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When D&D lost its soul

Discuss any non D&D roleplaying topics here.

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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When D&D lost its soul

Post#1 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:04 pm

I don't remember much about 3E beyond the PHB and DMG, because I never bought the MM or other books. Those two were enough to forever turn me off to new editions. But the other day I was hanging around the book store doing some Xmas shopping and of course I had to check out the comics and gaming section. My eye caught the 5E MM. Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to take a peek at the latest travesty being done to the game. :roll: It was hard to believe what I was seeing. The monster entries were nothing but stat blocks and attack patterns! 8O :roll:

Gone were all the imaginative nuggets from 1E and moreso 2E, such as the tarrasque entry where it was rumored to have been created by the Elemental Princes of Evil, or the entry about shadows having been magically created as a curse, or the ghost ecology entry where it explains the aging ability of ghosts. There was no flavor. Just stat blocks and attack sequences. I remember when you could read through the MM, and just by reading notes or the ecology entries you could become inspired to the point where the creative juices were stimulated. Now it's just cold, dry, boring numbers.

"Giants a large humanoids who like to hurl rocks. [Insert 2 page stat block] " :roll:

D&D truly has lost its soul. :evil:

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Billy_Buttcheese
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#2 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:10 pm

Hal,
I lay the blame squarely at the feet of computers. No one wants to "role-play" any more. It's just "how do I make the most kick-ass character on the planet?" I think it really started around the time Baldur's Gate came out and this lead to what became 3.X. Just crunch numbers until you become this uber death-dealing Hulk figure that can take down the gods. Specialize until your character sheet is just a collection of maxed out numbers. Your PC dies? No way! He can't and should the impossible actually happen, just get him raised again and again, ad nauseum.

I introduced a friend to 1st Edition a couple years ago. We played for about 5 sessions with my kids and his girlfriend and I thought we had a great time. This past summer, he called to ask if I wanted to come over and play. He was going to DM a session of 5th Edition and introduce some new folks to D&D. I asked him why he chose that edition and his response still cracks me up (in a head shaking, sad way). He said that 1st Edition was "too much work". He liked all the min/maxing and skill advancement because it was "just like Diablo". He wanted his players to advance more quickly. Plus he wanted to buy all new books instead of old used books off the internet. I still shake my head in sadness.

No one is interested in back-story or plot lines or solving myteries. It's just about making the ultimate killing machine. No campaigns, just mindless stumbling from one dungeon to the next and collecting XPs wherever you can. Alignment is also an inconvenience to most folks. Do what you want, when you want and the hell with consequences.

I suspect that when our generation is gone, so will the spirit of the game. I get that times/ideas change but sometimes change for change's sake isn't always for the best. Guess I'm just a dinosaur...

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JadedDM
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#3 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:08 pm

That's interesting, Billy, because my own experiences are the exact opposite. It's the old school players, the 1E and 2E players, who seem to think 'roleplay' means giving your character a name and two sentences of background. The more modern games, like 5E, actually dedicate quite a bit of material to help players roleplay. Stuff like personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws are chosen at character creation, for instance.

In fact, when I recruit for new players for my 2E game, I have to seriously downplay the fact it is 2E. If I announce it right at the start, I tend to get a lot of people who think it's just a random dungeon crawl and get frustrated that they have to write backstories or interact with NPCs, even though I specify up front my games are very roleplay-centric. I find if I downplay the edition and focus more on recruiting the younger players, I tend to get far better results.

For instance, in my current game, I was down to two players and needed more. I put out an ad that basically said, "Hey, here's a 2E game that focus heavily on roleplay. Politics, intrigue, making alliances, etc." I got three players who signed up happily. However, one of them got mad when he failed to roll a single 18 and just quit. Another one got bored when he realized that my political intrigue game contained a lot of political intrigue--he just wanted to go kill goblins in a dungeon. (Both described themselves as old school gamers who grew up on 2E).

So I put out another add. This time I left out the fact that the game was 2E, only mentioning in passing at the very end, and instead focused on the roleplay aspect. I got three new players, and all of them have been great additions to my game. Two of them decided their characters were in love, but one is a human and the other a half-elf, so this is frown upon, and creates lots of drama. One has a very dark past and is trying to redeem himself, but constantly falling back on old habits. And so forth. And all three of them grew up on 3E or 5E.

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garhkal
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#4 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:47 pm

i am with Billy and Hal. Most of the games i've watched of 3.0 and beyond, most players never even BOTHER coming up with a backstory, cause everything's Crunch.. Role playing, what's that they are just in effect, ROLL playing.. And i DO believe its all down to puter and console 'rpgs' where the BUILD is everything..

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#5 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:52 pm

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:

I lay the blame squarely at the feet of computers. No one wants to "role-play" any more. It's just "how do I make the most kick-ass character on the planet?" I think it really started around the time Baldur's Gate came out and this lead to what became 3.X. Just crunch numbers until you become this uber death-dealing Hulk figure that can take down the gods. Specialize until your character sheet is just a collection of maxed out numbers. Your PC dies? No way! He can't and should the impossible actually happen, just get him raised again and again, ad nauseum.


Amen! I noticed the attitude reflected in the language of the game itself. In 3E, you no longer "created" a character, you "built" a character. I remember the WOTC forums being overrun by topics such as "What it the best build possible?". It became like a Chinese menu - a little of this, a little of that. Take a core paladin, add a few levels of druid, mix in a couple of levels of wizard and a whiff of thief just for good measure, then "build" the character up with a handful of "feats" and watch your half-dragon/half-pixie paladin/druid/wizard/thief (alignment unimaginable) go kick ass. Instead of:

"Drax (the barbarian) jumps off the ledge, grabs the curtains, swings himself to the ground and tries to whack the evil wizard with his battle axe..."

We got...

"My paladin/druid/wizard/thief uses his Errol Flynn feat with a +5 to his DR for his dragon half-race. Does he hit?"

:roll:

I sat in stores many a time marveling at how the 3E players never even referred to their characters by name, never described their actions, etc. Just "my (insert class) does his (insert choice) feat". Or at best "I" do this feat. It was horrible. Like watching a debate between two math clubs! All numbers! :roll:

He said that 1st Edition was "too much work". He liked all the min/maxing and skill advancement because it was "just like Diablo". He wanted his players to advance more quickly. Plus he wanted to buy all new books instead of old used books off the internet. I still shake my head in sadness.


Should have told him - "That's why 3.5E had TWO DMGs and TWO PHBs?"

No one is interested in back-story or plot lines or solving myteries. It's just about making the ultimate killing machine. No campaigns, just mindless stumbling from one dungeon to the next and collecting XPs wherever you can. Alignment is also an inconvenience to most folks. Do what you want, when you want and the hell with consequences.


Were you ever at the WOTC forums back in 2000/2001? It was insane! I'd read the posts and say: "What the hell are you people playing? It's certainly not D&D!". At one point, fully 50% of the posts on the main (3E) forum were dedicated to maxing out character "builds". It was like watching Oprah, Martha Stewart, and Emeril debating recipes! 8O Start with this base, add a dash of this and a dash of that...

I suspect that when our generation is gone, so will the spirit of the game. I get that times/ideas change but sometimes change for change's sake isn't always for the best. Guess I'm just a dinosaur...


People who play later editions (and people in general) worship change far too much, because they don't understand balance (ironically, as all they ever obsess about is "game balance" :roll: ). Without change you get stagnation. But without stability you get chaos. Imagine for example if the procession of seasons were not stable, but always changing. One year you might have spring, summer, fall and winter, but the next season it might be spring, winter, fall, summer, or winter, winter, fall, fall. We'd all die! Change is important, but so is stability and consistency.

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#6 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:15 pm

JadedDM wrote:

That's interesting, Billy, because my own experiences are the exact opposite. It's the old school players, the 1E and 2E players, who seem to think 'roleplay' means giving your character a name and two sentences of background. The more modern games, like 5E, actually dedicate quite a bit of material to help players roleplay. Stuff like personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws are chosen at character creation, for instance.


I'm wondering where you see that, because I never have. Starting in 3E, it was always all about min/maxing, character "builds" and insane, incomprehensibly absurd combinations. A few actual ones I remember from the WOTC forums:

Half lizardman/half orc monk
Half dragon/Half gnome wizard/thief
Half human/half flesh golem druid/assassin

And finally, I sh*t you not (step away from the ledge Halaster...step away from the ledge)...

Gelatinous cube monk! :roll:

In case anyone thinks I'm just making this up...

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-73865.html

And it was an official WOTC release/design as well!

http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/eo/20060922a

I cannot in all honesty call that creativity. I have to call it what it is. Stupidity.

In all those years of 3E, 3.5E and 4E, I never, ever saw a post on a forum about character background, development, etc. It was always, exclusively, about "builds" and "feats" and crazy combinations and how to min/max them.

On the other hand, throughout my gaming years, virtually every player I've ever DMed for had created a character complete with a decently developed background. Sure, there were always a few players here or there who didn't take the game as anything other than a joke, and who created characters with idiotic "gimmick" names, or who created crazy backgrounds or simply treated the character as a disposable chess piece, almost with contempt. But the vast majority, over 95%, created characters with reasonably well written backgrounds, goals, and personalities.

Again, even looking at the 5E MM, it's nothing but stat blocks and attack sequence descriptions. It's like a math book translated into D&D-ish terms. No flavor, no imagination - just numbers.

In fact, when I recruit for new players for my 2E game, I have to seriously downplay the fact it is 2E. If I announce it right at the start, I tend to get a lot of people who think it's just a random dungeon crawl and get frustrated that they have to write backstories or interact with NPCs, even though I specify up front my games are very roleplay-centric. I find if I downplay the edition and focus more on recruiting the younger players, I tend to get far better results.


That literally staggers my mind to hear. It's like a Twilight Zone episode. It's totally out of sync with almost half a century of my gaming experience. Could it be a local thing? What area are you from? I'm convinced that there are "pockets" of different sorts of players all around the country, and your experience depends on which pocket you find yourself in. Though the WOTC forums and others tend to destroy that theory.

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#7 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:41 pm

Garhkal wrote:

i am with Billy and Hal. Most of the games i've watched of 3.0 and beyond, most players never even BOTHER coming up with a backstory, cause everything's Crunch.. Role playing, what's that they are just in effect, ROLL playing.. And i DO believe its all down to puter and console 'rpgs' where the BUILD is everything..


I'm hesitant to give all the blame to computer games, though I think they played a huge role in the problem (no pun intended). I think the core reason, though, is something I've complained about for years and for which I've been attacked as being "crude and insensitive" in many different forums. Oh well. Yawn. :roll:

In the 1E years, AD&D was designed for a particular crowd - the nerdy, geeky, intelligent crowd. The kids who read Tolkien and classic mythology. You rarely saw a football jock playing AD&D. No, it was the kids who were well-read, with a strong command of vocabulary, and who understood the concept of archetypes (and who could actually spell the word "archetype" as well as explain what it meant). Kids who spent time reading and studying. Now clearly, not every jock is a neanderthal and not every non-sport playing kid is smart. At my high school, you couldn't even play sports without at least a C+ average, and even then they had to take extra class work. But my point is that the audience for AD&D was - let's face it - geeky, smart, well-read kids. Not the entire school. Not the jocks, or the burn outs, or the headbangers, or the rich kids. It appealed to a particular audience. I thought they got it right in the tv show Freaks and Geeks. That's my memory of it.

Now then, 2E comes along and TSR decides to broaden its base. They would like to see every demographic in grade school and high school playing it. So what did they do? They dumbed it down. You all know I love a lot of 2E stuff just as much as 1E, but let's face it. Read the 1E DMG and PHB, then the 2E books. The latter felt like I was being talked down to. As if they were trying to explain the obvious to me. And any time you want to cater to a broader, less-sophisticated audience (for lack of a better choice of words at 1:30 AM), you must, of necessity, dumb it down. So now you have people who have never read stories about King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table, or Tolkien, or classic mythology (Greek, Norse, Finnish, etc). People who have no idea about the difference between Sumeria and Babylonia. People who equate elves more with Santa Claus than Lord of the Rings. People who have no idea what an archetype is or even how to spell it. People who think the game is all about passing "Go" and winning, with the other players losing. When you dumb anything down, it loses something. It loses its soul. It becomes a derivative of itself. And it only got worse with 3E and beyond.

And so naturally it attracted more video game players, who are conditioned to be able to simply hit the "reset" button and "undo" any bad results. And so TSR/WOTC provided 3E gamers with that video game mentality. Dead from poison? Just cast raise dead and you'll come back with 10hp, 15 hp, maybe more (depending on your level). Don't worry about the poison. It's all forgotten about. And don't worry about needing rest. Just pick up that sword and jump back into combat! Or if you're a wizard, just start casting spells because you never lost them when you died. :roll:

Got touched by a vampire 3 times and now you're only 6th level instead of 12th? Ah, just spend about 100 gp worth of diamond dust or spend 100 xp for a greater restoration spell and you get all 6 levels back! :roll:

Yeah, brilliant. That's how the video gamers infiltrated D&D and turned it into a joke.

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JadedDM
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#8 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:15 am

"My paladin/druid/wizard/thief uses his Errol Flynn feat with a +5 to his DR for his dragon half-race. Does he hit?"

I get that you are trying to make a point, and probably just pulled something random out of the air, but what in the world does getting a +5 to DR have to do with hitting something? :lol:

I'm wondering where you see that, because I never have.

I'm just speaking of my own experiences in my own games. Generally speaking, I've found that old school gamers tend to care more about killing things and taking their stuff, while the younger crowd is more interesting in telling a shared story. It's not really surprising, either. Remember that if you go back far enough, to D&D's roots, the game evolved from wargaming, not actual roleplaying. If anything, I've found that D&D focuses on roleplaying more nowadays than it ever did.

For instance, I once had an old school gamer (grew up on 1E/2E) in my game who used to get so mad because I'd treat goblins as sapient creatures with thoughts and motivations. They weren't 'evil' for the sake of being evil. They had reasons; if they were evil at all. But this player would constantly try to kill any goblin he saw, regardless of the situation, because in his own words, "Goblins are just XP and it's wrong to make them more than that."

In fact, if I'm running a game and I say, "You come across a goblin sitting next to the road. He's wearing leather armor and has a sword on his belt. He isn't doing anything threatening, he's just sitting there snacking on some moldy cheese." Generally, in my experience, the younger players will approach the goblin, ask him what he's doing, determine if he's a threat, and if not, move on. The older players will immediately attack and kill him. Doesn't matter he was just sitting there minding his own business.

Gelatinous cube monk! :roll:

Okay, but you understand that's a joke, right? In both links you provided, the author outright states it's meant to be humorous.

From the first link: "i decided a gelatinous cube would make a hilarious character..."

From the second link: "As far as monsters go, gelatinous cubes can be pretty amusing. Every one of these versions has some humorous element to it -- so enjoy!" It even jokes that, "Ooze monasteries aren't exactly plentiful, after all. It must have studied on its own, just like Miyamoto Musashi did."

Could it be a local thing? What area are you from?

The internet. I haven't run a face-to-face game in over two decades now.

So what did they do? They dumbed it down. You all know I love a lot of 2E stuff just as much as 1E, but let's face it. Read the 1E DMG and PHB, then the 2E books. The latter felt like I was being talked down to.

The 2E books did a better job explaining what a roleplaying game is for people who were brand new to the concept. Honestly, the 1E books came off as rambling and dis-coherent to me.

People who equate elves more with Santa Claus than Lord of the Rings.

Are there such people any more? Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular movie franchises ever made. Nerds are mainstream now.

I don't think video games had much to do with the ways D&D changed. I think the changes they made were things people asked for. Yes, death is less punishing in later editions. As is poison and level draining. But a lot of people hated those mechanics. You obviously disagree, but you are clearly in the minority. If your character is level drained, you can no longer be as useful to the party anymore. You are now a burden, someone that can't contribute fully but still must be protected until you can regain those levels. That's not fun, for anyone involved. So they made it easier. Because that's what the fans wanted. The game has changed because the audience has changed.

In fact, the main reason people wanted it easier to avoid or return from death in later editions is because they would get attached to their characters and want them to live on. In the old days, characters were pretty expendable. It wasn't common for players to roll multiple characters, as backups, for when the originals inevitably died.

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garhkal
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#9 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:08 am

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:It became like a Chinese menu - a little of this, a little of that. Take a core paladin, add a few levels of druid, mix in a couple of levels of wizard and a whiff of thief just for good measure, then "build" the character up with a handful of "feats" and watch your half-dragon/half-pixie paladin/druid/wizard/thief (alignment unimaginable) go kick ass. Instead of:


That's one of the worst aspects imo of the newer editions, AND how it dripped down into 2e games, where players OF those new editions nerd-rage on old school DM's who go BTB and 'limit' their choices...

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:"My paladin/druid/wizard/thief uses his Errol Flynn feat with a +5 to his DR for his dragon half-race. Does he hit?"

:roll:

I sat in stores many a time marveling at how the 3E players never even referred to their characters by name, never described their actions, etc. Just "my (insert class) does his (insert choice) feat". Or at best "I" do this feat. It was horrible. Like watching a debate between two math clubs! All numbers! :roll:


While 1e/2e games were not immune to that stuff, it DID have more push for Role playing, than pure ROLL playing...
1/2E;
Dm to player "Fibenzoeef comes out of the dungeon level into the midst of 4 gnoll guards. What do you do!!"
Player to dm "Fibby the elf, shirks, looks meek and bows his head plaintively. he speaks to them "help, one of the others is violently ill, and your master decreed he wanted us healthy for our sacrificial ceremony.. "
DM to player "In what language are you speaking, remember, you know these beasts don't speak common"
Player "In flind, since i know they speak that."
DM "Fine, give me a Charisma check to see how well it worked, get a good enough roll, and you can get a bonus to your NPC reaction check to see if you bluff them"..

3e beyond;
DM to player "Your character comes running up the steps into the face of 4 gnolls.. what do you do!"
Player "My toon tries to bluff them to come help. He's got a 16 charisma, a +3 bluff skill, +4 synergy bonus from his XYZ. I rolled a 17, do i succeed"?

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:People who play later editions (and people in general) worship change far too much, because they don't understand balance (ironically, as all they ever obsess about is "game balance" :roll: ). Without change you get stagnation. But without stability you get chaos. Imagine for example if the procession of seasons were not stable, but always changing. One year you might have spring, summer, fall and winter, but the next season it might be spring, winter, fall, summer, or winter, winter, fall, fall. We'd all die! Change is important, but so is stability and consistency.


I always laugh at how they 'seem to LOVE balance', but what the most outrageous stuff to be allowed into earlier editions, "cause that's how our prior DM rolled man! you must s8ck as a dm, cause you are refusing to let us play what we want!"

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I cannot in all honesty call that creativity. I have to call it what it is. Stupidity.


More like asshattery!.. How can in anyone's mind feel a Gelatanous cube be allowed as a race!?

But that was the edition we started seeing, half demons, half dragons, half constructs, and the like as 'common place'.. OR where rules got codified to where players could keep playing their characters once they died and became undead...

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I'm hesitant to give all the blame to computer games, though I think they played a huge role in the problem (no pun intended). I think the core reason, though, is something I've complained about for years and for which I've been attacked as being "crude and insensitive" in many different forums. Oh well. Yawn. :roll:


Thing is Hal, i DO think a lot of the blame imo does lay at the feet of console/computer RPGs, from evercrack, to wow, to diablo. Which is where people GOT the idea of "characters as BUILDS" from imo.

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Now then, 2E comes along and TSR decides to broaden its base. They would like to see every demographic in grade school and high school playing it. So what did they do? They dumbed it down. You all know I love a lot of 2E stuff just as much as 1E, but let's face it. Read the 1E DMG and PHB, then the 2E books. The latter felt like I was being talked down to. As if they were trying to explain the obvious to me. And any time you want to cater to a broader, less-sophisticated audience (for lack of a better choice of words at 1:30 AM), you must, of necessity, dumb it down.


Strange i don't see 2e as starting that trend, TILL they came out with the "Players option" series of books..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:And so naturally it attracted more video game players, who are conditioned to be able to simply hit the "reset" button and "undo" any bad results. And so TSR/WOTC provided 3E gamers with that video game mentality. Dead from poison? Just cast raise dead and you'll come back with 10hp, 15 hp, maybe more (depending on your level). Don't worry about the poison. It's all forgotten about. And don't worry about needing rest. Just pick up that sword and jump back into combat! Or if you're a wizard, just start casting spells because you never lost them when you died. :roll:

Got touched by a vampire 3 times and now you're only 6th level instead of 12th? Ah, just spend about 100 gp worth of diamond dust or spend 100 xp for a greater restoration spell and you get all 6 levels back! :roll:

Yeah, brilliant. That's how the video gamers infiltrated D&D and turned it into a joke.


Whcih is why i am so venemous towarsd those who feel all cleric pcs should be nothing but heal bots and if not, we will kick you out. Or all NPC priests are nothing more than vendo-matics for raise deads, resurrections etc.. just drive by the church, drop enough coin in the slot and BAM what ever you needed is done..
NO thought to "are you of the faith. Are you of our race. IS what you did compatible with our gods ethos and the like.."

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Billy_Buttcheese
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#10 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:24 pm

JadedDM wrote:That's interesting, Billy, because my own experiences are the exact opposite. It's the old school players, the 1E and 2E players, who seem to think 'roleplay' means giving your character a name and two sentences of background. The more modern games, like 5E, actually dedicate quite a bit of material to help players roleplay. Stuff like personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws are chosen at character creation, for instance.


JDM, I would be lying if I said I've never seen this and you're right in many cases. One of my oldest playing friends has always been of this mindset. It's one of several reasons why we no longer play together. Every time I tried to introduce a true campaign style playing format, his input would always be "this shit is boring, when do we get to the action?" As an aside for the PC traits, etc., I find it amusing how it took a parody game like Hackmaster to include something as fun as character flaws.

JadedDM wrote:In fact, when I recruit for new players for my 2E game, I have to seriously downplay the fact it is 2E. If I announce it right at the start, I tend to get a lot of people who think it's just a random dungeon crawl and get frustrated that they have to write backstories or interact with NPCs, even though I specify up front my games are very roleplay-centric. I find if I downplay the edition and focus more on recruiting the younger players, I tend to get far better results.


Never had this problem so can't speak to it.

JadedDM wrote:For instance, in my current game, I was down to two players and needed more. I put out an ad that basically said, "Hey, here's a 2E game that focus heavily on roleplay. Politics, intrigue, making alliances, etc." I got three players who signed up happily. However, one of them got mad when he failed to roll a single 18 and just quit. Another one got bored when he realized that my political intrigue game contained a lot of political intrigue--he just wanted to go kill goblins in a dungeon. (Both described themselves as old school gamers who grew up on 2E).


I would be nervous about inviting new players to a game based on an invitation ad. I've met too many closet power gamers in my 40+ years of playing to make such a generous offer without some kind of personal interaction to see what their gaming motivations were.

JadedDM wrote:So I put out another add. This time I left out the fact that the game was 2E, only mentioning in passing at the very end, and instead focused on the roleplay aspect. I got three new players, and all of them have been great additions to my game. Two of them decided their characters were in love, but one is a human and the other a half-elf, so this is frown upon, and creates lots of drama. One has a very dark past and is trying to redeem himself, but constantly falling back on old habits. And so forth. And all three of them grew up on 3E or 5E.


Sounds like you found a few keepers. Color me jealous.

Basically, what I've observed on the whole is that younger folks that are interested in gaming, almost to a person, base their interest exclusively on computer gaming experiences or whatever qualifies as "role-playing" at the APP store, like Baldur's Gate and that genre. "Yeah, I've heard of D&D. It's just like Diablo. Right?" :roll: It's all about the kill and collecting XPs and maxing out their PCs stats and rising in power as quickly as possible. They get bored extremely easily and if it's not a constant exciting rush, quickly lose interest and move on the next iteration of whatever their excitement du jour is. Can this happen with OS players? Absolutely!! That said however, I am of the mindset that true role-playing is for folks with the intelligence, patience, imagination, and yes, maturity to make the game their own excitement, no matter what the system and what the session might be about; a slow, to use your own words "political intrigue" session or almost certain death taking on Asmodeus on his own plane. Each to his own, I reckon' :)

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#11 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:36 pm

JadedDM wrote:

I get that you are trying to make a point, and probably just pulled something random out of the air, but what in the world does getting a +5 to DR have to do with hitting something? :lol:


:lol: I know, it sounds crazy. But no, I'm not making up the weird class/race combos. I probably got the DR thing wrong because I forget how it works. Isn't it a Difficulty Rating and it adjusts thaco or something?

I'm just speaking of my own experiences in my own games. Generally speaking, I've found that old school gamers tend to care more about killing things and taking their stuff, while the younger crowd is more interesting in telling a shared story. It's not really surprising, either. Remember that if you go back far enough, to D&D's roots, the game evolved from wargaming, not actual roleplaying. If anything, I've found that D&D focuses on roleplaying more nowadays than it ever did.


Like I said, that's mind-boggling to me. I've only ever seen the exact opposite. Sure, we've always seen powergamers and roleplayers in each and every edition. But I've observed a massive trend towards powergaming in 3E and beyond, with little to no regard for roleplaying - with the reverse in 1E and 2E.

In fact, if I'm running a game and I say, "You come across a goblin sitting next to the road. He's wearing leather armor and has a sword on his belt. He isn't doing anything threatening, he's just sitting there snacking on some moldy cheese." Generally, in my experience, the younger players will approach the goblin, ask him what he's doing, determine if he's a threat, and if not, move on. The older players will immediately attack and kill him. Doesn't matter he was just sitting there minding his own business.


I'd say most of my players would probably send scouts around to flank him or look for whether there are reinforcements lurking about, and then kill him. :twisted: :lol: But I'm not sure that's the best example, as goblins and orcs are seen as universally evil. Now if it were a different monster that might not necessarily be evil, I think that would open the door to more roleplaying.

Okay, but you understand that's a joke, right? In both links you provided, the author outright states it's meant to be humorous.

From the first link: "i decided a gelatinous cube would make a hilarious character..."


Well he admits they're humorous and fun. Doesn't mean he didn't design them for serious use. But try telling that to the 3E group at WOTC back in the early 2000's! It spawned several threads of equally absurd suggestions. And they were dead serious. :roll:

And in the Wizards article, the author states up front:

Though most versions fit best into D&D campaigns, one version in this installment is for the d20 Modern game, so you can use the creature in your modern-day or future campaigns too. One of this set -- the monk cube -- is relatively powerful, but be sure that it uses all its abilities to evade damage, slow falls, or deflect arrows in front of the PCs, or they won't get the full effect. The rest of the cubes here are pretty strange, but still suitable for lower-level groups. Let's admit it. As far as monsters go, gelatinous cubes can be pretty amusing. Every one of these versions has some humorous element to it -- so enjoy!.


So yeah, the author is serious too. He admits the gelatinous cube is odd and humorous and can be fun, but he fully intends for people to actually use this idiotic thing! 8O :roll:

The internet. I haven't run a face-to-face game in over two decades now.


That's an odd experience. I'm still scrathing my head trying to figure out how you got the opposite result that me and so many others have. Maybe a better player pool, being it's mainly online?

The 2E books did a better job explaining what a roleplaying game is for people who were brand new to the concept. Honestly, the 1E books came off as rambling and dis-coherent to me.


Well Gygax certainly rambled a bit and used "creative" English. :lol: But if the average 6th grader at the time could figure it out...

Are there such people any more? Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular movie franchises ever made. Nerds are mainstream now.


That may be changing. But you see what I'm saying.

I don't think video games had much to do with the ways D&D changed. I think the changes they made were things people asked for.


I'd argue that can't possibly be true. Look how many 1E gamers refused to go to 2E, and how many 1E and 2E gamers refused to play 3E. I'd say the changes were put in because the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Good gamers played the game, took the risks, and accepted the results. Poor gamers whined about "Oh, I hate dying...and why do I have to make a system shock for being petrified...and why can't I have more kewl powerz?" and those were the voices that were heard. And most of them were video gamers. 3E, when I read the books, felt like a video game instruction manual to me. First thing that popped into my head.

Yes, death is less punishing in later editions. As is poison and level draining.


Hell, a LOT less punishing! Virtually a slap on the wrist, if that! Literally every spell that required a system shock roll to survive (haste, polymorph, petrification, wish, etc) in 1E and 2E no longer required any such roll. Casting gate no longer aged anyone, neither did it require a system shock roll. Same for haste. This is huge. Why would any wizard not memorize tons of haste spells and write haste scrolls and give everyone in the party multiple attacks? Worse yet, all classes in 3E got multiple attacks. So let's compare a 2E and a 3E group:

2E

Fighter - 1 att/rd, then 3/2 rds, then 2/rd
Wizard - 1att/rd
Cleric - 1att/rd
Thief - 1att/rd

So even at 10th level, the party gets 5 total attacks per round. Let's say the wizard hastes the entire party. They now get a total of 10 attacks per round. But each person must make a system shock or die, and each one ages 1 year. Do this more than once or twice, and someone is going to die. And they you have the resurrection survival roll to deal with, which does not exist in 3E. Plus, the aging adds up.
Now, I don't have a 3E PHB handy, but I know all classes ended up with at least 2 att/rd, and fighter classes got 4, so...

3E

Fighter - 4
Wizard - 2att/rd
Cleric - 2att/rd
Thief - 2 att/rd

A 3E party would get as many attacks per round as a hasted 2E party. Now, why in the hell would any wizard not have tons of haste spells ready, so that the party can get 20 attacks per round (twice as many as a hasted 2E party) and never have to worry about system shock rolls or dying?

But a lot of people hated those mechanics. You obviously disagree, but you are clearly in the minority.


I wouldn't say the minority at all. A lot of people whined about them, sure. But most mature gamers handled it. Granted, nobody seems to like level drains. But I've almost never had a complaint about system shock rolls, or resurrection survival rolls, or complaints about aging as a result of casting or receiving the effects of a spell.

If your character is level drained, you can no longer be as useful to the party anymore. You are now a burden, someone that can't contribute fully but still must be protected until you can regain those levels. That's not fun, for anyone involved. So they made it easier. Because that's what the fans wanted. The game has changed because the audience has changed.


That's precisely my point. The audience they went after has changed. It's easier to write stat blocks for poor powergamers who don't understand roleplaying or demand more from the game than: "Pow! Zap! Bang!".

In fact, the main reason people wanted it easier to avoid or return from death in later editions is because they would get attached to their characters and want them to live on. In the old days, characters were pretty expendable. It wasn't common for players to roll multiple characters, as backups, for when the originals inevitably died.


In the old days, that was the purpose and challenge of the game. If you kept your character alive, you received praise and higher levels. And people definitely got attached to their characters even back then. The longer they survived, the more they got attached and therefore the more careful they had to be. But then comes 3E and you don't have to worry about dying because:

1) Almost nothing is truly dangerous outside of sheer damage
2) Literally every form of damage or death was toned down and made safer and had an easy, instant, cheap fix - whether it was greater restoration or mass heal, etc.
3) No form of injury was permanent. Level drains were temporary and got saving throws. And if that wasn't enough, let's create a spell (greater restoration) that can restore 20 r more drained levels with a single casting! Of course, let's make it easy to get, and inexpensive (500 xp to restore 20 levels)! :roll:
4) There was no limit to the number of times you could die.

Come on! I can't honestly look at 3E as anything other than a sad joke, a capitulation to sad, whiny, poor gamers. 99.9% of the risk was removed. Character became essentially immortal.

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Stik
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#12 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:37 pm

For me, the trouble became obvious when I ran across the words: "Take a level of." As in "Then my third level Sorcerer will take a level of Ranger." In my mind, becoming a sorcerer or a ranger is something that takes years of training. You don't just arbitrarily become a ranger for a few months.
I am of the opinion that characters are grown, not built.
"No matter where you go, there you are."

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#13 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:01 pm

Garhkal wrote:

That's one of the worst aspects imo of the newer editions, AND how it dripped down into 2e games, where players OF those new editions nerd-rage on old school DM's who go BTB and 'limit' their choices...


Yeah, that's a problem. I've heard and seen that come about often. It amazes me. I remember the fight at WOTC where I challenged the 3E gamers to give me a "kit" or "class" that I could not play using 1E and/or 2E rules, that they had or could have in 3E. Roman legionaries, pirates, bounty hunters. I beat every challenge they gave me. It's not just because of my long years of experience and genius IQ :wink: :lol: , it's because the game was designed to be flexible and the rules worked! And I had players do just that - create pirates and what not using the rules and classes available. It as all about the roleplaying, not the feats and kewl powerz.

While 1e/2e games were not immune to that stuff, it DID have more push for Role playing, than pure ROLL playing...


Yeah, we always had power-gamers and what not. In my experience though, those players tended to either be casual players or players who hooked up with other powergamer groups (the minority). Every time I had a guest player in my campaign(s), I got complaints from their regular DMs because they all wanted to either join my campaign(s) or have their DM run his games more like mine. Those DMs were mostly the powergamer type.

1/2E;
Dm to player "Fibenzoeef comes out of the dungeon level into the midst of 4 gnoll guards. What do you do!!"
Player to dm "Fibby the elf, shirks, looks meek and bows his head plaintively. he speaks to them "help, one of the others is violently ill, and your master decreed he wanted us healthy for our sacrificial ceremony.. "
DM to player "In what language are you speaking, remember, you know these beasts don't speak common"
Player "In flind, since i know they speak that."
DM "Fine, give me a Charisma check to see how well it worked, get a good enough roll, and you can get a bonus to your NPC reaction check to see if you bluff them"..

3e beyond;
DM to player "Your character comes running up the steps into the face of 4 gnolls.. what do you do!"
Player "My toon tries to bluff them to come help. He's got a 16 charisma, a +3 bluff skill, +4 synergy bonus from his XYZ. I rolled a 17, do i succeed"?


:lol: Oh dear god, you got that so spot on it isn't funny! No, it IS funny! :lol:

I always laugh at how they 'seem to LOVE balance', but what the most outrageous stuff to be allowed into earlier editions, "cause that's how our prior DM rolled man! you must s8ck as a dm, cause you are refusing to let us play what we want!"


LMAO! So true! I always tell people - there's always been game balance, if you understand what that means in AD&D terms. Doesn't mean your thief can dish out as much raw damage toe-to-toe as the paladin or fighter, but it's balanced. The game was designed as a group effort between different races and classes - each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Fighters could dish out lots of damage toe-to-toe, but they can't disarm traps, or heal damage, or cast spells. Wizards can cast powerful and useful spells but they can't heal or fight very well. Clerics can do healing and empower the party, but he's not as good a fighter as the fighter class(es) and doesn't have as versatile or powerful spells as the wizard. The thief can't cast spells but he can do wonders with traps and deciphering languages and he's awesome when you need to quietly take out a sentry. Teamwork was what won the day.

More like asshattery!.. How can in anyone's mind feel a Gelatanous cube be allowed as a race!?


I don't remember if you were there at the WOTC boards at the time, but me and Traveller (from DF) and I believe Varl were there and we'd laugh our asses off! The insanity they came up with...I have no idea where it came from! Half-pixie/half dragon characters. Paladin/assassin/druids. Gelatinous cube monks. Flesh golem PCs. If I recall correctly, I seem to remember one guy arguing for a galeb duhr barbarian! :roll:

But that was the edition we started seeing, half demons, half dragons, half constructs, and the like as 'common place'.. OR where rules got codified to where players could keep playing their characters once they died and became undead...


It truly was a degeneration of the original rules. A corruption. What else can you honestly call it?

Thing is Hal, i DO think a lot of the blame imo does lay at the feet of console/computer RPGs, from evercrack, to wow, to diablo. Which is where people GOT the idea of "characters as BUILDS" from imo.


I agree, video games had a huge influence on it. But I think the dumbing down for mass audiences had a more powerful effect on ruining the game than video games did. Together, it was a totally corrupting force.

Strange i don't see 2e as starting that trend, TILL they came out with the "Players option" series of books..


Well, even the DMG sounded like it was being written towards 3rd graders (to me at least - so much of it seemed to be explaining the obvious and talking down to the reader). But yes, I agree. The Player Options stuff really was the turning point that wrecked the game. I've literally never had a player who, after trying the PO material, did not hate it.

Whcih is why i am so venemous towarsd those who feel all cleric pcs should be nothing but heal bots and if not, we will kick you out. Or all NPC priests are nothing more than vendo-matics for raise deads, resurrections etc.. just drive by the church, drop enough coin in the slot and BAM what ever you needed is done..
NO thought to "are you of the faith. Are you of our race. IS what you did compatible with our gods ethos and the like.."


Oh dear god, don't get me started! :twisted: :lol: :wink:

I remember posting something about that at DF as Sammaster or one of my other usernames, and people went ballistic! You remember that one, about how I thought clerics should at some point withhold aid for team members who did not at the very least give thanks to the cleric's god, tithe the church once in awhile, or perhaps even occasionally convert to that religion? People went ballistic in that flame war because they couldn't conceive of the idea of what a cleric is all about. I remember that one lighting a fire at DF. I should go search for the thread.

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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#14 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:04 pm

Stik wrote:

For me, the trouble became obvious when I ran across the words: "Take a level of." As in "Then my third level Sorcerer will take a level of Ranger." In my mind, becoming a sorcerer or a ranger is something that takes years of training. You don't just arbitrarily become a ranger for a few months.
I am of the opinion that characters are grown, not built.


BINGO! Thank you! That was the terminology I'd forgotten! "Take a level of..."

"I'll start with a paladin, take a few levels of thief, then add a level or two of druid, then toss in a few levels of wizard..."
:roll:

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Re: When D&D lost its soul

Post#15 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:10 pm

I probably got the DR thing wrong because I forget how it works. Isn't it a Difficulty Rating and it adjusts thaco or something?

DR or Damage Resistance essentially absorbs damage. Sort of like magic resistance, but with physical damage and not percentile based. For instance, if you have DR 5, then any attack does 5 less damage. So an attack that deals 10 damage only does 5. An attack that deals 3 damage does 0. And so on.

That's an odd experience. I'm still scrathing my head trying to figure out how you got the opposite result that me and so many others have. Maybe a better player pool, being it's mainly online?

It's possible. Like I said, it's just my own anecdotes, so I can't speak for anyone else's experiences.

But if the average 6th grader at the time could figure it out...

Eh, just because you can figure something out doesn't mean it can't be made easier to understand. I can understand Yoda's speech patterns, but it takes a few seconds more than if he just talked like a normal person. That doesn't mean I'm stupid or that Yoda is just too smart for me. It just means it's not as intuitive.

Look how many 1E gamers refused to go to 2E, and how many 1E and 2E gamers refused to play 3E.

3E gamers were so pissed when 4E was released, they went and created an entirely new game called Pathfinder just so they could continue playing the version they wanted.

There are always people upset about a new edition. Always. But they are always a minority. As many people who refused to switch to 2E as there were, there were far more people who did switch. And same with 2E to 3E and 3E to 4E and 4E to 5E.

Hell, a LOT less punishing! Virtually a slap on the wrist, if that!

I'd agree, compared to older editions. But this was largely because of roleplaying. It's hard to get invested in a character who has a high chance of dying to a random critical hit. Why bother putting in the effort of coming up with an elaborate backstory and deep, nuanced personality then?

Same with level draining and other permanent injuries. I once played a game where the DM came up with a special critical hit table that dealt permanent, maiming injuries. My character got hit with two crits and lost an arm. As he was a fighter who used a two-handed weapon, this basically made him useless. We were low level, so regeneration wasn't possible. I lost all interest in the game after that.

Now, I don't have a 3E PHB handy, but I know all classes ended up with at least 2 att/rd, and fighter classes got 4, so...

Yeah, by like, 20th level. A 2E party at that level is pretty unstoppable, too.

A lot of people whined about them, sure.

Enough people to get them changed in later editions. They were the majority, you just don't seem to want to see that.

In the old days, that was the purpose and challenge of the game.

Exactly. The purpose was not to create a shared story, it was to survive. To live long enough to reach the higher levels. I don't condemn that sort of playstyle, but it's just not as popular anymore. There's a reason there is no equivalent to Tomb of Horrors in later editions. It's just a grind-fest to see who lives the longest.

I can't honestly look at 3E as anything other than a sad joke, a capitulation to sad, whiny, poor gamers. 99.9% of the risk was removed.

I don't get why you care so much. You understand 3E is a dead edition, right? In fact, the edition that replaced it is also a dead edition. Like, seriously, 3E has been dead for 10 years now. You're complaining about something that the rest of the world has largely moved on from. Hell, most kids today think of 3E as being 'old school' now.

In my mind, becoming a sorcerer or a ranger is something that takes years of training. You don't just arbitrarily become a ranger for a few months.

You only instantly level up if the DM allows you to. Even in the older editions, there were optional rules for training.

You could make the same argument that it doesn't make sense for a fighter to just learn a new weapon proficiency or for a mage to just suddenly know third level spells.

I agree, video games had a huge influence on it.

Honestly, I think you all have it backwards. Video games were influenced by D&D, not the other way around. Just look at the Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age. Very obviously D&D inspired.

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