D&D General Why Editions Don't Matter

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pemerton

Legend
Who is the "pro-D&D" side? Does that imply that someone who thinks that editions do matter is anti-D&D? I mean, I spent 5+ years posting on these boards when the main game I ran was 4e D&D, and in just about every thread had someone - sometimes including posters in this thread - telling me why my game was terrible, why it wasn't real RPGing, etc. Were they pro-D&D, trying to tear down my game as part of their edition war? Was I pro-D&D?

At the moment I have an active Torchbearer campaign and multiple active Burning Wheel campaigns. All of them take place in Greyhawk. Given that I own just above everything ever published for Greyhawk by TSR, plus some stuff published for Greyhawk by WotC, I'm confident that I have more Greyhawk material and Greyhawk familiarity than most others posting in this thread. Does that mean I'm anti-D&D?

That whole framing is just bizarre to me.
 

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pemerton

Legend
The discussion in the one-D&D subforum about abilities that recharge when initiative is rolled took me back to @gorice's remarks about "incompleteness".

In 5e D&D initiative is rolled as part of the procedure for resolving a combat encounter. From the Basic PDF, p 69:

A typical combat encounter is a clash between two sides, a flurry of weapon swings, feints, parries, footwork, and spellcasting. The game organizes the chaos of combat into a cycle of rounds and turns. A round represents about 6 seconds in the game world. During a round, each participant in a battle takes a turn. The order of turns is determined at the beginning of a combat encounter, when everyone rolls initiative. . . .

Initiative determines the order of turns during combat. When combat starts, every participant makes a Dexterity check to determine their place in the initiative order. . . .

Combat Step by Step
1. Determine surprise. The DM determines whether anyone involved in the combat encounter is surprised.
2. Establish positions. The DM decides where all the characters and monsters are located. . .
3. Roll initiative. Everyone involved in the combat encounter rolls initiative, determining the order of combatants’ turns.​

But who gets to decide that combat has started, and hence that initiative needs to be rolled? The rules don't seem to say.
 




FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Who is the "pro-D&D" side? Does that imply that someone who thinks that editions do matter is anti-D&D? I mean, I spent 5+ years posting on these boards when the main game I ran was 4e D&D, and in just about every thread had someone - sometimes including posters in this thread - telling me why my game was terrible, why it wasn't real RPGing, etc. Were they pro-D&D, trying to tear down my game as part of their edition war? Was I pro-D&D?

I think you know exactly what I meant because you have complained and/or been actively involved in threads where the exact thing I'm referencing was complained about numerous times.
 


ReshiIRE

Adventurer
pemerton's point was that the rules in 5e, at-least in the Basic PDF, are vague. You either intuitively or have to be told by those who played before that it is the DM that decides combat has started.

Unless anything has been cut from the quote, I also think it's not clear from the text who declares it, even if it is obvious the DM does.

Consider Pathfinder 2e's rules, re: Encounter Mode:

When the GM calls for it, you’ll roll initiative to determine your place in the initiative order, which is the sequence in which the encounter’s participants will take their turns. Rolling initiative marks the start of an encounter. More often than not, you’ll roll initiative when you enter a battle.

Here it is unambigious: rolling iniative starts an encounter, and the GM calls for it.

It is a tiny thing and I don't suspect that it would be a problem in play, but permerton's point is valid.
 

Oofta

Legend
You can nitpick anything and claim confusion about just about any topic. Why is 2+2=4?

The rules are quite clear. The players say what their PCs do, the DM says what happens which includes all checks. You don’t need to call it out specifically because there is no specific rule that overrides the general rule.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
You can nitpick anything and claim confusion about just about any topic. Why is 2+2=4?

The rules are quite clear. The players say what their PCs do, the DM says what happens which includes all checks. You don’t need to call it out specifically because there is no specific rule that overrides the general rule.
I'm in Chapter 9 of the PHB. Can the player say "Move to combat" or "I start combat" or the like? Reading it, I don't see
anything on a first pass that implies otherwise.

Does it solve any problems for the book to add a few words saying "The DM declares that combat has started"? Is there any time the PC moves to attack that combat and initiative wouldn't happen? (Does the DM reserve monologue time or the like?)
 

Belen

Adventurer
The new bard, ranger and rogue are changed enough that existing subclasses are less compatible than they were (Bardic Inspiration being a reaction is an example). Several rules in the first UA, if implemented, affect player-facing option in 5e. The "no DM-side crits" rule is an example.
Wait...no DM crits? Not going to happen.
 

Oofta

Legend
I'm in Chapter 9 of the PHB. Can the player say "Move to combat" or "I start combat" or the like? Reading it, I don't see
anything on a first pass that implies otherwise.

Does it solve any problems for the book to add a few words saying "The DM declares that combat has started"? Is there any time the PC moves to attack that combat and initiative wouldn't happen? (Does the DM reserve monologue time or the like?)
The player can say "I attack" because that's declaring something their PC does.

It's the core game loop. After the player declares that they attack, perhaps the DM calls for initiative. Maybe the illusion disappears. Maybe a voice rings out stopping the combat before it starts.

Because there may be something the player does not know, the player doesn't get to declare meta game activities unless there's a specific rule that states otherwise.

Whether that's necessary or not I don't think matters much. The point is that we don't need detail on who declares initiative starts because we already know due to the general rules of the game. There's no need to repeat general rules every time they apply.

Unless you're nitpicking to try to make a point I doubt this is ever an issue. Even it was explicitly called out there would just be some other pedantic issue found.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
pemerton's point was that the rules in 5e, at-least in the Basic PDF, are vague. You either intuitively or have to be told by those who played before that it is the DM that decides combat has started.
IMO The basic playloop clearly covers this.

1. The DM describes the environment.
2. The players describe what they want to do.
3. The DM narrates the results of their actions

IMO, one such result would be that combat starts.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I'm in Chapter 9 of the PHB. Can the player say "Move to combat" or "I start combat" or the like? Reading it, I don't see
anything on a first pass that implies otherwise.

Does it solve any problems for the book to add a few words saying "The DM declares that combat has started"? Is there any time the PC moves to attack that combat and initiative wouldn't happen? (Does the DM reserve monologue time or the like?)
You seem to be saying that the Combat section doesn't tell me this. I agree! But that doesn't mean the issue isn't covered by other rules.
 


pemerton

Legend
The rules clearly say it's the DM. The players can force the issue by declaring their PC attacks enemies.
The rules are quite clear. The players say what their PCs do, the DM says what happens which includes all checks. You don’t need to call it out specifically because there is no specific rule that overrides the general rule.
It's the core game loop. After the player declares that they attack, perhaps the DM calls for initiative. Maybe the illusion disappears. Maybe a voice rings out stopping the combat before it starts.
So is it true or false that the players can force the issue?
 



Oofta

Legend
So is it true or false that the players can force the issue?
They can declare what their PC does, the DM decides what happens. I'm not going to bother quoting text because I'm assuming you know what the rules say and how the game works.

When I DM people can ask "Roll for initiative?" but I'm the one who says yes or no. This is not a hard concept and it's very clearly spelled out.
 

You can nitpick anything and claim confusion about just about any topic. Why is 2+2=4?
Because, if you understand the meaning of the symbols "2", "+", "=", and "4," then the logical relationship between the parts as presented follows analytically from the meanings of those symbols. Or, if you prefer: "When you have two cows, and you receive two further cows from your wife, you will find you have four cows. Moreover, this relationship will hold even if you replace 'cows' with some other countable object."

The point is, the game doesn't actually say something that is a perfectly valid question to ask. It isn't like "2+2=4," because the definition of "combat" and "initiative" does not actually include who determines when combat should occur, or how, at least not in the quoted text. Perhaps it does say so in other text we could quote! I'm hardly an expert on 5e, having never run it (and with negative desire to begin doing so.) But it would, at the very least, be a bit strange. It would be like defining everything except the equals sign, and presuming people will just know what it means from context. Some people will. Some won't.

I would know. I have previously worked--for multiple years--with adult learners who have never had any mathematics education whatsoever, and are thus being exposed to the foundations of mathematics for the first time ever. Such folks need things explained carefully, but also with great kindness and respect, otherwise they will disengage, feeling overwhelmed or ashamed or the like. Their curriculum was very carefully structured, to the point that an actual typo in one of their books caused a serious issue for those of us working with them (the "altitude" of a triangle was accidentally typo'd as "attitude," which caused significant distress and confusion for several such students; we eventually had to get an official response from the professors specifying that yes, the book is actually wrong this one time, don't worry about it too much.)

For folks genuinely completely new to tabletop roleplaying--which is way more likely than it used to be, what with 5e's rapid growth--questions like this are going to be very natural. These folks are going to be more similar to the adult learners noted above than they will to seven-year-olds first being introduced to the concept of equations.

The rules are quite clear. The players say what their PCs do, the DM says what happens which includes all checks. You don’t need to call it out specifically because there is no specific rule that overrides the general rule.
And I fundamentally disagree. I think it is extremely important to be clear and specific, even when it doesn't seem all that necessary.
 

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