WotC WotC needs an Elon Musk

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gban007

Explorer
Right, but from your phrasing "for some time" and "trying to get back what she has lost" there are only two things I can see here.

Either people are wrong, and she didn't accept her loss and let go in the end of Wandavision, or after they finished and had her resolved to be better.... she gets far worse and goes murder-horror monster.

And I think this is a serious problem, because as I understand it, the end of Wandavision was her accepting her loss and resolving to let go and begin healing. That was the finale. And if that was the finale then turning around and basically saying "Psyche! She didn't get better!" is really bad for keeping an audience who liked her as a character and was invested in her recovery. And especially worse since it seems like her agency to heal was removed and she had to be "fixed" by another hero.

And if it truly is a corrupting influence... then it shouldn't matter how aware he was. It is a corrupting influence that has already turned one of earth's mightiest heroes into a monster. It'd be like the black-suit for spider-man. We don't expect to see it drop from turning one hero evil to being perfectly managed by another, unless the point is to highlight differences that are very not good for an ensemble cast like this.

Again, I haven't seen them, I'm just going off of what I've heard and similar examples.
But it wasn't perfectly managed by Doctor Strange, hence what happened near the end of the movie - and regarding Wandavision - perhaps the people expressing the opinions didn't pay much attention to / see the post credit scene of Wandavision. .

It is a tricky area though, and part of the problem really was while they gave good hints of what may and did come, at the end of the day people sympathised with Wanda, and regardless of how well it may have been foreshadowed, it still was going to upset people who were attached to her character as it was - to be honest I feel the same about Luke Skywalker in the Last Jedi - it may have been reasonable sort of action, and based on some of his behaviour when younger, but it still felt a betrayal of his character and I didn't like it.

So I think the story supported what happened, but it did occur to a character beloved by many, and so potentially was inevitable it would create a backlash, and so is a potentially questionable decision to go down that route.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And I think this is a serious problem, because as I understand it, the end of Wandavision was her accepting her loss and resolving to let go and begin healing. That was the finale.

Well, not quite.
At the end of the series, she recognizes what she's done, and shows regret. But there's not a lot of sign of "let go and begin healing". There is, "I recognize I have been a horrible person, and will depart alone for places unknown." Monica Rambeau tries to make a connection, but Wanda doesn't choose to take it.

Wanda hasn't had much of a support system through her life, and at the end of the show, she has even less. Anyone who knows about trauma recognizes this as a bad situation - healing typically does not happen in isolation.

The absolute finale was her pouring over the Darkhold, a book we have clearly been told is bad news, the voices of her lost children crying out to her, as is they are calling from the Underworld.
Her situation in the movie is not a surprise, if you get that.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure, but there is not always a need for them to be sitting around and doing nothing. They can be involved.

I'm not saying that I've never talked to people outside the game about long-downtime, I've done it more than a few times. But the story being crafted is "these people in this world". For me, if there is a major event going on and part of the party is going to go deal with it, the rest of the party follows. They don't just take off and leave their friends behind to face something like a Lich or a rampaging dragon.
In our adventuring company there's over 40 characters, of which about 25 are PCs belonging to the six players in the game. The rest are adventuring NPCs and henches.

We can put together an adventuring party and get 'em in the field on a moment's notice and still leave most of the company back at home base. :)
So, we often do downtime at the same time, and some times we just circle the table asking what each person wants to do.
Which is fine if one player says something like "Jelessa will take the winter off and do some general spell research" and another says "Aloysius will spend the winter waiting for delivery of the Broom of Flying he commissioned". Those can be dealt with on a whim.

But if a player - me, in this instance - says "Xana spends the winter engaged in politics in [faux-Rome] and putting herself out there as a viable option as a future (or present) Senator, along with making sure her family are well cared for, finishing construction of her townhouse, [etc. etc.]" and wants to go into any detail on all of that (which I almost always do) then either it has to get done off-cycle or everyone else is gonna get mighty bored. :)
Never had a game where anyone had more than one active character. It just isn't how we approach the game.
Right now, all in the same setting and mostly in the same greater adventuring company, I've got:

X - Mage - she's the "Xana" noted just above, currently engaged in medium-term downtime activities
Aloysius - Cleric - currently active in the field in party #1
Aelyina - Mage-Psyonicist - wants to be active but can't yet talk people into the specific adventuring she has in mind
Elena - Mage-Thief (was Necromancer-Assassin before an annoying alignment change) - long-term retired due to lack of Con
Terazon - War Cleric - helping with construction of our company base but will get back in the field when chance presents
Tuarthia - Mage - does whatever adventuring people ask her to do (her severely limited Wisdom makes her a bit of an airhead) but otherwise hangs around the base
Skyboot - Illusionist - long-term inactive due to loss of mind [was kicked out of company due to being a nuisance]
Lanefan - Fighter - currently trying to build his name-level stronghold [not a company member, yet]
Black Leaf - Thief - currently active in the field in party #2 [not a company member, has never heard of it]

This setting has been going, with some gaps, for 42 years; I've been in for 40 of them. Other than Black Leaf (new this year) all of those characters have been going for at least a decade.

(the DM runs 3 sessions per 2 weeks, 2 of party #1 and one for party #2)

Problem. This is a game. We aren't engaging in a mirror simulation of reality, we are engaging with a game. And it is only when people start saying that it must be a reality simulator that this is ever a problem. And again, I refer you back to your initial point, which was that the game has been made "too easy" because the designers were "too spineless" to stand up to players. But this is a good GAME design. And they are GAME designers.
It sells well, I won't argue that, but there's a lot of external factors that lined up in its favour as well. Whether it's good game design is a very open question.
True, but that doesn't mean every single player always wants to trend towards less difficulty.
There are always exceptions to every trend.

By analyzing children's accuracy and reaction time, it was concluded, in light of Piaget's theory, that subtraction is harder than addition because children deduce differences from their knowledge of sums.

Micro reflects macro. Adding is easier than subtracting. Maybe I'm stretching this from simple math to game design, but I notice that I've never seen a game designer start from an incredibly complicated system then trim it down, unless they are working from someone else's design which was already complicated. No one started computer programming by writing the unreal engine then reducing it down to Pong.
But there's no denying a computer programmer capable of writing the unreal engine would 99.99% likely do a much better job of writing Pong than someone for whom Pong was pretty much the limit of expertise.
So, we are in agreement that a less complex and easier system is better for the players.
System, in the nuts-and-bolts mechanical sense, yes.
And I disagree with you. In-play challeges are only as "watered down" as the DM makes them. I recently ended up with a discussion with Maxperson who claimed to want a monster ability that cuts player level in half with a single save. Chunk, half your levels are gone til you recover. He made it til a short rest. You could make it permanent. Loss conditions are infrequent because the only loss condition is, for many groups, ending the game.

I think there is a tremendous difference here that you aren't seeing, because of how you look at player characters. Most people can lose a character, but it disrupts the entire part of the game they want to explore. They don't want to be cog #5 in the machinery of the story of The Blackscale Mercenaries. They want the Blackscale Mercenaries to be Yue Silverhorn, Shea The Gilded, Trosk Bladehammer, and Seven, and they want to tell the story of their adventures.
Where I want the Blackscale Mercenaries to be the Blackscale Mercenaries, regardless whether their current lineup is Yue, Shea, Trosk, and Seven or if it's Taran, Geldi, Hopkite, and Pertrel all of whose names are recorded in the Blackscale's Book of Fame.

The Blackscale Mercenaries are the team we follow in this game, regardless who their current membership might be; much like some people follow the New York Yankees or I follow the Vancouver Canucks regardless who might be playign for them this season. None of the current Canuck players were with the team 30 years ago (hell, most of 'em weren't born then!) but I cheer for the team now just as I cheered for it in 1992.
People often reference Tolkien in the discussions about DnD, and this is one of the few places that this makes sense. The Fellowship of the Ring isn't a cast of 50 people who come in and out of the story. They don't have Aaragorn leave the party to go and become the King of Gondor, or Gimli killed off to be replaced by Boian. In fact, only one member of the Fellowship is actually killed. Boromir, who is most famous for being the member of the Fellowship who is killed.
Since then we've been handed an even better example, that being Game of Thrones, of what in D&D terms would be a big sprawling campaign with characters coming and going every which way and death not only always on the table but easily achievable.
That doesn't mean all our victories are handed to us, or that we suffer no setbacks, or that we don't gain any "real" sense of accomplishment from our victories. I'll note that you have survived all of your life, and I'm sure you felt a sense of accomplishment even when you weren't in a life-or-death situation. Challenges don't have to be just death or just status conditions. If that was all people wanted, Video Games do it better. The challenge of TTRPGS comes from out-of-the-box solutions, from setbacks that are not mechanical in nature.
In the session I finished playing an hour ago, I sent Black Leaf into a situation where of a party of 8 she was the only character doing anything directly against the BBEG (as a Thief, she crept up invisible behind him and started looting him of his useful possessions while he was distracted by directing his troops around); everyone else was bogged down with his dozens of small-m minions and for a long time couldn't get free to do much else.

I sent her in with full expectation that within the real-world hour I'd be rolling up her replacement - she was one-against-four (the BBEG and three guards) and badly outgunned by each of them; I thought she was doomed but somebody had to do something - so the sense of accomplishment was heartfelt when not only did she successfully steal BBEG's components pouch off his belt (thus no more casting for him!) but when someone finally got free and hit him with a Hold Person on him I was able to get the coup-de-grace; on which - now suddenly visible, standing on the corpse of their now ex-boss - I demanded and got the guards' surrender.

Were the situation such that I-as-player had more expectation that she'd in fact succeed, the sense of accomplishment would have been greatly reduced.
Just because a character survives til the end of the story doesn't mean they didn't face real challenges. 90% of all stories have the main character survive until the end. We know they aren't going to die off, because that's not the point of the story. The point is "how do they win".
Which is sort-of fine for movies or novels (though it gets a bit boring there too, TBH), but to me RPGs are vastly different. Going in to an RPG campaign each character is a thread of as-yet-unknown length and there will ultimately be a not-foreseeable number of these threads, and only after those threads are all woven together into a rope can the story of the party or parties - the story that matters - truly be told.
 

glass

(he, him)
I don't want to get dragged into a fight about the last playtest,
Then stop misrepresenting it.

but show me any statement from a game designer say, "I promise Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons will be modular".
They did not use the word "promise", but they did talk in unequivocal terms about what you "will" be able to do. Not "might be able", not "we hope", not "we aim". "You will". I cannot show you the articles in question, because WotC purged them from their site years ago. But they existed and I remember them. Maybe you never read the articles in question, but that is not the same as their never existing.

This has to be a world record for how quickly this title is aging, like an actual god damn record.
Not really. We have a little more evidence for why it would be a horrible idea, but anyone paying attention had already seen more than enough when the thread was started.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, if any.
Maybe lay of the unmasked spoilers in an unrelated thread? Even if it wasn't their point, I am making it mine! (Although to be fair people have mostly been using spoiler tags, so thank you for that). Unlike @Lanefan, I will get Disney+ eventually, but I have not got it yet.

I try to look at it from the reality-of-the-fiction sense, that being something of a mirror of our own reality, and if-when there's a big conflict with gamist concerns (here the obvious example is hit point recovery) then gamist concerns can kindly go take a hike.
Old-school hit points were much worse from a "reality-of-the-fiction" PoV than more modern implementations.
 

What sort of backgrounds do your players come up with?
Some are detailed others are paper thin on the ground until the character becomes established.

Some backgrounds included below
  • Delusional cleric, rescued from a demonic prison by the party, sought to resurrect their long forgotten deity. Character Retired, now NPC
  • Repurposed soul of a dead PC, now a Kelemvorite no memory of their previous life, but looks identical, is on a god-given quest (Kelemvor) to stop cleric above. NPC - player left (same player as the one above)
  • A doomguide with a strong connection to some Neverwinter lore who is secretly suffering a growing crisis of faith.
  • Mystaran native, ex-militia of the Republic of Darokin one of two survivors (out of 5) who is seeking the truth about his parents disappearance (Glantrian wizards) and their mysterious artifact they left him which seems to have a double in Sword Coast. DM DESIGN: Rod of 7 Parts.
  • Elven artificer, scholar and publicist whose mentor was murdered by the Cult of the Dragon seeking personal retribution while also having to answer to an esteemed elvish academic institution for funding provided and current research.
  • Mystaran native, hin sorcerer, one of the two survivors (out of 5), with no in-depth background only that he was an anomaly in his own homeland for the terrible powers he possessed, deemed an outcast.
  • Elven ranger with memory loss, who was rescued from eternal petrification by an orc shaman in the Severed Hand well over a century after the Legion of Chimera were active. The orc shaman kept him as prisoner until the elf managed to escape. The shaman is an enemy but also perhaps the only person that can assist the elf in remembering his past.
  • Disgraced elven knight on the run thanks to the lies and smears by Neronvain, Wyrmspeaker and son of King Melandrach. Joined a band of elves making regular runs into the depths of Undermountain for coin until one day was caught by Halaster himself. Long story short she escaped her hellish prison using the Mad Mage's figurine of wondrous power (bronze griffon) - only to later find out she was but a clone. NPC - player left
  • A pair of oprhan twins (male and female) in the service of Bahamut, one as a Paladin another as a Warlock which had a growing ideological tension between the two - as the Paladin had nothing but love for her deity, but the Warlock had an increasingly amount of anger and scorn for his patron for failing to answer his prayers. This came to a head during the campaign when the twins had a massive fault out over their beliefs, characters were retired. DM DESIGN: In secret and unknowing (to them as players and characters, although 1 suspected) they were 2 of the dragon-god's canaries who had been punished for displeasing their god. Characters retired, now NPC.
  • Baldur's Gate nobleman and knight who was suffering from financially distress was seeking to restore honour to his family's name but was killed in the parliament blast orchestrated by the Duke in MiBG. Retired and Died.
  • A dwarvern brewer and member of the Zhentarim dreams of owning her own establishment one day, while on her travels she collects recipes and concocts her own.
  • A charlatan bard posed as a healer who "blessed" and "prayed" to no-effect often landed the party in worse off conditions, especially with their unproficient medical skill checks. Died.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
An awful lot of people here still talk about it, so I doubt it's unwanted, unless you're talking about the designers.

Do not mistake seeing it mentioned here frequently as it being said by "an awful lot of people".

A handful of folks who don't let it go and raise it at most opportunities will have you seeing it frequently. And, messageboards in general, and EN World in particular, are self-selected bodies that should not be taken as representing gamers more broadly.

Anecdotes do not equal statistics.
 



Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Do not mistake seeing it mentioned here frequently as it being said by "an awful lot of people".

A handful of folks who don't let it go and raise it at most opportunities will have you seeing it frequently. And, messageboards in general, and EN World in particular, are self-selected bodies that should not be taken as representing gamers more broadly.

Anecdotes do not equal statistics.
To be fair, that works both ways. We don't really know how many people long for that modularity they were hoping for from 5e.
 

To be fair, that works both ways. We don't really know how many people long for that modularity they were hoping for from 5e.
Absolutely. But the fact that we don't have a good accounting of how many people do fit in that group means we shouldn't try and use that as a leverage point.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
To be fair, that works both ways. We don't really know how many people long for that modularity they were hoping for from 5e.

Yep. I made no assertion on how many people long for it.

I just think it was an unreasonable design goal, and that it was smart of them to set it aside.
 

To be fair, that works both ways. We don't really know how many people long for that modularity they were hoping for from 5e.
All the more reason to let WotC know what you're thinking during any chances to give feedback. They absolutely do listen, it's just they can't listen to everyone. I know of lot of folks think it's pointless and don't bother with WotC surveys, but that pretty much just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It might not be the best example depending on your view of the product, but Spelljammer never would have been made if so many fans didn't keep pestering WotC for it. Maybe you're already doing this, but find like-minded people here and try to find ways to add the stuff you might like into the OneD&D playtest material and provide that feedback to WotC.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
All the more reason to let WotC know what you're thinking during any chances to give feedback. They absolutely do listen, it's just they can't listen to everyone. I know of lot of folks think it's pointless and don't bother with WotC surveys, but that pretty much just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It might not be the best example depending on your view of the product, but Spelljammer never would have been made if so many fans didn't keep pestering WotC for it. Maybe you're already doing this, but find like-minded people here and try to find ways to add the stuff you might like into the OneD&D playtest material and provide that feedback to WotC.
Well, the only good thing about the new Spelljammer from my perspective was its subsequent opening on the DMsGuild, but I see your point.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
In our adventuring company there's over 40 characters, of which about 25 are PCs belonging to the six players in the game. The rest are adventuring NPCs and henches.

We can put together an adventuring party and get 'em in the field on a moment's notice and still leave most of the company back at home base. :)

I'm not saying this to say your style is bad, so don't take it that way. But no one I have ever played with in closing in on 15 years of DnD has ever played this way. None of them.

Which is fine if one player says something like "Jelessa will take the winter off and do some general spell research" and another says "Aloysius will spend the winter waiting for delivery of the Broom of Flying he commissioned". Those can be dealt with on a whim.

But if a player - me, in this instance - says "Xana spends the winter engaged in politics in [faux-Rome] and putting herself out there as a viable option as a future (or present) Senator, along with making sure her family are well cared for, finishing construction of her townhouse, [etc. etc.]" and wants to go into any detail on all of that (which I almost always do) then either it has to get done off-cycle or everyone else is gonna get mighty bored. :)

Are they going to get bored? They might. But while Aloysius is just sitting in a room waiting for a broom, maybe they get approached by a noble asking about Xana as a person. Or maybe while Jelessa is doing general research, she stays with Xana and her family and has some interactions with the kids.

And maybe we don't get the entirety of Xana putting herself out there in politics, and only get some highlights, but frankly going very in-depth on that is basically running a second campaign anyways. However, there are two things I always see not mentioned in these discussions about downtime.

1) Some players are invested in other player's stories. If you get bored any time you aren't in the spotlight... I don't know, I'm not that way. I love watching my friends complete their stories. Same as I would enjoy watching them RP with the BBEG

2) One advantage of everyone having a single character and investing in them is that you aren't playing "this group of people who happen to work together" you are playing a band of brothers, a found family. You trust these people with your life on a regular basis. And, as such, they are dear friends. But instead of treating downtime as more time for the party to interact and pursue non-adventuring goals, many people silo off and treat it as "this is when I get my solo work done". Which can be the case, but I feel misses something about how a group like this would treat each other.

It sells well, I won't argue that, but there's a lot of external factors that lined up in its favour as well. Whether it's good game design is a very open question.

I don't think it is nearly as open as you seem to want it to be. Note that the closest game design the DnD campaigns are Rogue-likes. They are decently popular, but niche. They are solo play. They prevent investment in the character, the entire goal is to just see how far you get.

Solo and with little investment in characters? That's anathema to DnD. Any other game that has high character investment like DnD has it set up so that if that character dies, you restart that section from a save point, because they aren't supposed to die.

DnD melds these design parameters, adding in the team element as well, but there isn't a game out there that isn't trying to recapture 1e or 2e DnD that tries to have high character investment and easy character death. Because, as noted, once you TPK for most people who play the game... that's it. They scrap the adventure and do something else. I mean, imagine if Tolkien attempted to kill Frodo and Sam, succeeded, and then had the last third of Return of the King feature Morc and Kolg, disgruntled goblins who finish the mission. It wouldn't be a very satisfying version of the story. So we can't expect DnD groups to constantly want to have their epic stories record scratched into "um... I guess we just make some randos to finish this"

You have solved this problem by having everyone play 4 to 8 other PCs, taking the personal investment in each character and zooming it out. But most people instead took the route of trying to prevent the game from de-railing from TPKs.

There are always exceptions to every trend.

Of course there are. Congrats on being the exception. But, again, you made a claim about the health of the hobby and the game. That means you look at the trend, not the occasional exception.

But there's no denying a computer programmer capable of writing the unreal engine would 99.99% likely do a much better job of writing Pong than someone for whom Pong was pretty much the limit of expertise.

Missing the point. No one STARTS with writing the unreal engine and then backtracks.

New DMs start by making Pong and building up. They need the simple building blocks, and then the pieces they can add to that to make make it more complex and interesting. This is why the Monsters in the MM are simple and easy, with few complex abilities. Because they are the baseline that new DMs are supposed to build from. And yea, it sucks for those of us who want a bit more bite in our monsters. But we have the tools and the math and the skills to push the system. We have access to the 3PP stuff to give us more tools.

But I actually think it would harm the long-term health of DnD if we made the baseline MM much harder and much more complex. A little bit for the high level play? Sure, we can tweak, but I can't even understand a 3.X statblock half the time, because I need to go and look up a dozen features and then figure out how they interact. Going back to that would be bad.

And yes, I know, you are talking more "everything should be deadlier" but that is a simple fix if you really wanted to. Just double all monster damage. Done. Many of the "old school" mechanics aren't difficult to implement, they are just harsh. And most people aren't interested in them anymore.

Where I want the Blackscale Mercenaries to be the Blackscale Mercenaries, regardless whether their current lineup is Yue, Shea, Trosk, and Seven or if it's Taran, Geldi, Hopkite, and Pertrel all of whose names are recorded in the Blackscale's Book of Fame.

The Blackscale Mercenaries are the team we follow in this game, regardless who their current membership might be; much like some people follow the New York Yankees or I follow the Vancouver Canucks regardless who might be playign for them this season. None of the current Canuck players were with the team 30 years ago (hell, most of 'em weren't born then!) but I cheer for the team now just as I cheered for it in 1992.

I get that is what you want. You are the exception. Most people don't want that. Many people would be frustrated by that.

Since then we've been handed an even better example, that being Game of Thrones, of what in D&D terms would be a big sprawling campaign with characters coming and going every which way and death not only always on the table but easily achievable.

But most people don't want to play Game of Thrones style games, in the sense that their favorite characters will be killed off at the drop of a hat. Game of Thrones is a good drama, in some respects, because it keeps people guessing. But as a player? As a player about the second time my character was just unceremoniously killed off, I'd say "thanks for the game guys, but I'm not really invested any more". Because I know any story I try to craft is more than likely going to be "he had dreams, then he died with those dreams unfulfilled".

And I have other options. Other games I could play, that WON'T do that to me. So why play a game that will?

It is kind of like that thing I've heard occassionally about how "kids these days" need to know that the world can be a harsh and cruel place. Kids these days know that. We are very aware that the world is a place where terrible things can happen at the drop of a hat. We don't need that to be reinforced. Sometimes, we want to be able to say we overcome these catastrophes. Not by surviving, but by winning.

In the session I finished playing an hour ago, I sent Black Leaf into a situation where of a party of 8 she was the only character doing anything directly against the BBEG (as a Thief, she crept up invisible behind him and started looting him of his useful possessions while he was distracted by directing his troops around); everyone else was bogged down with his dozens of small-m minions and for a long time couldn't get free to do much else.

I sent her in with full expectation that within the real-world hour I'd be rolling up her replacement - she was one-against-four (the BBEG and three guards) and badly outgunned by each of them; I thought she was doomed but somebody had to do something - so the sense of accomplishment was heartfelt when not only did she successfully steal BBEG's components pouch off his belt (thus no more casting for him!) but when someone finally got free and hit him with a Hold Person on him I was able to get the coup-de-grace; on which - now suddenly visible, standing on the corpse of their now ex-boss - I demanded and got the guards' surrender.

Were the situation such that I-as-player had more expectation that she'd in fact succeed, the sense of accomplishment would have been greatly reduced.

And how is it that if the expectation was the party would likely survive that fight they were clearly in, that you would have known she succeeded at her goals? I mean, honestly, did the entire 8-man party think that they were going to die in this fight against the BBEG? Since most of them didn't, were they disappointed?

The only difference I can detect between your example and my game, is that my players wouldn't have been certain or expecting that they'd be rolling a replacement character. They would have been uncertain. They would have come up with that plan and thought "I don't know if this will work, but this seems like a good plan" and gone for it.

I am honestly struggling to look at what you wrote, and figure out how I could have reduced your enjoyment by giving you certainty that you would have succeeded. I just can't see it. That isn't the certainty. The certainty they may have is that IF they failed, they likely wouldn't have been immediately executed on the spot, and would have a chance to turn their loss into something else. Would knowing that have made you not feel like you succeeded when you successfully pulled off a crazy and dangerous gambit? Because even in my games that would have been a gambit that could have cost you the fight.

Which is sort-of fine for movies or novels (though it gets a bit boring there too, TBH), but to me RPGs are vastly different. Going in to an RPG campaign each character is a thread of as-yet-unknown length and there will ultimately be a not-foreseeable number of these threads, and only after those threads are all woven together into a rope can the story of the party or parties - the story that matters - truly be told.

But I have no interest in playing the part of a story that does not matter. And again, you keep saying, because of how you approach the game, that the individual character does not matter. But to most of us, it does. It is how we are interacting with the larger story. Sure, the story of the group is EQUALLY important, but each person sitting down wants their thread to matter. And the game has recognized that, and built to assisting that in happening.

And frankly, the game has been better for it.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I'm not saying this to say your style is bad, so don't take it that way. But no one I have ever played with in closing in on 15 years of DnD has ever played this way. None of them.



Are they going to get bored? They might. But while Aloysius is just sitting in a room waiting for a broom, maybe they get approached by a noble asking about Xana as a person. Or maybe while Jelessa is doing general research, she stays with Xana and her family and has some interactions with the kids.

And maybe we don't get the entirety of Xana putting herself out there in politics, and only get some highlights, but frankly going very in-depth on that is basically running a second campaign anyways. However, there are two things I always see not mentioned in these discussions about downtime.

1) Some players are invested in other player's stories. If you get bored any time you aren't in the spotlight... I don't know, I'm not that way. I love watching my friends complete their stories. Same as I would enjoy watching them RP with the BBEG

2) One advantage of everyone having a single character and investing in them is that you aren't playing "this group of people who happen to work together" you are playing a band of brothers, a found family. You trust these people with your life on a regular basis. And, as such, they are dear friends. But instead of treating downtime as more time for the party to interact and pursue non-adventuring goals, many people silo off and treat it as "this is when I get my solo work done". Which can be the case, but I feel misses something about how a group like this would treat each other.



I don't think it is nearly as open as you seem to want it to be. Note that the closest game design the DnD campaigns are Rogue-likes. They are decently popular, but niche. They are solo play. They prevent investment in the character, the entire goal is to just see how far you get.

Solo and with little investment in characters? That's anathema to DnD. Any other game that has high character investment like DnD has it set up so that if that character dies, you restart that section from a save point, because they aren't supposed to die.

DnD melds these design parameters, adding in the team element as well, but there isn't a game out there that isn't trying to recapture 1e or 2e DnD that tries to have high character investment and easy character death. Because, as noted, once you TPK for most people who play the game... that's it. They scrap the adventure and do something else. I mean, imagine if Tolkien attempted to kill Frodo and Sam, succeeded, and then had the last third of Return of the King feature Morc and Kolg, disgruntled goblins who finish the mission. It wouldn't be a very satisfying version of the story. So we can't expect DnD groups to constantly want to have their epic stories record scratched into "um... I guess we just make some randos to finish this"

You have solved this problem by having everyone play 4 to 8 other PCs, taking the personal investment in each character and zooming it out. But most people instead took the route of trying to prevent the game from de-railing from TPKs.



Of course there are. Congrats on being the exception. But, again, you made a claim about the health of the hobby and the game. That means you look at the trend, not the occasional exception.



Missing the point. No one STARTS with writing the unreal engine and then backtracks.

New DMs start by making Pong and building up. They need the simple building blocks, and then the pieces they can add to that to make make it more complex and interesting. This is why the Monsters in the MM are simple and easy, with few complex abilities. Because they are the baseline that new DMs are supposed to build from. And yea, it sucks for those of us who want a bit more bite in our monsters. But we have the tools and the math and the skills to push the system. We have access to the 3PP stuff to give us more tools.

But I actually think it would harm the long-term health of DnD if we made the baseline MM much harder and much more complex. A little bit for the high level play? Sure, we can tweak, but I can't even understand a 3.X statblock half the time, because I need to go and look up a dozen features and then figure out how they interact. Going back to that would be bad.

And yes, I know, you are talking more "everything should be deadlier" but that is a simple fix if you really wanted to. Just double all monster damage. Done. Many of the "old school" mechanics aren't difficult to implement, they are just harsh. And most people aren't interested in them anymore.



I get that is what you want. You are the exception. Most people don't want that. Many people would be frustrated by that.



But most people don't want to play Game of Thrones style games, in the sense that their favorite characters will be killed off at the drop of a hat. Game of Thrones is a good drama, in some respects, because it keeps people guessing. But as a player? As a player about the second time my character was just unceremoniously killed off, I'd say "thanks for the game guys, but I'm not really invested any more". Because I know any story I try to craft is more than likely going to be "he had dreams, then he died with those dreams unfulfilled".

And I have other options. Other games I could play, that WON'T do that to me. So why play a game that will?

It is kind of like that thing I've heard occassionally about how "kids these days" need to know that the world can be a harsh and cruel place. Kids these days know that. We are very aware that the world is a place where terrible things can happen at the drop of a hat. We don't need that to be reinforced. Sometimes, we want to be able to say we overcome these catastrophes. Not by surviving, but by winning.



And how is it that if the expectation was the party would likely survive that fight they were clearly in, that you would have known she succeeded at her goals? I mean, honestly, did the entire 8-man party think that they were going to die in this fight against the BBEG? Since most of them didn't, were they disappointed?

The only difference I can detect between your example and my game, is that my players wouldn't have been certain or expecting that they'd be rolling a replacement character. They would have been uncertain. They would have come up with that plan and thought "I don't know if this will work, but this seems like a good plan" and gone for it.

I am honestly struggling to look at what you wrote, and figure out how I could have reduced your enjoyment by giving you certainty that you would have succeeded. I just can't see it. That isn't the certainty. The certainty they may have is that IF they failed, they likely wouldn't have been immediately executed on the spot, and would have a chance to turn their loss into something else. Would knowing that have made you not feel like you succeeded when you successfully pulled off a crazy and dangerous gambit? Because even in my games that would have been a gambit that could have cost you the fight.



But I have no interest in playing the part of a story that does not matter. And again, you keep saying, because of how you approach the game, that the individual character does not matter. But to most of us, it does. It is how we are interacting with the larger story. Sure, the story of the group is EQUALLY important, but each person sitting down wants their thread to matter. And the game has recognized that, and built to assisting that in happening.

And frankly, the game has been better for it.
Again, all of this is your opinion. @Lanefan 's preferences are exactly as valid as yours, and there's no reason the game can't provide rules and guidance for both.

No one's trying to convince you that your preferences are wrong-headed or "outdated" (whatever that's supposed to mean) and shouldn't be included, but it sure seems like that's what happening on your end.
 

GetInTheHole

Explorer
In our adventuring company there's over 40 characters, of which about 25 are PCs belonging to the six players in the game. The rest are adventuring NPCs and henches.
I just pulled all of the old character sheets from the last 1E D&D sessions I ran for my Jr. High friends back in 1986. The three long time players had between them 54 active PCs that they had rolled at some point. I counted them up and they ranged from between 12 PCs for one guy, 18 for another and 24 for the third. Only a handful would ever get played in any one session, but they were there to pick and choose from depending on the campaign.

I guess I had bought the AD&D character sheet pack and then went to town at my mother's office on the copy machine.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Again, all of this is your opinion. @Lanefan 's preferences are exactly as valid as yours, and there's no reason the game can't provide rules and guidance for both.

No one's trying to convince you that your preferences are wrong-headed or "outdated" (whatever that's supposed to mean) and shouldn't be included, but it sure seems like that's what happening on your end.

Really? No one is saying that the game can't have both?

The rules have morphed based on how players (in general whose main interest, remember, lies in making things easier on their characters) have through endless advocacy forced them to morph; mostly because the designers haven't had the spine to push back and keep the game challenging at the design level.

In both cases, because if those I-never-want-to-lose players ultimately get their way this game is as dead as a dodo.

Here are the posts that started me responding to Lanefan. Where he claimed that the rules that have led to my preferences in the game only exist because the game designers haven't had the spine to keep the game challenging. And where he claimed that if player's keep advocating for a twisted version of my preferences the game is as "dead as a dodo"

But NO ONE is saying that we can't have both styles? NO ONE is acting like their preferences are superior to others? Oh, except for me. The person who is stuck trying to explain why the way they play the game isn't killing the game and only exists because game designers are too spineless to keep the game healthy. I'm the one acting superior to others.


Once more Micah, I'm really stumped how everything is just "an opinion" but only advocating for the opinion you don't like is wrong-headed and aggressive.
 

Again, all of this is your opinion. @Lanefan 's preferences are exactly as valid as yours, and there's no reason the game can't provide rules and guidance for both.
From WotC’s perspective, that isn’t true.

@Chaosmancer is an actual client, who has purchased who knows how many WotC products. @Lanefan doesn’t play WotC’s D&D and may not have purchased a single product. The fact that @Lanefan has been playing his 1e homebrew fir 20+ years makes it very unlikely that he will ever be a regular WotC client.

From the perspective of WotC, @Chaosmancer is definitely worth listening to more than @Lanefan .
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Really? No one is saying that the game can't have both?





Here are the posts that started me responding to Lanefan. Where he claimed that the rules that have led to my preferences in the game only exist because the game designers haven't had the spine to keep the game challenging. And where he claimed that if player's keep advocating for a twisted version of my preferences the game is as "dead as a dodo"

But NO ONE is saying that we can't have both styles? NO ONE is acting like their preferences are superior to others? Oh, except for me. The person who is stuck trying to explain why the way they play the game isn't killing the game and only exists because game designers are too spineless to keep the game healthy. I'm the one acting superior to others.


Once more Micah, I'm really stumped how everything is just "an opinion" but only advocating for the opinion you don't like is wrong-headed and aggressive.
To my mind, you were more advocating against other's preferences rather than for your own, but I admit I may be misinterpreting your posts.

Also, advocating for what you're pretty much already getting is to my mind inherently a more aggressive move than supporting a position that the current game is actively fighting against.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
From WotC’s perspective, that isn’t true.

@Chaosmancer is an actual client, who has purchased who knows how many WotC products. @Lanefan doesn’t play WotC’s D&D and may not have purchased a single product. The fact that @Lanefan has been playing his 1e homebrew fir 20+ years makes it very unlikely that he will ever be a regular WotC client.

From the perspective of WotC, @Chaosmancer is definitely worth listening to more than @Lanefan .
I've certainly spent plenty of money on WotC's products throughout the history of 5e. Am I worth listening to, or is it only people who like what they're putting out now?
 
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