The 'point' of D&D (under the premise of 'having fun')

38 posts / 0 new
Last post
In another thread the point of D&D has been discussed in relation to the 'to have fun'-answer to this question.

I think it could be of interest to discuss the question on a more concrete level, with examples or viewpoints expressed potentially providing inspiration and/or reflection on ones own way of playing or DM'ing.

I don't think that anyone would disagree with the statement that the reason of playing D&D at the fundamental level is to have fun.

So let the premise for this thread be that 'to have fun' is the overall reason for playing, i.e. no need to include this as an argument for a specific playstyle etc. - we have it established here already

What could then instead be discussed is what the point or goal of D&D is within this established framework of having fun. One way of approaching this could be that there are two sides of this (although they of course are connected, and a seperation may thus be somewhat artificial):
point of the game related to the game as seen 'from within', i.e. the rules system etc., and point seen 'from outside', i.e. from the participants' (players and DM) perspective.

Personally, my view on the point of the game has changed somewhat. When we started playing (the D&D Basic set) the idea of rpg was new to us - an all new world to discover, not least the entire system of rules created to facilitate the play in a fantasy world and the growth of the characters. I created plenty of house rules, always done in order to adjust something I deemed as being inappropriate or missing from either a 'realistic' or gamebalance viewpoint. It was the assumption (never thought of it otherwise) that the DM created a world in a consistent and somewhat 'realistic' way, and the PCs then ventured into this world.
The focus was on progress of the characters, mostly through the mechanical aspects (gaining xp/levels, items etc.), but also (secondary) through their status in the game world (ruling of 'dominions' became a major aspect and was covered at some depth in the rules once the players hit level 9+). We played for a long time (4 years) with the same PCs (level 1-36), and never saw it merely as just one campaign (amongst others) - it was simply the game of D&D for us. Thus the focus was on progress of the PCs, as supported by the rules system, and the point of playing was gaining xp and items, and secondary gaining wealth - plots and roleplay were of course present as well, but often only at tertiary importance.

A couple of campaigns were played afterwards (incl. other game systems), and slowly the focus shifted somewhat. In the current campaign (4th ed. for the first time) the storyarch plays a major role and is highly interconnected with the PCs (background and overall identity). It is the same players still, so I know them and their playstyle very well, thus eventhough the plotarch is rather predetermined at an overall level (has been quite an enjoyment to go through this creative process ), there has been no issue with railroading (I have asked the players about this), since (as far as I can) the overall plot follows a path that the players would have chosen anyway. We don't get a chance to play very often (perhaps once per 3 months) so I have time to adjust accordingly from session to session, based on their actions and goals, but still within the overall storyarch. I now put more thought into what they might enjoy as well (the focus on this in the 4th ed DM Guide was new to me - although the rulebook's focus does seem to neglect a bit the DM's enjoyment of building world and creating story).

The players seem to like this approach - advancing levels etc. are still nice (and I have included some special, powerful items that the PCs are very attached to, so items/mechanics also play a fair role still - especially since combat and related mechanics is weighted so much in the 4th ed system), but it is no longer the main focus in the same way as it used to be. The development of the plot and the PCs role herein seems to be of greater importance to the players - the enjoy it as a contrast to the more free form of play and PC development that was the main focus in the previous campaigns.

So to conclude: the view on the point of D&D has shifted somewhat from the 'internally based' point of PC progress and rules to an 'externally based' point of storyarch design and PCs role in plot development (with mechanical advancement still being important, though)
People insist on discussing this, but it's all right there in the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide. The point is clear: having fun by becoming more powerful (players), challenging players (DMs) and creating your own stories. It's even discussed more in-depth in the different player profiles (actor, slayer etc.). Maybe this is something that you should explain to new players and DMs, but I don't really see the point of debating it here since it's clearly written out. 

I mean, don't let me stop you if you want to discuss it, but there's not a whole lot to talk about unless you want to challenge the content of those books. (or if you just haven't read them)
Okay, I suppose I'm going to move my premise about the purpose and products of D&D over here, thanks, Pilgaard.

For those who didn't catch my post in the other thread, I posited that the purpose is 'what I am here to do' while the product is 'what I hope to receive by doing this'.  We sit down to play D&D in order to fulfill the purpose of defeating enemies and overcoming obstacles, and what we hope to get out of that act is fun, but the purpose does not always, infallibly, lead to the product.

And I think I've figured out why.  I'm going to throw in an additional part to this equation, which I hope might start to tie up some loose ends.

Let's call this new factor 'mechanics', or 'what I am here to BE'.  Because when I thought about it, D&D is very much about BEING something.

Our players sit down to the table to do many things, and when I thought of them, a lot of them start with the verb 'to be'.  Some players sit down 'to be with friend(s)'.  This is a mechanic that helps to define how they will accomplish their purpose and achieve their product.  In order to achieve their purpose and beat down the monsters, evils and obstacles I engineer for them (alone or with their input), they will cooperate with their friends.  So, we can start to consider 'what I am here to be' a valid part of the equation of how to achieve the purpose.

Let me cite some further examples.  Players sit down at a table 'to be (insert adjective here)'.  That adjective can be a lot of things: 'strong', 'stealthy', 'mysterious', 'otherworldly', 'like my hero, (Heroic Example Man)', 'pious', 'iconoclastic', 'determined', 'serious', 'cheerful', 'carefree', and the most IMPORTANT adjective of them all for a player, 'I am here to be powerful'.  Making our players feel powerful is something we, as DMs, are told to do, which suggests that it's a critical mechanic.

So, if it's so critical, let's put this into a logical train of thought and work it out hypothetically.  Here's the pitch we'll give to an imaginary player, who will forgive us for being so wordy because he's nice like that:  "We will set ourselves to the purpose of overcoming obstacles and beating down baddies.  We hope to experience fun as a result of doing this.  But while we are doing it, we will not feel powerful.  What do you think, Imaginary Example Player Number One?"

I.E.P.N.O.: 'I think this sounds like a horrible game.'

Which suggests that mechanics, what we are here to be, are just as important to the whole shebang as the purpose, what we are trying to do, and the product, what we hope to receive.

So, let's think of some more of these 'be' actions.  What do players sit down to be at a table? They want to be...in a story.  Okay, so, they're in a story, but what about having that story progress? Well, in order to have the story progress, what do we, as DMs, do? We advance the story by having the party confront and overcome obstacles and enemies...wait a tick, isn't that our purpose? Okay, logic time again.  "We will be in a story.  What we will do is confront and overcome obstacles and enemies.  And what we hope to achieve as a result of doing this is the advancement of the story."

Ah-HA! Those of you from the last thread will remember this little speed bump! We weren't sure precisely where these 'externally based' little nubbins were supposed to be in the grand scheme of things! When we add the mechanics, or 'what we will be as we defeat the evil and overcome the obstacles', we can thereby see that advancement of the story is something that we achieve, like fun, or treasure, or levels, or experience points! And it's therefore a product of playing D&D!

What's something else players try to be? They want to be...someone else.  Someone other than themselves.  Or be somewhere other than where they are now.  Escapism! A very healthy thing in controlled doses! Logic Time! Break it down! "We will confront and overcome obstacles and enemies.  As you do this, you will be someone else, or somewhere else.  And what you will receive by doing this is a break from your normal life.  And maybe some fun, too."  It looks like it works! So being someone else, or somewhere else, that core tenement of escapism, is also a mechanic!

So, to sum this up, if I'm right, players sit down at a table for a number of reasons.  They sit down to DO something, the purpose, and as they do that, they also try to BE something, the mechanics, and by being this while they do this thing, they hope to achieve something, the product.

Purpose, Mechanics, Product.  These are the building blocks, not just of D&D, but of any game.

I know I'm not listing every single mechanic or product, but they're not hard to figure out.  A mechanic is what you are while you play, and a product is what you hope to get as a result of playing this way.

Experience points, levels, a feeling of power, the advancement of the story, a social break, time with friends, a moment to get away from normalcy, these are all products, things that we hope to gain by overcoming obstacles and defeating enemies, but are not assured.  The mechanics, what we are while we seek these things, a powerful hero in a story with our friends in a fantasy world, these are what help us to achieve those products.

What, then, does a game look like without mechanics, where you just defeat enemies and overcome obstacles, without being these things? If you're not with friends, you're doing it alone.  If you're not allowed to be powerful, then you're weak.  If you're not allowed to be someone else, somewhere else, then you're YOU and you're overcoming and defeating things in the normal world.  And if you're not in a story, then...nobody cares about what you're doing? Oh, and after you do this, you get stuff.

Does this sound like a horrible version of real life to anybody? These mechanics, then, help to define the game just as much as encounters and combat and rolling dice do.

Now, I know that some players or DMs have their own likes or dislikes of game.  Maybe someone wants to punch up the escapism, gold and levels aspect of the game, while dialing down on the story advancement.  Sounds like a Saturday night dungeon crawl to me, and it's perfectly valid to play this way.  Maybe someone wants to really develop the story of their character and become more powerful level-wise.  Sounds like a very dramatic game, but also perfectly valid!

These two players, our gold-hungry escapist and our developing titan, are both DOING the same thing: confronting and overcoming obstacles.  They're also both BEING the same things: a hero other than themselves in a story, cooperating with their friends.  So, the difference, then, is that they value different products of doing this thing, and being this way while they do it.

And it's valid.  It's all valid.  A plot-happy dramatist, a powergaming munchkin, a combat-craving bloodrager, they're all doing the same thing, and being the same thing, they just care more about different results.

What we do is important, what we are while we do it is important, and we, as players AND DMs, can decide how important we want the rewards to be.  You don't want story advancement to be important, you can dial it down and not worry about it.  You don't want to sweat over experience points, you can pull them out.  You don't want to have your players feel powerful...that's really easy to do, though it's not advisable.  Every product is a slider bar, which you can put at exactly the right level to maximize the fun.

I don't know why this was so important that I took so much time to write it all out.  It just sort of entered my head last night as I was trying to get to sleep.  I don't think it's groundshaking, but it's an interesting perspective, perhaps, to put on something like Dungeons and Dragons.

TL;DR Version: We play D&D to defeat baddies, that is its purpose.  We are certain things while we do this, these are the mechanics.  We receive things after we do it, such as fun, treasure and XP, these are the products.  You can like any of them, and it's still D&D.
Obviously, the point of D&D is to go on the forums and argue about the point of D&D.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

In the near future I'm going to reply in here to the posts already in place so as to take part in the discussion.

However, for now, I just wanted to point out how overwhelmingly obvious it is right now who is actually here on the discussion board to discuss things and who is here to tear down, stifle and bully others into only saying what they want to hear. People would do well to take note of that.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I think a distinction should be made, as it was in the other thread, between home play and organized play.

Early editions of D&D did have an authoritarian take on the rules -- if you weren't following the published rules, then you weren't playing D&D. This attitude has significantly relaxed over the years, to the point where the current (4E) DMG specifically tells you that if you encounter rules that you or your players don't like, you can shake them up, change them, or even ignore them to enhance the enjoyment of the game.

On the other hand, organized play experiences like Encounters and Living Forgotten Realms may also exist for players to have fun, but since 'fun' is a subjective thing, and since DMs won't always know what their players will find 'fun' (especially in a convention setting where the DM and players have never met prior to the adventure), it seems pointless to make 'having fun' an explicit or implied promise of the OP experience. Sure, you can suggest that players will find your adventures fun, but when one player finds engineering Rube Goldberg-levels of power interactions and using them to destroy encounters 'fun' and nobody else at that person's table does, it's not always easy to ensure that everyone has 'fun' and in fact can be impossible.

What an OP experience can promise, though, is that everyone involved will play by the published rules. In cases where certain rules are subject to interpretation, the OP organizers should have a published consistent interpretation that all players and DMs will be expected to use. Where a novel interpretation is required, DMs should be empowered to make a ruling and then have that ruling reviewed by OP organizers to see if it should be added to the published canon.

It is this latter point that I think the original thread creator had in mind when making the analogy between D&D and American football -- there's a big difference between ten guys getting together in a park to play football, where nobody expects that NFL rules will be observed in every case, to watching a slate of actual NFL games on TV, where you expect that the rules used in the game your team is playing will be the same as the rules in other games, and in the games from the previous week.

In an OP campaign, strive for fun, but promise that the rules will be followed.

--
Pauper
Okay, I suppose I'm going to move my premise about the purpose and products of D&D over here, thanks, Pilgaard.


Thanks

So, to sum this up, if I'm right, players sit down at a table for a number of reasons.  They sit down to DO something, the purpose, and as they do that, they also try to BE something, the mechanics, and by being this while they do this thing, they hope to achieve something, the product.

Purpose, Mechanics, Product.  These are the building blocks, not just of D&D, but of any game.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />(...)

What we do is important, what we are while we do it is important, and we, as players AND DMs, can decide how important we want the rewards to be.  You don't want story advancement to be important, you can dial it down and not worry about it.  You don't want to sweat over experience points, you can pull them out.  You don't want to have your players feel powerful...that's really easy to do, though it's not advisable.  Every product is a slider bar, which you can put at exactly the right level to maximize the fun.

I don't know why this was so important that I took so much time to write it all out.  It just sort of entered my head last night as I was trying to get to sleep.  I don't think it's groundshaking, but it's an interesting perspective, perhaps, to put on something like Dungeons and Dragons.


Thanks for your input - interesting thoughts regarding the slide-bars.
Don't think it is necessarily always bad that the players don't feel powerful, though (at least not until late-campaign) - 4th ed. takes a 'PCs are heroes'-approch, but in the first editions PCs were more kind of 'regular guys with swords' (fx: roll 3d6 for stats - getting a 16+ stat is not a given at all here) - it can (for some type of players) be quite rewarding to play in a rough environment/world. But I agree - many players like to feel powerful

TL;DR Version: We play D&D to defeat baddies, that is its purpose.  We are certain things while we do this, these are the mechanics.  We receive things after we do it, such as fun, treasure and XP, these are the products.  You can like any of them, and it's still D&D.


Found your pre-edit TL;DR remark rather funny ;)
Obviously, the point of D&D is to go on the forums and argue about the point of D&D.



Although probably meant ironically you have a kind of a point here
I think a distinction should be made, as it was in the other thread, between home play and organized play.

Early editions of D&D did have an authoritarian take on the rules -- if you weren't following the published rules, then you weren't playing D&D. This attitude has significantly relaxed over the years, to the point where the current (4E) DMG specifically tells you that if you encounter rules that you or your players don't like, you can shake them up, change them, or even ignore them to enhance the enjoyment of the game.


It seems, in my view, to be the other way around. The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy. You are right that this can of course still be done in 4th ed. but due to the much more 'interconnected' and deliberately (almost over-)balanced rulestructure is more difficult here, I think.


In another thread the point of D&D has been discussed in relation to the 'to have fun'-answer to this question.

I think it could be of interest to discuss the question on a more concrete level, with examples or viewpoints expressed potentially providing inspiration and/or reflection on ones own way of playing or DM'ing.

I don't think that anyone would disagree with the statement that the reason of playing D&D at the fundamental level is to have fun.

So let the premise for this thread be that 'to have fun' is the overall reason for playing, i.e. no need to include this as an argument for a specific playstyle etc. - we have it established here already

What could then instead be discussed is what the point or goal of D&D is within this established framework of having fun. One way of approaching this could be that there are two sides of this (although they of course are connected, and a seperation may thus be somewhat artificial):
point of the game related to the game as seen 'from within', i.e. the rules system etc., and point seen 'from outside', i.e. from the participants' (players and DM) perspective.

Personally, my view on the point of the game has changed somewhat. When we started playing (the D&D Basic set) the idea of rpg was new to us - an all new world to discover, not least the entire system of rules created to facilitate the play in a fantasy world and the growth of the characters. I created plenty of house rules, always done in order to adjust something I deemed as being inappropriate or missing from either a 'realistic' or gamebalance viewpoint. It was the assumption (never thought of it otherwise) that the DM created a world in a consistent and somewhat 'realistic' way, and the PCs then ventured into this world.
The focus was on progress of the characters, mostly through the mechanical aspects (gaining xp/levels, items etc.), but also (secondary) through their status in the game world (ruling of 'dominions' became a major aspect and was covered at some depth in the rules once the players hit level 9+). We played for a long time (4 years) with the same PCs (level 1-36), and never saw it merely as just one campaign (amongst others) - it was simply the game of D&D for us. Thus the focus was on progress of the PCs, as supported by the rules system, and the point of playing was gaining xp and items, and secondary gaining wealth - plots and roleplay were of course present as well, but often only at tertiary importance.

A couple of campaigns were played afterwards (incl. other game systems), and slowly the focus shifted somewhat. In the current campaign (4th ed. for the first time) the storyarch plays a major role and is highly interconnected with the PCs (background and overall identity). It is the same players still, so I know them and their playstyle very well, thus eventhough the plotarch is rather predetermined at an overall level (has been quite an enjoyment to go through this creative process ), there has been no issue with railroading (I have asked the players about this), since (as far as I can) the overall plot follows a path that the players would have chosen anyway. We don't get a chance to play very often (perhaps once per 3 months) so I have time to adjust accordingly from session to session, based on their actions and goals, but still within the overall storyarch. I now put more thought into what they might enjoy as well (the focus on this in the 4th ed DM Guide was new to me - although the rulebook's focus does seem to neglect a bit the DM's enjoyment of building world and creating story).

The players seem to like this approach - advancing levels etc. are still nice (and I have included some special, powerful items that the PCs are very attached to, so items/mechanics also play a fair role still - especially since combat and related mechanics is weighted so much in the 4th ed system), but it is no longer the main focus in the same way as it used to be. The development of the plot and the PCs role herein seems to be of greater importance to the players - the enjoy it as a contrast to the more free form of play and PC development that was the main focus in the previous campaigns.

So to conclude: the view on the point of D&D has shifted somewhat from the 'internally based' point of PC progress and rules to an 'externally based' point of storyarch design and PCs role in plot development (with mechanical advancement still being important, though)



This is a nice look into the development of the game through it's various editions, especially for me as your experience with the game and its versions predates my own.

Would you say that in your experience the point of D&D has shifted towards increasing the importance of the initially background tertiary wealth like "Character prestige" to a level at least equal to the importance of exp/level/items of power?

If so, I think that is interesting. I think it could easily be very true as well.

Assuming that is true (and assuming its your stance), I would ask if the game might benefit from having a mechanic to measure, for instance, the social importance of a character? Or even the weight of the characters heroic deeds?

I have noticed in the very successful game design of a game like World of Warcraft such things are recognized through titles & badges and the like. As a reward mechanic it could be something worth learning from.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I think a distinction should be made, as it was in the other thread, between home play and organized play.

Early editions of D&D did have an authoritarian take on the rules -- if you weren't following the published rules, then you weren't playing D&D. This attitude has significantly relaxed over the years, to the point where the current (4E) DMG specifically tells you that if you encounter rules that you or your players don't like, you can shake them up, change them, or even ignore them to enhance the enjoyment of the game.


It seems, in my view, to be the other way around. The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy. You are right that this can of course still be done in 4th ed. but due to the much more 'interconnected' and deliberately (almost over-)balanced rulestructure is more difficult here, I think.






I would definitely agree with this. The problem with a comprehensive rule-set is that it is much harder to pull out parts in one place without destabilizing (usually unknowingly) parts elsewhere.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

That the point of D&D is to have fun seems self-evident, as it's a cooperative game with no monetary gains to be had.
That the point of D&D is to have fun seems self-evident, as it's a cooperative game with no monetary gains to be had.



The video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a cooperative game with no monetary gains to be had. The "point" of the game when playing it though is not "to have fun".

Please don't turn this thread into a dissection of that difference though. There's already a thread for it. By all means though DO stick around and discuss this threads topic as well.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

The point of D&D is to distract ourselves from our meaningless and miserable lives as our frail bodies slowly tick towards the inevitable grave and we pass into nothingness, while the world goes on for eons until the heat death of the universe.

Hey, it may not be upbeat, but it's not the most depressing thing on these forums as of late.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
Obviously, the point of D&D is to go on the forums and argue about the point of D&D.



But anyone who agrees with this should of course not admit to agreeing with it, as this would defeat the point.


The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy. You are right that this can of course still be done in 4th ed. but due to the much more 'interconnected' and deliberately (almost over-)balanced rulestructure is more difficult here, I think.



I have only played fourth edition, but I have found that in some cases, house rules that seem fun and logical can mess things up mechanically in unanticipated ways that aren't easy to fix without repealing the house rule.
The point of D&D is to distract ourselves from our meaningless and miserable lives as our frail bodies slowly tick towards the inevitable grave and we pass into nothingness, while the world goes on for eons until the heat death of the universe.

Hey, it may not be upbeat, but it's not the most depressing thing on these forums as of late.



HEY NOW!

...I'm pretty sure heat death has been written off as a workable end-of-universe model.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Obviously, the point of D&D is to go on the forums and argue about the point of D&D.



But anyone who agrees with this should of course not admit to agreeing with it, as this would defeat the point.


The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy. You are right that this can of course still be done in 4th ed. but due to the much more 'interconnected' and deliberately (almost over-)balanced rulestructure is more difficult here, I think.



I have only played fourth edition, but I have found that in some cases, house rules that seem fun and logical can mess things up mechanically in unanticipated ways that aren't easy to fix without repealing the house rule.



Yes, this is definitely what can happen with very thorough rules systems. They almost reach the complexity of computer programming where a change in one place can have far reaching and completely unforeseen consequences elsewhere.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


This is a nice look into the development of the game through it's various editions, especially for me as your experience with the game and its versions predates my own.

Would you say that in your experience the point of D&D has shifted towards increasing the importance of the initially background tertiary wealth like "Character prestige" to a level at least equal to the importance of exp/level/items of power?

If so, I think that is interesting. I think it could easily be very true as well.

Assuming that is true (and assuming its your stance), I would ask if the game might benefit from having a mechanic to measure, for instance, the social importance of a character? Or even the weight of the characters heroic deeds?

I have noticed in the very successful game design of a game like World of Warcraft such things are recognized through titles & badges and the like. As a reward mechanic it could be something worth learning from.


I don't think that 'character prestige' etc. is more important than level/items etc. in the 4th ed. game-system as such - it is more a different overall view on what PCs are 'supposed' to be: instead of being 'ordinary guys' at level 1, they are now 'heroes' (and exceptional) right from the start. Ie. an orientation towards epic campaign-style, rather than a more gritty 'surviving and becoming heroes'-type of campaign.
Of course campaigns can be played in many different ways, but I have the impression that the overall tone of the official rulebooks etc. have changed somewhat regarding this. A change which is also reflected on a gamemechanics-level (eg. more hps at low levels, greater survivability in general, the concept of PC powers, Paragon Paths/Epic Destinies, etc.)

In the BECMI-rules (Basic, Expert, Companion etc.) there was actually a set hierarchi of titles (Nobles: Baron, Viscount, Count, Marquis, Duke; Royalty: Archduke, Prince, King, Emperor), each with certain requirements regarding size of ruled dominion etc. That was probably more tied to the quite extensive rules for ruling dominions than being an integral part of the 'core' rules system, though. Also, such titles confered no mechanical bonuses at all.

I find 4th. ed. having a huge focus on mechanical implementation and bonuses - especially combat-related stuff but also such a thing as skill challenges. These have been 'formalised' into a fixed structure, whereas in pre-4th. eds. it would simply be the PCs actions and individual check results that would 'carry' the progress on the challenge and determine the outcome. So I think that things have definately shifted towards a much more gamemechanics-oriented approach in the rulesets (this doesn't mean, of course, that groups can't play the game in a much looser manner, just that the rules, as I see it, are designed with a different gaming philosophy in mind).

As for introducing game mechanics that measures social status, heroic deeds etc. I think it could probably be of value for groups/players that enjoys primarily the 'game mechanic-type' of rewards (eg xp, bonuses, levels, etc.) - for such players additional 'scores' to measure ones success and progress would probably be enjoyed (especially if some kind of mechanical bonus were linked to it, e.g. social importance score of X you get +Y to diplomacy rolls, or whatever might suit). (Artifacts in 4th. ed. have a mechanic that is not to different from such an approach).

The advantage of such a measure is also it's most significant drawback, I think - that it makes everything 'numbers'. This makes it feel more like a 'game' (with the benefits that comes with this) and less like a more 'open' environment in which the players interact (freely) with the world and the DM then responds as he finds appropriate (this relates to the DM-empowerment discussion - how much is hard-coded into the mechanics/rules and how much is - in practice - up to the DM).

Personally I don't think I would prefer a mechanic to measure social importance - would prefer to let things like that be up to a more 'open' interpretation by the DM - but I think it would work well for some groups.
The point of D&D is to distract ourselves from our meaningless and miserable lives as our frail bodies slowly tick towards the inevitable grave and we pass into nothingness, while the world goes on for eons until the heat death of the universe.



I have only played fourth edition, but I have found that in some cases, house rules that seem fun and logical can mess things up mechanically in unanticipated ways that aren't easy to fix without repealing the house rule.


Yes, that us the problem with the 4th. ed. rules system - things are very interconnected on a mechanic level, and also, a lot of things are formalised into a mechanic form.

Fx. PC powers. In my experience players rarely (in combat at least) take actions that are not part of a power and thus defined explicitely and fixed in terms of game mechanics. I.e.: the fighter doesn't attempt to push over the table to get cover or kick to the brazier in order to set the curtain on fire - he uses his Power X og Power Y instead. So combats becomes oriented more towards tabletop games than 'open' combat actions, due to the way the rules are designed.
Also, the Powers are very precisely defined in terms of their effect. A Fireball does X hp of damage in a YxY area - but what about the scrolls lying at the table in the middle of the room - are they not damaged as well? Or the fighter attacks with his Tide of Iron power, and the ogre is pushed 1 square backwards into a pit. But what if the ogre - much heavier than the fighter - is doing nothing but attempting to avoid being pushed, i.e. with all its strength and bulk it has braced himself (perhaps instead of attacking) for the incoming attempt to push it back - would the fighter still automatically push it back on a successful attack vs. AC?
An exact-gamemechanical-definition-approach such as this works well for enhancing the tactical aspects of combat, reduce 'arbitrary' DM judgement and achieve balance (between classes, as well as for building encounters).
However, personally I prefer things to be a bit more loosely defined, so the mechanics are not 'controlling' things to such a great degree.

I have only played fourth edition, but I have found that in some cases, house rules that seem fun and logical can mess things up mechanically in unanticipated ways that aren't easy to fix without repealing the house rule.


Yes, that us the problem with the 4th. ed. rules system - things are very interconnected on a mechanic level, and also, a lot of things are formalised into a mechanic form.

And that is no different from early editions, especially 3e ;) It is probably true for any game with highly formalized detailed rules set. Personally I actually find it easier to change stuff in 4e than 3e, but that is likely because I like the 4e rules more than the 3e ones.

Note btw that your example though has little to do with this effect. House ruling that a power does damage is easy in 4e. There are rules about item's defenses and hit points after all. The real issue is that it is complicated and time consuming and for most people not worth the hassle (mostly because it also opens a can of worms about the physics of what a fireball does exactly). The same is true with the ogre example, where the game mechanics simply assume the opponent does not want to be pushed in the hole and pushes against the fighter with all its might. Remember, pushing a moving free willed creature involves more than brute strength as anybody who practices Aikido will point out (the martial arts actually uses the strength and momentum of the opponent against them). If for some reason it is not, because it is distracted, the PC gets a bonus on the attack roll (in case of distraction the PC gains combat advantage) or the ogre can volluntarily fail its saving throw (or the DM can assign penalties to it).
Some house rules are laughably easy though. 

The Battlemind may trade Mind Spike for Lightning Rush as a class feature.  Lightning Rush is an immediate reaction that moves the Battlemind next to the target, and allows them to make an attack of opportunity versus the target.

Wee, fixed Battleminds~  And very little system consequences.  

Anyway, I found the last thread largely pointless, other than "walls of text are awesome, and I must produce more or the gnome holding me prisoner will shoot my family."   So I'll simply list the design points which are centered around having fun:

- Levels:  Remember, D&D came from a wargaming background (the original monster manual has movement in inches.  As in table inches).  Levels were new.  What were they for?  To give players a sense of advancement, and to unlock new powers, rather than having them wargame with static miniatures.  In other words, Levels are Fun!

- Rewards: Magic items are fun.  No two ways about it.  They've repeatedly done their best to keep magic items new, fresh, and fun. 

- Mechanics: Entire classes were added because "someone wanted to play Kaine."  The best classes?  No.  But the overarching design vision appears to be "Someone wants this?  Cool!  Let him have fun with it!"  

- Challenges: Read the tomb of horrors and tell me Gygax didn't have fun designing and running that monster.  He loved chewing up parties and spitting them out.  

D&D is a system that is literally built around having fun.  In that sense it is almost purely gamist - while FATE cares about telling a story, and GURPS tries to simulate... everything... D&D is centered around being a game that is fun to play.  

That focus on fun is what often made people call D&D the "Kiddy RPG" or belittle it, especially in the 90s with the rise of the White Wolf games (all of which had a Big Important Pointtm).  D&D never had a point.  It was just fun.
Some house rules are laughably easy though. 

The Battlemind may trade Mind Spike for Lightning Rush as a class feature.  Lightning Rush is an immediate reaction that moves the Battlemind next to the target, and allows them to make an attack of opportunity versus the target.

Wee, fixed Battleminds~  And very little system consequences.  

Anyway, I found the last thread largely pointless, other than "walls of text are awesome, and I must produce more or the gnome holding me prisoner will shoot my family."   So I'll simply list the design points which are centered around having fun:

- Levels:  Remember, D&D came from a wargaming background (the original monster manual has movement in inches.  As in table inches).  Levels were new.  What were they for?  To give players a sense of advancement, and to unlock new powers, rather than having them wargame with static miniatures.  In other words, Levels are Fun!

- Rewards: Magic items are fun.  No two ways about it.  They've repeatedly done their best to keep magic items new, fresh, and fun. 

- Mechanics: Entire classes were added because "someone wanted to play Kaine."  The best classes?  No.  But the overarching design vision appears to be "Someone wants this?  Cool!  Let him have fun with it!"  

- Challenges: Read the tomb of horrors and tell me Gygax didn't have fun designing and running that monster.  He loved chewing up parties and spitting them out.  

D&D is a system that is literally built around having fun.  In that sense it is almost purely gamist - while FATE cares about telling a story, and GURPS tries to simulate... everything... D&D is centered around being a game that is fun to play.  

That focus on fun is what often made people call D&D the "Kiddy RPG" or belittle it, especially in the 90s with the rise of the White Wolf games (all of which had a Big Important Pointtm).  D&D never had a point.  It was just fun.



I'll give it one more go to try and show you the point you are missing before giving up as I do not want to flood this OPs thread.

The tomb of horrors was specifically designed with core D&D goals in mind...you were expected to have multiple characters because of how lethal it was. The only point of it as a module was to be punishingly hard and to test the skills and minds of the players playing it. The point of the module was to survive and win. For many, this was extremely fun (again, that is why they sat down to play...not the point of the module as a game).

Your point about White Wolf illustrates how you are misunderstanding the situation. Vampire, for instance, does not have much of a game "goal" (I am going to substitute "goal" for "point" as it might clarify some things...keep in mind a goal might be constantly on-going...like striving for perfection, you can get closer but never achieve it, etc)...it has a narrative goal(s) but there is nothing in the game tied to real mechanical reward as a focus. Players of Vampire navigated political machinations and situations and the game can be played 100% without any game components (LARP) or with minimal gameplay components...because Vampire is not much of a game, and is more of a fantasy-play. It is very-nearly improv theatre with gameplay mechanics tacked on.

Now, that is not to say that is a bad thing...though I'll also say that from a pure mechanical standpoint WW's classic system is absolute garbage, but that is an opinion purely from a game design stance...nor is it a good thing. Its just what Vampire and WW was. The "game" portion that D&D has so heavily entrenched in it is what got it labeled as "Kiddy" or what-have-you...not the "fun" part. Believe me, people played Vampire for fun...and I MESSED with people that played Vampire for fun Tongue Out

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I also thought I'd take what you said (which I agree with) and try to attach it to the point that was made in the other thread concerning the core mechanical goals of D&D as a game...

- Levels:  Levels are a direct measure of player avatar power. Gaining that power is why people grind for days, for instance, on games like WoW. In WoW, a player saying proudly that they are a certain level is a measure of their progress in the game and as something they are proud of. It is something they felt they worked hard for and earned. This attitude is derived from D&D just like most (all?) level based progress games are. It is being Prestige in Call of Duty or high BP in Street Fighter...it is saying to the world "Look. Look what I have done. This was not easy, but I did it. I have this power/level/options because I have earned it".

- Rewards: Magic items scale in power to level and you are expected to gather stronger ones as you go. Again, just like getting special rare weapons in WoW or getting stronger guns in Call of Duty, this is a measure of the players investment. It is saying "I have this because I earned it. I had to delve into a deep dungeon/slay some epic beast/gain level 50 to find/get it from a drop/unlock this. Exercising the power of this item reinforces that it was worth it". There is a reason powerful magic items are pretty much universally more desirable to players than "interesting" ones. They are a statement of personal power...and they, in turn, add to the power to allow one to achieve even more.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


Personally I don't think I would prefer a mechanic to measure social importance - would prefer to let things like that be up to a more 'open' interpretation by the DM - but I think it would work well for some groups.



Personally I do not feel as if I would need it either. I wonder though if from an introduction-level approac, if it might not be worth while. After all, I do not need trophies or achievements in a game like Street Fighter to explore it...but it has been very popular for new players. This is, again, similar to WoW in that some longtime players of MMORPG's do not care for titles or what-have-you or accolades like one receives in a game like City of Heroes/Villains (which I played for a very very long time) but instead just want the actual "tangibles" of the game in the form of levels & loot since those can actually be used.

People like to achieve things...they like to strive for a goal and earn it. I do wonder if, especially as it it applies to the core un-house-ruled book version of the game if an approach like this might not bear fruit. I think too much of the game goal of D&D has been reduced and it makes it very difficult for people to see worth in it without considerable explaination...but if you gave people something to work towards and earn it could mitigate a lot of that.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

The fact that you think White Wolf games have less of a "point" than D&D tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

White Wolf games are all designed with a central conceit, different for each game, that the game is structured around.  Each game has a very clear point.

Vampire: The continual erosion of humanity.
Mage: The struggle to ascend against the dangers of magic
Werewolf: The destruction of nature 

D&D has nothing similar.    Perhaps you can say the point of D&D is to overcome challenges, but the sheer variety of things the player can do and the variety of rewards and capabilities suggests otherwise.  Were it truly to overcome challenges, you'd need nothing more than the Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard.  But instead there are dozens of classes.  How does that serve the point of "overcoming challenges?"  It doesn't.  It serves the point of "fun."

You repeating the same thing again and again does not make it true.
The fact that you think White Wolf games have less of a "point" than D&D tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

White Wolf games are all designed with a central conceit, different for each game, that the game is structured around.  Each game has a very clear point.

Vampire: The continual erosion of humanity.
Mage: The struggle to ascend against the dangers of magic
Werewolf: The destruction of nature 

D&D has nothing similar.    Perhaps you can say the point of D&D is to overcome challenges, but the sheer variety of things the player can do and the variety of rewards and capabilities suggests otherwise.  Were it truly to overcome challenges, you'd need nothing more than the Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard.  But instead there are dozens of classes.  How does that serve the point of "overcoming challenges?"  It doesn't.  It serves the point of "fun."

You repeating the same thing again and again does not make it true.



It's okay. You don't understand what we are talking about on this thread. It's a game design discussion.

I can't force you to understand and apparently no one can explain it to you. It may just be something that is eluding you. I ran into the same thing with functions in programming for the longest time. It might just "click" later.

I don't want to clutter this thread with repeated attempts to explain, it's not fair to the OP or the point of the thread.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Not to continue to derail this conversation, but I feel GreyIce raises a more valid argument than Yagami. A brief glance at the CharOP forums (where it all about negating challenges) show that there are a few crucial classes. The rest of them are just "fluff." For instance, the seeker is an awesome concept and one of my favourite classes. I really like the idea of the 'arcane archer' - especially when it is the only class that specialises in throwing junk at people. Mechanically it is poop. Does this matter to me as a gamer? No, because it is fun. Does the increased challenge matter or interest me? No - because I get to throw magical junk at people and then run away on a hyena.

However, I understand that this is just my opinion. Everyone has their own pleasure to derive from DnD, and people therefore assign different things different levels of importance.

I also give kudos to MissionARZ for writing a very compelling argument, particularly about the fact that different playstyles do not mean you are doing DnD 'wrong' or misunderstanding the purpose. If you're enjoying it (for the RP, the challenge, the novelty, social), then yay!

If you are truly curious about this though, you might enjoy reading some of the actual D&D design philosophy here.

Note btw that your example though has little to do with this effect. House ruling that a power does damage is easy in 4e. There are rules about item's defenses and hit points after all. The real issue is that it is complicated and time consuming and for most people not worth the hassle (mostly because it also opens a can of worms about the physics of what a fireball does exactly). The same is true with the ogre example, where the game mechanics simply assume the opponent does not want to be pushed in the hole and pushes against the fighter with all its might. Remember, pushing a moving free willed creature involves more than brute strength as anybody who practices Aikido will point out (the martial arts actually uses the strength and momentum of the opponent against them). If for some reason it is not, because it is distracted, the PC gets a bonus on the attack roll (in case of distraction the PC gains combat advantage) or the ogre can volluntarily fail its saving throw (or the DM can assign penalties to it).


Yes, I agree on much of this. Perhaps the examples were not illustrating the point adequately, though, but what I was aiming at was the overall approach / design philosophy of 4th ed. - the powers are 100% defined (and thus 'restricted') regarding game mechanics. One of the big advantages by this is that one avoids the can of worms you mention, another is that it is much easier to achieve game balance.

Opinions may vary, of course, but personally I can't help to feel that something is lost along the way here - the rules don't do much to support taking varying circumstances into account, for example. In the above example one solution would be, as you note, to make house rules on how equipment/items will be damaged by the fireball - probably could be done fairly easy, but will likely affect the frail game balance if one adds such rule (fireball blasts scrolls and set afire wooden items etc., while a weapon user's area damage power doesn't do such things).

Also, the mechanic-specific rules and their disconnectedness from the 'flavour'-text makes it difficult for specific circumstances to be taken into consideration, since the powers are created in such a way, that the description of what 'actually' happens in the world is secondary to (derived from) what happens on a game mechanical level.

Ex.: Thirsting Tendrils, Warlock lvl 17 encounter power. Ranged attack, with following text: You lower your hand, and rootlike tendrils shoot from your palm into the ground. An instant later they erupt from the earth beneath your enemy’s feet and bore into his flesh, replenishing you with his vital force.

So mechanically just a ranged attack. But according to the text the 'rootlike' tendrils erupt from the earth. So what if a flying foe is targeted. Or what if the warlock is flying high above ground. Or if the ground is made of some kind of impenetratable matter. If the DM rules that the power will fail or work in a different way due to one of those reasons, the player will probably argue that the power is 100% clearly defined in terms of game mechanics, and it counts as a 'ranged' attack no matter the circumstances. But what then, if the warlock does not have line of effect to the target (i.e. it is behind an wall of force), but the tendrils could reach the target through the ground - then he should, by the text, be allowed to make the attack.

According to the rules the description is just (iirc) 'flavour', with no impact on the actual outcome in the game. This takes away a very important aspect of the game, I think, making it much more a tabletop game than a rpg.

So a different design philisophy than the earlier editions (as noted I can't really say about 3.x, as I haven't played it much). In that regard I think that 'feel' of the game - as seen from a rules perspective - has shifted towards more focus on game mechanics, and this may have an inherent impact on the 'point' of D&D, as discussed earlier.

Personally I don't think I would prefer a mechanic to measure social importance - would prefer to let things like that be up to a more 'open' interpretation by the DM - but I think it would work well for some groups.



Personally I do not feel as if I would need it either. I wonder though if from an introduction-level approac, if it might not be worth while. After all, I do not need trophies or achievements in a game like Street Fighter to explore it...but it has been very popular for new players. This is, again, similar to WoW in that some longtime players of MMORPG's do not care for titles or what-have-you or accolades like one receives in a game like City of Heroes/Villains (which I played for a very very long time) but instead just want the actual "tangibles" of the game in the form of levels & loot since those can actually be used.

People like to achieve things...they like to strive for a goal and earn it. I do wonder if, especially as it it applies to the core un-house-ruled book version of the game if an approach like this might not bear fruit. I think too much of the game goal of D&D has been reduced and it makes it very difficult for people to see worth in it without considerable explaination...but if you gave people something to work towards and earn it could mitigate a lot of that.


Interesting thought - I've never considered this from 'new player'-perspective.
I agree that much af the game goal has been reduced, with tone of the official books and their foci on epic adventure and heroic deeds, an overall campaign arch, 'having fun' ;) etc.
Otoh, as noted in the post above, the rules are heavily oriented on game mechanics being 'in control', thus the game mechanical rewards perhaps (?) play a greater role and is emphasized more (powers, items, Paragon Paths etc. etc.). But also required for the sake of the - much wanted, it seems - game balance (I much dislike the 'expected item gain' part of the system, for example).

Seems like 'Next' ('5th ed.') will change many of the (as I perceive them) shortcomings of 4th. ed. (and hopefully keep the good stuff as well ).
If you are truly curious about this though, you might enjoy reading some of the actual D&D design philosophy here.


Thanks for the link.
Also, there are plenty of articles on Wizards current thoughts on design philosophy (linked to the development of the next ed.) in the 'Legends & Lore' section.
I've removed content from this thread. Trolling/baiting is a violation of the Code of Conduct

You can review the Code of Conduct here: company.wizards.com/conduct

Please remember to keep your posts polite, on topic and refrain from personal attacks. You are free to disagree with one another as long as it is done in a respectful manner. 
This website has finally shown me the point/goal of D&D. It's hidden in the very last paragraph. I am glad to say that I have not reached the goal yet.
Okay, well apparently the only way to post certain things is to be extremely condescending, rather than honest.

I'll just say, Yamagi, that you seem to have no capability to grasp the concept that someone can understand what you are saying and STILL DISAGREE WITH YOU.  

The fact that you have an opinion does not automatically make it right, nor does it mean that everyone who disagrees with you "just doesn't understand my genius."
Okay, well apparently the only way to post certain things is to be extremely condescending, rather than honest.

I'll just say, Yamagi, that you seem to have no capability to grasp the concept that someone can understand what you are saying and STILL DISAGREE WITH YOU.  

The fact that you have an opinion does not automatically make it right, nor does it mean that everyone who disagrees with you "just doesn't understand my genius."



I would ask then how it is possible I am having thorough, purposeful conversations with those that DO understand what is being discussed that would agree that you are missing the concept?

This is what is happening, GreyIce...I am saying "An apple is an apple. An orange is an orange." and you are responding "No! You're wrong! An apple IS an apple! How can you say an apple ISN'T an apple?!" and you are missing the orange. This thread is about oranges and you have come into it railing upon the truth of an apple being an apple.

I agree with you. An apple IS an apple. We are discussing oranges, however. Please stop telling us that we don't think apples are apples.

An apple is the reason you sit down to play D&D which is, in fact, to have fun. An orange is the point of the mechanical nature of D&D as a game which has already been theorized as gaining XP/gaining levels/finding wealth/accumulating in-character achievements/etc among other equally good suggestions.

Apples & oranges. Apples & oranges.

EDIT: Condescension is what you read into it. I sincerely want you to understand what is being discussed so that you can take part in the conversation. I want EVERYONE to understand it.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


Interesting thought - I've never considered this from 'new player'-perspective.
I agree that much af the game goal has been reduced, with tone of the official books and their foci on epic adventure and heroic deeds, an overall campaign arch, 'having fun' ;) etc.
Otoh, as noted in the post above, the rules are heavily oriented on game mechanics being 'in control', thus the game mechanical rewards perhaps (?) play a greater role and is emphasized more (powers, items, Paragon Paths etc. etc.). But also required for the sake of the - much wanted, it seems - game balance (I much dislike the 'expected item gain' part of the system, for example).

Seems like 'Next' ('5th ed.') will change many of the (as I perceive them) shortcomings of 4th. ed. (and hopefully keep the good stuff as well ).



I think that there is a double-edged sword in the nature of players becoming designers. It creates a closed loop. This happened in the comic industry when people that grew up reading comics began writing comics...for comic readers.

It is a dangerous mind-set to fall into to design a game for the players of the game even though it seems like a great intention. Games, especially new versions of existing games, need to be built with the understanding that it will be someone (hopefully MANY someones) first exposure to that game. I think D&D does a poor job of this historically.

This is especially true from behind the screen...DM's are not well prepared by the content of the game books to run games, in my experience. There is too much memorization (of rules mostly) required and not enough content directed to cultivating a good DM mind-set and a good mental toolbox for problem solving at the table-level.

I have a vision of D&D...oh believe me I do...and what would benefit the game immensely, but it's a bit beyond the scope of this thread.

I actually see 4th Ed as being a heavily "game" focused edition...in that the mechanics of the game are very solidly founded. They are built to be moving parts in a machine expected to run a certain way. This is not a bad thing. Certainly, flavor-wise, this might not have been done in the best way possible, but it is not a wrong step. It took a step towards creating a universal language in the system more akin to the unity one would see in a video game, specifically like the standard set by MMOs. In taking this step, however, I don't think the designers struck upon what really gives those sorts of games traction beyond just the "language" of the games mechanics.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Early editions of D&D did have an authoritarian take on the rules -- if you weren't following the published rules, then you weren't playing D&D.


It seems, in my view, to be the other way around. The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy.



What I mean to say is that the folks in charge of D&D specifically said that playing with 'house rules' was not playing D&D. From 'The Dragon' #16, by Gary Gygax:

erdana,sans-serif">"D&D encourages inventiveness and originality within the framework of its rules. Those who insist on altering the framework should design their own game."

Gygax then went on to specifically critique a number of things that were house-rules at the time, but have since become accepted norms of D&D -- treating a roll of natural 20 as a 'critical hit', having wizards be potentially proficient with swords, the use of a 'weapon expertise' mechanic to reflect particular skill with a specific weapon, etc.

--
Pauper
Early editions of D&D did have an authoritarian take on the rules -- if you weren't following the published rules, then you weren't playing D&D.


It seems, in my view, to be the other way around. The earlier (pre-3rd) editions had a somewhat 'loose' structure ruleswise, and adding houserules etc. were fairly easy.



What I mean to say is that the folks in charge of D&D specifically said that playing with 'house rules' was not playing D&D. From 'The Dragon' #16, by Gary Gygax:

erdana,sans-serif">"D&D encourages inventiveness and originality within the framework of its rules. Those who insist on altering the framework should design their own game."

Gygax then went on to specifically critique a number of things that were house-rules at the time, but have since become accepted norms of D&D -- treating a roll of natural 20 as a 'critical hit', having wizards be potentially proficient with swords, the use of a 'weapon expertise' mechanic to reflect particular skill with a specific weapon, etc.

--
Pauper



Keep in mind that Gary Gygax was a fairly mediocre (and in some cases awful) game designer and a business man of similar skill.

In other words, take anything he ever said with a grain of salt.



I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Sign In to post comments