5E Would you play D&D if you knew there would be no combat?

Would you play D&D if there was no combat?


  • Total voters
    165

Nebulous

Hero
Prompted by another thread; if you were involved in a new D&D game and were aware up front it would NOT be a combat heavy game, or hardly any combat at all, but rather exploration and mystery and horror, would you still play? Assume you do not know the DM and he is not a friend, this is all 100% new.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
I'd give it a shot. But honestly, a lot of D&D DMs and players tend to gloss over the other aspects in favor of heavy combat, and either as a reason or result (chicken/egg) don't really have a firm grasp on how to do the other pillars. So it would take the right DM and group to make it work.

But there are other RPGs, like old Chaosium Call of Cthulhu and some World of Darkness, that were geared towards minimal combat, with the primary focus being roleplaying, investigation, intrigue, horror, etc. So it can certainly be done. But D&D may not be the best chassis for it.
 
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Istbor

Explorer
Hmmm. I have to go with maybe. Only due to the amount of qualifiers thrown in there.

That I don't know the DM at all, so have no gauge as to the quality of his campaigns or ability is a big deal.

Many an interesting idea has been crushed by a DM that is either not up to the task, runs out of motivation for actually running the game.

That and what if I just dislike the guy? You know. like a we just don't click? That wouldn't be fun.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Maybe. Probably not an entire campaign. I've certainly run long sessions with no combat, but they are rare. I like D&D for classic swords & sorcery gaming and mixing in light war gaming with role-play.

For no-combat gaming, I prefer other systems like Dialect or InSPECTREs. Even for those types of games I prefer them for one-off sessions.
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Prompted by another thread; if you were involved in a new D&D game and were aware up front it would NOT be a combat heavy game, or hardly any combat at all, but rather exploration and mystery and horror, would you still play? Assume you do not know the DM and he is not a friend, this is all 100% new.
I voted "Maybe, if there was some combat." Quick explanation:

I run TOTM games, and they are probably a lot LIGHTER on combat than most. Combat is not particularly interesting in and of itself.

That said, if there was absolutely no combat whatsoever, I'd look at running a different system. D&D simply has too many rules, and especially too many combat rules, to make it the best (or even a good) choice for a completely combat-free game.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I'm in a campaign right now that has almost no combat at all. Maybe 5% or less time is towards combat. So I suppose the answer is yes. But I wouldn't play it as frequently as I do now, because I do enjoy some combat in my games, so I'd probably play other games along with D&D if D&D had not combat.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Without combat and the threat to life, the game is boring. It doesn't have to be all the time of course. If the story is compelling and the people are friendly, etc. I would try a low combat game (even just once per session maybe).
 
There's at least some combat in every RPG, even the ones focused on personal interaction or investigation. I think it's safe to assume that combat is on the 'some' scale, probably lower down. There's an enormous difference between 'not combat heavy' and 'no combat'. D&D is fine for the first and pants for the second.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I voted Yes, just because I'd be curious as all get out how the DM was going to run the game.

  • It's a person I don't even know running it... so let's say a convention DM.
  • They are running exploration / mystery / horror and yet are using the D&D rules.
  • There is little to no combat, despite 90% of any character sheet being made up of statistics meant for combat.

Which means either one of two things-- either this is a really interesting DM with probably a lot of game knowledge and a very esoteric idea that they want to try out (in which case, yeah, I'm be extremely curious to see what they've come up with)... or they are an exceedingly inexperienced DM who doesn't realize other game systems exist for these sort of games, and I'd find myself probably advocating for new systems and the like while participating in the game. Trying to help expand the DM's horizons while trying to remain faithful to what they are trying to accomplish with this game.

I wouldn't expect either game to last more than a session or two because quite frankly in both cases the DM will probably come to a quick conclusion that D&D is not the system suited for what they really want to do. But it'd be interesting to go on that journey with them for the session they did run.
 
Without combat and the threat to life, the game is boring. It doesn't have to be all the time of course. If the story is compelling and the people are friendly, etc. I would try a low combat game (even just once per session maybe).
Based on the discussion that this one is spawned from, I'd think the idea is more that, if there is a combat, the player characters die. So there is definitely a threat of death, it would just come in some other form than traditional D&D combat (which has, as a core presumption, that you might not die).
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
I very rarely say "no" to any particular game offer, but I think there's a mismatch between D&D and no combat. I mean, why play anything but a full caster at that point?
 
Absolutely. While I enjoy combat quite a bit, I love getting into my character and RPing. But I might have reservations since I don't know the DM in the listed example. At a con game, sure, but for an extended campaign, I'd probably be more hesitant. But really, that'd be the case regardless of the amount of combat in the game.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Prompted by another thread; if you were involved in a new D&D game and were aware up front it would NOT be a combat heavy game, or hardly any combat at all, but rather exploration and mystery and horror, would you still play? Assume you do not know the DM and he is not a friend, this is all 100% new.
For a one-shot, sure. Why not?

For a campaign.... that's getting really hypothetical, as I am unlikely to get involved in a campaign where I don't at least know the GM, so you're asking what I'd do in a weird situation.

I've no problem with the concept of playing an RPG that has no combat. But D&D... isn't really designed for the kind of game you're suggesting here. I might still do it but I'd really want to talk to the GM first about why they are choosing this, because there are other engines that would handle it so much better.
 
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