Player and DM Advice
Dungeons & Dragons is not an exclusive game, where you can only play one way. It is an inclusive game, where you can play many different ways. You can fight, you can negotiate. You can send your character shopping where he might pick up on information, or find other things to do. Your character can intervene in a robbery, or help a famous folk hero escape.
A world is an enormous thing, when you're as small as a human being (compare you to the Earth, that's what I'm talking about). The rules for D&D can't account for everything that could occur, they can't even try. Certainly not in a book only 240 pages long or so. That means you are going to have to rule in troublesome situations, and your solution is going to be different from anothers.
So remember, simply because the rules don't handle certain situations doesn't mean you can't. Your players want to try a game of diplomacy and negotiation, let them. If they want to try a game of lab work and experimentation, let them. It's their game when you get right down to it, you're only the guide. You need specific guidelines for what the players are doing, note how the guidelines presented handle similar situations, and adapt for the new ones.
Don't restrict activities to what the rules cover, be inventive, innovative. Consider the rules included to be guidelines to how you may handle unusual situations. What do you do to calm a colicky ogre infant down? Come up with your own methods and craft rules for how to apply them. What XP should a PC get for beating that green dragon in a game of "old maid"? Come up with a number, based on how well you think the winner played the situation.
Don't let the rules restrict your imagination. Instead, use the rules as a spur to imagination. And remember, we play to have fun.
(If Dungeons & Dragons were my game to design, that is the sort of advice I would provide to players and DMs.)
Sometimes I have imaginted D&D videogame like a plataform with different different social network mini-games. When a PC is created, can be used for those all tittles.
A title would be a trader PC, like the Dark Sun class (second edition), other about being a farmer (like farmville version D&D, with "pokemons"), other about being a king, like the old D&D stronghold videogame (kingdom simulation), other a social life simulation like Sims medieval...etc.
I know it is a crazy idea but thinking about it is funny.
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