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    Default Re: Unpopular D&D Opinions

    +1 to everyone saying D&D isn't a generic system, though I disagree with "it's actually super narrow and unplayable outside dungeon-crawling" that I sometimes see thrown in with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    Darkvision and Low-Light Vision are overdone and tacking one, the other or both on every single Edgy New Race (tm) was a mistake.
    Agree with most of this, though it's really just almost every new race, not just the edgy ones. Darkvision is so common now that despite there being a spell that gives it to you no one casts it because most tables just ignore if anyone is missing darkvision.

    Also, merging the two vision modes was unnecessary. Dwarves could see in total darkness because they lived underground and elves could see better in low-light because they tested for shorter periods of time, meaning they're often awake at night. And Drow specifically got darkvision, not low-light, because they also lived underground. I feel like the light rules in 5e are simple enough it wouldn't have been an issue to keep them separate.
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  2. - Top - End - #122
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    They could've just made darkvision 30ft for the nocturnal races, 60ft for mostly subterranean and 120ft for permanently subterranean. However I think merging was the right thing to do, the fewer systems the better. A single system that can just be scaled by a single number is good design.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    +1 to everyone saying D&D isn't a generic system, though I disagree with "it's actually super narrow and unplayable outside dungeon-crawling" that I sometimes see thrown in with that.
    Given that modern D&D (at least since WotC took over) doesn't contain the necessary game structures to be good at dungeon-crawling, it's a particular weird thing to throw in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    +1 to everyone saying D&D isn't a generic system, though I disagree with "it's actually super narrow and unplayable outside dungeon-crawling" that I sometimes see thrown in with that.
    Yeah, I don't think that's really its niche. It was, but that started being phased out with 2e.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Given that modern D&D (at least since WotC took over) doesn't contain the necessary game structures to be good at dungeon-crawling, it's a particular weird thing to throw in.
    Yeah, this. Modern D&D seems more like an Adventure-Path-Playing-Engine than anything, with very specific constraints (zero-to-superhero, etc etc etc)
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    from my experience, both in actual play and reading forums, at least half of people's problems with alignment boil down to "I want to deal with even the slightest of inconveniences by committing utter atrocities, but I don't want to write "Evil" on my sheet, pulling homeless people's fingernails off to gather information makes my character "deep" and "multilayered"."

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    Most people are permanently affixed to the edition of D&D they started with, and are only content to heap scorn on other editions because it's different to how they like it, one way or another.
    Quote Originally Posted by ActionReplay View Post
    Why does D&D have no Gollum? Why it does. You just can't see him. He is wearing his precious at the moment.
    There is a lot of very bizarre nonsense being talked on this forum. I shall now remain silent and logoff until my points are vindicated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    from my experience, both in actual play and reading forums, at least half of people's problems with alignment boil down to "I want to deal with even the slightest of inconveniences by committing utter atrocities, but I don't want to write "Evil" on my sheet, pulling homeless people's fingernails off to gather information makes my character "deep" and "multilayered"."
    That's interesting. In my experience the people who want to engage in grimdark super villainy typically have little problem with alignment (whether the concept in general or writing Evil on the sheet). Who needs motivation (or an actual personality) when you're Chaotic Evil?

    (I'm not saying you're misrepresenting your experiences or anything. It's mostly just an observation about people behaving differently).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Given that modern D&D (at least since WotC took over) doesn't contain the necessary game structures to be good at dungeon-crawling, it's a particular weird thing to throw in.
    I'd say it's a different kind of dungeon crawler, more like a dungeon crasher. An arena fighter a la Doom Eternal style that just so happens to take place in a dungeon.
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    Opinion about alignment, and a reason I don't like it personally:
    No offense to GMs, but I've never played with one who I'd consider a RL moral/ethical authority. So the entire concept of "We're going to say there's objective good and evil, and the GM decides where a given action falls on that" seems somewhat nonsensical to me. When everyone is in agreement it's fine, but as soon as they're not, it gets weird.

    Opinion about opinions - when I see a thread about "This time we're really going to fix the alignment system and create an objective standard that everyone agrees on!" - I don't get my hopes up. Philosophers have been trying to do that for millennia now, and no agreed answer yet.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-10-08 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Opinion about alignment, and a reason I don't like it personally:
    No offense to GMs, but I've never played with one who I'd consider a RL moral/ethical authority. So the entire concept of "We're going to say there's objective good and evil, and the GM decides where a given action falls on that" seems somewhat nonsensical to me. When everyone is in agreement it's fine, but as soon as they're not, it gets weird.

    Opinion about opinions - when I see a thread about "This time we're really going to fix the alignment system and create an objective standard that everyone agrees on!" - I don't get my hopes up. Philosophers have been trying to do that for millennia now, and no agreed answer yet.
    Yeah, the only thing that makes sense is for the GM of any particular game to say "this is how alignment works in my game. You don't have to agree with it, but these are the definitions I use."
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    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Opinion about alignment, and a reason I don't like it personally:
    No offense to GMs, but I've never played with one who I'd consider a RL moral/ethical authority. So the entire concept of "We're going to say there's objective good and evil, and the GM decides where a given action falls on that" seems somewhat nonsensical to me. When everyone is in agreement it's fine, but as soon as they're not, it gets weird.
    Which is the main reason 5e alignment is so refreshing. The DM isn't the final authority and it's not based on individual actions.

    It's also designed to integrate with other personality traits, and forms a very broad basis for overall behavior. So it doesn't create straight jackets or one dimensional characters by default.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    from my experience, both in actual play and reading forums, at least half of people's problems with alignment boil down to "I want to deal with even the slightest of inconveniences by committing utter atrocities, but I don't want to write "Evil" on my sheet, pulling homeless people's fingernails off to gather information makes my character "deep" and "multilayered"."
    Imo most people agree that torture is evil.

    I dont like having to put evil on my sheet for doing things that I feel are the right thing to do by my irl morality such as tranquilizing my enemies, casting death watch for triage, animating a mindless skeleton to save people labor, working with my enemies against a greater evil, showing mercy to evil creatures, etc.

    Fortunately 5E has mellowed out about a lot of the always evil actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    Darkvision and Low-Light Vision are overdone and tacking one, the other or both on every single Edgy New Race (tm) was a mistake.
    Earlier someone mentioned that they don’t like humanity as the default. This might actually be one of the few instances where that isn’t true as irl most every animal has better night vision than we do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    I like Vancian casting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I love Vancian casting, think it's superior to many other magic systems in RPGs and will go on at length when asked about this. For several pages, if necessary.

    I also think that D&D never has done Vancian magic that well.
    What about Vancian do you like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Never going to happen of course. WotC is so married to "d20+mod >= dc" that they're blind to any other dice rolls. I'm waiting for them to rewrite random encounter & loot tables that way.
    That would be… cool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    This statement made my eyes pop out in disbelief.
    Glad you were able to get them back in!

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Remember that Quertus falls heavily on the side of the magic users, and wants them to be casting magic all the time.

    Me? I'm off the opinion that wizards should not be casting many spellz.
    I play Wizards; I'm more "falls on the side of the muggle supremacists", tbh.

    That said, I think the description given by oldtrees1 is much closer than "casting magic all the time" to describing my position on the "what I want magical beings to do" front (which, obviously, is unrelated to my position in my first post regarding balance).

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    For being off the RNG,
    Ah. Gotcha. I'm onboard with having skill matter more than chance, and with challenges like "walking" and "chewing solid food" be things that get outgrown by most.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    For the other one, it's purely a suspicion. But I have noticed that sometimes when people describe what the good/roleplaying solution is, it involves listening very closely to the GM and then invoking elements they mentioned to prove you were listening. Where-as the bad/rollplaying solution involves the use of things that the player, rather than the GM, chose.

    TBF, listening to the GM is a good thing, and there are plenty of situations where taking advantage of situational scene elements makes sense as the best idea. It's not an "always" thing.
    Eh, I'm not sure if I'm following. That is, one could invoke mechanics with or without listening ("I hit AC 42, dealing 69 damage to… whatever"), even incoherently ("but it's 500' away… hovering over the middle of the grand canyon… and you're wielding a sword…"), just as one could go off-sheet with out without listening, and even incoherently.

    But, what you were trying to convey was, you believe, sometimes, people mistake "not paying attention" for "playing the sheet"?

    Am I close?

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    And to ask about one of yours in turn:Which of the following would you consider RPGs?
    * Hero (I'm not going to call it HERO, it's not an acronym )
    * Fate
    * PbtA (let's say Masks, if the specific one matters)
    * D&D 5E
    * Exalted 3E
    … well, my answer is gonna be weird.

    To me, "role-playing" means giving answers as the character (close enough? You know what I mean, right?), answering "WWQD?".

    In 5e D&D, the RNG is generally far more a factor than skill. Usually, a group of buffoons will do better than the trained professional.

    So, in a reality that uses 5e, when a teacher asks a class, "why do we have governments?", it's highly likely that a student will give a better answer than what the teacher knows. The flow of knowledge is from the many to the one.

    I can envision a society that follows this humorously inverted logic, and build a character who grew up in that society. So that, when it comes to sobbing problems in a 5e universe, I don't have to break character to suggest throwing more bodies at the problem, to know that "crowd-sourcing" is the tech of choice.

    A system fails to be an RPG when you are forced to make decisions for the character that the character could not make. When you cannot construct a reality that logically produces the mindset in which the game is played.

    That's how 4e fails to be an RPG.

    When you *can* answer the question WWQD, but doing so is not just suboptimal but impossible, when you cannot act upon the roleplay answer, when you are constantly forced to metagame limit yourself to an unrealistically constrained list of options, it is also not an RPG, by my definitions.

    This is how CRPGs fail to be RPGs.

    So, to answer your question, well, I can't answer your question, because I don't know any of those systems well enough. You'll have to answer your question for yourself.

    When you make decisions in those games, are you role-playing the character? Could a character in those systems have come to the answer you did? If so, if you can actually play the game in "actor stance" without needing to access metagame knowledge of "the more people helping, the quicker we'll accumulate failures -> only the person with the best modifiers should ever touch the dice", then it can be a role-playing game.

    When the mechanics force you out of actor stance, because what's obvious to everyone at the table as the correct/best answer is impossible to achieve as a reasonable, trained response in character, when you cannot build a setting that makes sense of the rules, then it's not an RPG.

    When the system explicitly prohibits you from taking actions that would be in character to take ("but… there aren't rules for…"), and this occurs too often / for too many important choices / forces too great a deviation from WWQD, then it's not an RPG.

    So… are those RPGs? If I set the original SSI gold box series in them, could I try to burn down the slums? Could I say arbitrary things to whomever I choose, and get back reasonable responses? Could I try to steal someone's cow? Open a shop? Build a ship? Become mayor?

    If I'm role-playing my character with no concept of what system I'm in, will my actions make sense, or will they seem pants-on-head? If the latter, can I (you) build a background based on the system such that you can then play strictly in character, and have them make reasonable decisions?

    Or does the system force you to stop role-playing, and play the system?

    Answer that, and you'll know my answer to whether or not those are RPGs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I was actually expecting to see something about your extreme in-character views but that didn't come up.
    I'm sure I'll add more entries over time (senility willing).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    On the other hand:Pretty simple, it came from some comment about how if D&D lost its place as the iconic system then another would take its place. I mean considering every other entertainment medium, I'm not sure that's true (although trading card games is pretty close, Wizards of the Coast is doing a good job at that) but even if it is, could there be a "better" iconic role-playing game system?

    I think there could be and picked out some features for it:
    • Generic System: Ideally a tool-box system with a solid set of defaults. The defaults are for people picking it up for the first time and then the tool-box (which is to say, it is designed to be easy to modify) allows people to adjust tone or setting. Although focused systems built from the ground up have a place, I don't think the iconic system should be one of them. Basically if all you can find is a game of the iconic system then you can still branch out to different types of campaigns.
    • Rules-Light(er): I don't really have a threshold on this other than to explain why I think it needs to be true: The system needs to be approachable*. I have had people refuse role-playing on grounds that they think it is all about these rules-heavy systems. It's too much for some people and that's a problem for the most visible system.
    There are other things, like no fixed progression or reducing combat focus, that may or may not help. But those two are the ones I am confident would improve the hobby as a whole. And I don't even like generic systems as much, but I do think they would make a better standard.

    * Any to anyone who thinks D&D is "approachable": I would like to point out you are a Giant in the Playground poster.
    Hmmm… does ShadowRun count for "toolbox + defaults"? (I'm only familiar with really old editions, but… "point buy" of race / funds / skills / stats / magical aptitude priority… then WoD level "bad at math" (ish) optimizer's paradise of "starting costs have no relationship to upgrade costs"within those priorities (something I'm not personally terribly concerned about either way)… with pre-built "troll street samurai" / combat Mage / street shaman / decker / etc)

    IME, the biggest… Hmmm… "boon" to "approachable" I've found for new players is, very sadly, having the GM make the characters for the players. "What do you want… OK, here's how this system says what I think you're saying."

    The worst thing I've found for "approachable" is "what do I roll, and do I want high or low (or "highest without going over", or…).

    Merging two ideas: do those who don't want to engage with "rules heavy" actually engage with the fiction? Will they try to serve steak to the vegetarian? What's your experience there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    from my experience, both in actual play and reading forums, at least half of people's problems with alignment boil down to "I want to deal with even the slightest of inconveniences by committing utter atrocities, but I don't want to write "Evil" on my sheet, pulling homeless people's fingernails off to gather information makes my character "deep" and "multilayered"."
    Eh, I have two other issues. The first, which I haven't seen, is that it puts people in a relatively small number of boxes (nine), and sadly has historically stated that certain mortal races (so not Outsiders or Abberations) tend towards one box or another. And don't PC races tend towards 'good' is as bad as saying 'monster races' tend towards 'evil'.

    The second, which I've seen in every single D&D games I've played in, is that alignment rarely matters. It's too broad to easily determine how it influences character actions, and the vast majority of abilities don't interact with it (and this was my experience in third edition as well as fifth). It's pretty meaningless, about on the level of 'what colour is my character's body hair', and yet I'm prompted to write it down. Plus like body hair you probably aren't going to know what somebody's alignment is unless you actively check.

    I've played many games without any kind of alignment, and none have suffered for it. It's not even impacted Paladin archetypes, mostly added a sentence or two to their code of conduct if anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I've played many games without any kind of alignment, and none have suffered for it. It's not even impacted Paladin archetypes, mostly added a sentence or two to their code of conduct if anything.
    While I have a lot of issues with alignment, this is my major one. Even if someone manages to avoid all the possible pitfalls of using them... they don't really gain any benefit from it that I've ever seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    While I have a lot of issues with alignment, this is my major one. Even if someone manages to avoid all the possible pitfalls of using them... they don't really gain any benefit from it that I've ever seen.
    I think there's an interesting take on Alignment by treating it as a Cultural thing, rather than a universal constant.


    Like, for example, Imagine two civilizations, one of which believes that Law comes from the Divine Right of Kingship, the other of which believes that Law must stem from some democratic process.

    And then have fun exploring how magic that detects a "Lawful" alignment from those two cultures might clash.

    I also wouldn't call this "Using Alignment" but...To groups that are familiar with the concept, it's a decent enough shorthand way to provide details on a group.

    If I refer to the Xendorian Empire as a "Lawful Evil Expansionist Empire", or the Red Coast Corsairs as "a loose coalition of pirates, generally Chaotic Neutral", it's a nice way to communicate the nature of these groups without necessarily seeking to split the world into nine absolute categories that define everybody's behavior.


    Which is to say, I don't think we should make people pick one of nine personality types to put on their character sheet, then hold them to the strictures of that behavior, but the concept can be useful.
    Last edited by BRC; 2021-10-08 at 05:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    While I have a lot of issues with alignment, this is my major one. Even if someone manages to avoid all the possible pitfalls of using them... they don't really gain any benefit from it that I've ever seen.
    The benefit is from treating it as one of several clearly stated motivations (personality traits) across different categories as an RP aide. To list things that are your characters motivations but not your own, so you can glance at them occasionally and be reminded of the kind of situations in which you might make decisions for the character in the fantasy environment differently from if you were there yourself.

    It's not very helpful if it's the only one, or it's too tightly defined/restrictive. That's how you end up with one dimensional or straight jackets. But if it moral/social attitudes, and combines with e.g. 5e's Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond and Flaw, it's quite useful.

    Compare and contrast to Backstory, which is usually a mishmash story of history and not very clearly stated motivations that result from them, and this is a clear improvement.

    Is it necessary? Nope. Not even for all games of D&D. But many games of D&D are enhanced when players include one of their motivations covering parts of their general behavior that is influenced by their moral/social attitudes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    While I have a lot of issues with alignment, this is my major one. Even if someone manages to avoid all the possible pitfalls of using them... they don't really gain any benefit from it that I've ever seen.
    This is the alignment argument I've agreed with most. While I don't think alignment is bad and I'm happy to keep it, the fact it has mechanically most often been used to penalize PCs is an issue. If you include penalties, there should be benefits. But the main benefits of alignment so far have been "you get to keep your class" and "if you never change as a person you get more XP", which mostly reads as coercion. Which is why I'm ok with 5e's take: no penalty, no benefit*, just a potential roleplay aid.

    *outside specific situations like magic items or optional planar travel rules
    Last edited by Luccan; 2021-10-08 at 05:33 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    All Roads Lead to Gnome.

    I for one support the Gnoman Empire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    While I have a lot of issues with alignment, this is my major one. Even if someone manages to avoid all the possible pitfalls of using them... they don't really gain any benefit from it that I've ever seen.
    Yep.

    Now I also own a couple of games which do a lot more with alignment than D&D does. Victoriana not only has it affect how easy it is for you to use magic and technology but also has it affect how Fate Points work. Move yourself towards Order and spending a Fate Point gets you extra successes, move towards Entropy and it gets you extra dice (3 per cog). It's much more central to the system, but does drive technologists away from Entropy and Magicians away from Order.

    But even then it's not central. Could be though, I've got a very roughly outline of a game on my hard drive where characters have Creative and Subversive ratings witch affect dice rolls, it could be easy to switch that to something more like alignment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    What about Vancian do you like?
    Speaking only for myself, and only about the "Vancian" type of casting that is in D&D/PF1...

    The short story of it is just that I like it.

    The longer story is that I like the choices, and I like that choices matter. Just as much as it matters for the spontaneous casters which spells they learn (which can be more unforgiving if you make really bad choices), it matters what spells you choose to prepare. Every day you open up your toolbox and consider what you should prepare against, depending on how much or little you know might be ahead of you that day. In the similar vein of choices, I'm more the type of player who likes to cast a few well-placed spells in a combat compared to slinging magic left and right... and that follows up to the next thing I like about it which is resource-management.

    I know it's not for everyone, and I totally get it, but I like the resource management approach of it. Should I use this Fireball now, or save it for later when the situation will be better suited for it? With the kind of games I've played a lot with some of my groups, it gives me an exciting thrill to plan my actions while waiting for my turn as I see the battlefield change, and then be able to make reasonably quick decisions when it is my turn to use the "right spell for the job".

    When I was introduced to D&D, my only experience with magic systems from videogames and such was mana points, but it still made complete sense to me how spell slots worked. I like to imagine sometimes that each spell is like preparing an intricate knot in your mind, which takes time and there's a limit to how many of these knots you can concentrate on for a day (but with practice you learn to keep concentration on more of them and even make them more complicated), and when you cast the spell it's like you pull on one end and unravel/unleash the magic that the knot had worked up. I don't know why specifically, but imagining it like that just seemed very interesting to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    What does this mean? I can't parse this in a way that makes sense.

    Edit: It's mostly that I don't know what "demanding players railroad themselves" is supposed to mean. I can make several guesses, but I've never heard anyone talk about players railroading themselves before and I certainly don't see the meaningful difference with any of my guesses between that and regular railroading
    My apologies, I didn’t notice your post! What I basically mean is GMs expecting the players to read their minds: when they actually have a clear expectation of how the campaign should go but don’t provide any guidance toward that point then are bothered when the players don’t do what he or she never told them to do. I hope that’s more clear.
    I imagine Elminster's standard day begins like "Wake up, exit my completely impenetrable, spell-proofed bedroom to go to the bathroom, kill the inevitable 3 balors waiting there, brush my teeth, have a wizard fight with the archlich hiding in the shower, use the toilet..."
    -Waterdeep Merch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    This opinion probably isn't that unpopular, but still: alignments is a sacred cow that should've been slaughtered and eaten long ago. They have lots of potential downsides and I've yet to see a single upside that can't be attained some other way.
    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    4th edition was good.

    Not very D&D-like, but for what it set out to do, it was good. And it was also fun to play, which is more important.
    Couldn't Agree More.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Actual question, what was 0e marketed as? I wouldn't be surprised if it was presented as more of a wargame.
    The cover of the original product said:
    DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
    Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames
    Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil
    and Miniature Figures

    Having said that, you're assuming distinctions that didn't exist yet. A "wargame" was pretty much any simulation game that was published by a wargame company. Scrimmage was a wargame of American football. Russian Civil War was a wargame of politics. Conquistador was a wargame of exploration. Outdoor Survival was a wargame of wilderness survival. The Plot to Assassinate Hitler was a politics / assassination wargame.

    When D&D came out, the term "role-playing game" did not yet exist. We just called it D&D. [You don't need a category name until the category has more than one member.]

    I just looked through the first three-pamphlet D&D game, for references to role playing, or roles at all. This was not an exhaustive search, but I think it is illustrative. Here is a list of all uses of the word "role" I could find in a quick look through the first D&D pamphlet, Men & Magic.

    P. 6 Before they begin, players must decide what roles they will play, human or nonhuman, fighter, magic-user, or cleric.

    P. 9 Before the game begins it is not only necessary to select a role, but it is also necessary to determine what stance the character will take - Law, Neutrality, or Chaos.

    P. 10 Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role. Categories of ability are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. Each player notes his appropriate scores, obtains a similar roll of three dice to determine the number of Gold Pieces (Dice score x 10) he starts with, and then opts for a role.

    P. 11 Players will, in all probability, seek to hire Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and/or Clerics in order to strengthen their roles in the campaign.

    The only use of the word "role" I found in the second pamphlet, Monsters and Treasure, referred to a magic sword's role in combat. In the third pamphlet, The Underground and Wilderness Campaign, there are three references -- to the roles of three NPC hireling specialists -- assassin, sage, and ship captain.

    And unless I missed one or two, that's it. So "role" mostly meant race and class, not characterization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    … well, my answer is gonna be weird. [I will give my definition of role-playing game and you can figure out how it applies to the listed systems.]
    I reject any definition of role-playing games that removes all editions of D&D as role-playing games. I do think it is important to remember "words are defined by use" (or more accurately, averages in the association engine that is the human brain). So, if the common systems that everyone is used to referring to as role-playing games aren't role-playing games, then a mistake was made in that definition.
    Everything I said is true but there is a joke here. I want to see who notices it.
    Hmmm… does ShadowRun count for "toolbox + defaults"? [...] IME, the biggest… Hmmm… "boon" to "approachable" I've found for new players is, very sadly, having the GM make the characters for the players.
    No, it is locked to cyberpunk crime. It isn't a toolbox system that can easily be modify to fix different tones, campaigns and settings. Also, first time players often not being able to make their own characters is a sign that the system is not approachable.

    Actually the closest system I know is actually Fate. I know it has some things in it that can get some real negative reactions but luckily those aren't actually the parts that make it a better iconic system, so we are going to ignore those. First, it is a toolbox with defaults, the core book uses a pretty generic low fantasy kind of setting but I think even the main skill list has a note to replace ride with drive in a modern setting. In fact their "DMG" equivalent is the Fate System Toolkit (PHB equivalent being Fate Core), which contains several magic systems, advice on how to adjust the health system for superheroes and how to add weapons and armour. I haven't read it in a while, point is there is a lot and the game is structured to be modular so it is relatively easy to do. Second, it is more approachable. I mean definitely know more approachable systems, but as best as I can try to quantify how hard it is to learn by amount of rules and what you need to know to start playing Fate is still an improvement over D&D.

    Both may be new unpopular opinions for the thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    +1 to everyone saying D&D isn't a generic system, though I disagree with "it's actually super narrow and unplayable outside dungeon-crawling" that I sometimes see thrown in with that.
    D&D is a kitchen sink system. That often gets confused "generic" because people don't understand terminology properly. D&D does a very wide range of things within the "epic fantasy" genre, having monsters from every sort of mythology you can name and supporting characters that do everything from "priest of the dark gods" to "ninja pirate". But it doesn't do anything outside the genre particularly well.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    No offense to GMs, but I've never played with one who I'd consider a RL moral/ethical authority. So the entire concept of "We're going to say there's objective good and evil, and the GM decides where a given action falls on that" seems somewhat nonsensical to me.
    The worst part of D&D alignment is definitely the labels. If you just had nine alignments that were called things like "Hedonism" or "Utilitarianism" that would be fine, because people can agree what those mean. Similarly, if you had nine alignments that were called totally arbitrary things like "Purple" and "Yellow", that would also be fine, because your made up definitions won't offend anyone. The issue is using terms that people have external definitions for, but for which people don't agree. That's a combination that's practically optimized to cause conflict.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    I think there's an interesting take on Alignment by treating it as a Cultural thing, rather than a universal constant.
    That's not really alignment. There are plenty of alignment-like systems that would be reasonable. You could even call them "alignment". The issue is entirely down to how D&D approaches it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    But if it moral/social attitudes, and combines with e.g. 5e's Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond and Flaw, it's quite useful.
    Or just give people multiple personality traits. You don't need five different versions of "this is my character's motivation". You need one. And you can let people pick multiple if that is for some reason important to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    I know it's not for everyone, and I totally get it, but I like the resource management approach of it.
    Vancian is fine. The issue is that the game uses almost exclusively Vancian resource management, even when it doesn't make sense. Which makes the way a lot of people go "having Vancian as the one true resource management system is bad, we just need to replace it with my idea for a one true resource management system" seem quite bizarre to me. The solution is pluralism. Vancian casting for people who like that, other things for people who like other things.
    Last edited by RandomPeasant; 2021-10-08 at 08:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    P. 10 Prior to the character selection by players it is necessary for the referee to roll three six-sided dice in order to rate each as to various abilities, and thus aid them in selecting a role. Categories of ability are: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, and Charisma. Each player notes his appropriate scores, obtains a similar roll of three dice to determine the number of Gold Pieces (Dice score x 10) he starts with, and then opts for a role.
    I just love that the DM (sorry, referee) is supposed to roll the ability scores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrZJunior View Post
    Skill systems are lame. I want people to describe how they overcome challenges. What do you say to the guard to convince him to let you through? How do you disable the trap? That is much more interesting than rolling some dice.
    In a somewhat inverted opinion, I think combat systems are lame. I want people to describe how they overcome challenges. How do you exploit the troll's weak eyesight to land a telling blow? How do you find an opening to put an arrow through the knight's visor? That is much more interesting than rolling some dice.
    Last edited by Kymme; 2021-10-08 at 10:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    4e is only despised because it kicked out a lot of golden cows and laid bare that D&D has never been anything more than a wargame with a roleplaying paint job.
    You're completely correct and you should keep saying this. 4e is the edition of D&D that was the worst at lying. Every edition of D&D has tried to sell itself on the masquerade that they are games about heroic adventure fantasy while doing nothing to support that model of play. 4e tried to do that too, but its mechanics weren't able to maintain the illusion, and that's why people call it 'game-y' or 'like an MMO.' When people are just looking at the engine and not the chassis around it, it's much easier to see how it works and what it does.

    For the record, 3.5, 4e, and 5e aren't bad games. They do the thing they're built to do, tactical skirmishing wargaming with robust character creation, very well. I don't use them for my heroic adventure fantasy for the same reason I don't use a hammer to cut down trees - it's not what they're for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon Elemental View Post
    Most people are permanently affixed to the edition of D&D they started with, and are only content to heap scorn on other editions because it's different to how they like it, one way or another.
    Hum, I wonder how true this is. I know for me, I am speaking just for me, I started with the White Box and have never wanted to go back to it or felt it was the "best edition". It was fun and opened the door for what became a lifetime hobby/interest for me, but I would never ever say it was the best edition.

    For me, and this is just for me, I would say my link to a particular edition has more to do with the edition I was using in the campaign I had the most fun with. The set of rules we used for that campaign always makes me reflect on the fun I had for over a year playing.

    But you make me wonder how many folks do link back to their first set.
    Last edited by dafrca; 2021-10-08 at 11:09 PM.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

    "D&D does not have SECRET rules that can only be revealed by meticulous deconstruction of words and grammar. There is only the unclear rules prose that makes people think there are secret rules to be revealed."

    Consistency between games and tables is but the dream of a madman - Mastikator

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Or just give people multiple personality traits. You don't need five different versions of "this is my character's motivation". You need one. And you can let people pick multiple if that is for some reason important to them.
    This, essentially. If other people find it helpful, good on them, but I never have. Unlike bonds, ideals, flaws or goals, the alignment categories are just too vague and loaded to be of much use to me without further explanation and description - and by the time I've done that, the alignment label itself is just redundant. People say it's helpful for newbies but if anything I think it's the opposite - encouraging people unskilled in roleplay to think in terms of "what's the lawful/good/chaotic/evil thing to do here", rather than "what's the thing to do here that fits with my character's personality and motives".

    The only thing I really get out of alignment as a player is during the early character concept and personality-sketch phases. When I'm still figuring out what I'd like my character's personality and history to be, phrases like "a tad north of chaotic neutral" or "friendly neutral evil" can be something to latch onto, building on and unwinding them until I've got an actual character. But once you actually have two pages of backstory and description for "Aryanna Skyfeather, soldier of fortune with a leased-out heart of gold" or "Denya Vox, the bubbliest mob enforcer you've ever met", the labels "Chaotic Neutral" or "Neutral Evil" are unnecessary artifacts at best, active distractions at worst.

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