No "wrong" way

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It is said here-abouts that there is no wrong way to play D&D. Since no way can be wrong this should mean all various game types should not only be supported by the game but by the community as well since failing to support in spirit equates to excluding someone as if they are wrong. After all, to not support the various "right ways" equally would be to leave some out and to not be totally inclusive is to be exclusive, no?

I disagree with this entire sentiment about "no wrong way", but have been told that I'm wrong. Fair enough. Let the testing of these limits and this water begin...

Group A plays strictly by the book. If a character dies, they die. If an attack hits, it hits. If a player has spells they can cast them. Etc. The DM does his best to run the game. Sometimes people get upset because they are invested in the game and are passionate about it. If asked, they say they play D&D.

Group B has a number of house rules. These house rules are enforceable, discrete and integrated into the larger system. The DM controls many aspects of the game beyond what the book calls for including designing all the characters mechanical statistics for the players before they start playing. Emotions do not run high in this game because players have a come-what-may attitude. If asked, they say they play D&D.

Group C uses no rules of the D&D books, having replaced them all with systems from other games, loud arguing and rock/paper/scissors. They do not use dice. The players are very emotional in this game almost all the time because they all have strong opinions on the game. If asked, they say they play D&D.

Group D has a smaller number of house rules than Group B. These house rules are difficult to adjudicate because they are very situational and encompass large gray areas. This group finds humor and joy in their game because they have replaced the non-human races with races & creeds seperate from their own that they enjoy killing because they are a group of racists. If asked, they say they play D&D.

Group E needs no rules because they get together to paint miniatures for their friends to use in Group A. They enjoy the social interaction of this activity as well as the artistic pursuit of it so they find great joy in it. Because they are helping Group A they feel they make a strong contribution to Group A's game. If asked, they say they play D&D.

Group F uses the mechanical interactions of various parts of D&D like law vs chaos and the levels of spells as a framework for the group-writing that they do. They do not use dice or even character sheets because they write short stories together for compilation into books but they do structure the fictional world they write about in accordance with the mechanics of D&D. If asked, they say they play D&D.

6 groups. 6 different situations. All claim they play D&D.

If there is no "wrong way" it means there are only "right ways". Therefore, are these 6 examples all the right way to play D&D? And, if so, does (should in your opinion) the community support these 6 examples and all others as valid representations of the game?

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.

Makes sense to me.  Other than a couple of your comments which seem to lean towards insulting the people in your group all of those categories seem like reasonable things to find at real tables.  But then again they are your hypothetical group, so you can make them as "racist" as you like.
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I don't know.  I feel that there is a very important difference between "wrong" and "unsupported."  Wrong implies incorrectness while lack of support measures popularity.  Asking a codified, if open-ended, game to cater to all its possible permutations leads to rather unwieldy design choices and bloat. 

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

It sounds like the only "wrong" way to play is to ignore what everybody else at the table wants to do

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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Makes sense to me.  Other than a couple of your comments which seem to lean towards insulting the people in your group all of those categories seem like reasonable things to find at real tables.  But then again they are your hypothetical group, so you can make them as "racist" as you like.



I don't understand. Are you saying racism doesn't exist? Or that racists don't exist? Bit confused on this one.

If your point is that all of these situations may exist, yes I agree that is more than plausible. The question is, are these all D&D?

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 don't know.  I feel that there is a very important difference between "wrong" and "unsupported."  Wrong implies incorrectness while lack of support measures popularity.  Asking a codified, if open-ended, game to cater to all its possible permutations leads to rather unwieldy design choices and bloat. 




I agree in many regards. Assuming a game needs to be infinitely open-ended is a recipe for disaster as it eliminates the games ability to have an identity and identity is very important, especially for new players. It also creates more and more "bloat" as you so accurately put it and such bloat is also a barrier not only to elegant game design but a barrier to learning the game 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.

It sounds like the only "wrong" way to play is to ignore what everybody else at the table wants to do



So if everyone at the table wants to play Xbox...are you playing D&D when you play Xbox?

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.

yes, they're all playing DND, Group E and F probably wouldn't claim to be in reality, but if they do (for the sake of your example) it's not really an issue- they're still playing with aspects of the system, and therefore playing DND, still utilizing what might be termed as the game's cultural mechanics and legacy.

Now, are they valid representations of the game? They're valid, but they aren't good Representations of the Game because they utilize only certain aspects of the game, and don't depict the most common/popular ways of playing, nor do they depict anythign resembling the full breadth of the game's capabilities, whereas A, B, and D are probably better examples (note that the lack of ethics or immaturity of D aren't relevant, this constitues a red herring) of the game being played. If we were showing the game to a group of people outside of the game (again ignoring the red herring with group d) these groups would be better, as they actually show how most of us play.

Interestingly enough, E actually represents a part of the game, contrary to what i'm guessing is your expectation, many gamers enjoy the practice of painting miniatures, often for their own use but not neccesarily so. Furthermore, F is how most of the DND books have been written (the annotated edition of Dragonlance Chronicles illustrates this pretty well), as have others.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

It seems semantically inaccurate for groups C, E & F to say that they "play D&D". Maybe if it was phrased as 'participate in' or 'involved with' D&D.
It seems semantically inaccurate for groups C, E & F to say that they "play D&D" (i.e. it could confuse or mislead). Maybe if it was phrased as 'participate in' or 'involved with' D&D.


 i think it could be best termed as "Playing With"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

What is the right way to play D&D?
What is the right way to play D&D?

With other people.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

yes, they're all playing DND, Group E and F probably wouldn't claim to be in reality, but if they do (for the sake of your example) it's not really an issue- they're still playing with aspects of the system, and therefore playing DND, still utilizing what might be termed as the game's cultural mechanics and legacy.



So you would be willing to point them out to non-players as examples of D&D? And yes, I have seen a Group E claim to be playing D&D. They were children that painted miniatures (messily I might add) but they all very much claimed to be playing D&D.

Now, are they valid representations of the game? They're valid, but they aren't good Representations of the Game because they utilize only certain aspects of the game, and don't depict the most common/popular ways of playing, nor do they depict anythign resembling the full breadth of the game's capabilities, whereas A, B, and D are probably better examples (note that the lack of ethics or immaturity of D aren't relevant, this constitues a red herring) of the game being played. If we were showing the game to a group of people outside of the game (again ignoring the red herring with group d) these groups would be better, as they actually show how most of us play.



Ah you answered my first question. So there are "more valid" examples of D&D? Does this not mean that there are playstyles that are MORE RIGHT than other playstyles? After all, validity of something means the correctness of it...correctness implies right and wrong.

Interestingly enough, E actually represents a part of the game, contrary to what i'm guessing is your expectation, many gamers enjoy the practice of painting miniatures, often for their own use but not neccesarily so. Furthermore, F is how most of the DND books have been written (the annotated edition of Dragonlance Chronicles illustrates this pretty well), as have others.



I do not suggest that E cannot be a part of the game. I was admiring my friends (a player in my campaign) painted miniature last night. Its an impressive piece of work. Please, try not to guess at my expectations unless you enjoy being surprised (I know some people that don't).

As for F, then those DND books are good examples of the game of D&D being played?

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.

It seems semantically inaccurate for groups C, E & F to say that they "play D&D". Maybe if it was phrased as 'participate in' or 'involved with' D&D.



Do those terms not diminish their "playing" of D&D? In doing so, doesn't that imply that their way is "less right" since they are not "playing"?

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.

If there is no "wrong way" it means there are only "right ways".

The statement "No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D. It simply refers to not being able to say "you're having fun the wrong way" or "you're using the D&D books the wrong way".





If there is no "wrong way" it means there are only "right ways".

"No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D. It refers to not being able to say "you're having fun the wrong way" or "you're using the D&D books the wrong way".

Well, one could say that religious or authoritarian figures using D&D books to explain why they are banning or burning said materials would be using the books the "wrong" way.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

yes, they're all playing DND, Group E and F probably wouldn't claim to be in reality, but if they do (for the sake of your example) it's not really an issue- they're still playing with aspects of the system, and therefore playing DND, still utilizing what might be termed as the game's cultural mechanics and legacy.



So you would be willing to point them out to non-players as examples of D&D? And yes, I have seen a Group E claim to be playing D&D. They were children that painted miniatures (messily I might add) but they all very much claimed to be playing D&D.

Now, are they valid representations of the game? They're valid, but they aren't good Representations of the Game because they utilize only certain aspects of the game, and don't depict the most common/popular ways of playing, nor do they depict anythign resembling the full breadth of the game's capabilities, whereas A, B, and D are probably better examples (note that the lack of ethics or immaturity of D aren't relevant, this constitues a red herring) of the game being played. If we were showing the game to a group of people outside of the game (again ignoring the red herring with group d) these groups would be better, as they actually show how most of us play.



Ah you answered my first question. So there are "more valid" examples of D&D? Does this not mean that there are playstyles that are MORE RIGHT than other playstyles? After all, validity of something means the correctness of it...correctness implies right and wrong.

Interestingly enough, E actually represents a part of the game, contrary to what i'm guessing is your expectation, many gamers enjoy the practice of painting miniatures, often for their own use but not neccesarily so. Furthermore, F is how most of the DND books have been written (the annotated edition of Dragonlance Chronicles illustrates this pretty well), as have others.



I do not suggest that E cannot be a part of the game. I was admiring my friends (a player in my campaign) painted miniature last night. Its an impressive piece of work. Please, try not to guess at my expectations unless you enjoy being surprised (I know some people that don't).

As for F, then those DND books are good examples of the game of D&D being played?



They're all equally valid ways of playing, but one could make the argument that they're better representations of esoteric ways of playing than of this basic premise of the game. In other words, showing them to someone as a representation of the game would be analogous to showing them bondage as an example of two people engaging in sex- it is a perfectly valid method of having sex, but it represents a more esoteric form of it, as opposed to what is held to be the "Vanilla" form, that is regarded even by the most open-minded as fairly universal.

also, note that i never stated they were more valid, i essentially stated that they were less esoteric, your reduction of my argument strawmanned it quite a bit.

and yes, the authors are playing DND in their heads as the books are written.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

If there is no "wrong way" it means there are only "right ways".

The statement "No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D. It simply refers to not being able to say "you're having fun the wrong way" or "you're using the D&D books the wrong way".






Doesn't it? How are those activities not as "D&D" as anything else if there is no wrong way to use the books or to "have fun"? If a group uses the books to play a word association game derived from random page-flipping and it is fun for them, are they using the D&D books correctly since it is fun?

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.

They're all equally valid ways of playing, but one could make the argument that they're better representations of esoteric ways of playing than of this basic premise of the game. In other words, showing them to someone as a representation of the game would be analogous to showing them bondage as an example of two people engaging in sex- it is a perfectly valid method of having sex, but it represents a more esoteric form of it, as opposed to what is held to be the "Vanilla" form, that is regarded even by the most open-minded as fairly universal.



Esoteric - Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.

So, therefore, those examples are less "right" to show someone as it will give them a less accurate example of D&D? Would the community be wrong for saying, as a community, "Yes that's not really D&D"? Or is that wrong to do? If it is wrong to do, why is it okay to say one example is "more valid" (IE more right) than another? Just because less people are doing it? That seems exclusive.

also, note that i never stated they were more valid, i essentially stated that they were less esoteric, your reduction of my argument strawmanned it quite a bit.

and yes, the authors are playing DND in their heads as the books are written.



Esoteric has already been shown to mean very little in direct regards to what you're talking about. Do you mean "strange" or "abnormal" or something of that kind? Or are you working on using words to avoid saying "wrong"?

At what point did the writers roll dice to play D&D? What constitutes "playing DND" in that regard?

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 statement "No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D.

Doesn't it?

Example: the slogan "There is no wrong way to eat a Reese's" does not imply that non-Reese's eating activities can be labeled as such. Reese's consumption is implicit within the statement.

Are you positing that one must never use the term "there is no wrong way..." for anything?

The statement "No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D.

Doesn't it?

Example: the slogan "There is no wrong way to eat a Reese's" does not imply that non-Reese's eating activities can be labeled as such. Reese's consumption is implicit within the statement.



Therefore, jamming a Reese's pieces into one's temple is a correct way to eat it.

Are you positing that one must never use the term "there is no wrong way..." for anything?




When it comes to serious discussion regarding that topic? Yes absolutely. That sort of phrase has NO MEANING and therefore is useless in the context of a serious discussion, especially when it comes to trying to help others with legitimate advice.

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.

Yagamifire, this thread will be 100 pages because it does not get to any point.

If you trying to say there is a right way, just say what the right way is and be prepare to defend the position. If you trying to get validation for your way of playing, just ask for it. If you do not need a validation, then there is no need for the discussion. You already playing "the right way."

If you think that you are going to stop people from believing all ways are valid as long as they are having fun, you will go crazy. It will never happen!

While I would say that if Groups C and E are having fun then that's great for them, I would also say they're not really playing D&D.


In the case of Group E, it's fairly obvious: they're painting minis and nothing more. I don't think anybody would refer to "painting minis" as "playing D&D". Everybody I know would say they're painting minis.


For group C, well, come on... They're not using any rule from the game and are making their own. They may play in a D&D setting (which is to say, generic fantasy), perhaps, but that may be as far as it gets. It's like saying I play chess, except I use a chinese checkers board, roll for how many spaces I can move and draw a card every turn, which I can use to affect the game in play by sacrificing a piece. My version of "chess" is so far removed from the actual game that nobody would even think about chess in the first place. It would be a completely different game which just happens to use chess pieces. I could call it chess as much as I want, but the fact remains that I've created a new game which is not chess. From this point of view, I believe the example given with Group C is flawed and irrelevant.


Regardless, if Group C is having fun, then good for them. If they were to show up on this forum and ask for advice, however, I'm confident the expected response would be "We could help you with some general gaming concepts because we feel nice, but your question doesn't really belong here as it has nothing to do with D&D." To answer your question more succinctly, they are not playing D&D wrong, nor are they playing it right. That's because they are not playing D&D at all. At least, that's my opinion on the matter given the information provided.


Now I've got this nit-picking out of the way, let's address the true issue here.


I spotted it immediately in the thread's title. I think there is a general misunderstanding when it comes the "No Wrong Way" debate. Given the context in which this phrase usually appears, it is used to mean "As long as they're enjoying the game, it's okay, even if you might disagree. Nothing about their methods or style is inherently wrong."


My view on the matter is not that there is no wrong way. Indeed there are wrong ways to play. However, these change from one group to another, because each one has its own preferences. Some will dislike open worlds, others would rather not use houserules.


 For example, in a topic, Poster A may state that the OP is "playing the game wrong", and offer advice on how to "rectify the situation". Poster B comes along and argues that the OP's group is not playing wrong; it is merely different. Poster A reads this as "there is no wrong way to play", when what Poster B really means is that Poster A's playstyle is not the only correct one. What happened here is nothing more than a misunderstanding, a failure in communication.


Therefore, I believe a more accurate statement would be "There is no universally wrong way to play D&D." Pretty much any style of D&D will be played sometime, somwhere, by people who enjoy it.

That sort of phrase has NO MEANING

To you. It's a semantic issue. Again: those that "there is no wrong way to D&D" are indicating that one should not say "you are playing D&D wrong". However, they are not indicating that one could never say "you are not playing D&D".

Yagamifire, this thread will be 100 pages because it does not get to any point.

If you trying to say there is a right way, just say what the right way is and be prepare to defend the position. If you trying to get validation for your way of playing, just ask for it. If you do not need a validation, then there is no need for the discussion. You already playing "the right way."

If you think that you are going to stop people from believing all ways are valid as long as they are having fun, you will go crazy. It will never happen!



I don't usually do this, but...


This. +1. QFT.


Step up and make your case.

They're all equally valid ways of playing, but one could make the argument that they're better representations of esoteric ways of playing than of this basic premise of the game. In other words, showing them to someone as a representation of the game would be analogous to showing them bondage as an example of two people engaging in sex- it is a perfectly valid method of having sex, but it represents a more esoteric form of it, as opposed to what is held to be the "Vanilla" form, that is regarded even by the most open-minded as fairly universal.



Esoteric - Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.

So, therefore, those examples are less "right" to show someone as it will give them a less accurate example of D&D? Would the community be wrong for saying, as a community, "Yes that's not really D&D"? Or is that wrong to do? If it is wrong to do, why is it okay to say one example is "more valid" (IE more right) than another? Just because less people are doing it? That seems exclusive.

also, note that i never stated they were more valid, i essentially stated that they were less esoteric, your reduction of my argument strawmanned it quite a bit.

and yes, the authors are playing DND in their heads as the books are written.



Esoteric has already been shown to mean very little in direct regards to what you're talking about. Do you mean "strange" or "abnormal" or something of that kind? Or are you working on using words to avoid saying "wrong"?

At what point did the writers roll dice to play D&D? What constitutes "playing DND" in that regard?



Esoteric means specialized area of interest, the reason they're not good representations of the game, but are correct ways of playing it, is because they take a specific part of the game and amplify- they cater to a specific interest, whereas a more generalistic view of the game being played (such as that presented in A, B, and D) represents the game's full capabilities. Whereas the other groups are playing an equally valid game, it has been more tailored to their specific interests (also known as "Esoteric").

I would also note that you're drawing a flase equivalence between whether something is a good example of the game being played, and whether it's a valid way of playing. The two aren't related in this manner, they could only be related in the opposite way (if there were a wrong way to play DND, definitively, you could argue that it wouldn't be a good representation, while whether or not somethign is a good representation has no bearing on whether or not it's the right way to play DND) I would argue that if introducing someone from new to the game, it would be ideal to (unless you are already aware that they would prefer a more esoteric format) show them the general game, and then emphasize that any of the elements present can be amplified, or reduced to make the game more fun for it's participants, while still existing within the confines of "Playing DND" just as much as the aforementioned basic game.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

The statement "No wrong way" does not allow for labeling every activity as D&D.

Doesn't it?

Example: the slogan "There is no wrong way to eat a Reese's" does not imply that non-Reese's eating activities can be labeled as such. Reese's consumption is implicit within the statement.



Therefore, jamming a Reese's pieces into one's temple is a correct way to eat it.


This is laughable. There is no eating; there is only "jamming a Reese's pieces into one's temple". I'm sure you can make the distinction between the two.
Thanks to you Shirebrok for the +1.

I am not sure why I am call a troll sometimes but thread like this with silly conclusions about how to eat candy with a forehead isn't! 
It sounds like the only "wrong" way to play is to ignore what everybody else at the table wants to do



+1
I'm going to chime in. This topic is quite interesting to me and I typically remain in "lurk mode" because I am not able to check the forums often enough to stay current with the threads that interest me.

I feel I cannot remain passive in this case. And, my response will likely be long-winded. And I may not be able to respond to any responses to my post. That being said...


In any conversation, there MUST be a common language. This may seem obvious to most people, but it isn't really so. I can't count the number of times that I've been involved in conversations with people where there seemed to be either a massive disagreement or a complete lack of common understanding. But the problem turned out that there was a word or phrase that we each understood to mean something different.

For example, my friend and I had been having a long discussion about the nature of facts vs. opinions. We wen't around and around disagreeing on things. In the end, we discovered that his definition of "fact" and mine were not the same. If we had either defined these terms initially OR at least had stopped to discuss these terms when the disagreement had occurred, we would have avoided at least 2 hours of discussion. As a side note, the conversation WAS intellectually stimulating, but it was also fraught with tension. Anyway...

So, I would start my discussion by asking what one means by "right" and "wrong". More specifically, I would want to know what it meant by those terms in reference to playing the game?

For me, it seems to me that playing the game "right" would be playing in such a way that you accomplish what you set out to accomplish by playing the game.

To use the Reese's example, jamming one into my temply may not be the wrong way to eat it in a general sense. But it IS the wrong way to eat it if my goal is to enjoy the taste as it will likely not encounter my sense of taste while jammed against my temple. If, however, by eating Reese's my goal is to get candy smeared on my face, then jamming them against my temple would probably be the "right" way to eat them. As you can see, this could also lead into a discussion about the nature of the word "eat" and what it actually means.

When I play D&D, my goal is to get a group of friends together to participate in a cooperative story-creation game wherein one player (the DM) presents challenges and whatnot for the rest of the players (the PCs) to overcome. However, they must overcome it by using the skills and abilities of the fictional characters, random die rolls, and other structures as put forth in the rule books.

So, if I'm doing that and accomplishing my goal, I would say that I'm playing it "right".

Two important things to remember: Not everyone has those goals. Not everyone agrees with my definitions of what it means to play D&D "right".

I freely admit that there are a couple of specific rules, clearly printed in the official publications for the game that I either don't use at all (e.g. alignment) or that I "house rule" for my convenience (e.g. out of combat skill checks).

Some would say that I'm playing D&D "wrong" simply for that reason. I would not argue with their conclusion, I'd ask them what they mean by "wrong".


One of the problems I see often in forum posts (all over the internet, not just here) is that many words carry strong connotation that will incite an emotional, rather than an intellectual, response. Words like "wrong" and "right" typically do.

Consider these two statements:

1 - You're not playing the game by the rules.
2 - You're playing the game wrong.

The first is a factual statement. If someone (like me) disregards a portion of the rules of the game, they are not playing by the rules. The statement carries little meaning beyond what it says explicitly. If someone told me statement 1, I'd likely say "Yeah, so?"

The second statement, however, not only includes the meaning of the first one, it can also be interpreted as carrying an additional meaning of "you're a bad person for doing so" or "you're stupid because you don't know how to play" or "I'm going to mock you for being different from me". Even if the person saying it didn't mean anything of the sort, when a person is told that they are doing something wrong, the possibility of emotional response is so much greater.

I see many posts about the "right" and "wrong" way of playing D&D. I see countless arguments of what the "point" of playing D&D is. And I even see many discussions (both helpful and not-so-helpful) about the finer points of Rules As Written vs. Rules As Intended. (Don't get me started in a discussion about how to determine what a writer "intended"). All of these discussions are great in terms of having a conversation with fellow gamers. But getting into ANY sort of antagonistic argument over them is, to me, a complete waste of time.

I like to see what others think of the Beastmaster Ranger. I enjoy hearing about how others handle skill challenges. I want to read about third party supplements to the game. Every one of these things is a view into ideas that may work for me at my table. But in the end, I've got my table, my friends, and my way of playing the game. And if it works for those at my table, then I would say that we are doing it "right".

I will NEVER lose sleep worried about how someone else ruled the use of the Stealth skill. Nor will I be bothered by why RandomPoster#37 thinks that RAI is different that what RandomPoster#25 thinks.

Am I playing D&D "wrong"? Probably. Even when I'm trying to play it "right" I likely make mistakes in the application of the rules. But I am accomplishing my goals, so I will still tell everyone that I'm playing it "right".

Okay, enough from me... for now... 
Yes. There is a right way to play D&D. Yes. There is a wrong way to play D&D. The secret to this argument is that each is subjective to opinion on what someone feels is right or wrong with how someone is playing D&D at any given instance.

Take me for example, I have played in a game with extreme DM control to the point where I hardly felt like I was playing my character so much as just making the rolls for the DM's character. I don't like this approach, and I don't agree with it in the least. But just because I think it's a wrong way to play doesn't guarantee that other people would always agree.

To this end, I don't see much of a reson to get worked up on saying that someone is playing "right" or "wrong". I tend to just chalk it up to "I like/don't like playing that way" and leaving it at that. It hardly amounts to anything more than someone who says there's a right or wrong way to play. They're all just opinions after all. But my opinion is important to me, and I'm sure everyone's own opinion is just as important to themselves.
Yagamifire, this thread will be 100 pages because it does not get to any point.

If you trying to say there is a right way, just say what the right way is and be prepare to defend the position. If you trying to get validation for your way of playing, just ask for it. If you do not need a validation, then there is no need for the discussion. You already playing "the right way."

If you think that you are going to stop people from believing all ways are valid as long as they are having fun, you will go crazy. It will never happen!



I don't usually do this, but...


This. +1. QFT.


Step up and make your case.




Very well.

Since there's been some great discussion on here started by the OP, I'll put forth a position: Defending oneself by constantly invoking "there's no wrong way to play" is useless and counter-productive because it does not actually address the core of whatever the discussion is at hand. Instead, it is invoked so one can keep from having to back-up their point about the mechanical or table-dynamic benefits of what they are discussing. It is a useless catch-all that means and communicates NOTHING and might as well say "I don't have to say WHY anything I say may be good".

Truthfully, however, I'm more enjoying reading and responding to a good deal of the other insight in 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.

I think most people will agree that scenarios C, E, and F are not playing D&D per se.  Getting everyone to agree on the definition of words can be a tricky business, but most will say that D&D *is* a pen and paper RPG, and groups E and F are not engaging in a pen and paper RPG.  Similarly, Group C is engaging in a pen and paper RPG, but there is no claim laid to being D&D specifically.

The Reese's example is less controversial, since basically everyone will agree that eating requires, at minimum, either ingesting or digesting (if taken intravenously, for example) said food, so shoving a Reese's in your temple is not eating it.

So when people say "there is no wrong way to play D&D", technically this could be wrong simply because it does not meet the definition of what it is to play D&D, but I think this subverts the intention of the statement.  I think what they're really saying is "there is no wrong way to *enjoy* D&D".  One could argue that group D is enjoying D&D in the wrong way.  One would definitely argue that committing crimes in the name of enjoying D&D is enjoying it wrong, but this again subverts the intention of the statement.  They likely mean "if you enjoy playing D&D in super weird (but non-destructive) ways, then good on you, it certainly isn't my place to judge you."

Since there's been some great discussion on here started by the OP, I'll put forth a position: Defending oneself by constantly invoking "there's no wrong way to play" is useless and counter-productive because it does not actually address the core of whatever the discussion is at hand. Instead, it is invoked so one can keep from having to back-up their point about the mechanical or table-dynamic benefits of what they are discussing. It is a useless catch-all that means and communicates NOTHING and might as well say "I don't have to say WHY anything I say may be good".



While you are correct, I believe such a person is really just sidestepping the debate, announcing their intent to avoid a more in-depth analysis of their playstyle.  In effect: "There is nothing inherently *wrong* with my playstyle, and that's as far as I care to delve into this at the time."  This should be perfectly acceptable unless such a statement becomes hypocritical (such as if they inserted themselves in a thread whose sole purpose is to analyze playstyles in this manner).
Very well.

Since there's been some great discussion on here started by the OP, I'll put forth a position: Defending oneself by constantly invoking "there's no wrong way to play" is useless and counter-productive because it does not actually address the core of whatever the discussion is at hand. Instead, it is invoked so one can keep from having to back-up their point about the mechanical or table-dynamic benefits of what they are discussing. It is a useless catch-all that means and communicates NOTHING and might as well say "I don't have to say WHY anything I say may be good".

Truthfully, however, I'm more enjoying reading and responding to a good deal of the other insight in the thread.




You haven't answered Yokel's request:


If you trying to say there is a right way, just say what the right way is and be prepare to defend the position.


The underlined emphasis is mine.

I think your reading to into this, and mistakening what they mean..
(as I said, I THINK)
but I believe they mean "Theres no wrong way to play D&D"
in the sense that
DM's all have different ways to play their own games
such as independant rules,

so one DM, may rather have rule set A instead of B
while another Dm perfers C and D mixed .


Very well.

Since there's been some great discussion on here started by the OP, I'll put forth a position: Defending oneself by constantly invoking "there's no wrong way to play" is useless and counter-productive because it does not actually address the core of whatever the discussion is at hand. Instead, it is invoked so one can keep from having to back-up their point about the mechanical or table-dynamic benefits of what they are discussing. It is a useless catch-all that means and communicates NOTHING and might as well say "I don't have to say WHY anything I say may be good".

Truthfully, however, I'm more enjoying reading and responding to a good deal of the other insight in the thread.




This is a fair statement and I think states something similar to what I meant by defining what it means to playing it "right" or "wrong". This is disctinctly different that stating what one things the "right" way to play is.

If the "right" way to play is to follow the core rules exactly to the letter, then I'm playing D&D wrong.

If, however, the "right" way to play is to generally follow the core rules, but to allow various minor "tweaks" and such, then I'm playing it right.

If, instead, the "right" way to play is to largely ignore the rules as written OR as intended and make one's own rule set based upon their own interpretations, then again I'm playing it wrong.

So, I'm curious as to what the OP meant by the "right" way to play.

Again, let me clarify that at this point, I don't care what anyone thinks the "right" way to play is. I'm more curious as to what people MEAN by the "right" way to play.

...and now I play my Civ4 turn and go to bed hoping for some interesting reading tomorrow! 
I think your reading to into this, and mistakening what they mean..
(as I said, I THINK)
but I believe they mean "Theres no wrong way to play D&D"
in the sense that
DM's all have different ways to play their own games
such as independant rules,

 .



I am sort of leaning toward this. And I will borrow from whomever threw out the strawman terminology earlier. The OP has set a standard that we are now expected to defend whether it is accurate or not.

The premise that everything is an acceptable way to play DnD is absurd and not the standpoint of anyone here. If I put on some pointy ears and run around exposing myself to people in the claims that Im roleplaying my character, I am certainly not playing DnD correctly.

Moreover, the 'there are ways that are more right' is equally absurd. If someone does the above, without the pointy ears, both players are not playing DnD. The OP has set up inadequate expectations for the rest of us to stand up for.

Instead, let's talk about what playing DnD IS rather than what it is not.



 
I realize that I got my formatting all screwed up in my previous post. I had intended to quote YagamiFire's post and add my own comments.

I'll penalize myself 10 points for poor proofreading my formatting. 
I'll try to add something to this thread, but I honestly see it as going nowhere.  The people in this thread who are openminded are going to stay open minded, the ones that are closeminded are going to stay closeminded.

For most people I would say that understanding the different letters is a matter of perspective for most cases.  From different perspective different games will seem silly/wrong/what-have-you.  From the roleplaying "purist" who doesn't like to believe that his character has to be bound by any rules and that dealing with the rules is a chore a very mechanically inclined group would be playing completely wrongly.  I've had plenty of players tell me, and completely believe, that any level of optimization or min/maxing for a character is something to avoid at all costs.  Take the purist and plop him down in the middle of the Battle Interactive from last year's Origins Convention and that player will basically claim that everyone else is doing it wrong.  The BI is extremely combat oriented, its ridiculously fast-paced, it requires a lot of mechanical knowledge and doesn't involve any non-linear storytelling or roleplay.

Does that mean that the BI is the  "wrong way" to play?  For the purist (or to make it more clear, for the DM in a game with people who are "purists"), yes it is.  They would say the game wasn't DnD but was some sort of stupid combat sim.  But would you be able to tell that room full of 300 people working together to complete a massive battle that they weren't playing DnD?  I don't think that is realistic either. 
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Very well.

Since there's been some great discussion on here started by the OP, I'll put forth a position: Defending oneself by constantly invoking "there's no wrong way to play" is useless and counter-productive because it does not actually address the core of whatever the discussion is at hand. Instead, it is invoked so one can keep from having to back-up their point about the mechanical or table-dynamic benefits of what they are discussing. It is a useless catch-all that means and communicates NOTHING and might as well say "I don't have to say WHY anything I say may be good".

Truthfully, however, I'm more enjoying reading and responding to a good deal of the other insight in the thread.




You haven't answered Yokel's request:


If you trying to say there is a right way, just say what the right way is and be prepare to defend the position.


The underlined emphasis is mine.




The part you should have underlined was "If you trying to say there is a right way," because then Yokel's request would be pertinent, but that isn't actually the point Yagami is making here. I'm sure he believes that there is a right way, and he would probably be willing to posit and defend such a claim, but I don't necessarily think that he is trying to identify and champion a specific way of playing the game, but dealing with a specific, negative mentality found in some elements of the playerbase.

I'll try to add something to this thread, but I honestly see it as going nowhere.  The people in this thread who are openminded are going to stay open minded, the ones that are closeminded are going to stay closeminded.



Honestly, what kind of purpose does this comment serve? If you want to call some people closed/open-minded, don't tip-toe, just do it and be prepared to back up your claim.

For most people I would say that understanding the different letters is a matter of perspective for most cases.  From different perspective different games will seem silly/wrong/what-have-you.  From the roleplaying "purist" who doesn't like to believe that his character has to be bound by any rules and that dealing with the rules is a chore a very mechanically inclined group would be playing completely wrongly.  I've had plenty of players tell me, and completely believe, that any level of optimization or min/maxing for a character is something to avoid at all costs.  Take the purist and plop him down in the middle of the Battle Interactive from last year's Origins Convention and that player will basically claim that everyone else is doing it wrong.  The BI is extremely combat oriented, its ridiculously fast-paced, it requires a lot of mechanical knowledge and doesn't involve any non-linear storytelling or roleplay.

Does that mean that the BI is the  "wrong way" to play?  For the purist (or to make it more clear, for the DM in a game with people who are "purists"), yes it is.  They would say the game wasn't DnD but was some sort of stupid combat sim.  But would you be able to tell that room full of 300 people working together to complete a massive battle that they weren't playing DnD?  I don't think that is realistic either. 



I kind of wish erachima was here to say what he once said about "this kind of mushminded relativism not having a place in discussion."
I think Yagami is suggesting something along the lines of:

"Playing it right" is equated with "Playing by the RAW".  If one uses that definition, then others could be said to be "playing it wrong".

Rule 0 (something explicitly supported by the RAW), allows for a great deal of customization from strict RAW.  However, the point I think Yagami is trying to drive home is that a point may be passed where the deviations from RAW reach a point when it is no longer recognizable as D&D, in that some adherence to D&D RAW must be adhered to in order to still be considered D&D.

Is that about right, Yagami? 
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