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D&D General Why is tradition (in D&D) important to you? [+]


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Hussar

Legend
I’m curious about how people view 3rd party products and the idea of tradition?

After all, many 3pp’s drift the game further and further in different directions.

It seems like something that would always be in tension.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I’m curious about how people view 3rd party products and the idea of tradition?

After all, many 3pp’s drift the game further and further in different directions.

It seems like something that would always be in tension.

Some of the early Judges Guild things and the like seemed right in the tradition. Later, PF seems pretty in line with the tradition. And the Goodman game modules for 5e and A5E seem in it too.

13th age on the other hand felt like drift to me.
 

Some of the early Judges Guild things and the like seemed right in the tradition. Later, PF seems pretty in line with the tradition. And the Goodman game modules for 5e and A5E seem in it too.

13th age on the other hand felt like drift to me.
Interesting. PF actually ended up going pretty far afield in some ways. The whole idea of archetypes and the introduction of like...35 new classes or whatever. By the end, backwards compatibility with 3.5e was loose at best.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Interesting. PF actually ended up going pretty far afield in some ways. The whole idea of archetypes and the introduction of like...35 new classes or whatever. By the end, backwards compatibility with 3.5e was loose at best.
If PF had started out with all the expansions it had near the end, instead of.just the core books, I think I would feel different about it too. But having them gradually added on over the years it didn't feel like there was ever a break to me.


Do all editions that have splat bloat end up like that? Would someone just now trying 5e (from 2 or 3/3.5/PF) with all the expansions feel different about it from someone trying it with just the core books?
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Tradition, in and of itself, isn't important to me for the most part. When it comes to lore and fluff, I am turned off by a lack of continuity from older editions (probably the biggest reason 4e was a no-go for me). Though, I'm willing to make exceptions to yeet problematic stuff.

As far as rules, I'm a lot more permissive as long as the core elements (d20, 6 attributes, races (or whatever), classes, levels, spell slots, etc.) are kept.
 

If PF had started out with all the expansions it had near the end, instead of.just the core books, I think I would feel different about it too. But having them gradually added on over the years it didn't feel like there was ever a break to me.


Do all editions that have splat bloat end up like that? Would someone just now trying 5e (from 2 or 3/3.5/PF) with all the expansions feel different about it from someone trying it with just the core books?
Oh, almost certainly. I've definitely heard people say that late-2e felt like a different beast, due to having a vast number of kits, variant rules, alternate racial features, etc. I believe they call it "Skills and Powers 2e" due to the main book (published in 1995) that held the majority of these things. Late-era 3.5e was a meaningfully different beast from fresh-off-the-presses 3.0 for sure.

Honestly I think the only edition that maintained a fairly singular identity is 4e. Essentials confused folks, but was fundamentally the same game with some very small opened design space (subclasses with different roles, or multiple roles/power sources, for example). Overall though it stayed pretty focused, though admittedly it was only actively published for about four or five years, comparable to 3.5e (3.0 came out mid-2000, 3.5e mid-2003, 4e mid-2007, 5e mid-2014, but they'd stopped publishing things for 4e around early-2012, not long before the Next Playtest started.)

By comparison, 0e was constantly evolving because it was brand new, and 1e had some significant drift due to the rather sudden expansion of players that had no relation to Gygax's culture of play (that is, those who had no connection to people he played with, or who could trace their play education back to him).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Do all editions that have splat bloat end up like that? Would someone just now trying 5e (from 2 or 3/3.5/PF) with all the expansions feel different about it from someone trying it with just the core books?
Yes, the game becomes less accessible and harder to just pick up and go; and I rather suspect that WotC's slow release schedule might have been done specifically to delay this situation as long as possible.
 

pogre

Legend
So I'm curious about those of you who really value Tradition in D&D. Why is it important to you? What value does it have?
The traditions I most value in D&D are:
1. Zero to Hero.
2. Dungeons.
3. A kitchen sink of weird monsters.

I play lots of other TTRPGs, so I have different expectations and preferences for those. The value for me is D&D does dungeon delving and leveling of PCs really well. It's great it has such a big umbrella that lots of folks use it for entirely different styles of campaigns.

I don't mind new mechanics and I have no real attachment to lore in D&D.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

Tradition in D&D is important to me because it recognizes and validates my experiences growing up playing the game since "day 4'ish" ;) . (I started in 1980). It gives me a feeling of "Yeah, I was there when that was new. I was a part of the beginning of this whole thing we call 'role-play gaming'".

It's also one reason why I (and probably many other "old grognards") get so... annoyed, when a new addition tries to "update the game/setting/system/whatever" to modern standards. I like the idea of needing to make a single Resurrection Survival roll or be forever dead. I like the idea that a fighter falling off a 50' cliff onto some rocks will probably have all his potions and oils broken. I like the idea that Humans have a single, paired 'special ability' (any class, any level), and that ALL other races have limitations (re: class and level limitations). All those "old 1e type things"...I grew up with them and they make sense to me because that's what I grew up with. Tradition. :)

Remove more and more of those "traditions" and the game becomes more and more about NOT making me feel welcome than making me feel excited to play something new.... if that makes any sense.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
(...now where did I put my cane...! I need to wave it around and yell at some kids! Dang whippersnappers!)
;)
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Maybe Wotc can make completely different games under the banner, "D&D Presents".
They kinda did this during the 3E era, although not with that branding. WotC put out games based on the D&D "d20" engine including Star Wars, Wheel of Time, Call of Cthulhu, and Polyhedron magazine which had a new mini-RPG each issue.

I absolutely loved that stuff! Would love to see a return, with a more D&D focused branding like you suggest.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I’m curious about how people view 3rd party products and the idea of tradition?

After all, many 3pp’s drift the game further and further in different directions.

It seems like something that would always be in tension.
3rd party products based on the D&D game using the OGL . . . . aren't D&D, they don't need to adhere to the traditions of D&D and have more freedom to innovate without folks getting worked up over it. Even if the product is intended to be directly compatible with your weekly D&D game, it's still not D&D. These types of products don't always buck D&D tradition of course, but they have that freedom.

Folks might skip a game that uses the D&D engine, but strays from core D&D traditions . . . if they are looking for an expansion to their traditional D&D game. But they are unlikely to get irritated that the product innovates.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
For me, there needs to be a balance between tradition (keeping things the same) and innovation (changing things) in any long-running franchise. If you never change anything, the franchise becomes stagnant and boring. If you change too much, or change the wrong things, the franchise no longer maintains its "essence" and becomes something different.

Of course, the problem is, where that balance "should" be is subjective and different for different fans.

4E is a great example of this. WotC actually did maintain a lot of traditional elements of the D&D game mechanics and setting lore, but the changes they did make were significant, WotC made a big deal about the changes, and there were a lot of them. This led to a fracturing of the fanbase with some folks enjoying the newer game, others hating it, and some feeling, "It's a great game, but it's not D&D." When you get into the details, fans in each camp didn't always agree on exactly why the new game was great, terrible, or great-but-not-D&D.

A more subtle and gradual evolution that ended up in the same place as 4E might have actually worked. Or perhaps, if 4E was introduced now, rather than in 2007, perhaps it might've done better. It should be interesting to see what changes WotC make to the game for the upcoming rules revision in 2024. I suspect most changes will be minimal and gradual to the existing 5E rules.

Like many fans, I like to day-dream about changes I would make to the game if WotC put me in charge (what a disaster that would be) . . . . and it makes me realize that my preferences would probably lead to another "4E" situation if they were official, but if I ever published them under the OGL or on the DM's Guild, I could probably get away with them and get mostly positive feedback (well, hopefully).

I hate the class name "fighter". I prefer "warrior". But I think WotC changing that in the official rules would probably be a bad idea. My core 4 classes would be warrior (fighter), rogue, mage (wizard), and mystic (cleric). I can already feel some of you getting itchy . . . . . ;)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For me, there needs to be a balance between tradition (keeping things the same) and innovation (changing things) in any long-running franchise. If you never change anything, the franchise becomes stagnant and boring. If you change too much, or change the wrong things, the franchise no longer maintains its "essence" and becomes something different.

Of course, the problem is, where that balance "should" be is subjective and different for different fans.

4E is a great example of this. WotC actually did maintain a lot of traditional elements of the D&D game mechanics and setting lore, but the changes they did make were significant, WotC made a big deal about the changes, and there were a lot of them.
Their initial "the old game was garbage, this one's way better" marketing strategy didn't exactly help very much. :)
This led to a fracturing of the fanbase with some folks enjoying the newer game, others hating it, and some feeling, "It's a great game, but it's not D&D." When you get into the details, fans in each camp didn't always agree on exactly why the new game was great, terrible, or great-but-not-D&D.

A more subtle and gradual evolution that ended up in the same place as 4E might have actually worked. Or perhaps, if 4E was introduced now, rather than in 2007, perhaps it might've done better. It should be interesting to see what changes WotC make to the game for the upcoming rules revision in 2024. I suspect most changes will be minimal and gradual to the existing 5E rules.
Had 4e never happened as it did, I could kinda see the potential for a split in 2024 where WotC would release two systems at once. One would more-than-vaguely resemble 4e only much more obviously leaning into narrative play (i.e. Story Now) than 4e did, while the other would adopt a more old-school ethos both in expected playstyle and in rules. They would be at best only marginally compatible with each other, but underlying similarities would exist e.g. everything runs by rolling d20s.
Like many fans, I like to day-dream about changes I would make to the game if WotC put me in charge (what a disaster that would be) . . . . and it makes me realize that my preferences would probably lead to another "4E" situation if they were official, but if I ever published them under the OGL or on the DM's Guild, I could probably get away with them and get mostly positive feedback (well, hopefully).
Yeah, me too; and I suspect your and my new games would be about night-and-day different from each other. :)
I hate the class name "fighter". I prefer "warrior". But I think WotC changing that in the official rules would probably be a bad idea. My core 4 classes would be warrior (fighter), rogue, mage (wizard), and mystic (cleric). I can already feel some of you getting itchy . . . . . ;)
I odn't mind "warrior" as a heading for all the martial classes of which fighter is but one. Ditto for "wizard" being the heading for arcane caster classes of which mage (or magic-user) is but one.

It's like dog breeds, where you've got the breeds lumped into sporting group, toy group, working group, etc. - here you've got classes lumped into warrior group, wizard group, etc. :)
 

In terms of game mechanics I don't give one wit about tradition. In fact it's the opposite. I get brand recognition as a concept but for me personally I am of a mind that it is often "tradition" that is now holding the game itself back. I.e. Why do we need to have ability scores instead of just modifiers? Why do we even have classes? etc.

Where I tend to care about tradition is in terms of lore and world-building for the established settings. I don't mind the idea of changing and updating things to fit the modern game system/times to an extent, but I am not a fan of when they seem to care very little for the legacy of what has come before, or create new lore than blatantly disregards previously established stuff from the prior cannon. In my opinion the more they have to "retcon" stuff, the poorer the quality of the writing and continuity and therefore less the reason why I should care about it.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
3.5e was pure profit-seeking, and unnecessary.
4e was pure profit-seeking, and unnecessary.

Unnecessary.. for what? That word doesn't really mean anything except in reference to some goal.

You, personally didn't need it? Okay, then it wasn't necessary for your needs. Cool.

But maybe for other purposes, it was necessary.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Their initial "the old game was garbage, this one's way better" marketing strategy didn't exactly help very much. :)
Except they didn't do that.

The idea that WotC in 2007 was insulting long-time fans and their preferences is just not what happened. I remember cranky fans claiming that was the thrust of WotC's marketing for 4E, but it just wasn't so . . . just overly sensitive fans upset that the new D&D was different from the old D&D, and that the company behind it dared to say, "Hey, we think this new D&D is the best ever! You should give it a try!"

D&D 4E changed too much, too quickly, and was ultimately an error on WotC's part. It was reasonable for fans not happy with the changes to be upset that their favorite game was changing in ways they didn't like. But it was unreasonable for those fans to claim that WotC was somehow insulting or disrespecting them with their marketing, or even the game itself.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Except they didn't do that.

The idea that WotC in 2007 was insulting long-time fans and their preferences is just not what happened. I remember cranky fans claiming that was the thrust of WotC's marketing for 4E, but it just wasn't so . . . just overly sensitive fans upset that the new D&D was different from the old D&D, and that the company behind it dared to say, "Hey, we think this new D&D is the best ever! You should give it a try!"
I guess you missed the 4e teaser that lampooned earlier editions? Elementary marketing boner there - don’t imply criticism of your own product. If they had just said that 4e was the best D&D ever, people wouldn’t have been so down on their marketing. But they didn’t…
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Except they didn't do that.

The idea that WotC in 2007 was insulting long-time fans and their preferences is just not what happened. I remember cranky fans claiming that was the thrust of WotC's marketing for 4E, but it just wasn't so . . . just overly sensitive fans upset that the new D&D was different from the old D&D, and that the company behind it dared to say, "Hey, we think this new D&D is the best ever! You should give it a try!"

D&D 4E changed too much, too quickly, and was ultimately an error on WotC's part. It was reasonable for fans not happy with the changes to be upset that their favorite game was changing in ways they didn't like. But it was unreasonable for those fans to claim that WotC was somehow insulting or disrespecting them with their marketing, or even the game itself.
Yes they did do that. I was there, live in the room at GenCon, when some of the 4e designers said just this. I can't remember if the term they used for 3.x was "garbage" or "crap" or something very similar; but it was the leadoff to their 4e presentation and it sure raised some eyebrows. mine among them.
 

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