WotC WotC Asks What Makes YOU Play Dungeons and Dragons?

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
To sneer at Warhammer on that basis necessitates that you sneer at an awful lot of D&D settings, unless one is to be truly hypocritical. And if you do sneer at Mystara, Spelljammer, Greyhawk and other "messy hodgepodge" settings (I love Spelljammer but it's ten times more of a hodgepodge than Warhammer is now - maybe back in 1990 it was a toss-up, but Warhammer has developed, and Spelljammer hasn't), well fine, that is a viable opinion. But do you?
Firstly, I don't sneer at WHFB. I just think it does what it does well; large-scale miniature battles. If I want to play a TTRPG, there are better settings that are kitchen-sinks, including FR, Greyhawk, Spelljammer (Mystara I tend to think is worse than WHFB). They are a little more cohesive in tone, even Spelljammer which is fully defined by it's Ptolemaic view of what space is.

And WHFB developed right to the point where it had no more room to grow and GW blew it up. I still have a fair amount of nostalgia for that world, and own Total War: Warhammer and like how that game has made that setting. But I've largely moved on, and find Age of Sigmar a more developed and unique world pulling from a more mythological theme, rather than the high fantasy tropes I see so often.
 
find Age of Sigmar a more developed and unique world pulling from a more mythological theme
ROFL! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Okay buddy yup, you are welcome to believe that Justin Beiber a better singer than Freddy Mercury, we'll just have to agree to differ on this one.

Joking aside, I actually like Age of Sigmar, mostly because it has extremely strong visual design and is beginning to add some truly wild stuff, but it'll be a decade or more before it's even comparable to Warhammer Fantasy. You criticise Warhammer Fantasy for lack of cohesiveness and being a hodgepodge? But praise Age of Sigmar, which is unarguably even more of one?

Spelljammer is far less together than Warhammer Fantasy, too. A "ptolemaic view of the universe" does not unify random Hippomen with the Imperial Elf Navy, Illithids in hilarious Nautilus-shaped ships, Giant Space Hamsters and similar shenanigans!

I will definitely be getting the Age of Sigmar Soulbound RPG when it comes out though, so there's that.
 

Dire Bare

Adventurer
It's a terrible criticism made by ignorant people who you shouldn't be listening to because now they've embarrassed you by having you repeat it.

D&D is the exactly same thing - a synthesis of various fantasy elements in a somewhat clumsy way. Also, Warhammer is far, far less derivative from D&D than you seem to think. It's separately derivative from similar sources - it takes far more from Michael Moorcock, and takes stuff directly from Tolkien, rather than filtering it through a D&D lens. A good example are the Orcs, which are derivative of Tolkien's Orcs, not D&D's modified Orcs and later became their own wildly wacky almost-sci-fi thing. They're vastly better developed and more original than anything D&D has ever done with orcs or goblins (though Eberron's goblins are pretty great). I mean, they develop from spores for god's sake. They're sentient fungus. And you're claiming they derive from D&D's grey-skinned pig-men orcs from the 1970s? No. Just no. They're smarter than those, too, more like Tolkien's Orcs again.

Bretonnia isn't derivative of D&D, and you're ignorance about the origins of Bretonnia is showing here. When it was first added, it was basically "France immediately before the Revolution", with poncy 18th-century-style Aristos and a rebellious underclass. Later they retcon'd into into a darkside version of the whole King Arthur deal, with a strong French flavour. There's nothing in D&D particularly like it, and it's not derivative of D&D.

In terms of Elves and Dwarves, D&D is in many cases derivative of Warhammer. But both are directly pulling from Tolkien. Still, a lot of the visual design D&D post-1990 has used for Elves and Dwarves is in fact derivative of Warhammer. Warhammer certainly isn't derivative of D&D here - their Elves and Dwarves have far darker, more Silmarillion-esque histories, and neither is "Lawful Good".

None of it is "truly original" (even all the Chaos stuff is inspired by Michael Moorcock's books, albeit really heavily developed - Moorcock is also why D&D has Lawful and Chaotic alignments, note, and the planar structure it does), but the idea that it derives from D&D is laughable (spurred to exist by D&D becoming popular, perhaps, but that's different), and the idea that that criticism makes any sense in the context of D&D, which is exactly the same mish-mash of this and that, is just bizarre.

Orc-wise, let's talk who is derivative of who:

Orc, D&D, 1977 - Orc (Dungeons & Dragons) - Wikipedia

Quite clearly pig-men, which they are still described as in 2E, and depicted as, and have grey skin.

Orc, Warhammer, 1986 - Blood Bowl - Wikipedia

Already by 1986 Warhammer Orcs (seen left) are the classic short-nosed, musclebound, green-skinned orcs we are used to in various things.

Orc, D&D, 1993 - 2e d&d | Tumblr - The image on the left, from Iuz The Evil, 1993. Still with the pig-men.

Warhammer Orcs haven't changed since the 1986 image, not significantly (and indeed looked like that earlier in the 1980s, but I wanted an image with a hard and undeniable date)

Yet let's see how D&D Orcs looked later:


Wow even better they show 1E/2E/3E/4E/5E progression (the 2E one is from 1994, note, when the change to copy Warhammer Orcs had begun). You can quite clearly see that D&D Orcs are derivative of Warhammer Orcs, not vice-versa.
Duuude . . . you're coming on a little strong there calling people ignorant. Cool your jets.

You've got some great info about the influences on Warhammer . . . but please realize you are arguing in High Nerd about which derivative fantasy game is more derivative. Both games are awesome, starting out highly derivative of existing fantasy tropes, but have evolved over the decades into their own awesome uniqueness.

And, you do realize that Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer, began as a hobby business supporting Dungeons & Dragons? Their flagship magazine, White Dwarf, was mostly D&D content in the early days, and their first miniatures produced were for the D&D game (albeit unlicensed, I think). Warhammer came later. GW has always had a very British, and to American sensibilities, very unique take on the "D&D genre" that evolved into Warhammer. That's not to say that Warhammer is more or less derivative on fantasy tropes than D&D, or that it is derivative (or not) of D&D itself . . . . . by Sigmar, I could care less!
 
I'm curious about what other people chose as their favorite sourcebooks of all time. I picked the Ravenloft Campaign Setting (red box) but there are at least 2-3 other 2e books that are also huge contenders for me.
I picked Unearthed Arcana because, at the end of the day, it's always been the weird potpourri of stuff that stood out for me.
 
You have missed that one of your previous entries had to be edited. Please keep your language clean.
You've got some great info about the influences on Warhammer . . . but please realize you are arguing in High Nerd about which derivative fantasy game is more derivative. Both games are awesome, starting out highly derivative of existing fantasy tropes, but have evolved over the decades into their own awesome uniqueness.
The person I'm speaking to is saying that Warhammer Fantasy is a shoddy mess and that somehow D&D, Greyhawk, Spelljammer and so on aren't (I guess he at least admitted Mystara was!). Not that they have "awesome uniqueness".

And that's an ignorant opinion. Even brilliant and erudite people can have those, as reading the NYT will frequently reveal (good god some of the ignorance from otherwise-smart writers in the opinion columns or media reviews is staggering - like when ASoIaF as derided as being "for little boys" - it's like what the HECK kind of little boys you coming across lady?).

And, you do realize that Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer, began as a hobby business supporting Dungeons & Dragons? Their flagship magazine, White Dwarf, was mostly D&D content in the early days, and their first miniatures produced were for the D&D game (albeit unlicensed, I think). Warhammer came later. GW has always had a very British, and to American sensibilities, very unique take on the "D&D genre" that evolved into Warhammer. That's not to say that Warhammer is more or less derivative on fantasy tropes than D&D, or that it is derivative (or not) of D&D itself . . . . . by Sigmar, I could care less!
I guess you missed where I mentioned that White Dwarf carried D&D articles, or that I bought my first D&D books in an GW store?

Mod Edit: Language - keep it clean, people! ~Umbran
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
But praise Age of Sigmar, which is unarguably even more of one?

Spelljammer is far less together than Warhammer Fantasy, too. A "ptolemaic view of the universe" does not unify random Hippomen with the Imperial Elf Navy, Illithids in hilarious Nautilus-shaped ships, Giant Space Hamsters and similar shenanigans!
I think you're missing my argument, which is that Spelljammer's unifying theme is that of the ptolemaic space travel, and Age of Sigmar's unifying theme is that of mythological conflict between diametrically opposed gods (it's a lot like D&D's Blood War, if it expanded to include armies from every god and alignment). It has little to do with which setting has more "development" or material behind it, I'm referring more to the basic foundation the setting is built upon, its core tenets that make it unique and interesting.

I often struggle with WHFB to find a unifying theme that is very unique. That doesn't make it a bad setting, and again I think it worked for the miniatures battle game it was (not as well as AoS which has no surpassed its predecessor in sales). But when playing a fantasy TTRPG I'd probably pick Greyhawk or FR or Dragonlance instead, which have better defined themes.

I think we are going in circles here, I'm clearly not convincing you of anything and you're not convincing me either.
 
In defense of GW: they were in the business of selling other companies' products, an overseas distributor more than anything else. Eventually they decided they wanted to shift to their own product, and Warhammer Fantasy 1st edition RPG was the product. That original boxed set owed a lot to FRPGs that had come before, but it was unabashedly unique in its mixture of wargame-based rule mechanics and style, which clearly was a uniquely European take on the fantasy genre. I think they wanted a system that stood apart from D&D while still reflecting the same genre sources and they accomplished that handily.

That said: back in the 70s and 80s literally everything under the sun in fantasy was highly derivative on some level or another thanks to Tolkien's long shadow. D&D, Warhammer, T&T, Ysgarth, Palladium Fantasy, Arduin....practically everything except for oddities like Jorune, Talislanta and to a lesser extent Runequest and Chivalry & Sorcery managed to escape this shadow.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
That said: back in the 70s and 80s literally everything under the sun in fantasy was highly derivative on some level or another thanks to Tolkien's long shadow. D&D, Warhammer, T&T, Ysgarth, Palladium Fantasy, Arduin....practically everything except for oddities like Jorune, Talislanta and to a lesser extent Runequest and Chivalry & Sorcery managed to escape this shadow.
You speak the truth. It didn't help either when World of Warcraft was released, another highly-deriverative setting, that shunted a lot of these settings to the side due to its sheer popularity and made them appear like copycats when WoW was in fact the new kid.
 
I often struggle with WHFB to find a unifying theme that is very unique. That doesn't make it a bad setting, and again I think it worked for the miniatures battle game it was (not as well as AoS which has no surpassed its predecessor in sales). But when playing a fantasy TTRPG I'd probably pick Greyhawk or FR or Dragonlance instead, which have better defined themes.
I totally get what you're saying here, and the problem is that it's a bad premise. Not having a "unifying theme" does not make a fantasy setting in any way "bad". Some of the best fantasy settings do not have a "unifying theme". The Forgotten Realms does not have, and never has had, a "unifying theme". Nor does Greyhawk. It was developed piecemeal and remains such. Dragonlance is arguable at best, and is an inferior setting in virtually every regard to those two that don't have themes. There's no world in which Warhammer has no unifying theme and the FR does. There are plenty where neither does.

AoS' success has nothing really to do with the setting "having a theme" or "being mythological", either. Even fans aren't keen on the setting in my experience - I know several people who buy AoS stuff. AoS' success comes from two things:

1) Vastly more approachable rules. AoS is a skirmish game, not an army game, like WHFB. You can play it with literally 1/5th as many models as you'd need to make a basic WHFB army. And the rules themselves are vastly easier to engage with, especially for less-serious gamers.

2) Much better and newer models. This is absolutely huge.

Had they not changed the setting at all, and just done those things in a WHFB context, they'd be doing very well - slightly better or worse than AoS, but similarly.

AoS' setting has one advantage in that it lets them add a lot of new stuff. But that's just shoving more stuff into the "hodgepodge" you were complaining about, and each new element makes things less "coherent". But it's cool. It's just like, don't complain about hodgepodges and then big-up AoS! It's like saying boxing is too violent and then proclaiming your love for MMA.
 
Oh, wow, it actually dares to ask about the Warlord! I mean, only if it's in your top 3 favorite classes, which, considering the Big 4, is sure to result in very low numbers for everything but the Fighter, Rogue, Wizard and Cleric, in that order.
Not "what class would you like to see next?" Which might, even after 5 years of stonewalling run a tiny risk of a positive response.

Even so, this is the first time the Warlord has appeared in an official Poll since the Next Playtest was announced!

 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I totally get what you're saying here, and the problem is that it's a bad premise. Not having a "unifying theme" does not make a fantasy setting in any way "bad". Some of the best fantasy settings do not have a "unifying theme". The Forgotten Realms does not have, and never has had, a "unifying theme". Nor does Greyhawk. It was developed piecemeal and remains such. Dragonlance is arguable at best, and is an inferior setting in virtually every regard to those two that don't have themes. There's no world in which Warhammer has no unifying theme and the FR does. There are plenty where neither does.
To me, if you don't have a unifying theme, your setting risks being unfocused and uninspired. And I do believe Greyhawk and FR have those same flaws (although the former is at least more consistent in tone), but those settings are built for TTRPG while WHFB is built for wargaming.

I just flat disagree with the Dragonlance comment; if you want a High Fantasy setting where you're PCs are the "chosen ones" meant to defeat the forces of darkness, you are playing it exactly correct.

AoS' setting has one advantage in that it lets them add a lot of new stuff. But that's just shoving more stuff into the "hodgepodge" you were complaining about, and each new element makes things less "coherent". But it's cool. It's just like, don't complain about hodgepodges and then big-up AoS! It's like saying boxing is too violent and then proclaiming your love for MMA.
Again, you're missing the point; AoS does have it's unique theme of being a cosmic conflict between gods of different alignments and portfolio, where mortals need to struggle to survive in the wake of this unending war.

Having a unique and distinct theme is very different than having a bunch of "stuff" in it. AoS has a lot of stuff (right now probably equivalent or perhaps more than its predecessor); it still has a much better defined theme than WHFB.

I think you're confusing theme with material. A setting can have a lot of material but still be thematically consistent (AoS, Planescape, Spelljammer), have a lot of material and not have a consistent theme (Forgotten Realms, WHFB), or have less material and no consistent theme (Nentir Vale), or less material and a consistent theme (Dragonlance).
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
There were some weird questions in there which did worry me a little bit like "Do you create your own PCs?". I mean what the foo-foo excuse me? Do you think my valet creates my PCs for me or something? That's awful - obviously he gets his own character! :)
A list of pregen characters in the back of a module was a thing for some time, and some DM's will offer pre-rolled characters to players, especially new players.

I wouldn't confuse something offered to make things run quickly as the same thing as actively denying the option of creating your own character. ;)

Oh, wow, it actually dares to ask about the Warlord! I mean, only if it's in your top 3 favorite classes, which, considering the Big 4, is sure to result in very low numbers for everything but the Fighter, Rogue, Wizard and Cleric, in that order.
Having included fighter and rogue in my 3 I cannot deny that expectation. ;)
 

Barantor

Explorer
I often struggle with WHFB to find a unifying theme that is very unique. That doesn't make it a bad setting, and again I think it worked for the miniatures battle game it was (not as well as AoS which has no surpassed its predecessor in sales). But when playing a fantasy TTRPG I'd probably pick Greyhawk or FR or Dragonlance instead, which have better defined themes.
The unifying theme of the (old non AoS) world is Order vs Chaos with Chaos having a very real chance of winning if allowed to and still managing to get everywhere.

There are some shared commonalities with D&D and Warhammer, but Warhammer is a very unique universe and very well fleshed out when the likes of Carl Sargent got writing adventures for WFRPG 1E. We owe WFRPG the first successful multi-book narrative adventure campaign via "The Enemy Within".

Warhammer does things differently and that's ok and it has had it's own influence on fantasy as a whole (orcs are green!). To say that Fantasy RPGs borrow from each other is like saying each song ever written was done so in a bubble.

I find it odd when folks say that Forgotten Realms has a theme, it's pretty well muddied nowadays, just like Warhammer has gotten.
 
None of it is "truly original" (even all the Chaos stuff is inspired by Michael Moorcock's books, albeit really heavily developed - Moorcock is also why D&D has Lawful and Chaotic alignments, note, and the planar structure it does)
The concept of Chaos in Warhammer comes mostly from RuneQuest and Moorcock imo with a side order of D&D. RuneQuest gets it from the creation myths of many different cultures, such as ancient Greece and Mesopotamia. The idea of Chaos as a vast realm, older than the mundane world we know that sometimes breaks into it is from RuneQuest. In Moorcock Chaos, Law, and the Balance are omnipresent forces that are in a state of constant conflict across the multiverse. WFRP's five alignment system - Law, Good, Neutral, Evil, Chaos - derives from D&D.

Chaos and Law in 1974 OD&D probably derive from Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. Chaos at this point is the same as evil, and Law is good. 1e AD&D then adds Moorcockian Law and Chaos (and the old Law and Chaos are renamed Good and Evil) to get the nine alignment system.
 
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aco175

Adventurer
Me too! Now, I am curious about the questions people got after giving their age.
It was a secret question, something about Fight Club;

Nah, it was about weather I liked gnomes and paladins;

Nah, I'm old and it kicked me out as well.
 

S'mon

Legend
I found the "What properties have you played/play" section pretty interesting. Looking at that list (Dark Souls, Shadow of Mordor, Warhammer) made me think it D&D is thinking of pursuing more partnerships with different IPs products like the one they did with Rick and Morty.

I mean, I'd be pretty happy if D&D did an accompanying product for the Elden Ring, or even the world of League of Legends... or hell, hit me with some Breath of the Wild!
Looking forward to my Elder Scrolls 5e D&D Campaign Setting hardback!
 

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