Sage Atop The Mountain: How To Eliminate The 5MWD

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Spinning this out of a thread over on the D&DNext boards.

Apparently many people have a problem with the phenomenon known as "the 5-minute work day". Now, I'm not going to go into a definition of it or the reasons behind it since, if you're reading this, you should be familiar with them. if not, a quick search of the boards will reveal it to you. Though, I'd suggest avoiding those threads anyway...they're silly. :P

Now, some people are absolutely clamoring for a mechanical fix to the 5mwd (yup, abbreviating it from here on out) because they don't want to contrive methodology to prevent it. On the other hand, countless DMs have never had a problem with the 5mwd but the assumption seems to be we have avoided that problem through bizarre contrivances or avoiding entire story structures.

First of all, let me be clear that I do not tell stories to my players. I do not find it to be the point of the DM to regale my players with stories. On the contrary, I present situations/peoples/things that are present in the world the players characters are experiencing and let the players craft stories with their actions. That is to say, I thrust no expectations onto the players. If there is some sort of mystery going on and the players can up with a clever way to immediately uncover the truth then more power to them. If they are faced with a combat encounter or situation and plan their strategy to minimize their risk and then execute the plan to perfection...again, more power to them. Is this how those situations always go? Heck no, but I do not go in with expectations one way or the other because doing so guarantees it would influence my impartiality (remember,  you're the referee...gotta remain impartial).

Secondly, let me point out that I've experienced the FULL range of narratives in D&D games from both sides of the shield from classic dungeon crawls to murder mysteries to court intrigue to courtly swashbuckling to Princess-Bride-esque comedy etc etc.

Here is the truth of the matter, and it is going to pain some people to read...in fact, they will get outright hostile and angry. I do not care. It is the truth. The 5mwd phenomenon is created through the fault of the DM. It is a player response to what they are being presented. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Let's move on to dissecting the issue and its resolution.

Now, one of the big things is that these DMs claim it is a natural phenomenon generated by the game because it is an "optimal strategy". Mind you, I am a "play-to-win" gamer in my life. It is how I play games, it is how I expect others to play games with me (or to not complain when I do at the very least) and it is how we teach the younger players on our airsoft team to play. The concept that the 5MWD is an "optimal strategy" is complete bunk in the face of the point of Dungeons & Dragons. As a refresher, here is the words of the designers themselves...

"Players create heroic fantasy characters -- mighty warriors, stealthy rogues, or powerful wizards -- which they guide through an ongoing series of adventures, working together to defeat monsters and other challenges and growing in power, glory, and achievement."

The point, as stated here, is growing in power/glory/achievement (via the defeat of monsters and other challenges). So, the other DMs say that the 5MWD lets players defeat monsters in an optimal manner. They go in, murder, then go out and rest...then rest and repeat. However, the point of the game ISN'T slaying monsters. Slaying monsters is the process by which one gets closer to the point (growing). One of those DMs went as far as to suggest (in DEFENSE of the 5MWD as an optimal strategy) that it only stretched out dungeons from, for instance, one day to three days. That would be a tripling of the time required to clear a dungeon.

Ergo, if a team of adventurers using the 5MWD method reach a dungeon it will take them (lets say) three times longer to clear that dungeon than a team of adventurers NOT utilizing the 5MWD. But, you say, they both cleared the dungeon and killed the monsters so they accomplished the same thing! Right? Well, yes, but that's not the point. The point is to grow your character and the latter group grew at THREE TIMES the speed of the former group because of how much the first group was slowed by utilizing the 5MWD. In that way, the 5MWD is clearly SUB-optimal. Is it a safe strategy? Sure, I suppose. However, if the second group is gaining XP 3 (THREE!!) times faster than the first group, it is easy to see that the second group is, in fact, playing the game "better"...better in that they are achieving the games goal (growth) faster.

So...optimal strategy? Debunked.

To be fair, however, I DO NOT expect players to use optimal strategies all the time so that argument is not the end-all-be-all. Nor is it even fair to say to your players "Hey! Use better strategy!" since the game is theres to play how they see fit.

What the use of the 5mwd reveals, however, is that the players have ZERO impetus on their characters. This is where the 5mwd-stricken DMs will accuse me of foisting contrived time limits upon my players when this could not be further from the truth.

Why would players have no forward momentum? Why would they not care about time (remember the 5mwd might be reducing their productivity to a third!) in regards to their characters? I have a strong feeling it's actually a side-effect of taking the "focus" on the PCs too far. See, while the players characters ARE the main characters in the game, they cannot be the "spotlight" of reality. That is to say, just because the focus is on the PCs it does not mean the world stops. Someone on the other thread argued "What does it matter what is going on away from the PCs? They aren't experiencing it!" and that is a ridiculous notion if I've ever heard one. The point is that if the world is not growing around and with the characters then the PCs aren't really influencing and playing in a world. Instead, they're going through the motions...they're being put into situations without actual context in the greater campaign beyond what the DM decides.

It also results in the 5MWD because, since the world stops when the PCs do, there is NO REASON for them to move at anything resembling a reasonable pace. Instead of playing in a game world, the PCs (not the players!) are essentially booting up an Xbox to play whenever they feel like it. The world is a static interface that responds to the PCs instead of moving along with them. It is less a world and more a Hollywood set where, like a video game, the world just renders around the players far enough for them to see...and nothing else exists. The PCs know that nothing will happen if they aren't engaging it, so why bother worrying about anything but the task at hand? This allows them to sit back and rest whenever they want, essentially wasting HUGE chunks of game-world time.

And that is the crux of the 5MWD.

I asked my players seperately about the 5MWD and the overwhelming response was "Why would I want to waste that much time? I have stuff to do. My character has things to accomplish". I won't clog this post with the list of responsibilities, undertakings and such that the players have had their characters engage in, but suffice to say, they want to see these things done in a reasonable time frame...actually, as fast as possible in most cases. Furthermore, they know OTHER PEOPLE in the world are also progressing on their own time tables. That is to say, the world is still in motion whether or not they're there to experience exactly what is going on. This means that, just like in real life, time is a VITAL resource because there is only so much they can do in any given amount of time. There are only so much treasure they can find, so many monsters they can slay, so many wrongs they can right, etc, etc. It also means that the players do not always know what the world is going to throw at them so frivolous use of resources is ill-advised.

When the world lives and breathes around the PCs and the players are invested in their characters and their characters goals, time becomes about the most important resource imaginable. Heck, it's why my players send their henchman and such to go accomplish tasks while they're off doing other things...it lets them be, effectively, two places at once. It lets them accomplish things faster. That is the "secret" to eliminating the 5MWD without relying on arbitrary time limits, contrivances, DM-fiat or new mechanics set-up entirely to counter a problem that doesn't really exist in the mechanics of the game.

In closing...when the world moves with or without the players, the players will move with the world so that they can start influencing it to move the way they want. When the world doesn't move, neither will the players and, hence, you will have 5-minute work days. Now, does that mean that as DM you need to present an awesome, logical world with consequences and momentum to your players? YUP! But...that's your job anyway. So have at it! As always, I'm more than willing to help show how to do just 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 tend to agree that the 5MWD is a problem caused primarily by the DM in most cases.  

To me, the single most common failing when faced with a 5MWD situation is that the DM fails to provide consequences to player decisions.  When a group of player "choose" correctly, they experience good consequences; however, when they choose "poorly"...  The consequences are often overlooked or down-played.  Unfortunately, a consequence free world, players will not put as much thought into their choices.  This, in my opinion, is the most common way of creating a 5MWD situation. 

While YagamiFire's style of DMing does differ from my style, we do (well at least from this post) share some common beliefs.  A living game world is essential to "good" game and creating a living game world is ultimately the responsibility of the DM.  Yes, the players can, do and should influence a world, but it is, ultimately, the responsibility of the DM to make changes in the game world to reflect the consequences of the choices of the player.  In addition, the world still needs to change (and in some cases grow) to keep the players interested in the game. 

In addition, I think there are other tools that can be utilized by a DM to help manage the 5MWD.  Most of these are dependent on the style of play of the DM and players; there are various styles each with its own set of tools.  However, I want to stress the DM and players part.  Alot of posts (at least in the DDN forums) tend to indicate, at least to me, a problem within the DM and player dynamic; mostly caused by the DM.  For example, one poster complained about creating an adventure only to find out that the party composition precluded them from completing the adventure.  It wasn't in regards to the 5MWD; however, it was made by a 5MWD complainer.  That to me is a fundamental failure of the DM to know his players; that isn't a failure in the ruleset as some people attempted to claim.  The DM role and Player role are separate to a degree, but they are intertwined together.  A DM has be able to cater to his players; the players have to be able to communicate with the DM.  Often, I see a breakdown in the understanding of the DM role in relation to the player role.  A "hands off" DM isn't a bad thing; alot good DMs practice a "hands off" technique.  However, a "know nothing about the player" technique invites failure on alot of different levels with a potential of creating a 5MWD problem.

Another failure that I see often is the unwillingness of the DM to prepare properly for a game.  The DM has responsibilities, and failure to execute those reponsibilities will lead to problems in the game.  The failure to prepare can lead to a 5MWD problem.  I won't go into this one too much; it's very closely related to the living world dynamic in my opinion (well at least in regards to the 5MWD); although it isn't limited to the living world concept.     

This is exactly how I run games, and is exactly why I've never seen the 5mwd. When the world doesn't stop for the players, it makes them want to actually live their lives. In the real world, no one who actually has a job to do wants to sleep for eighteen hours and work for four. It's crazy.

For anyone who disagrees, that's fine, and that's totally you're right, but please, at least consider the possibility that a living, breathing world that your players can connect with might indeed be the "real" fix to the problem. If you just flat out disagree, or don't want to consider it, that's fine, but flames and personal attacks won't be tolerated, friendly reminder.
A living game world is essential to "good" game and creating a living game world is ultimately the responsibility of the DM.  Yes, the players can, do and should influence a world, but it is, ultimately, the responsibility of the DM to make changes in the game world to reflect the consequences of the choices of the player.  In addition, the world still needs to change (and in some cases grow) to keep the players interested in the game.


I agree that a living world is a nice thing to have in a campaign and I always try to create one in the campaigns I run. However, that said, in such a world, how do the players really know that the consequences they are seeing are caused by the 5MWD and not by pre-determined plot points that progress the story. For example, the party took too long retrieving some ingredient for medicine and so the local noble died of some disease. The party could easily look at that and conclude that the noble was going to die no matter what they did (since it happened when they were not around and off-screen) and might never make the connection with the 5MWD (ie. just because you said it was because we took too long, we know you could have had the noble die even if got the medicine in an hour).

Now, just to pre-empt some criticism on players being able to intervene in a story. I consider this a separate issue then the party doing something successfully that was unexpected and also separate from the DM railroading players. In a game with consequences, as you suggest, having relevant consequences implies the existence of an ongoing story and one with events that take place off-screen that the players then learn about. Such a story can also easily feature plot points and story elements that are meant to progress some ongoing story and the player is not well equipped to separate such story points from consequences for taking too long by using the 5MWD thing.
@Cheethorne: I just answered Loki's bogus argument in the thread of crazy, and my answer also covers your question too. When players think that the DM is going to make certain things happen, it really takes them out of the world and strains their sense of disbelief. Players should be allowed to create their own stories.

Heroes should be carving their names in the world in unique ways, and sometimes they do that in ways we don't expect. I'll never forget the first time this big nasty boss I led up to for several adventures, who was going to be a recurring villain, got utterly wrecked through the most insane rolls on my own dice that I knew were not loaded. I was so angry. Yes, I was actually really angry, that ruined my whole story that I had planned out, the few but poignant plot twists, the foreshadowings, the symbolism, the whole Campbellian Journey that I wanted to put my players through....and then I realized the flaw in my thinking, and corrected it.

I stepped back, let the players take over, and the sessions practically ran themselves from then on. A really great essay that I'm probably going to post here soon, is called "Beg, Borrow, and Steal. (And Lie.) Another one written by the World of Darkness team. It deals with a minimalist approach in world and adventure design, and why that can sometimes even be best. Allowing the players to play their characters as they live and grow organically is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. When I just gave it a chance, I realized that my unexpectedly dead super-villain was the best thing that happened to that campaign, and to this day consider it to be my best work, and it was hardly my work at all.

Now, I recognize that not everyone will agree with this philosophy, and that's okay. What I will do though, is encourage you to try it out a couple times before rejecting it. Now, there is nothing wrong with creating "Crisis points," which are moments where player characters will have to make choices and decide what to do, but the "story" will then hinge on what they do, and how they accomplishment. I now no longer know if they will kill my "big boss" or not. When my players started to realize that I was no longer controlling everything, and just let it all flow, they started to get a better appreciation of their own success, and actually started to fear real death a lot more, because it sunk in that I wasn't protecting them.

My God, I wish I knew twelve years ago what I know now.
Sorry you aren't willing to read more. You might be surprised at what you run across. Oh well. Happy trails.
A living game world is essential to "good" game and creating a living game world is ultimately the responsibility of the DM.  Yes, the players can, do and should influence a world, but it is, ultimately, the responsibility of the DM to make changes in the game world to reflect the consequences of the choices of the player.  In addition, the world still needs to change (and in some cases grow) to keep the players interested in the game.


I agree that a living world is a nice thing to have in a campaign and I always try to create one in the campaigns I run. However, that said, in such a world, how do the players really know that the consequences they are seeing are caused by the 5MWD and not by pre-determined plot points that progress the story. For example, the party took too long retrieving some ingredient for medicine and so the local noble died of some disease. The party could easily look at that and conclude that the noble was going to die no matter what they did (since it happened when they were not around and off-screen) and might never make the connection with the 5MWD (ie. just because you said it was because we took too long, we know you could have had the noble die even if got the medicine in an hour).

Now, just to pre-empt some criticism on players being able to intervene in a story. I consider this a separate issue then the party doing something successfully that was unexpected and also separate from the DM railroading players. In a game with consequences, as you suggest, having relevant consequences implies the existence of an ongoing story and one with events that take place off-screen that the players then learn about. Such a story can also easily feature plot points and story elements that are meant to progress some ongoing story and the player is not well equipped to separate such story points from consequences for taking too long by using the 5MWD thing.



You know honestly, each situation and each group of players have different needs, and I don't know your group's composition and dynamics.  However, I would have gone through this progression in my last group. 

First, you should involve the players early and provide some type of connection between the player and subject.  This can be a personal connection or it can be something as simple as save my brother for a reward.  During this phase, I would encourage the players to explore the subject's condition.  When the players discover the sickness on their own (versus a situation where they are just told by someone), it involves them in the "story."  I would use a broad skill set in this situation.  The character with the heal skill would do a diagnosis.  From there, various skills can come into play.  For example, History could give them a clue as to where to look and maybe provide some recon (there's goblins in that area).  Arcana could provide some insight if the ingredient is a magical reagent (which might hook the wizard  ).  I would involve as many players as I can.  You can't force them, but you can prepare with the intention of involving all of them.  I'll also point out that you need to know the player's character.  A player with a relavent skill may not know that he or she has a relavent skill.  If the wizard asks, "Does any of this sound familiar?"  You can push him in the right direction.  It is permissible to help push a low level and/or new group along some early on.  If you get them in the habit of asking questions, they are more likely to participate.  They won't need the push as much as they get into the game.  When they discover these things on their own based on their character's skills, you need to make them think that their characters know the findings as a fact.  This is where the DM and Player Dynamic really come into play.  If you have a new group, you probably should explain that you don't lie about checks.  They might fail a roll and get false data; however, you as the DM will give information based on the rolls.  Then you have to make sure that your data that you plan on divulging "adds" up.  This is just part of planning.
 
Second, you also want to set up the timeframe.  I don't generally like a tight timeframe and avoid them when I can.  That's just personal preference.  I tend to give myself some play in the timeframe when possible.  I wouldn't use an hour; I would use a couple of hours in your example.  Actually, I would use a day or three for low level characters and add some travel time (the cure ain't next door after all; well most time    ) to cut into that time.  If you give a tight timeframe, it's real easy for the players to "lose" the game.  With a looser timeframe, you can still "reward" the party for "playing hard" as long as they are still in the ballpark. 

So, to summarize:

You should foster a good DM / Player dynamic.  I use skill rolls, among other things, to help fulfill this.  It represents what the player's character knows to be true, and you need to make sure that the players understand this (also let them know about a character not knowing everything and the possibility of failing a roll).  Basically, don't tell the player; tell the character and reinforce that as much as possible.  If the party's healer ends up saying, "He's going to die without this stuff"; it's better than you telling the player those "facts". 

Involve the players early in the plot.  The game is about their story.  I don't know if you do this or not; however, alot of new DMs do make the mistake of handing the adventure to the players and expecting them to run with it.  Don't hand the adventure to them; make them find the adventure as much as possible.  It gives them a personal investment.

I advise, especially with a new group, to keep a looser timeframe over a tight timeframe.  This allows for some mistakes, on the DM's part and player's part, while still having a ticking clock.  Sometimes a player will look "at the clock" and realize that they are going to fail with a tight timeframe, and they just give up.  I avoid this with new groups.  The early adventures is where a player picks up habits; quitting ain't a good habit.  In addition, DMing is more about adapting to situations than controlling situations.  I prefer giving myself some wiggle room to make adapting alittle easier.   
I stopped reading that wall of text at the point where the OP started pretending that in-universe days were a relevant metric to character advancement. Judging by the other replies, it only got more unhinged from there.

And I stopped reading the moment I saw the explenation, because it is a misrepresentation (or too much of a simplification at best) of the people clammering for a mechanical fix. Thank you for pointing out I should have read a little bit further for some laughs ;) As if a group of players, barring actual story consequences, would care one bit whether they level in one in game day or in three. Players care about the leveling rate over actual real life time spend gaming*, and since most DMs resolve an extended rest in 5 seconds game time ("you sleep 6 hours and are back at the dungeon"), and fights at full strength actually take less time, the group often resting will in general level faster in real life time than the one going on as lang as possible.

In the end, I don't have the 5MWD problem in my games, but I do clammer for a mechanical sollution. My problem is that I as a DM have to spend time and energy on avoiding it (in fact, as a player I have to do the same) - time and energy I feel are better spend on other things. Simple. I am on the other hand also a fan of the strategy aspect of daily resources, so for me simply removing daily resources is not a good sollution.

* I seem to remember WotC having investigated this and concluding that the typical player wants a leveling rate of once per 5 4-hour gaming sessions.
When players think that the DM is going to make certain things happen, it really takes them out of the world and strains their sense of disbelief. Players should be allowed to create their own stories.


Everything happens in the world because the DM makes it happen and everything the players hear about is because it is something that the DM told the players about (sometimes after they asked for more information). I think the players well understand that the DM is controlling events in the world and I don't think acknowledging that is going to strain anybody's sense of disbelief.

I'll never forget the first time this big nasty boss I led up to for several adventures, who was going to be a recurring villain, got utterly wrecked through the most insane rolls on my own dice that I knew were not loaded.


That is a different kind of thing than what I am talking about. That is an example of allowing player's actions to change the story in their presence or through their actions and that is definitely something to be encouraged. However, that does not also prevent the DM have having separate plot points that you work into the story to progress the campaign (assuming previous player action did not invalidate those story points). For example, if the campaign starts off with an Orc raid on the town the characters are in, then that's a story point the DM is introducing. If you want to use a Drow ambassador at the Orc headquarters to hint that the raids may have a deeper meaning, then the Drow ambassador is going to be present whenever the characters happen to get to the headquarters, or evidence of her, so in the end the players have the same information regardless.

Second, you also want to set up the timeframe.  I don't generally like a tight timeframe and avoid them when I can.  That's just personal preference.  I tend to give myself some play in the timeframe when possible.  I wouldn't use an hour; I would use a couple of hours in your example.  Actually, I would use a day or three for low level characters and add some travel time (the cure ain't next door after all; well most time    ) to cut into that time.  If you give a tight timeframe, it's real easy for the players to "lose" the game.  With a looser timeframe, you can still "reward" the party for "playing hard" as long as they are still in the ballpark.


Ah, but here is the important thing: what if they take that loose timeframe and use the 5MWD to make the dungeon (or whatever) easier for them and in the process do bad things to the class balance between at-will based classes and daily resoruce based classes? I mean that's the whole point of this. You set up a scenario that doesn't have a tight timeframe and that doesn't have constant random ambushes at night (assuming the party takes some measure of sensible precaution when they rest), and so the party uses the 5MWD. I want a mechanical feature that helps maintain the balance of class power to help address it under those conditions.

You should foster a good DM / Player dynamic.  I use skill rolls, among other things, to help fulfill this.  It represents what the player's character knows to be true, and you need to make sure that the players understand this (also let them know about a character not knowing everything and the possibility of failing a roll).  Basically, don't tell the player; tell the character and reinforce that as much as possible.  If the party's healer ends up saying, "He's going to die without this stuff"; it's better than you telling the player those "facts".


Nothing I said precluded any of that, so I'll just assume this is general good advice (which it is) and is not directed specifically at me since it doesn't cover anything that I specifically mentioned as being an issue.

I advise, especially with a new group, to keep a looser timeframe over a tight timeframe.  This allows for some mistakes, on the DM's part and player's part, while still having a ticking clock.  Sometimes a player will look "at the clock" and realize that they are going to fail with a tight timeframe, and they just give up.  I avoid this with new groups.  The early adventures is where a player picks up habits; quitting ain't a good habit.


And isn't this the point of contention? If the players know that they have a week (or a month or whenever) to clear out this dungoen, then how do you prevent them from using the 5MWD (which, again, I really only care about because of what it does to class balance)?
I have trouble wrapping my mind around people having to "spend time and energy on avoiding it"...

I mean, I don't want to burn myself on my stove... so when the burners are on, I don't touch them.  Problem solved.

If I don't want to do something, then it seems that a simple solution is to NOT DO IT... sometimes that requires a few simple precautions, like not touching a hot stove to avoid burning myself.

I don't think a mechanical solution that prevents my stove from heating up is a simple, effective or necessary solution to prevent unwanted burns.

Bravo YagamiFire!!  Well stated.

 

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I agree that a living world is a nice thing to have in a campaign and I always try to create one in the campaigns I run. However, that said, in such a world, how do the players really know that the consequences they are seeing are caused by the 5MWD and not by pre-determined plot points that progress the story. For example, the party took too long retrieving some ingredient for medicine and so the local noble died of some disease. The party could easily look at that and conclude that the noble was going to die no matter what they did (since it happened when they were not around and off-screen) and might never make the connection with the 5MWD (ie. just because you said it was because we took too long, we know you could have had the noble die even if got the medicine in an hour).

Now, just to pre-empt some criticism on players being able to intervene in a story. I consider this a separate issue then the party doing something successfully that was unexpected and also separate from the DM railroading players. In a game with consequences, as you suggest, having relevant consequences implies the existence of an ongoing story and one with events that take place off-screen that the players then learn about. Such a story can also easily feature plot points and story elements that are meant to progress some ongoing story and the player is not well equipped to separate such story points from consequences for taking too long by using the 5MWD thing.



This is the kind of metagame thinking I discourage at my table.  There is no DM and no predetermined plotline (even if there is).  The characters have no concept of these things, and the players should endeavor to think as their characters.  Of course had the players been there, or gotten back in time they could have saved the noble.  There should never be any thought in the players' minds to the contrary.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I have trouble wrapping my mind around people having to "spend time and energy on avoiding it"...

I mean, I don't want to burn myself on my stove... so when the burners are on, I don't touch them.  Problem solved.

If I don't want to do something, then it seems that a simple solution is to NOT DO IT... sometimes that requires a few simple precautions, like not touching a hot stove to avoid burning myself.

I don't think a mechanical solution that prevents my stove from heating up is a simple, effective or necessary solution to prevent unwanted burns.

Incorrect comparison. If you want to stick to the stove, it is more about having a stove with only an on and off switch, but no way to regulate the heat. It is perfect to make certain dishes, but other dishes need adjustments to take the higher or lower heat into account so you need to change the cooking instructions and perhaps even adjust the ingredients needing to go to the supermarket to buy other ones. So each time when you start cooking you need to check what needs to be changed and how. Obviously, if you do a lot of cooking, you are able to do so on the fly without much issues, and you will do so mostly subconsciously at that. It is even easier if your co-cooks accept the limitations and what it means to the dishes. It still costs extra energy though and some dishes might not be possible at all.

In other words, of course I can avoid myteries with one fight, or in case of 3e rule set accept that spell casters will be a lot more powerful than non-spellcasters, or add encounters to get at the optimal number of encounters per day or accept that it will not work exactly as intended, of course I can avoid long dungeon crawls without time constraints or monsters that lack resources to actually react to hit-and-run tactics or design dungeons were the monsters cannot react en-mass immediately and so on. The question is, do I want to? And it are the designers who are trying to sell their product as being able to be used by the largest group of play styles.

First off I would l would like to thank you for taking the time to write this up and post it Yagamifire, and for being willing to engage in honest discourse. Before getting into the rebuttal, know that anything I say is not attacking you, it is simply responding to your post.


First I will cite a few sentences from the 4e player’s handbook. I would cite from other sources and editions, but I don’t have them on hand.


pg 6, 1st column, 2nd paragraph “A roleplaying game is a storytelling game…”


Pg 6, 1st column, 4th paragraph, “The DM is a person who takes on the role of lead storyteller and game referee.”


Pg 6, 2nd column, 3rd paragraph, “D&D is a cooperative game in which you and your friends work together to complete each adventure and have fun.  It’s a storytelling game where the only limit is your imagination.”


Pg 6, 2nd column, 4th paragraph, “You “win” the Dungeons & Dragons game by participating in an exciting story of bold adventures confronting deadly perils.”


Pg 6, 2nd column, 6th paragraph, “You might fail to complete the adventure, but if you had a good time and you created a story that everyone remembers for a long time, the whole group wins.”


These citations state that, D&D is a storytelling game, the DM not only participates in the story, but is the lead storyteller, and that the way you win is to have fun (by telling stories).


This implies it is the DM’s responsibility to provide story, a story that can be interacted with, but a story none the less. I won’t say the way you run is incorrect, who am I to tell you how to play your game. It does throw out assumptions stated empirically in the player’s handbook.


Now let’s assume that the games goals and the method you use to determine the winner are what were stated in your post even though the Player’s handbook says differently. Time is a funny thing; it’s only perceivable by the person experiencing it. Time in relation to the player is most easily tracked in relation to him or herself. It becomes a fuzzy thing when relating it to a construct of the mind in an imagined place. It is much harder to conceptualize “game time”, as opposed to real time as experienced by the player. Attaining power through advancement of your character will most likely be more fulfilling if it is achieved more rapidly in real time than it will be if it is achieved more rapidly in game time, as the player experiences real time and has to imagine game time. The rest period takes little to no real time, and if used frequently to gain the use of stronger powers more rapidly, will overall reduce real time spent on encounters. It can be said the players spent less of their time to advance their characters, thus giving them more advancement in less real time.


To take this a step further, if a character dies, the player has wasted all previous time in advancement. Put these two points together, and any strategy that reduces real time expenditure and the risk of character death simultaneously can be viewed as a superior strategy.


Now on to the real reason the 5MWD is an issue for the majority of us “clamoring” for a mechanical fix. Class balance is based around 16-20 rounds of combat in a day. When less than that occurs in an adventuring day, classes with daily recharge powers become more powerful than intended. This can be ignored, but the truth of the matter is when a class is more powerful in some situations, and less powerful in much less frequently occurring situations, it becomes the strongest choice for players to make. This can have the effect of causing resentment in players towards other players, or homogenizing the group as everyone tries to play the most powerful character. In addition some players won’t like the way the class plays, or wish to emulate one of their favorite characters from novels or movies. To later find out that the character they want to play is a less optimal choice is a disappointing realization.


Having a logical world that moves around the characters is of course desirable, and every DM should strive to achieve this. There are situations where the logical outcome for a player’s choice does not result in a lost opportunity or the world passing them by. When it makes sense in the world for the players to rest after one encounter it behooves the DM to allow the narrative to follow the logical course. This causes the balance of the game to be thrown off, and may result in the negative outcomes listed above.


Any player that is truly invested into their character should see character death as the ultimate failure in most cases. It truly boggles my mind that any one can say that failure should be more devastating than character death, unless the characters ultimate goal is achieved through that death. In the end death means that character has no ability to affect the future. By default he or she has failed at any task in the future. Any one truly immersed in their character, and truly roleplaying them, should see death as the worst outcome possible. A failure can be corrected or mitigated. As such the survival instinct should play a huge roll in player choices. When going into the unknown it is logical to make yourself as prepared as possible. In game terms this translates to having all of your powers available as much as possible.


I have reached my limit unfortunately, I could say much more, but my mind is wandering in the middle of thoughts, so adding further to this wall of text would achieve diminishing returns.


In summary, D&D is won by having fun telling a story. The 5MWD is the means to achieve an imbalance between characters and can result in some players having less fun or no fun at all. A fix for the 5MWD is not necessarily to prevent it from happening (sometimes one encounter in a day is just what the story calls for) but rather a means to keep classes balanced against each other when it does occur for logical reasons.

There is no DM and no predetermined plotline.  The characters have no concept of these things, and the players should endeavor to think as their characters.  Of course had the players been there, or gotten back in time they could have saved the noble.  There should never be any thought in the players' minds to the contrary.


My statements were in the context of generating consequences for the purpose of the DM showing the players that they were wrong to use the 5MWD. People have previously used examples of orc raids or killing characters' loved ones or things of that nature. This is a step removed from the surprise night ambush and my point was that these can't work as 5MWD punishments since they involve what can easily appear as standard story plot items, which the players would handle in character instead of connecting it out-of-character to their decisions to do a 5MWD. Even the example retreiving the medicine example only works if the players got back within the specified timeframe, but still found the noble dead because the DM didn't like that they used the 5MWD (I may have needed to be more clear on this point).

And, of course, the point of all of that was to point out that in the absence of tight deadlines, the DM does not have any good in-game solutions to a party that is using the 5MWD in a way that upsets the class balance between at-will based classes and daily resources based classes. He does have in-game solutions, but I don't think any of them are very good (ie. punishments, night ambushes, completely avoiding loose deadline adventures / quests, completely avoiding no deadline adventures / quests, etc.).

I have trouble wrapping my mind around people having to "spend time and energy on avoiding it"...


It is based on the premise that I don't want it to happen and so I spend effort to making sure it doesn't happen. Every minute I spend trying to ensure that the 5MWD will not be a problem in my game is a minute I don't get to spend on something I would rather be doing. There are only so many minutes that I can spend on this hobby and I want to spend them on things I want to spend them on without allowing problems to happen that I don't want to happen. A comparable example would be if I was the DM and I had a 3e edition Wizard in the party and if I believe that there are some terribly broken spells in 3e. I have to spend time making sure that the wizard does not take those broken spells (because I don't want them in the game) and I have to read each spell she wants to choose to make sure it is not one of the broken spells. If I did not believe that there were any broken spells (or if I did not care about it at all), then I could spend that time doing something else because I don't want to have to comb through her selections for broken spells.

I don't think a mechanical solution that prevents my stove from heating up is a simple, effective or necessary solution to prevent unwanted burns.


Not the greatest analogy since your example needs to have three factors: the DM, the party, and the 5MWD. A better analogy might a parent, a young child, and a cupboard filled with cleaning chemicals. The parent (the DM) tells the child (the party, not to imply any kind of childishness or parental issues, it is just an example) not to go into the chemical cupboard (use the 5MWD), but they want to anyway. A mechanical solution would be the equivalent of a child safety lock on the cupboard to prevent the child from going in. The analogy is not perfect since there are tones of "protection for your own good" in it, but it is certainly closer than your example of me burning my own hand.
MadFox, I think my comparison is sound.  I am comparing avoiding the "no-good, awful, very bad, badness" of the 5MWD to avoiding getting burned by your stove... in both cases, the simplest way to avoid something bad, is to not do it.

Your comparison is irrelevant.  I don't care if you're cooking over a campfire or a state-of -the-art professional range with a gazillion temperature settings... the best way to avoid getting burned is to not put your hand in contact with the heat.

It seems to be less of an issue with the length of the day, and more of an issue with how people are allowed to "get away" with playing spell-casters.  If spell-casters are unbalancing your game, then that's the issue that needs to be addressed.
I think my comparison is sound.  I am comparing avoiding the "no-good, awful, very bad, badness" of the 5MWD to avoiding getting burned by your stove... in both cases, the simplest way to avoid something bad, is to not do it.


But relate your example back to the situation at hand. If the 5MWD is the stove (or fire or whatever), who is trying to avoid getting burned? If I am the DM, it is the players that I don't want to use the 5MWD. If I am a player, it is my fellow players that I don't want to use the 5MWD.

If spell-casters are unbalancing your game, then that's the issue that needs to be addressed.


Well, yes, but we are not allowed to do that. One very easy solution would be to change how a Wizard, for example, is a daily resources based class and make it into something far less dependent on its daily spells, but we are not allowed to pursue that option. Just to be clear, a low-level Wizard in 5e is far less dependent on its daily resources than a 3e or earlier Wizard. At those low levels, the at-will and encounter spells are far more significant, but as the Wizard levels up, they become less and less important compared to the at level spell effects, which then increases the importance of the daily resource spells. We cannot pursue vastly decreasing the importance of daily resources (cannot or will not as the case may be) and we cannot spread around the dependence on daily resoruces (cannot or will not as the case may be), so we have to go after the problem of class imbalance from a different angle.
Cheethorne, there are already "child-safety locks" on the 5MWD.  Most editions seem to have some kind of rule which effectively states that players can only benefit from a rest once every 24 hours... if your players are still going out of their way to break into that chemical cabinet to guzzle bleach, then its up to you as the DM/parent to either stop them or let them suffer. 

It is not the responsibility of the Clorox company to come into your house, remove all of your cabinets and replace them with industrial-grade, cypher-locked, HazMat lockers.
Cheethorne, there are already "child-safety locks" on the 5MWD.  Most editions seem to have some kind of rule which effectively states that players can only benefit from a rest once every 24 hours...


You consider that the equivalent to a safety lock? To each their own I suppose and an analogy will only take us so far, but suffice it to say that if that were enough of a deterrent, then I would not continue to a problem here. As for your solutions (DM stop them or let them suffer), I don't consider either of those good enough solutions, which of course should be obvious since I prefer a mechanical solution.

How about this for a question, do you feel that restating your opinion over and over again is going to change my mind? Do you feel that you are saying something that has not been said before?

I do find it kind of funny that when Dwarfslayer started this most recent round of 5MWD discussions, the post was quite long and went into detail about the counter points to the 5MWD that he felt were out there and discussed why he did not think those counter points were good enough (or valid or whatever as the case may be). I don't think I've seen any general counter point on the 5MWD that was not covered by his post. Certainly, specific criticisms on proposed mechanical solutions offer new information and has helped me clarify what kind of mechanical solutions I would like to see (or optional rules or whatever), but that's not what you did here.
All I was trying to say was that I don't understand how people are exhausting themselves to avoid doing something that they don't want to do in the first place...
All I was trying to say was that I don't understand how people are exhausting themselves to avoid doing something that they don't want to do in the first place...



LOL  This just gave me a flash of Evil Dead 2 when Ash is attacked by his own hand.  :-)

Evil Dead 2 

My Mom always said, "if it hurts when you do that, then don't do that." 

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

... hence, my confusion.

Everything happens in the world because the DM makes it happen and everything the players hear about is because it is something that the DM told the players about (sometimes after they asked for more information). I think the players well understand that the DM is controlling events in the world and I don't think acknowledging that is going to strain anybody's sense of disbelief.



Incorrect assumption. "Everything" does not happen in my world because I make it happen. After I place events and such in my world, they resolve through die roll and player intervention. If I set up a conspiracy, I do not get to decide how (or even when) it will end. It is randomized. Might it resolve itself just fine? Yes. Might it end poorly for the world? Yes. I do not know which way it will go however.

Since my players know that I do not, in fact, decide when/how everything happens in the world, they know things are unfolding around them at the worlds pace...not that of anyone at the table.

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.


Everything happens in the world because the DM makes it happen and everything the players hear about is because it is something that the DM told the players about (sometimes after they asked for more information). I think the players well understand that the DM is controlling events in the world and I don't think acknowledging that is going to strain anybody's sense of disbelief.


When the whole world is basically allowed to exist in a vacuum that the players create by their presence, it can. I really don't control everything. Similar to Yagami, what I do is create places, people, and events, and try to have them unfold as naturally and organically as I possibly can.



That is a different kind of thing than what I am talking about. That is an example of allowing player's actions to change the story in their presence or through their actions and that is definitely something to be encouraged. However, that does not also prevent the DM have having separate plot points that you work into the story to progress the campaign (assuming previous player action did not invalidate those story points). For example, if the campaign starts off with an Orc raid on the town the characters are in, then that's a story point the DM is introducing. If you want to use a Drow ambassador at the Orc headquarters to hint that the raids may have a deeper meaning, then the Drow ambassador is going to be present whenever the characters happen to get to the headquarters, or evidence of her, so in the end the players have the same information regardless.



Not in my world they won't. I may have a personal desire to see something like that happen, and I may create the possibility as a result, but that drow isn't just going to sit there waiting for them to show.

This brings up and interesting point that John "Totalbiscuit" Baine said specifically about new generation shooters vs. older games. New generation shooters, compared to their roots, feel like they are more like guided tours, and that older shooters like Duke 3D had completely different set-ups, because the developers weren't so selfish that they had to make sure everyone saw every little thing that they had created. Sometimes people miss the stuff that you've created, and they might never know.

That said there are things you can do in that situation. Maybe a note was left with a strange cipher on it that the orcs were supposed to get to someone. This way they still get something, but now this drow is a couple steps ahead of them, and tha t may cost them down the road, if they don't find a way to catch up. Time flows in my world much like it does in the real world. Think about Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, and all the work they put into running down that pack of Uruks in The Two Towers. The movie doesn't really demonstrate how many weeks they were at that.

Or who knows. The players might arrive early, kill all the orcs, and somehow realize an important agent i sabout to show up. When he gets there, he'll be shocked to find all his compatriots butchered, or gone, depending on what the PCs did to clean up the scene. More later, but I has got to go.


..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" class="mceContentBody " contenteditable="true" />
Incorrect assumption. "Everything" does not happen in my world because I make it happen. After I place events and such in my world, they resolve through die roll and player intervention. If I set up a conspiracy, I do not get to decide how (or even when) it will end. It is randomized. Might it resolve itself just fine? Yes. Might it end poorly for the world? Yes. I do not know which way it will go however.

Since my players know that I do not, in fact, decide when/how everything happens in the world, they know things are unfolding around them at the worlds pace...not that of anyone at the table.



Totally agree with this.  I would have ended you last sentence, "not that of any one person at the table."

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Doesn't all this kind of revolve around a Descent-type of game though?  What if it's a campaign with no combat?  The 5mwd doesn't really hold then does it?

jh

Gamer Chiropractor - Hafner Chiropractic 305 S. Kipling st,Suite C-2, Lakewood, Co 80226 hafnerchiropractic.com

... hence, my confusion.



Google "David Sirlin Scrub Mentality" and give it a read. It will pretty much answer your questions.

When people with a certain mind-set run into issues with a game they are playing, they too often rush to blame the game and demand changes instead of getting self-reflective and seeing if it's something they're doing. This is exacerbated by the "no wrong way to play!" mindless mantra that has gripped D&D combined with the "The point is fun!" fallacy. These things combine to the point where NOTHING can actually be discussed because nothing is anyones fault, everything is valid (so long as it's subjectively fun) and no one can be making any mistakes...ego, the only option left is that the game sucks in all ways and must be overhauled until people EVERYWHERE no longer run into ANY problems with it.

Do not bother trying to understand the mentality. There is nothing logical about it. It is purely emotional and illogical.

And so...

...hence, your confusion.

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.

Well yagami, it seems wherever  the discussion is placed, there will be detritus. Some of your counter rebubutals were sound, a few cogent. Others I disagree with. I have another 10 hour shift coming up in 6 hours and I need to sleep yet, so I don't have time to respond properly. At the very least your counter argument and clarifications pointed out areas where I need to correct my arguments and make them clearer. I think in the end, we will come to an agreement. It seems without personal attacks, and having to ward and protect against flaming, logical discussion, and rational thought process can at least make our differing points of view more intelligable to others. Thanks for helping me refine my argument, and discussing this in a reasonable manner.
The off topic posts have been reported.  Please contribute or leave.  I am enjoying the discussion and the off topic complaining about the OPs attitude are ruining it for me.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Well yagami, it seems wherever  the discussion is placed, there will be detritus. Some of your counter rebubutals were sound, a few cogent. Others I disagree with. I have another 10 hour shift coming up in 6 hours and I need to sleep yet, so I don't have time to respond properly. At the very least your counter argument and clarifications pointed out areas where I need to correct my arguments and make them clearer. I think in the end, we will come to an agreement. It seems without personal attacks, and having to ward and protect against flaming, logical discussion, and rational thought process can at least make our differing points of view more intelligable to others. Thanks for helping me refine my argument, and discussing this in a reasonable manner.



Phuzz, you're one of the good ones. I sincerely mean that. Believe me when I say that I hope we do reach some kind of agreement or accord, but that I do not care if we don't. It won't bother me in the least if we don't, especially as I am enjoying the conversation for what it is. You are making me refine my own opinions, clarify them and improve on my own thought process...in this regard, the journey is potentially just as or even more valuable than the destination.

I have the day off today, but still have to plan for an airsoft event my team is working on including editing some promo teaser trailers and such so my night is going to be a bit full as well. I look forward to what you post up. In the mean time...SLEEP!

As for the detritus you mentioned, what will make them all the more angry is when I don't even really respond to them since, really, they aren't worth my time.

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.

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... countless DMs have never had a problem with the 5mwd but the assumption seems to be we have avoided that problem through bizarre contrivances or avoiding entire story structures.

The 5mwd phenomenon is created through the fault of the DM.



Agree 100%.  

IMO,  players who try to avoid game-reality to take advantage of game mechanics are using cheese tactics at best and cheating at worst.   Any decent player who has been playing for a while should know better than to try this.   I'm fortunate enough to have a table full of decent players, so I don't have to create bizarre contrivances to counter such cheese.

Anyone, nay everyone defending the 5MWD knows that if a game has powers called "dailies" were never intended to used every encounter.   That's why there's "encounter" powers.    Any attempt at such a defense is arguing semantics when the game design for these powers is very obvious.


I am confused - why do people say that a time limit on the adventure is contrived? I look up the definition of this and I think you can have time limits that "arise naturally or spontaneously." No? Do people think this is "artificial?" Also, what about D&D isn't "artificial?"
I think one of the reasons some players find time limits arbitrary is that the realism of the setting isn't always maintained in great detail, and sometimes time becomes flexible in ways that it shouldn't, without anyone really meaning for that to happen. Then when time limits come back into the picture when time previously wasn't recognized as something valuable in and of itself, it could feel pretty forced or contrived.
I think one of the reasons some players find time limits arbitrary is that the realism of the setting isn't always maintained in great detail, and sometimes time becomes flexible in ways that it shouldn't, without anyone really meaning for that to happen. Then when time limits come back into the picture when time previously wasn't recognized as something valuable in and of itself, it could feel pretty forced or contrived.



I've been trying to answer this one for a while now (it originally came up weeks ago), and I think you hit the nail on the head!  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I suspect you are right.  The only times the 5MWD has ever reared it head in my games was when we didn't track in-game time painstakingly.  When time becomes undefined or amorphous in-game, then suddenly comes back into sharp definition or focus it probably would always seem contrived.  On the other hand, because we almost always track time precisely when a timed quest comes about it seems as natural as the rising of the sun in the east.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Ah, I see. How much realism should I have so that the time limit are not arbitrary?
Everything happens in the world because the DM makes it happen



No. Barring silly things like natural disasters, the characters, whether PC or NPC, are the only things that have any agency in the setting. Once I create the NPCs, they do as they will and I get no control over them anymore. One of the writers my class is actualyl studying said something very similar about characters she writes in her stories. Once she gives life to them, they get to write their own stories, and not even she knows what they're going to do until they do it. The thing about the players, is that they are the ones who have actual real control over their own characters. You are right in the sense that everything that happened is the indirect result of the DM creating the world and everything in it, sure, but once I create the world, I also relinquish control of it. All I do is manage the physics via the rules and adjudication.

and everything the players hear about is because it is something that the DM told the players about (sometimes after they asked for more information). I think the players well understand that the DM is controlling events in the world and I don't think acknowledging that is going to strain anybody's sense of disbelief.



The only information source the players have is the senses of their characters. Now, again, you're right insofar as I run the rules that determine what their senses get, but I can't use those rules to try and color or determine the nature of the information they recieve.

And isn't this the point of contention? If the players know that they have a week (or a month or whenever) to clear out this dungoen, then how do you prevent them from using the 5MWD (which, again, I really only care about because of what it does to class balance)?



The faster you get something done, the faster you can move on to something else and/or get on with your life? I mean, who knows what you're missing while you're down in that dungeon, especialyl if the PCs are aware of hints of much deeper going-ons within the shadows? In the real world, the most valuable resource anyone has is time, and that's no different in D&D.
Ah, I see. How much realism should I have so that the time limit are not arbitrary?



This is one of those hard ones to answer, as different people are able to maintain suspension of disbelief at different levels.

I would say however much it takes for your players to be aware that there is a world out there, and that there are other things they need/want to get to besides this dank smelly dungeon they're in.

Once it feels to you and yours as though your world is a living, breathing place, ("They'd never get away with that in Greyhawk!" A quote from the 3.5 DMG about realism and maintaining verisimilitude in the game world.) I think the right balance has been struck. As a DM, I have found few thrills I have enjoyed more than hearing my players out of session talk about real-world events and the possible consequences of them occuring in my setting. Oh, how I wish for those days again.

I've been trying to answer this one for a while now (it originally came up weeks ago), and I think you hit the nail on the head!  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I suspect you are right.  The only times the 5MWD has ever reared it head in my games was when we didn't track in-game time painstakingly.  When time becomes undefined or amorphous in-game, then suddenly comes back into sharp definition or focus it probably would always seem contrived.  On the other hand, because we almost always track time precisely when a timed quest comes about it seems as natural as the rising of the sun in the east.



The subject of in-game time vs. real time is something that comes up here and there in the 3.5 DMG, and frankly, I never felt like enough attention was really given to it. Quality realistic world-building can be a truly massive under-taking for people with years of professional training and a natural talent for it. This is hardly any different what what real-world authors do when they write notes for settings and characters. often times just the setting notes can be larger than the book itself.
Just droppin' by to give a few of my thoughts on the five minute workday (which I never really experienced in my DMing history, but I admittedly do all the time in classic D&D CRPGs):


  • It happens when time and the world at large becomes a non-issue

  • It happens when healing and real life micromanagement becomes a constant issue

  • It does not happen as often when you have encounter and at-will resources in addition to daily resources

  • It does not happen as often when the players know that there are consequences for their (in)action


I must admit, as a computer RPG enthusiast who plays D&D-based games such as Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, I often end up ignoring the "number of days passed" counter not only because I'm not punished for taking multi-day rests, but also because it's tiring and annoying to go through the interface repeatedly just to cast Cure Wounds and what not, just to minimize the time, as well as because I rarely have enough gold to purchase all the available healing potions in town, if there's even enough to buy at all.  Then there's the fact that potion-based healing in CRPGs consist of spending your entire turn quaffing the potion, as opposed to the spell-based option of having someone else heal you (although I do tend to have the cleric/druid charge into the fray, use healing spells to keep themselves alive, then healing the group after the battle).

All of the above stuff made me appreciate 4E's mechanics a LOT when they were first introduced to me, because even though I am still not punished for multi-day rests, at least it's a simple manner of "you completely heal up" instead of having to recover 1 HP per day (or having the cleric come back to me each day to heal me so that we can continue our adventures the day after the last healing session).  Instead of having to spend gold on healing potions that may or may not be available just to lengthen adventure time, I have healing surges.  And finally, I have access to encounter-based resources, as opposed to just at-will or daily; this last bit helps reinforce the idea that I have been given the resources I need as both PC and player to push through with the rest of the day.

Sometimes I feel it still isn't enough, and then I realize why: it's because the only thing written about extended rests is that you spend four or six hours doing light activities (including sleep) and there's mention about not benefitting from extended rests when your PC doesn't actually sleep uninterrupted at least once in 24 hours.  That bit didn't really have an impact on me until I got to read between the lines (something that most people don't seem to have a knack for): things happen in the world while you're idle, things that never actually happen in CRPGs mostly due to lazy programming (although I do know for a fact that a few CJRPGs actually revolve around stuff happening while you sleep).  In-game time -- that one bit that most of my CRPGs almost always fails to take into account -- has a HUGE impact in the story, and it's that bit that always is hardest to grasp as an unguided, new DM.

This last bit about time is exactly why I appreciate 13th Age's rules/rulings approach to the matter:

  1. Explicitly stating "story complications" which happen as a result of premature extended rests, as opposed to implying it.  Helps DMs who are unaware of the importance of time by a LOT.

  2. Having extended rests by number of significant encounters, as opposed to actual days.  This allows two things:


  • the ability to have extended rests happen between days or even weeks, allowing DMs who want gladiatorial events (which tend to be only 1/day in-world) to not be an excuse for the five minute workday to exist; a simple in-world explanation is that gladiatorial action is very strenuous, and although there was sleep, the impact on your nerves prevents the full benefit of an extended rest (partial benefits should be granted of course, like recovering a healing surge or something)

  • encouraging players to actually stop holding on to those daily powers like they can still use it for an encounter that may happen even after the ending credits roll.  The problem with dailies is that because they're such a limited resource, players tend to hold onto them like crazy and won't spend them unless they're backed into a corner like absolute hell**.  There was this one MYRE adventure that I made, for instance, where the boss fight was the first fight of the day: two elites, four hazards, and one solo, all in one mega-encounter.  Even in the thick of it all, the players only began using their dailies when their healing was down to Second Wind (all encounter healing out, all daily healing from their NPC companion gave out).  In 13th Age, with the opportunities given to recover dailies, as well as complete recovery after roughly 4-5 encounters, I feel it's far more likely that the PCs would just let loose when push comes to shove.




Honestly, a lot of stuff about DMing that makes for "good" adventures -- including the prevention of the five minute workday -- doesn't seem to filter down well through the D&D books, and if it weren't for Google power I fear that many more (budding) DMs might be left in the cold on the matter.  This is exactly why there should be either guidelines, or better yet rules, regarding the matter of stuff that the more experienced DMs understand as "you should already know this by instinct": because not everyone has the knack for properly gauging what makes for "good" DMing, and not everyone knows how to even DM properly in the first place, especially if their only source of guidance (due to lack of experience and/or either backbone or fist) is the rules themselves.  Which they don't always run properly.


** and even then, they'd  be hesitant to use them.

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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Once I create the NPCs, they do as they will and I get no control over them anymore. One of the writers my class is actualyl studying said something very similar about characters she writes in her stories. Once she gives life to them, they get to write their own stories, and not even she knows what they're going to do until they do it... You are right in the sense that everything that happened is the indirect result of the DM creating the world and everything in it, sure, but once I create the world, I also relinquish control of it. All I do is manage the physics via the rules and adjudication.


As the DM, you also manage fate / destiny and luck. What you talked about above certainly applies to characters, but it doesn't affect events that are in the hands of the DM (ie. ones not instigated by the players). The thing about characters taking on a life of their own (and similar quotes) is that it is meant to portray that once the author breathes life into a character, she doesn't have to give those characters lines or actions anymore, she just knows how they would react and what they would say as events unfold in the story, but that approach does not handle the actual events of a story. Some stories only have one event (like a family member dies and everyone gets together for the funeral) or it could have many events, but in both cases the events were introduced by the author like throwing a rock into a pond. Even if the DM doesn't force the ripples to go in specific directions, they still threw the rock. Now, certainly, the players can create their own events, but they are not the only ones and even then, all of the fate / destiny / luck aspects of how the world reacts to the player's events is under the control of the party.

The only information source the players have is the senses of their characters. Now, again, you're right insofar as I run the rules that determine what their senses get, but I can't use those rules to try and color or determine the nature of the information they recieve.


The DM, most often, provides the details of what those sense see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. The party goes into a room, the DM has to describe the room. Every detail the DM does not provide is a detail that the players either have to make up for themselves or is simply not there. For example, if the DM doesn't mention the large suitcase in the corner of the room, the party does not know it is there. They have no ability to discern it is there unless the DM mentions it at some point.

The faster you get something done, the faster you can move on to something else and/or get on with your life? I mean, who knows what you're missing while you're down in that dungeon, especialyl if the PCs are aware of hints of much deeper going-ons within the shadows? In the real world, the most valuable resource anyone has is time, and that's no different in D&D.


And if that was enough, then there wouldn't be a problem, but that is not enough.
I will say, however, that I am enjoying the fact that I have become a focal point of the forum. For everyone saying I have too much of an ego, they also seem SO willing to feed it by devoting so much time to me.

I'd be flattered, but I don't value their opinion. Oh what a catch-22!

EDIT: Just wanted to add, you can think of me as a poison all you want...I prefer to think of myself as bitter medicine. Plug your nose, open your mouth and swallow. I'm good for you. Maybe in the future they'll make me in grape flavor. Until then, mommy knows best. Drink up.



Wow Yagami, hilarious.

Also, good stuff by Chaosfang.

As the DM, you also manage fate / destiny and luck.



Actually, that's the province of the dice.

What you talked about above certainly applies to characters, but it doesn't affect events that are in the hands of the DM (ie. ones not instigated by the players).



That's just it though, there aren't any events that are in my hands. I don't decide what the NPCs and other forces do, so much as I extrapolate based on their defining traits.

The thing about characters taking on a life of their own (and similar quotes) is that it is meant to portray that once the author breathes life into a character, she doesn't have to give those characters lines or actions anymore, she just knows how they would react and what they would say as events unfold in the story, but that approach does not handle the actual events of a story. Some stories only have one event (like a family member dies and everyone gets together for the funeral) or it could have many events, but in both cases the events were introduced by the author like throwing a rock into a pond. Even if the DM doesn't force the ripples to go in specific directions, they still threw the rock. Now, certainly, the players can create their own events, but they are not the only ones and even then, all of the fate / destiny / luck aspects of how the world reacts to the player's events is under the control of the party.



Again, I create the world. I might create it in such a state that it's soon going to rapidly kareen toward a crisis point, but I won't be the initiator of that crisis.

The DM, most often, provides the details of what those sense see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. The party goes into a room, the DM has to describe the room. Every detail the DM does not provide is a detail that the players either have to make up for themselves or is simply not there. For example, if the DM doesn't mention the large suitcase in the corner of the room, the party does not know it is there. They have no ability to discern it is there unless the DM mentions it at some point.



This is all true, but anything that they percieve gets mentioned. What matters is whether or not they percieve it. Now, like everyone else I make mistakes and might forget to mention something. Oh god that reminds me of this hilarious Vampire: The Requiem game. There was even a suitcase involved.

So, my group (I was one of the players, a Cruac blood sorcerer.) was going to meet this guy who knew information about a hostage we were trying to find and recover as a favor for someone. Well, he showed up with a suitcase that supposedly contained the info we needed. We get to talking and we realize he isn't being very cooperative, and he arms the bomb that was apparently in the suitcase. We all try to snatch it from him and disarm the bomb, but we can't. See, it turns out, the suitcase was nailed to his hand, which the storyteller neglected to mention. One of the group members promptly freaked out and shouted, "The f*** do you mean it's nailed to his f****** hand!? You don't think you could have f****** told us that sooner?" The storyteller got this dastardly grin on his face and just kind of giggled before saying, "Sorry." He caught flak for a couple years pretty regularly after that.

And if that was enough, then there wouldn't be a problem, but that is not enough.



I suggest figuring out why that isn't enough for your group. Because real people don't want to spend forever with a project hanging over their heads. Even characters in heroic fantasy always eagerly press on toward the end of their journey. They seek a resolution, an end, so they can rest for real.
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