D&D 5E What's fun?

Which three of these eight aesthetics are fun for you?

  • Sensation.

    Votes: 3 4.4%
  • Fantasy.

    Votes: 35 51.5%
  • Narrative.

    Votes: 41 60.3%
  • Challenge.

    Votes: 39 57.4%
  • Fellowship.

    Votes: 34 50.0%
  • Discovery.

    Votes: 36 52.9%
  • Expression.

    Votes: 14 20.6%
  • Submission.

    Votes: 1 1.5%


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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I have to say, i would not have guessed Narrative and Expression would be as high and low as they are, respectively. I would be much less surprised if their vote totals were switched
I wonder if it's to do with the DM/player balance around here? Perhaps some DMs think of "Fantasy, imaginary world" or "Narrative, telling a story" in the same way that Expression is meant here? So many aspects of the game are inherently self-expressive, so it's hard to separate just Expression from the rest of the game's elements.
That's sort of why I waffled on including Expression in my list of selections, at least. (TO be fair, though, the way these are split up is a little strange to me, so I could also be misinterpreting their 'proper' usage in this context.)
 

JEB

Legend
What's the distinction between fantasy and discovery, here? You can't really engage with a fantasy world without exploring it - even engaging with an NPC is an exploration of the world. (You can be a completely RP-less hack-and-slasher - and that's fine, to be clear - but that would mean neither fantasy nor discovery, more like challenge.)
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Given the input others have shared and reviewing the wiki articles, I made Fantasy my final vote.

Because without believability, the fantasy world does NOT work for me and I don't have fun.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
It was extremely hard to choose amongst them. I voted Fantasy, Narrative, and Discovery, but really wanted to include Fellowship.

I look side-eye at:

Submission - There HAS to have been a better word to have used here. HAS TO.
If I'm understanding correctly, that is generally called "abnegation" elsewhere. Subsuming yourself into the activity, "vegging out," getting so "in the zone" you forget about anything else.

Well, then I can only vote for two: Narrative and Challenge.

If you can figure out where you would want to put Verisimilitude, you can add it to that as my third vote.
It's either Fantasy or Discovery. Fantasy if you don't really care that much about delving into the world, you just want it to be consistent and enjoy thinking through what it's like to be in it. Discovery if you don't so much care about picturing the world, but you do care about getting real deep into the lore-guts thereof and answering All The Questions.

Verisimilitude and Believability aren't classified among the motivations because they're heterogeneous concepts. Specific types of "Believability," for example, can matter for Sensation, Fantasy, Narrative, Challenge, or Discovery, depending on exactly what one means. A challenge which can't be taken seriously, for example, is not "believable" and thus won't provide Challenge aesthetically. If the imagined world-space invokes elements that don't cohere in the player's mind or come across as nonsensical, then Fantasy can't happen. Other versions would apply to the other three types.

In essence, the theory is saying that Verisimilitude isn't an aesthetic, but rather a characteristic which several aesthetics can exhibit. Much as, for example, "smooth" or "clean" aren't actually tastes themselves (since there are only five tastes), but it is a characteristic that actual tastes can exhibit. (Japanese food scientists may in fact have identified how we perceive such "smoothness" or "richness," and indeed it doesn't work the way proper tastes do, that is, sour/sweet/bitter/salty/umami.)
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
ENWorld’s users skew on the older side, and expression isn’t really a significant factor to the D&D old guard.
That's fair, I'll say that the Narrative vote is the shocking of the two to me. As limited as Expression is as an actual goal, I'd always thought that old game found Narrative downright blasphemous, if not entirely antithetical to good DMing
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I'd always thought that old game found Narrative downright blasphemous, if not entirely antithetical to good DMing
Oh! NO NO NO NO NO!

Narrative is essential IME and IMO to good DMing! Narrative IS the story in the game to me.

So, that is my POV as an old gamer (well, not age old maybe... "oldish" certainly... but I've been playing D&D in one form or another for over 40 years... so, yeah).
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
What's the distinction between fantasy and discovery, here? You can't really engage with a fantasy world without exploring it - even engaging with an NPC is an exploration of the world. (You can be a completely RP-less hack-and-slasher - and that's fine, to be clear - but that would mean neither fantasy nor discovery, more like challenge.)
Fantasy is the act of imagining itself--of conjuring mental images or sensations, of engaging in and with the depiction of the conceived world. It is nourished by lavish descriptions and evocative dialogue.

Discovery is the act of learning about the world. You don't need to have a crisp, practically-there "feeling" of the world in order to learn things about it and expand your horizons (e.g. visit new places, uncover hidden things, witness rare or unusual events, etc.) You just need to gain more information or find the answers to questions or go to a new/rare/distant place.

Now, many folks who like the one also like the other, but that doesn't have to be the case. One can read mystery novels, for example, without having any particular interest in or appreciation for evocative wording or painting a picture in the reader's mind; the process of solving the mystery is the key focus for many mystery fans, and that's practically pure Discovery. In a more videogame context, Minecraft can offer tons of Discovery with very very little Fantasy, because the world is intentionally minimalist, blocky and unrealistic, but delving into the earth in search of treasures or slowly learning what kinds of things can be built is a Discovery motivation.

Conversely, I would call Dragonlance (and many other "scripted" type things) heavy on Fantasy and light on Discovery--this isn't always true (I hear Zeitgeist is pretty heavy on Discovery and Fantasy both), but often. To give a different example, many MMOs specifically target what is called "class fantasy," that is, supporting the ideas, themes, tropes, etc. associated with a particular character class, as an important aspect of play. If playing a Paladin doesn't evoke enough Paladin-y elements in the imagined world (e.g. righteousness, zeal, golden glows, shining armor, horsey friend, etc.), then that class is failing to live up to its "class fantasy." If the Paladin does do that, though, there's probably not going to be any "discovery" involved--the player will know what Paladins do and how they work as a matter of course, they will in fact be expected to know those things and be taught them in a reasonable way, removing most of the interest behind Discovery.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
That's fair, I'll say that the Narrative vote is the shocking of the two to me. As limited as Expression is as an actual goal, I'd always thought that old game found Narrative downright blasphemous, if not entirely antithetical to good DMing
Well that’s the Classic vs Trad divide there. Narrative would probably be less popular if this thread was posted in the OSR subforum, but I think here in the 5e sub the preference is going to skew more towards Trad.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Oh! NO NO NO NO NO!

Narrative is essential IME and IMO to good DMing! Narrative IS the story in the game to me.

So, that is my POV as an old gamer (well, not age old maybe... "oldish" certainly... but I've been playing D&D in one form or another for over 40 years... so, yeah).
I’mma guess 2e is either your favorite edition or the first you tried?
 
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