are only "universal" when it comes to the Realms and Greyhawk. Dragonlance, Dark Sun, and Eberron all have very different cosmologies--and so do the settings that got sucked into the Realms, like Maztica, Kara Tur, and Al Qidam.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
The planes, which gods exist, and even the monster lists have never been universal. Every world had a specific list of gods and monsters (at least back in 2e, where I started, where every Monstrous Compendium Appendix had a list of the monsters for that setting), and those planes are only "universal" when it comes to the Realms and Greyhawk. Dragonlance, Dark Sun, and Eberron all have very different cosmologies--and so do the settings that got sucked into the Realms, like Maztica, Kara Tur, and Al Qidam.
Hmm, perhaps I've misread you.

Surely if this setting lore was associated with a specific setting or settings, you would accept that it is explicit rather than implied, right? You referred to "setting info" as "cool" in a previous post, so I've been assuming that you appreciate the existence of explicit settings to some degree, as well as the "genericness" of D&D at large.

If I misunderstood you, I apologize, but I did not think you would be "ignoring" this lore material if it were associated with an explicit D&D setting.

I was using the word 'universal' to reflect that setting information is present in core D&D books, which you seemed to acknowledge in your previous post by stating you felt free to ignore it. I did not mean to state that the lore was the same in all explicit settings, and I own that miscommunication.

My position remains that not only has the implied setting been clear and present in core D&D material for more than 45 years at least, it is critical to the success of the game, and would be to any successor, as well.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
That a given person ignores something does not indicate that said thing is not implied.

And those game rules imply elements of setting. If it tells us part of how the world works, it implies setting.

First, that means that any system with magic has an implied setting. How magic works is absolutely part of a setting.

Second, D&D spells, annd Spellcasting, are very specific. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter implies the existence (past or present) or an arcanist named Tasha, and further implies that spells can be created or invented, and thus sometimes get named after someone.
And since that name can't be used in a non-OGL-5e-alike, that bit of world doesn't actually exist--and it shows that the name of the spell isn't actually important, since plenty of OGL-5e-alike games are using a non-Tasha's hideous laughter spell without any problem.

It's also something that can be very easily ignored or adapted even in a regular 5e game. Just ignore the lore behind the name and decide Tasha was someone else. There are probably a lot more people who know the spell than who know of the actual character's history and lore, after all, and there's nothing about the spell that says that it must be authored by a very specific Tasha, student of Baba Yaga and who went by Iggwilv.

The mechanics of banishment, certain warlock patron abilities, even the text of Divine Sense and Detect Evil and Good, imply that beings come from other planes of existence, and that their nature is tied to the planes and to ideas of Good and Evil in some way.
Right, but this is a very light implication--and one that is very easily ignored. If you want all your fey to be happy-fun bundles of chaotic goodness, you can. If you want all the fey in your world to be the grimmest fey imaginable, the type that will smash the world if it would make a pretty noise, you can. If you want there to be no fey in your world, you can, and all you'd have to do is disallow or rename one archetype and maybe a couple of invocations.

And when you get down to it, even how most of the classes work is really up in the air. It's why there's so many discussions as to whether or not patrons can yank the spells of warlocks who aren't serving them properly. When it comes down to it, the only real lore is saying "warlocks get their powers from powerful beings who aren't gods." That doesn't say what or who those powerful beings are or how they grant the magic, just that powerful beings exist. One could even interpret this to mean that you could have a warlock whose patron is a much-higher level mortal fighter. Hey, why not? Basic D&D had Immortals, after all. Maybe any PC who hits 36th level can start handing out warlock powers now.

The warlock class would be lore-dependent if, instead of the book saying "your patron is an Archfey," it said "your patron is one of the following: Neifion, Hyrsam, Baba Yaga, Lurue, Titania, Oberon, or Verenestra." Because that seriously limits

So that's literally all I'm talking about here. How much of a setting is going to be implied in these rules? Is it going to be a game where anyone can make a world that looks like anything they want, or is it going to require the presence of specific, named people, places, things, or events?
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Hmm, perhaps I've misread you.

Surely if this setting lore was associated with a specific setting or settings, you would accept that it is explicit rather than implied, right? You referred to "setting info" as "cool" in a previous post, so I've been assuming that you appreciate the existence of explicit settings to some degree, as well as the "genericness" of D&D at large.
Yep. To me, D&D is generic and the settings are specific.

As an example of what I mean, the 5e DMG goes into detail about different types of ways you can do the gods and the planes. It talks about having pantheons, dualistic or monotheistic religions, animistic religions, and philosophical or elemental forces instead of gods. It talks about how "most" D&D games have a plane of origins for fiends, celestials, and elementals and a plane where mortal spirits go after death, and provides ideas such as the Great Wheel, World Axis, or even having the other planes being part of the Material Plane (e.g., the gods living on top of a mountain and souls literally living in the subterranean underworld).

So if I'm making my own world, I can pick any of those or make up something else entirely. If I'm playing in Eberron, though I use that world's 13 planes. If I'm playing in Planescape, the Realms, or Greyhawk, I use the Great Wheel. If I'm playing in Dragonlance, I use that world's Lawfully-aligned Abyss and whatever other planes it has (I don't know DL cosmology all that well).
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
And since that name can't be used in a non-OGL-5e-alike, that bit of world doesn't actually exist--and it shows that the name of the spell isn't actually important, since plenty of OGL-5e-alike games are using a non-Tasha's hideous laughter spell without any problem.
I’m getting older, can you please point me to where the goalposts have been moved?
It's also something that can be very easily ignored or adapted even in a regular 5e game.
Irrelevant.
Just ignore the lore behind the name and decide Tasha was someone else. There are probably a lot more people who know the spell than who know of the actual character's history and lore, after all, and there's nothing about the spell that says that it must be authored by a very specific Tasha, student of Baba Yaga and who went by Iggwilv.


Right, but this is a very light implication--and one that is very easily ignored. If you want all your fey to be happy-fun bundles of chaotic goodness, you can. If you want all the fey in your world to be the grimmest fey imaginable, the type that will smash the world if it would make a pretty noise, you can. If you want there to be no fey in your world, you can, and all you'd have to do is disallow or rename one archetype and maybe a couple of invocations.

And when you get down to it, even how most of the classes work is really up in the air. It's why there's so many discussions as to whether or not patrons can yank the spells of warlocks who aren't serving them properly. When it comes down to it, the only real lore is saying "warlocks get their powers from powerful beings who aren't gods." That doesn't say what or who those powerful beings are or how they grant the magic, just that powerful beings exist. One could even interpret this to mean that you could have a warlock whose patron is a much-higher level mortal fighter. Hey, why not? Basic D&D had Immortals, after all. Maybe any PC who hits 36th level can start handing out warlock powers now.

The warlock class would be lore-dependent if, instead of the book saying "your patron is an Archfey," it said "your patron is one of the following: Neifion, Hyrsam, Baba Yaga, Lurue, Titania, Oberon, or Verenestra." Because that seriously limits

So that's literally all I'm talking about here. How much of a setting is going to be implied in these rules? Is it going to be a game where anyone can make a world that looks like anything they want, or is it going to require the presence of specific, named people, places, things, or events?
All of this is irrelevant. The setting is implied, regardless of whether you personally use it. 🤷‍♂️
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I’m getting older, can you please point me to where the goalposts have been moved?
What on earth are you talking about?

Irrelevant.
Yes, it is irrelevant because my question was whether or not this hypothetical non-OGL 5e-alike was going to have a setting in or be generic. I never even said that having, or not having, an inherent setting was good or bad. I merely said that saying that magic that revolved around tarot cards or clockwork or things like that implied an inherent setting, not a generic rule set.

You see awfully defensive about it for some reason.

All of this is irrelevant. The setting is implied, regardless of whether you personally use it. 🤷‍♂️
Really? So, tell me about the inherent setting that's in D&D, in depth. What's the world's name? What are the countries' names, and what are their relationships with each other? Who are the gods of this inherent setting, and what are their religions like? Who are the warlock patrons, and how do they and the various religions get along? What's the tech level? How much magic is there, in this inherent setting, and how well is it integrated into everyday life? What do the various class archetypes mean in the setting? How do the various races get along?

Because I guarantee that your answer to those questions is going to be very different than anyone else's answers, even just using the PHB, DMG, and MM, with the only thing they have in common is "sorta but not entirely medieval fantasy." And those differences will only get more and more different when other books are brought in. And that shows that the setting is not implied.
 

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