D&D General Why Editions Don't Matter

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:
Folks, so you know, Oofta here has a point.

If you want people to listen to you, it makes a lot of sense not to directly insult something they happen to like. If you want to have a reasoned discussion, you should not use insulting or emotionally loaded terms that engage the emotions, rather than the reasoned mind.

This is less about controlling what you say, and more informing you that what you say should be thoughtfully constructed for the kind of conversation you want to have. This should be obvious, but it unfortunately bears repeating.

Don't be surprised that, if you use insulting language, you have a conversation that's about the insult.

So, what kind of discussion do you actually want to have? Pick it, and speak like a thoughtful adult accordingly.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Before I put forth a large reply that doesn't land, let me see if I've sussed out the meat of the position that you're working under here. Are these your three core tenets of your claim?
Short answer is no, but I will elaborate.
* A game with significant structure will not be able to yield divergent play experiences, particularly when contrasted with a freeform platform.
The first and maybe biggest difference between this and my position is the bolded. “Significant structure” is also overly broad to fit my position. A strong amount of specific types of structure make it harder to change the core gameplay experience. Those specific types of structure tend to live in the “procedures of play” section of the design of the game. Things like when the GM can/should/must take a hard move or equivalent. In other words, the biggest structural difference between “trad” games and the current zeitgeist of indie games.
* A game designed around a married fictional premise + engine will not be to yield divergent play experiences, particularly when contrasted with a freeform platform.
This one…is interesting. I think it can go either way. I think your perception of my position comes from the exchange wherein I felt I was being drawn into a different discussion than I was trying to have, yesterday. When someone says they played a D&D game wherein every mechanical element was recontextualised to do soemthing completely different, I don’t see that as the same game. It certainly doesn’t speak to the game’s flexibility, IMO.
* A game that is a freeform platform cannot "be a different game" even if you go wholly outside of the core books (or even developer's expansions) while the same threshold for a game with structure + fictional/engine premise has a very low bar to meet before "its a different game."
This is honestly confusing. I’d love to know where you got this idea. strongly no.
So, for instance, you might contend something like the following:

A Ravenloft game (complete setting and premise change, conflict milieu change, and location change from default D&D) which uses Fear/Stress mechanics and a 3rd party module for x and y is still "a 5e D&D game" while a Blades in the Dark game still set in Duskvol, whch may use (or not - Cult games do not) some Changing the Game stuff from Chapter 9 of the core book (which references things like Harper's Flame and Shadow for the game), and still using the premise of a corrupt and powerful hierarchy that you must interact with and ascend to overcome in order to do x or y (summon your goddess/expand your Cult or avenge the brutalized and downtrodden and carve out a semblance of hope and justice for them or perform your duties as Inspectors to find out which corrupt institutions and power brokers are committing a terrible conspiracy - perhaps against the Emperor...or against the Church of Ecstasy...or the Ministry of Preservation...or to reignite The Unity War...or to bring all the gangs of the city together under one banner to strongarm the other 5 City Council members...or be a band of Bluecoats from the Charterhall Precinct that actually tries to keep the peace and honorably serve in a precinct and within a law enforcement apparatus that is fundamentally a cabal of crooks) is "not a Blades in the Dark game."
Those seem like just to the left of standard BiTD games. What would make it seem more like a fitd game purpose built for that campaign (a thing I know people do), to me, is if it doesn’t use key mechanics from BiTD that make BiTD stand out, or pace the game differently, or recontextualize everything in the mechanics to do an entirely different thing. Again, things like changing attacks against AC to deplete HP to arguments against Legal Standing to deplete Standing With Jury in D&D. You’re using D&D mechanics as a shortcut to build your own game at that point, IMO.
 

gorice

Adventurer
I won't stop mixing metaphors, and no-one can make me! I will try and avoid inflammatory language.

To me nothing happens/changes is a perfectly acceptable description of a PC's attempted action. There's pros and cons to having this be a possible outcome as opposed to failure always being something bad happens, but it's still a viable and fun way to play IMO. Both are IMO.
For me, the issue is: what happens after nothing happens? As DM, what do I do next? Personally, a rigid 'something bad must happen now' rule can feel contrived, but it does have the virtue of moving the story forward. What do you, as a DM, do in a situation where the players keep banging their heads against a brick wall, or trying every possible approach to get an increasingly nonplussed NPC to do what they want?

You call the game watered down and insipid. It's insulting the preferences of everyone that likes the game.
I genuinely do not understand this statement. As in, I cannot empathise. I play a weekly 5e game that's been going for a year and a half, and I've been playing this edition on and off since about 2015. I do not, personally, feel remotely attacked then people criticise it. 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons is not me, it's a product I bought.

I've heard campfire stories of the Edition Wars (3e and 4e completely passed me by, as I stopped roleplaying for a long time after 2e). Are people still sensitive about that? I want to be clear that I don't judge anyone based on which game they play, and I'll try and be a bit more careful to avoid any implication to the contrary.

So is 5E like Candy, vanilla ice cream or Chocolate? Because there’s already a thread dedicated to food metaphors. I’m just kidding, I really have no idea what watered down insipid chocolate is even supposed to mean, other than to be an insult. And now as someone that enjoys 5E I’m not sure if I should feel insulted or hungry.

Traditional dungeon crawling can be pretty vanilla too, or it can be great. Procedures and rules, at least for me have little to do with whether a game is one or the other. The section on creating dungeons in the DMG on the other hand can make a huge difference.
The section on creating dungeons in the DMG is pretty good, I agree. But I don't think the actual experience of delving into them works that well without some kind of ersatz exploration procedure, time pressure, cost for failure, or what-have-you. There are a lot of ways to do it, but without a system, it's just a pretty map.

Candy that's sold as chocolate in the US couldn't be sold as chocolate in Europe since it's mostly sugar. Chocolate in the UK is in my opinion far tastier, but chocolate in Peru was amazing. So for me watered down insipid chocolate would be a Hershey's kiss which kind of tastes like waxy sugar with a hint of something that kind-of-sort-of tastes like chocolate. :)

Anything can be improved and I think the DMG in particular could use improvement. But calling 5E "watered down insipid chocolate" is an insult as far as I'm concerned.
OK: to me, 5e is over-sugary, bland American chocolate. It's chocolately enough that you can't combine it with just anything, but not chocolately enough that you want to eat it on its own. It's no good without some crunchy procedural nuts or peanut butter or something.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
More structure does not make a game better or worse, it just adds more structure.

No, it doesn't just “add more structure”. There are reasons for it. Now, you may or may not like those reasons, and so the structures may or may not appeal to you. But that foesn’t mean they don’t have an impact on play.

So again, better or worse is always subjective. I’ll clarify my previous statement about this… no one is claiming one method or the other is better or worse objectively. It mag be a better or worse match for their preference.

There will always be a balancing act, I think 5E did a decent job at it and a better job than the previous 2.5 editions.

Okay… so what do you mean here? Balancibg act in what way? And in what ways do you think 5E has successfully managed that balancing act?
On 'Why Editions Don't Matter'?

I think editions do matter but not usually as much as they are claimed to.

Why not?

I think whether seeing something as a clarifying point or telling people to not use harsh words is very much so in the eyes of the beholder. I'm willing to bet anyone asking others to not use harsh words views their response as a clarifying point.

Right. But at this point, it’s clear. Sone folks didn't like the words chosen. Okay duly noted.

But what about the criticism of 5E? What makes it complete? Why is it better (subjectively, of course!) for having less structure than some other editions?

Like let’s get past the theme sentences and into the body of the essay with you guys.

And again, I like 5E just fine. I play it weekly. That doesn’t put it above criticism. I don’t consider it insulting when someone else criticizes the game.
 

Oofta

Legend
I won't stop mixing metaphors, and no-one can make me! I will try and avoid inflammatory language.


For me, the issue is: what happens after nothing happens? As DM, what do I do next? Personally, a rigid 'something bad must happen now' rule can feel contrived, but it does have the virtue of moving the story forward. What do you, as a DM, do in a situation where the players keep banging their heads against a brick wall, or trying every possible approach to get an increasingly nonplussed NPC to do what they want?


I genuinely do not understand this statement. As in, I cannot empathise. I play a weekly 5e game that's been going for a year and a half, and I've been playing this edition on and off since about 2015. I do not, personally, feel remotely attacked then people criticise it. 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons is not me, it's a product I bought.

I've heard campfire stories of the Edition Wars (3e and 4e completely passed me by, as I stopped roleplaying for a long time after 2e). Are people still sensitive about that? I want to be clear that I don't judge anyone based on which game they play, and I'll try and be a bit more careful to avoid any implication to the contrary.


The section on creating dungeons in the DMG is pretty good, I agree. But I don't think the actual experience of delving into them works that well without some kind of ersatz exploration procedure, time pressure, cost for failure, or what-have-you. There are a lot of ways to do it, but without a system, it's just a pretty map.


OK: to me, 5e is over-sugary, bland American chocolate. It's chocolately enough that you can't combine it with just anything, but not chocolately enough that you want to eat it on its own. It's no good without some crunchy procedural nuts or peanut butter or something.

It's perfectly fine that you have different preferences and opinions. I have no problem with that, if everybody agreed life would be boring. But whether you accept or understand it, using derogative language, putting down something that people enjoy is going to annoy them. If I meet you in person and told you that your shirt is ugly, you really don't see how that could lead to negative feelings?

Especially when you state that in order to have an enjoyable game you have to use rules from previous editions to make the game work. When people have been telling you for the entire thread that they don't do that and you insist that your way is the only way to have fun for anyone it's implying, whether you realize it or not, that other people either run boring games or they're lying.

Different people have different styles and preferences. You can state your ideas and why you have your preferences without telling everyone that what they doing is mediocre because they don't do it like you.
 

Oofta

Legend
No, it doesn't just “add more structure”. There are reasons for it. Now, you may or may not like those reasons, and so the structures may or may not appeal to you. But that foesn’t mean they don’t have an impact on play.
I'm trying to parse that sentence. Adding something typically has impact. Check. I'm saying that the impact may or may not make the end result more enjoyable. Sometimes the result will be a subjectively better game, sometimes worse, sometimes it's a wash.
So again, better or worse is always subjective. I’ll clarify my previous statement about this… no one is claiming one method or the other is better or worse objectively. It mag be a better or worse match for their preference.
Some people on this thread disagree. You may not.
Okay… so what do you mean here? Balancibg act in what way? And in what ways do you think 5E has successfully managed that balancing act?
You can add more structure. You could have less structure. I think they did a decent job of having enough rules to make the role of DMing clear while not having extra, unnecessary cruft that adds little or nothing to the game.

I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. 🤷‍♂️
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
It's perfectly fine that you have different preferences and opinions. I have no problem with that, if everybody agreed life would be boring. But whether you accept or understand it, using derogative language, putting down something that people enjoy is going to annoy them. If I meet you in person and told you that your shirt is ugly, you really don't see how that could lead to negative feelings?

Especially when you state that in order to have an enjoyable game you have to use rules from previous editions to make the game work. When people have been telling you for the entire thread that they don't do that and you insist that your way is the only way to have fun for anyone it's implying, whether you realize it or not, that other people either run boring games or they're lying.

Different people have different styles and preferences. You can state your ideas and why you have your preferences without telling everyone that what they doing is mediocre because they don't do it like you.
I’ll diverge from you a bit here. I don’t mind other people telling me that for them the game is mediocre or feels incomplete. It’s a subtle but important difference IMO.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I won't stop mixing metaphors, and no-one can make me! I will try and avoid inflammatory language.
Thank you!

For me, the issue is: what happens after nothing happens? As DM, what do I do next?
Generally, it's a: "he failed, what do you do now?" If there is a time sensitive matter at hand i'll possibly add that as a reminder or possibly bring a complication to them after sufficient time has passed. If the players seem to feel they have no direction on what to do next, i'll offer some high level suggestions.
Personally, a rigid 'something bad must happen now' rule can feel contrived, but it does have the virtue of moving the story forward.
Agreed.
What do you, as a DM, do in a situation where the players keep banging their heads against a brick wall, or trying every possible approach to get an increasingly nonplussed NPC to do what they want?
I described that above.

I genuinely do not understand this statement. As in, I cannot empathise. I play a weekly 5e game that's been going for a year and a half, and I've been playing this edition on and off since about 2015. I do not, personally, feel remotely attacked then people criticise it. 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons is not me, it's a product I bought.
For the most part no one here does either. But as they say, the devil's in the details.

I've heard campfire stories of the Edition Wars (3e and 4e completely passed me by, as I stopped roleplaying for a long time after 2e). Are people still sensitive about that? I want to be clear that I don't judge anyone based on which game they play, and I'll try and be a bit more careful to avoid any implication to the contrary.
YES! Edition Wars are still a sensitive topic.
OK: to me, 5e is over-sugary, bland American chocolate. It's chocolately enough that you can't combine it with just anything, but not chocolately enough that you want to eat it on its own. It's no good without some crunchy procedural nuts or peanut butter or something.
I have no problem with this comment, the 'to me' really sets it apart.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Why don't I think editions matter for D&D as much as they are claimed to? Because the mechanics for out of combat stay mostly the same. There's some small nuance around how your modifier is calculated and how the DC's of the tasks are calculated but overall it's much closer together than apart. The only really significant change to out of combat was skill challenges in 4e and they could mostly be ignored when desired. *Note: Skill Challneges weren't well received (for whatever reasons). Also since the beginning, D&D has been about hacking the system to your (groups) liking.

But what about the criticism of 5E? What makes it complete?
In this context the term 'complete' has been about having the necessary rules to play the game. 5e has that. It's just some don't like how the 5e rules handle certain things - primarily the many areas 5e leaves up to the DM to decide.

Fun fact. I once worked in judgmental credit. Our procedures didn't tell us whether to approve or decline someone. When an application reached our hands it was up to us to make that determination and justify it. In essence the procedure was we decide.

Why is it better (subjectively, of course!) for having less structure than some other editions?
One reason and not the only: Structures often build on each other. So when it comes to hacking a game to be just what you want, too much structure tends to get in the way of that.

Like let’s get past the theme sentences and into the body of the essay with you guys.

And again, I like 5E just fine. I play it weekly. That doesn’t put it above criticism. I don’t consider it insulting when someone else criticizes the game.
We don't consider criticism insulting. We partake in it ourselves. Why do you think we don't?
 

The section on creating dungeons in the DMG is pretty good, I agree. But I don't think the actual experience of delving into them works that well without some kind of ersatz exploration procedure, time pressure, cost for failure, or what-have-you. There are a lot of ways to do it, but without a system, it's just a pretty map.

I still believe that everything you want is covered in 5E.
The only things you’ve mentioned above are:

‘time pressure’ which I’ve mentioned can be story based.

‘cost of failure’, which again to me just sounds like something that should come about in the story, are you saying that a character dying in 5E isn’t a cost of failure because there aren’t rules for it? Failing to retrieve the ancient artefact required to save the city isn’t a cost of failure?

I’m still not sure what rules you need? Let’s assume ‘and what not’ is referring to random encounters which I believe you’ve mentioned previously.

This is covered in the DMG. It says you make a check once an hour (there are other suggestions, but let’s use the most frequent as it makes sense that a dungeon would be the most likely place to have a random encounter.) you then roll a D20, 18-20 and you have a random encounter.
There are some great level/environment based random encounter charts in Xanathars, and while there isn’t any for Dungeon specifically, using say the desert example for a mummy’s tomb, etc should work pretty well.

If this all comes down to a complaint about 5E being easy mode (which is the main vibe I’m start to get), try using gritty healing variant, and/or lingering wounds. I feel that alone would amp up the danger factor. Personally I require the use of Hit Dice to heal on a long rest in most dungeons, and the truely corrupted places you won’t heal at all during a rest.

Rather than say ’this is how dungeons work and these are the rules you need to follow’ 5E gives you the tools to design and tailor the experience to your needs, which I personally think works better and allows each dungeon to feel unique.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I'm trying to parse that sentence. Adding something typically has impact. Check. I'm saying that the impact may or may not make the end result more enjoyable. Sometimes the result will be a subjectively better game, sometimes worse, sometimes it's a wash.

Yes, that’s exactly what it means.

What I’m interested in is instead of people just repeating their preference, they share why they have that preference.

You can add more structure. You could have less structure. I think they did a decent job of having enough rules to make the role of DMing clear while not having extra, unnecessary cruft that adds little or nothing to the game.

Oh I’m sorry, please don’t describe my preference as unnecessary cruft that adds little or nothing to the game. It’s insulting.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
What I’m interested in is instead of people just repeating their preference, they share why they have that preference.
I like it because i like games that do xyz and it does xyz. I'm not sure much more can be said about preferences. Maybe if you elaborated on the kind of response you wanted to see?
 

gorice

Adventurer
It's perfectly fine that you have different preferences and opinions. I have no problem with that, if everybody agreed life would be boring. But whether you accept or understand it, using derogative language, putting down something that people enjoy is going to annoy them. If I meet you in person and told you that your shirt is ugly, you really don't see how that could lead to negative feelings?
If you met me on the street and told me that my shirt was ugly, I'd be annoyed. If I met you on a fashion discussion forum and you told me my shirt was ugly, I'd have to wonder whether you had a point.

Especially when you state that in order to have an enjoyable game you have to use rules from previous editions to make the game work. When people have been telling you for the entire thread that they don't do that and you insist that your way is the only way to have fun for anyone it's implying, whether you realize it or not, that other people either run boring games or they're lying.
I don't think I've said that people have to use rules from older editions. I also don't think that anyone who doesn't do it my way is running boring games or lying. I do, and this gets to the crux of the matter, think that anyone who runs 5e is probably either doing a massive amount of improvising, and/or playing with written or unwritten rules that aren't in the rulebooks. That's my big point.

Generally, it's a: "he failed, what do you do now?" If there is a time sensitive matter at hand i'll possibly add that as a reminder or possibly bring a complication to them after sufficient time has passed. If the players seem to feel they have no direction on what to do next, i'll offer some high level suggestions.
Honestly, I would describe that as impromptu game design, especially if you reuse those procedures. I think that's probably the central disagreement here: I see that kind of thing as within the remit of game design, and games that don't address it as in some way incomplete.

I have no problem with this comment, the 'to me' really sets it apart.
On the one hand, yeah, it's just my opinion. On the other, I think it can be generalised beyond my own taste, to some extent, or I wouldn't bother insisting on it

For example: cantrips in 5e are part of its slightly chocolatey flavour. They add an unwelcome note to many dungeon crawls and wilderness adventures (light? mending? mage hand? prestidigitation? yuck). On the other hand, I think the 'he failed, what now?' problem makes it clear that there are some missing ingredients.
 


hawkeyefan

Legend
Why don't I think editions matter for D&D as much as they are claimed to? Because the mechanics for out of combat stay mostly the same. There's some small nuance around how your modifier is calculated and how the DC's of the tasks are calculated but overall it's much closer together than apart. The only really significant change to out of combat was skill challenges in 4e and they could mostly be ignored when desired. *Note: Skill Challneges weren't well received (for whatever reasons). Also since the beginning, D&D has been about hacking the system to your (groups) liking.

What editions are you talking about? Several editions didn’t even have DCs.

Non-combat procedures have certainly shifted over time. Significantly so.

In this context the term 'complete' has been about having the necessary rules to play the game. 5e has that. It's just some don't like how the 5e rules handle certain things - primarily the many areas 5e leaves up to the DM to decide.

Yes. Because leaving all those things for the GM to decide by definition means the game is incomplete, doesn’t it?

If you would disagree about that, then I think we’d need to look at “GM decides” as the structure.

And if we’re examining the different rules structures that have existed across editions and how they shape play, can we do so with “GM decides”?

How does it impact play? How does it help? What are the drawbacks?

One reason and not the only: Structures often build on each other. So when it comes to hacking a game to be just what you want, too much structure tends to get in the way of that.

What do you mean by hack? Do you mean implementing new rules systems?

You seem to be saying that doing so can make the game exactly what you want, but that doing so can be negative? I’m not following.


We don't consider criticism insulting. We partake in it ourselves. Why do you think we don't?

Because of all the complaints about language and how insulting it is?

I like it because i like games that do xyz and it does xyz. I'm not sure much more can be said about preferences. Maybe if you elaborated on the kind of response you wanted to see?

I mean I’d say start with what xyz is for this statement to be at all useful.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't think I've said that people have to use rules from older editions. I also don't think that anyone who doesn't do it my way is running boring games or lying. I do, and this gets to the crux of the matter, think that anyone who runs 5e is probably either doing a massive amount of improvising, and/or playing with written or unwritten rules that aren't in the rulebooks. That's my big point.
I'm sure some will disagree, but I think this is true.

Honestly, I would describe that as impromptu game design, especially if you reuse those procedures. I think that's probably the central disagreement here: I see that kind of thing as within the remit of game design, and games that don't address it as in some way incomplete.
Okay. That's a much better way to state your point! I'd just say your definition of game design is fundamentally too limited. But I'm not sure we can make any progress about the definition of a word.

For the most part we agree with the phenomenon, we just disagree with how to classify. I made this point right above mostly joking but I think it's an important consideration. Alot of ink and bad vibes have been spilt over whether something classifies as an RPG or even as roleplaying. I really hope we aren't about to rhyme with that history by doing the same thing with 'game'.

On the one hand, yeah, it's just my opinion. On the other, I think it can be generalised beyond my own taste, to some extent, or I wouldn't bother insisting on it

For example: cantrips in 5e are part of its slightly chocolatey flavour. They add an unwelcome note to many dungeon crawls and wilderness adventures (light? mending? mage hand? prestidigitation? yuck).
I mean, there's always someone else that shares a portion of your taste. That's not generally what I think of as generalized though.

On the other hand, I think the 'he failed, what now?' problem makes it clear that there are some missing ingredients.
As a player I've had the what to do next problem because the way I approach games is to analyze for the best answer and often in D&D that cannot be done due to limited information. Letting go of that notion for D&D has greatly improved my experience. I'd say may experience has improved and i don't personally face the 'what now' issue as a player. I will be doing something to push the story forward.

As a DM I don't think i've ever had the 'what now' issue really come up in my games. My players, especially the usual DM of my groups, do a great job pushing things forward on their own.

So for me i'd say it's not an issue all or even most tables face.
 
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gorice

Adventurer
I still believe that everything you want is covered in 5E.
The only things you’ve mentioned above are:

‘time pressure’ which I’ve mentioned can be story based.

‘cost of failure’, which again to me just sounds like something that should come about in the story, are you saying that a character dying in 5E isn’t a cost of failure because there aren’t rules for it? Failing to retrieve the ancient artefact required to save the city isn’t a cost of failure?

I’m still not sure what rules you need? Let’s assume ‘and what not’ is referring to random encounters which I believe you’ve mentioned previously.

This is covered in the DMG. It says you make a check once an hour (there are other suggestions, but let’s use the most frequent as it makes sense that a dungeon would be the most likely place to have a random encounter.) you then roll a D20, 18-20 and you have a random encounter.
Time pressure (or consequences in general) is a big thing, so let's stick with that.

The DMG says that a party can move 300 ft. per minute at a normal exploration pace, or 200 at a slow one. In the 60 minutes before I roll and random encounter check, they will have been, looted, and gone home for a long rest.

There are some more practical exploration rules in the DMG, but it lacks any unifying procedures to hold them together. What exactly triggers a roll for encounters, or weather, or whether a monster notices a PC? The final playtest actually had a bunch of this stuff, but they removed it. Important procedures are missing.

Outside of dungeons, I don't think the game has any comparable procedures, either. OK, so the evil duke and his scary knights are trying to track down the PCs and their friends in the city. The PCs are racing against time to find a solution. How close is he to getting them? How do I decide when this happens? Do the players have a right to know how near he is, or that he is after them at all?

This is what I mean by incompleteness.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
What editions are you talking about? Several editions didn’t even have DCs.

Non-combat procedures have certainly shifted over time. Significantly so.
I think you are just looking under a greater magnification under the microscope than I am.

There's alot of similarity in roll under stat -> roll over dc.

Yes. Because leaving all those things for the GM to decide by definition means the game is incomplete, doesn’t it?
IMO. No.

If you would disagree about that, then I think we’d need to look at “GM decides” as the structure.

And if we’re examining the different rules structures that have existed across editions and how they shape play, can we do so with “GM decides”?

How does it impact play? How does it help? What are the drawbacks?
Sure. My flag is firmly planted on the ground of pros and cons for most everything.

What do you mean by hack? Do you mean implementing new rules systems?
might depend on what you mean by implementing new rules systems.

Hack: a usually creatively improvised solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation

You seem to be saying that doing so can make the game exactly what you want, but that doing so can be negative? I’m not following.
I have no idea what you mean here.

Because of all the complaints about language and how insulting it is?
Perhaps those are really complaints about language and how insulting it is instead of whatever criticism you are trying to convery...

I mean I’d say start with what xyz is for this statement to be at all useful.
Then you are clearly missing my point. What xyz is doesn't actually matter. The 'why' behind every preference is a mystery.

I'll say this though, the reoccuring theme of people trying to explain why the prefer D&D in what you call it's incomplete form is because they view it easier to modify toward their preferences. I suppose ideally they would prefer a game built already aligning to their preferences that was just as popular as D&D currently is, etc. But usually when people don't pick the obvious answer like that it's because they have already considered whether such a thing is feasible and ruled out that possibility. So they settle for the tradeoff of having to 'hack' a game to their tastes.
 

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