Dungeon Craft: Critical Role, Pokemon, and the Future of D&D

Brock Savage

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That said, the specific rules about 'going down' and dying (or not) do clash with my sense of how damage and recovery should work. I find the idea of a PC literally dying just seconds ago suddenly jumping up from the ground and being able to use all his abilities just because of the dice a little too convenient.

Likewise the idea that you can literally nearly die a few times during a day, but 8 hours of sleep will make you good as new the next day.
A lot of people are houseruling this annoying situation by inflicting Exhaustion when PCs hit 0 hit points to simulate wounds.

In a world where healing magic is available, it would be standard practice for intelligent enemies to do the "and then he stabs you in the head to make sure you're dead" thing to downed PCs. In settings where resurrection is a matter of paying the right cleric some gold, the ransoming of corpses for resurrection or the mutilation of corpses to prevent resurrection would probably be commonplace.
 
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Ladybird

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Lemme guess: a tiefling warlock?
Bah, that's rookie shit; and if you're playing the sort of Tiefling that wants to be judged for themselves rather than their species, why would you sell your soul and prove everyone right? One of my favourite things about (One of) my tiefling paladin(s) was getting to say "it was my gran that fucked the demon, not me. You asshole" when someone started giving me shit, and also being physically imposing enough to get them to back off.

(I think my next will be a tiefling druid, who worked for a circus for a while as a performing animal, before deciding to go out on her own.)
 

EmperorNorton

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And even if a game was ran with zero actual challenge, that has... literally nothing to do with what I was saying. As I said earlier in the thread. It is all just PREFERENCE.

There is no further depth to it. What you prefer is fine for you, what I prefer is fine for me, what other people prefer is fine for them. As long as everyone at the table is on the same (or similar) pages, it's all good.

My responses in this thread are specifically about people who think their preferences are more than that, and that to match THEIR preferences, things for other people have to be removed.

Want a more deadly game? Cut down on death saves, and/or throw stronger enemies at your players. Want injury to mean more? There are rules in the DMG for slower healing. Don't want weird races in your game? Just tell people they aren't available.

My responses have to do with people who act like if you aren't playing D&D as some deadly survival game where TPKs lurk around every corner that you are doing something LESSER, and that by providing options for anything other than that, the game is becoming lesser.

It isn't about anyone having a preference, so I don't know what your point even is.

(I always find these conversations amusing because honestly D&D/D&D offshoots aren't even my preference in game. I just don't see the problems that a lot of people do).
 

RunningLaser

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This is why I prefer some of the other OSR games over straight B/X. You keep the spirit but get to play a with a rationalized and update set of mechanics. Not that I dislike B/X, I like it a lot, but it does have some idiosyncrasies that I can happily live without.
This is where I am as well. There's a lot of OSR adjacent games where they are like Bruce Lee with his view on martial arts, taking the best bits of other games and forming something greater than the sum of their parts. As of late, I've been taken with Romance of the Perilous Land hard. Is it perfect? No, but there's such a sweet base there to work with.

It's not that there's anything wrong with it if you can get what you want out of it. It's just that I'm not sure it's that easy to actually get that out of D&D - especially if you're also trying to do all the traditional D&D stuff at the same time.

I mean for all it's faults, this is the kind of the thing the Forge recognised 20 years ago and it's what inspired Ron Edwards to write Sorcerer - the realisation that traditional rpg games were kind of shit at delivering character centred stories that felt like narrative arcs ( Unless the GM really burns themselves out trying).
You've written about something that I've been seeing more and more lately, and something that I have been very guilty of in the past. Players who railroad their GMs. The player has an idea for their character and backstory and what their character is to do in the game world. Instead of the backstory being the launch pad for the character, the player expects it to be a large part of the story that happens at the table. I hope this isn't coming across against players who have goals and want to achieve those goals. Players who have characters that are driven to go out and do stuff- that's great.

Also, in playing D&D for almost 40 years now, I'm come to my personal conclusion that D&D is an amazingly awesome game if you want to play D&D. If you are looking to have different types of play at the table, it might fight you a bit. But that's ok. A Lamborghini (Lambo as my 9 year old son calls them) is an amazing sports car, and probably really shitty for a family car and hauling trash to the dump on the weekends.
 
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arjunstc

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A lot of people are houseruling this annoying situation by inflicting Exhaustion when PCs hit 0 hit points to simulate wounds.
I do that, plus I have them lose a round after they recover from 0 hp while they try to get their bearings. I also divide their hp into two halves: Wind and Wound; Wind is restored by hit dice/rest, while Wound can only be recovered by potion, magic, or time/natural healing.
 
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Black Leaf

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The assumptions of bog-standard D&D have changed over all these years. It was inevitable.

The problems I have with D&D are the assumptions players bring to the table simply because content exists, they assume all that content exists in whatever setting they choose to sit down at the table and play in. I see very little contextualization of many of the elements now common to "D&D".
That complaint goes back years. I certainly remember GMs complaining that their players assumed that anything in Dragon should automatically be allowed in games. And that really exploded with the 2e splatbooks. So at the very least, I think the idea we see in some quarters that this is all an issue of "these damn kids, with their 5e and their Critical Roles" is rather revisionist.
 

Fenris-77

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Yup, the 2E splat books presented exactly the same problem, for sure.
 

Black Leaf

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For me, I run both very narrow (you all need to be characters who would be hired for an expedition into the North Pole) and very broad (of course you can play an animated suit of armour, I'll stat that up now) campaigns.

I certainly don't think anything in D&D precludes the more gonzo approach, although it doesn't have as much support for doing so as something like Palladium Fantasy.
 

Black Leaf

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Yeah, because the UA classes were fucking badass. I had a moment of teenage climax the first time I read the Barbarian class.
We were very different teenagers. I always wanted to play Kender and Gully Dwarves and anything else under the "really fucking annoying" category. (I even played a Kid in Star Wars).

I suspect my GM hated me way more than yours did.
 

Baulderstone

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That complaint goes back years. I certainly remember GMs complaining that their players assumed that anything in Dragon should automatically be allowed in games. And that really exploded with the 2e splatbooks. So at the very least, I think the idea we see in some quarters that this is all an issue of "these damn kids, with their 5e and their Critical Roles" is rather revisionist.
Not just 2E. If you wanted a blizzard of "snowflake" option in the '80s, you just had to play BECMI.

Base Classes

Rules Cyclopedia
Cleric
Fighter
Magic-User
Thief
Druid
Mystic
Dwarf
Elf
Halfling

PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk
Brownie/Redcap
Centaur
Dryad
Faun
Hsiao
Leprechaun
Pixie
Pooka
Sidhe
Sprite
Treant
Wood Imp
Wooddrake

PC2 Top Ballista
Faenare
Faenare Windsinger
Gnome, Sky
Gnome, Earth
Gremlin
Harpy
Nagpa
Pegataur
Sphinx
Tabi

PC3 The Sea Peoples
Nixie
Merrow
Aquatic Elf
Shark-kin
Triton Mage
Triton Cleric
Triton Cleric/Mage
Kna
Kopru
Sea Giant

Dragon Magazine
Elf Cleric
Elf Druid
Bard
N'djatwa
Shazak
Gurrash
Cayma
Chameleon Man
Aranea
Phanaton
E'eaar
Enduk

Dawn of the Emperors/Arena of Thyatis
Rake
Forester

GAZ2: Emirates of Ylaruam
Dervish

GAZ6: Dwarves of Rockhome
Dwarf Cleric

GAZ7: Northern Reaches
Wise Woman
Godi (Clerics of Thor, Odin, Loki and Hel)

GAZ10: Orcs of Thar
Goblin
Kobold
Hogboblin
Bugbear
Troll
Gnoll
Orc
Ogre

GAZ12: Golden Khan of Ethengar
Horse Warrior
Bratak
Hakomon
Ethengar Shaman

GAZ13: Shadow Elves
Shadow Elf Shaman

GAZ14: Atruaghin Clans
Atruaghin Shamani

Hollow World
Warrior Elf
Beastman
Brute-Man
Hutaakan
Krugel Orc
Kubbit
Malpheggi Lizard Man

HWR2: Kingdom of Nithia
Cleric of Horon
Cleric of Pflarr
Cleric of Ptahr
Cleric of Ranivorus
Cleric of Rathanos
Cleric of Thanatos
Cleric of Isiris
Fighter: Archer
Fighter: Charioteer
Fighter: Heavyman
Fighter: Spearman
Fighter: Runner
Fighter: Khopesh
Cleric: War Cleric
M-U: Mage-Scribe
M-U: Montoth
M-U: Templar
Thief: Royal Seal-Bearer
Thief: Lockmaster
Thief: Guardian

HWR3: Milenian Empire
Redhair (Cleric of Halav)
Midwife (Cleric of Vanya)
Mariner (Cleric of Protius)
Holy Defender (Cleric of Petra)
Griffon Rider

HWA3: Nightstorm
Kirtana Assassin

Wrath of the Immortals
Specialty Priest (for the following Immortals: Al-Kalim Alphaks, Alphatia, Asterius, Atruaghin, Atzanteotl, Benekander, Calitha, Diamond the Star Dragon, Diulanna, Djaea, Eiryndul, Faunus, Frey, Freyja, The Great One, Halav, Hel, Ilsundal, Ixion, Ka, Kagyar, Karaash, Khoronous, Korotiku, Koryis, Loki, Masauwu, Mealiden, Noumena, Nyx, Odin, Opal the Sun Dragon, Orcus, Ordana, Pearl the Moon Dragon, Petra, Pflarr, Protius, Rad, Rafiel, Rathanos, Razud, Talitha, Tarastia, Terra, Thanatos, Thor, Valerias, Vanya, Zirchev)

Champions of Mystara
Elf Shaman
Gruugraakh Gnoll

Rage of the Rakasta
Rakasta (only up to level 5)

Ral Partha D&D Basic Heroes Set
Rakasta (only up to level 5)



Races (can use any human class)

Dragon Magazine
Half-Elf
Lupin
Rakasta



Additional classes (can only be added to existing class or dual-classed into)

Rules Cyclopedia
Paladin
Avenger
Knight
Druid


PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk
PC2 Top Ballista

Creature Wicca
Creature Shaman

PC3 The Sea People
Sea Wicca
Sea Shaman

PC4: The Night Howlers
Werebat
Werebear
Wereboar
Werefox
Wererat
Wereseal
Wereshark
Weretiger
Werewolf
Devil Swine

Dragon Magazine
Druidic Knight
Elf Paladin
Elf Druidic Knight

GAZ3: Principalities of Glantri
Elementalist
Alchemist
Illusionist
Necromancer
Cryptomancer
Witch/Warlock
Dracologist

GAZ5: Elves of Alfheim
Elf Wizard
Elf Treekeeper

GAZ8: The Five Shires
Hin Master

GAZ9: Minrothad Guilds
Sea Prince

GAZ10: Orcs of Thar
Goblinoid Wicca
Goblinoid Shaman

GAZ11: Republic of Darokin
Merchant

Hollow World
Shaman
Wokani


Human Classes

Cleric
Druid
Dervish
Godi (Clerics of Thor, Odin, Loki and Hel)
Ethengar Shaman
Atruaghin Shamani
Redhair (Cleric of Halav)
Midwife (Cleric of Vanya)
Mariner (Cleric of Protius)
Holy Defender (Cleric of Petra)
Specialty Priest (for many Immortals)
Fighter
Avenger
Druidic Knight
Griffon Rider
Horse Warrior
Paladin
Magic-User
Hakomon
Wise Woman
Thief
Bard
Bratak
Rake
Mystic
Forester
 

Fenris-77

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No, for the right game the gonzo approach is awesome. That isn't what I tend to run mind you. I tend to have more focused pitched that require more focused party building to make work, but that's all up front in my pitch. I also enjoy OSR games like Black Hack where there are only humans and only four classes, so I don't have to worry about limits.
 

Fenris-77

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We were very different teenagers. I always wanted to play Kender and Gully Dwarves and anything else under the "really fucking annoying" category. (I even played a Kid in Star Wars).

I suspect my GM hated me way more than yours did.
I think every other character I made up during my teens was essentially Snake Eyes, alternating with surly dwarven fighters.
 

CRKrueger

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You guys do know that failure and death are not synonymous right?

This is the thing that I don't get when people are like "oh if they can't die there is no challenge/consequences" crowd.

Ever have a character fail to save someone? Or have a villain get off scot-free after having done something terrible because the players couldn't get the evidence to make charges stick?

The truth is, death is IMO, the most boring form of failure, because that is the end of interesting things happening. (It's actually more interesting for the OTHER characters when a character dies. (barring resurrection shenanigans, but then again, resurrection shenanigans kind of go against the "back in my day we played D&D uphill both ways in the snow" attitude).
You're conflating Difficulty with Interesting.

One of the great fallacies certain people keep espousing is that Consequences are worse than Death! Nope. Not to us, and especially not to you. For people who Roleplay by adding things like Storytelling/Authorship to it, nothing is worse than Death. It ends that characters story. What's the old cliche about writers? They come up with interesting people they love and then put them through hell? Consequences are the meat and drink of all Narrative RPGs, which is why their mechanics contain them built in to nearly every choice or roll. Doing terrible things to your character is what brings the Drama of dealing with those terrible things. With Character Death, that all stops. It's the ultimate sanction for your Character, and for you.

Some people accept that ultimate sanction as a challenge, and having that axe ready to fall is part of the fun, because it is the ultimate consequence (even Raise Dead and Resurrection once had limitations, and could become mini-campaigns unto themselves).

Other people don't accept that ultimate sanction and tie themselves in knots trying to convince themselves and others that methods which increase the Drama and keep the Story going are worse than Death.
 

Baulderstone

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And since Gronan has moved on from Internet, I should add that he played a Balrog in Gygax's Greyhawk campaign. And even all the otherTolkien races (Elves, Dwarves and Halfings) were special requests from players. And the Cleric was made for a character that wanted to play Peter Cushing as Van Helsing.

On the one hand, I completely respect GMs setting boundaries for their campaign world. On the other, I don't get people bemoaning people wanting to play something weird.

GM: Roleplaying games are an amazing hobby where you can play anything you want!
New player: Cool! I want to be a Pegataur!
GM: Get out, you fucking snowflake!
 

Fenris-77

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That sounds like a false dichotomy to me. Lots of players who like some story in their game are also just fine with character death. Your us and them approach to these conversations isn't always super helpful, you get that right?
 

tenbones

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That complaint goes back years. I certainly remember GMs complaining that their players assumed that anything in Dragon should automatically be allowed in games. And that really exploded with the 2e splatbooks. So at the very least, I think the idea we see in some quarters that this is all an issue of "these damn kids, with their 5e and their Critical Roles" is rather revisionist.
Sure! tastes change.

And that's why people fall out of games and move on to other. Easy peasy.
 

Baulderstone

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Getting back to the video, while I generally enjoy his opinions, I think he makes the mistake of tacking two topics at once and muddling the argument. He's talking about both PC power level and variety of weird options at the same time, and they are unrelated.

I already posted that list of BECMI classes. You could have a party with a Wereseal, a Sea Wicca, a Leprechaun and Wood Drake, but it was still old school D&D, where your 1st-level character was always one roll away from death.

It's the same looking at the OSR. The video has Puss in Boots as the emblem of the perceived problem, but Dolmenwood for OSE has a magical cat class while still having old school D&D cred.
 

tenbones

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So I'm running the 5e Waterdeep Dragon Heist. I'm going to spoiler this for anyone who might want to not see it.
There are encounters that happen in broad daylight involving druegar, kobolds(disguised as kids),Bugbears, intellect devourers, kenji and a seemingly endless supply of Gazers constantly following the part day and night.

I'm not saying your wrong but the impression the module has given me is that it is a very cosmopolitan city where you would expect a little of anything to be wandering about. So the writers could be sloppy(maybe), I could be misunderstanding what I'm reading (likely), the might have retconed it to be more diverse in 5e(seems reasonable all things considered) or something else.
This is my larger point. 5e embraces this assumption that literally all of the sentient races, regardless of cultural background all hang out in Waterdeep (or anywhere else) completely free of Realms historical and cultural context. Duergar and Bugbears and **INTELLECT Devourers** running around the streets? Gee... what could possibly go wrong?

I know why it's turned this way - post-modern views that all cultures have value etc. (but secretly the implication are they're all the same) - this is ahistorical to the setting and to reality. Now I'm not saying you couldn't have these things on the streets of Waterdeep - but contextually it would *not* be normal.

But now in 5e it apparently is. Why not have Cacodaemons and Astral Deva playing poker in the taverns? Vampires? Drow? Yes I'm being partially hyperbolic - but only a little.
 

EmperorNorton

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You're conflating Difficulty with Interesting.

One of the great fallacies certain people keep espousing is that Consequences are worse than Death! Nope. Not to us, and especially not to you. For people who Roleplay by adding things like Storytelling/Authorship to it, nothing is worse than Death. It ends that characters story. What's the old cliche about writers? They come up with interesting people they love and then put them through hell? Consequences are the meat and drink of all Narrative RPGs, which is why their mechanics contain them built in to nearly every choice or roll. Doing terrible things to your character is what brings the Drama of dealing with those terrible things. With Character Death, that all stops. It's the ultimate sanction for your Character, and for you.

Some people accept that ultimate sanction as a challenge, and having that axe ready to fall is part of the fun, because it is the ultimate consequence (even Raise Dead and Resurrection once had limitations, and could become mini-campaigns unto themselves).

Other people don't accept that ultimate sanction and tie themselves in knots trying to convince themselves and others that methods which increase the Drama and keep the Story going are worse than Death.
Except the person I was responding to was saying victory only matters if failure is possible.

You seem to think you are disagreeing with me when... you aren't? Or at least you aren't disagreeing with what I actually typed. There are some small bits of what you said that I disagree with, but none of that has to do with the point I was making.

I never at any point said that other consequences are worse than death, I said that they are more interesting. (Though honestly I'd argue some are in fact, worse than death for the character.)

I was disagreeing with the idea that characters less likely to die has anything to do with the idea that characters can't fail. That just is patently untrue. I mean look at everyone on the forums. I imagine that all of us have failed plenty in our lives. And, as far as I can tell anyway, everyone reading this is still alive.

I've also repeatedly made a point that I'm talking about this whole thing of "My preference is objectively superior, and my way should not only be the way the game is designed, NO OTHER WAY SHOULD BE SUPPORTED". If your preference is for a much deadlier game. Fucking good for you. That has nothing to do with the conversation I am having.
 

tenbones

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The thing that gets me is like... ok so what if someone wants to tell stories of wish fulfilment? Or stories where they are strong and powerful?

Like, this is a hobby for fun. It ain't that deep. If they are having fun, and their table is having fun, they are doing it right.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment. I completely agree with you on that.

The question here is the dynamic between the GM, the game being run and the players and what is assumed to be the parameters of what is agreed upon to fulfill those wishes. When you and I play D&D, we're only agreeing to play a game, what the rules of that game are need to be hashed out between us. If we agree you are GMing and *you* want to run a game that's generically going to be set in the Underdark - and so naturally the denizens of the Underdark would be the assumed playable options, and I say "I want to play a Pegasus." There needs to be a discussion with me about 1) why I'd even think that was a good option 2) your willingness to accommodate such a request and the degree you're willing to bend the conceits of the setting to my request 3) is there another option you're willing to GM (like tossing out your own desire to run the Underdark campaign you had cooked up in your head) and instead do a Fae-themed campaign set in the Ancient Forest of Aelfia. And of course what the other players might want.

The "problem" with 5e - is it does little to make thematic distinctions implicit to the game. Sure for those of us that have done this for some time, it's kinda obvious. But for new players and GM's and certainly as @Butcher demonstrated the content of modern 5e as the video pointed out blurs those conceits, despite literally decades of established history in these specific settings.
 

robertsconley

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I know why it's turned this way - post-modern views that all cultures have value etc. (but secretly the implication are they're all the same) - this is ahistorical to the setting and to reality. Now I'm not saying you couldn't have these things on the streets of Waterdeep - but contextually it would *not* be normal.
So pop quiz

Once I was a clerical phase-spider, homosexual with a oral fixation, and masochistic
Is from when?

It from Alarums & Excursions #12 published in 1975. Found in the Elusive Shift on Page 92. 1610636746452.png
Folks need to read the Elusive Shift by Jon Peterson. It was just released and it documents (not recounts) the transition after D&D was released when folks were grappling with "what is roleplaying?" And its effectively illustrates the diversity of approaches that was present from the beginning. Including settings that were were an improbable kaleidoscope of cultures and races

Rob's Note: I am not doing this to pick on you. I just got done reading this when I came across your post and comment about post-modern views in the present day.

Update

A screenshot from the original in A&E #12 If you have the PDF from Lee Gold it is on page #135
1610637578801.png
Further details

1610637739966.png
 
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tenbones

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So pop quiz



Is from when?

It from Alarums & Excursions #12 published in 1975. Found in the Elusive Shift on Page 92. View attachment 25645
Folks need to the Elusive Shift by Jon Peterson. It was just released and it documents (not recounts) the transition after D&D was released when folks were grappling with "what is roleplaying?" And its effectively illustrates the diversity of approaches that was present from the beginning. Including settings that were were an improbable kaleidoscope of cultures and races

Rob's Note: I am not doing this to pick on you. I just got done reading this when I came across your post and comment about post-modern views in the present day.

Update

A screenshot from the original in A&E #12 If you have the PDF from Lee Gold it is on page #135
View attachment 25646
Further details

View attachment 25647
Are you going to really tell me this singular example is representative of the history of D&D and fantasy roleplaying writ large? I've already stated quite clearly that for homebrewed games - go nuts. But for the established settings used by D&D in specific, this kind of play is not implied as normal until fairly recently.

I can cite all kinds of silly stuff that's appeared in my games, that doesn't mean it's considered the normal assumptions of any particular setting.

You're making my point for me.
 

CRKrueger

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That sounds like a false dichotomy to me. Lots of players who like some story in their game are also just fine with character death. Your us and them approach to these conversations isn't always super helpful, you get that right?
Lots of people like lots of things that I have no direct knowledge of. Historically, on this site and others, that argument is always put forth by people who play and enjoy narrative RPGs.

I could make some statements and ask you if it most likely came from...
Group 1. Me, Rob, Tenbones, Vulmea, etc.
Group 2. Silva, Norton, Ladybird, etc. (all of which have made that argument on multiple occasions)
...and based on the statement, you could pick which group it came from 99% of the time.

People do Us and Them all the time.
Grognards is a Them.
Usual Suspects is a Them.
Etc.
 

arjunstc

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Except the person I was responding to was saying victory only matters if failure is possible.

...

I was disagreeing with the idea that characters less likely to die has anything to do with the idea that characters can't fail.
If you are referring to me, I did not say that death is the only failure state.
 

Fenris-77

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Lots of people like lots of things that I have no direct knowledge of. Historically, on this site and others, that argument is always put forth by people who play and enjoy narrative RPGs.

I could make some statements and ask you if it most likely came from...
Group 1. Me, Rob, Tenbones, Vulmea, etc.
Group 2. Silva, Norton, Ladybird, etc. (all of which have made that argument on multiple occasions)
...and based on the statement, you could pick which group it came from 99% of the time.

People do Us and Them all the time.
Grognards is a Them.
Usual Suspects is a Them.
Etc.
My point is that there is lots of room in the middle. Some people enjoy both old school and narrative games. I'm not saying you shouldn't have your own likes and dislikes, of course you should. I just don't get why you feel the need to be so unrelentingly hostile about it. Especially when you don't seem have much tolerance for being twitted about that ongoing facet of your posting. Anyway, I'm not here to try and change your posts (like you'd let me) I'm just a little bemused by your vitriol sometimes. I have my own set of anti-social quirks online, so, please, don't take that as actual criticism. I just have trouble parsing your posts sometimes.

Take the character death example you posted above. That's not an issue that splits evenly along the narrative/old school fault line. Lots of people who enjoy more narrative play accept that death is the last stop on that train, and is not only possible, but can indeed be the perfect ending to a character arc. How does that reconcile with your attempt to paint the whole set of narrative gamers as enormous poofs who can't handle even the possibility of a character dying? You and I both know that ain't true, so why say it? IDK.
 

CRKrueger

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So pop quiz



Is from when?

It from Alarums & Excursions #12 published in 1975. Found in the Elusive Shift on Page 92. View attachment 25645
Folks need to the Elusive Shift by Jon Peterson. It was just released and it documents (not recounts) the transition after D&D was released when folks were grappling with "what is roleplaying?" And its effectively illustrates the diversity of approaches that was present from the beginning. Including settings that were were an improbable kaleidoscope of cultures and races

Rob's Note: I am not doing this to pick on you. I just got done reading this when I came across your post and comment about post-modern views in the present day.

Update

A screenshot from the original in A&E #12 If you have the PDF from Lee Gold it is on page #135
View attachment 25646
Further details

View attachment 25647
Yeah, Tenbones is right, Rob. As I’ve already said, everyone has done Gonzo Heavy Metal campaigns, and everyone has done one offs. That’s different than Tieflings walking down Main Street. In Greyhawk, you might expect to see Tieflings in Iuz, the Horned Society, The Great Kingdom, The Pomarj, etc. but in most places where humans dwell, they would be Kill On Sight. The same with the Forgotten Realms. The idea that Balrog characters are normal is just ludicrous on it’s face.

There are places where Mos Eisley exists. Waterdeep isn’t one of them, but Skullport is. Silverymoon isn’t one of them, but Hellgate Keep is. The Inn of the Welcome Wench isn’t, but The World Serpent Inn is.

Having half-DemonsDevilsAngelsGiantsTreantsFaeriesElementalsFurries walking all over the place and accepted in every society everywhere makes a mockery of most settings. For Rifts it’s Tuesday, and every other day.

When every setting becomes Rifts, that’s not entertaining, that’s the most boring thing of all.
 

CRKrueger

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My point is that there is lots of room in the middle. Some people enjoy both old school and narrative games. I'm not saying you shouldn't have your own likes and dislikes, of course you should. I just don't get why you feel the need to be so unrelentingly hostile about it. Especially when you don't seem have much tolerance for being twitted about that ongoing facet of your posting. Anyway, I'm not here to try and change your posts (like you'd let me) I'm just a little bemused by your vitriol sometimes. I have my own set of anti-social quirks online, so, please, don't take that as actual criticism. I just have trouble parsing your posts sometimes.

Take the character death example you posted above. That's not an issue that splits evenly along the narrative/old school fault line. Lots of people who enjoy more narrative play accept that death is the last stop on that train, and is not only possible, but can indeed be the perfect ending to a character arc. How does that reconcile with your attempt to paint the whole set of narrative gamers as enormous poofs who can't handle even the possibility of a character dying? You and I both know that ain't true, so why say it? IDK.
You’re the first “narrative guy” on this site that hasn’t put forth the idea that Consequences are worse than Death. For all I know, every other person the world playing narrative games might be saying “Of course Death is the worst failure state (unless it’s a powerful and dramatic end chosen by the character).” I just haven’t seen that here.
 

tenbones

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Anyone else remember the complaints about "Monty Haul" DMs back in the day?
Now it's the Monty Haul of conceptual stasis. The mechanical reinforcement of the narrative that all things are essentially the same in game. Things like Cultures, races, there is no meaningful point to good or evil except as low-grade nomenclature to justify usually bad behavior, the constant deconstruction of cohesion that has traditionally made civilization (and everything we associate with cultures within a civilization) that we can squint our eyes at and say "yeah that passes the sniff test".

I think part of it is the passive recoil from GM "power" - and the other is this oversensitivity to personal agency as a player, not a PC in a game with others, as some kind of Rule -1 to override Rule 0. It's crept into game design as its own branch (which is fine) but now we're seeing it in D&D.

I don't think there will ever be the attempt by WotC to create new cohesive settings with definitive cultures and conceits they don't immediately subvert. Why should they? They have all their other settings they do such demolition-jobs in. But nothing new will come from them that will match the content produced in their former editions.

Which is weird since you'd think the OTHER angle to approach this would be the active creation of GM development tools and content - instead of just cranking out super-modules.
 

Fenris-77

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You’re the first “narrative guy” on this site that hasn’t put forth the idea that Consequences are worse than Death. For all I know, every other person the world playing narrative games might be saying “Of course Death is the worst failure state (unless it’s a powerful and dramatic end chosen by the character).” I just haven’t seen that here.
Huh. That's weird. Narrative play should generally be driven by situations that engender choices and consequences that matter to the character (yup, a huge generalization, but broadly true). IMO the only teleos there is that death, yours or someone else's, needs to be on the table in order to make the rest of the choices you make mean something. Playing otherwise would feel like playing poker at the kiddie table to me. Maybe you and I at least, are more in agreement here than we first thought.
 

robertsconley

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Are you going to really tell me this singular example is representative of the history of D&D and fantasy roleplaying writ large?
No it not a singular example but you are better off reading the Elusive Shift by Jon Peterson and following his references than taking my word for it. He had done the work going through the various documentation to pieces together the picture of what happened back then.

The result he states on the OD&D discussion forum.

1610643268778.png

I've already stated quite clearly that for homebrewed games - go nuts. But for the established settings used by D&D in specific, this kind of play is not implied as normal until fairly recently.
Yes but what more important what is published or what people do at home? Did the published work represent the normal state of play in an era whether it is today or back in the day? Is the state of published work a reflection of the times or rather a reflection of how the writing staff liked to play?

I beginning to think what published not a conclusive as people making it out to be. Of course to make a convincing case we need more work done like the Elusive Shift but for later decades.

Also the campaign was not just run by anybody it was one ran by Greg Costikyan an individual who went on to write many influential RPGs. And it not the only example of this type of campaign.

I can cite all kinds of silly stuff that's appeared in my games, that doesn't mean it's considered the normal assumptions of any particular setting.
My point of debate whether it is a result of a post-modern shift. I am contending it there all along. It just happened that in this generation it got published by the IP holder of D&D. It not a result of a post-modern shift. It a result of people who liked this form of tabletop roleplaying finally being on the staff and getting to publish what they like.
 

EmperorNorton

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You’re the first “narrative guy” on this site that hasn’t put forth the idea that Consequences are worse than Death. For all I know, every other person the world playing narrative games might be saying “Of course Death is the worst failure state (unless it’s a powerful and dramatic end chosen by the character).” I just haven’t seen that here.
Again, I'm pretty sure I said that death is the least INTERESTING consequence, but you go off dude.
 

Ladybird

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Lots of people like lots of things that I have no direct knowledge of. Historically, on this site and others, that argument is always put forth by people who play and enjoy narrative RPGs.

I could make some statements and ask you if it most likely came from...
Group 1. Me, Rob, Tenbones, Vulmea, etc.
Group 2. Silva, Norton, Ladybird, etc. (all of which have made that argument on multiple occasions)
...and based on the statement, you could pick which group it came from 99% of the time.

People do Us and Them all the time.
Grognards is a Them.
Usual Suspects is a Them.
Etc.
...which is funny, because I actually like Rob and Vulmea's posts, and I have a lot of time for their points of view even when I don't necessarily agree with them, because they're able to express their opinions without going into tribal mentality; they actually engage with the poster and the discussion, rather than attributing negative traits to folk based on rough similarities to folks who they still have chips on their shoulder about.

But you're clearly having yourself a good time, so keep on going off.
 

Black Leaf

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Yeah, Tenbones is right, Rob. As I’ve already said, everyone has done Gonzo Heavy Metal campaigns, and everyone has done one offs. That’s different than Tieflings walking down Main Street. In Greyhawk, you might expect to see Tieflings in Iuz, the Horned Society, The Great Kingdom, The Pomarj, etc. but in most places where humans dwell, they would be Kill On Sight. The same with the Forgotten Realms. The idea that Balrog characters are normal is just ludicrous on it’s face.
We should probably separate the very early games from the published settings. I think it's very plausible that Balrogs were normal in Gygax's games and without good reason to believe otherwise am inclined to take Gronan as the voice of authority on that.

So the implied setting in OD&D at least I think was pretty gonzo. The question is more when that changed. (Red box at least, but maybe earlier).
 

CRKrueger

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We should probably separate the very early games from the published settings. I think it's very plausible that Balrogs were normal in Gygax's games and without good reason to believe otherwise am inclined to take Gronan as the voice of authority on that.

So the implied setting in OD&D at least I think was pretty gonzo. The question is more when that changed. (Red box at least, but maybe earlier).
If Gronan ever actually did say Balrog PCs were normal, I would take his word on that. But since he’s never said anything of the sort, I can’t take his word on it, can I?
 
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