Author Topic: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee  (Read 304 times)

Offline Archon

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The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« on: January 12, 2018, 10:13:33 PM »
So, I recently read this:

http://tao-dnd.blogspot.com.au/2018/01/a-pox-upon-thee.html

It seems to be a point of contention, and very unlike what this board likes in D&D (in some respects). So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this that they would like to share? Especially with regards to the anti-char-gen/optimisation sentiment, which I feel is unjustified. I kinda just want to get a view from outside that particular context-bubble.

Offline TC X0 Lt 0X

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 10:57:20 PM »
Getting handed a background like that really irks me. I can understand a DM barring some concepts to fit into the world and to work with the player on suggestions or requirement so the character, but to take it out of the players hands like that really bothers me.

Of course, having a character die can suck, especially in the scenario described and if you did invest into the character. The reaction described seems quite immature to me though. If you are going to play these games where death is a possibility, you should be well aware that your character is not immortal and made need to be replaced if killed. I can also understand as a DM that plotting around a particular character and then having that character die can cause issues, but as with the above you should already be aware that characters can die, so you should either be having those plots on the side or not be writing your plot in that fashion. If you must have the plot, you can always fudge rolls to keep stuff like crits one shotting characters (within reason of course), I suspect most DMs already fudge things when needed already. These are not problems with the game, but with players.

The article seems to imply that having an attachment to a character is a bad thing, but I disagree. Investment into a character at least for myself motivates me to roleplay my character and do something with them. If I had a character background just handed off to me and my character is otherwise just a pile of stats I rolled and class I chose, I can't imagine myself getting terribly invested into the game.
Now I can understand wanting to have a lighthearted game where you just want to kill some monsters, solve some puzzles, etc, without worrying about some grand background and goal for the characters involved, but it is not an issue otherwise as long as the people playing are mature enough for it (which isnt a tall order).
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Offline Archon

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 11:12:46 PM »
I would defend his use of a background generator a little; for him backgrounds are attached somewhat to game balance; so randomising them makes it more fair (as a way of limited access to family wealth, hireable relatives, ect). This is easy to disagree with, but not utterly arbitrary.

He would direly forbid the fudging of rolls, and I would agree with him there; If you are going to have rules, follow them or what's the point?

I have to agree with you about the attachment. It's important to give a damn about your character. But I think he feels that this is better sources from attached experiences to the character, and what happens in the campaign itself.

Offline Skyrock

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 09:25:38 AM »
I like both heavily optimized, "easy" 3.5 games and heavily randomized, lethal OSR games, but I like to know beforehand which kind of game I'm in and adjust my expectations and character attachment accordingly.

The effort of creating a new character in 3e and newer might be an issue for players loathing to have their character die, especially at higher levels. One thing we did to mitigate this issue is to have players build replacement characters beforehand, so that the workload can be put before the session and so that they can be popped in on short notice as soon as it would make sense within the fiction.

Online SorO_Lost

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 10:54:21 AM »
Heh, just ran Tomb of Horrors for the holidays. The party died, a lot (all noobs), and each time this did they "flashed" back to when they first entered a room. All creatures they killed stayed dead and all traps that didn't reset went off. Like a video game. It also made killing them fun ^_^

Sometimes your problems on the tabletop are, after all, your problems. Not some inherent malfunction of something else.
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Offline linklord231

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 12:47:07 PM »
His views on starting a character at level 1 even if the party is level 8 or 9 are frankly baffling, and not supported by most games.  Yes, there's a little bit of rubber banding in D&D, but not to the point that you can have a first level character adventuring with a mid-high level party and have it not be a big deal.  Anybody who's ever had their friends "power level" them in an MMO will tell you, it's not fun for anyone.  The low level person just gets dragged along for the ride, and the high level person has to stop whatever he's doing to help his friend so they can get back to the "real" game.  It's like an escort quest in a single player game. 
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Offline Skyrock

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 01:37:19 PM »
Starting on level 1 in a higher level group was much more manageable in older editions of D&D due a.) the wildly escalating XP tables and b.) gp=xp, with a high-level group hauling in much greater treasures than a low-level group ever could, which in combination ensured that you would catch up the missing levels relatively quickly.

You were still in for much sucktitude on the low levels, but they would fly by quickly in such a mixed group.

Offline TC X0 Lt 0X

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 02:27:14 PM »
The effort of creating a new character in 3e and newer might be an issue for players loathing to have their character die, especially at higher levels. One thing we did to mitigate this issue is to have players build replacement characters beforehand, so that the workload can be put before the session and so that they can be popped in on short notice as soon as it would make sense within the fiction.

That isnt uncommon (though not mandatory) in my group as well. Even if a character sheet isnt in the waiting, many of us will have character concepts and builds ready for deployment.
3e does take effort to get a character into play at higher levels even with that though. One of the reasons I have taken a liking to 5e is it is much quicker to get into.
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Offline Keldar

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 03:36:13 PM »
Random backgrounds makes me want to go piss on Gygax's grave for some reason.  BRB.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 03:54:33 PM »
Yeah, random is at best something for people who've Never played before, to get into the spirit of "R"-oleplaying.
Most people I've played with (anecdote) have some idea of what they want to play ---> they like being in charge of themselves. I guess that's called Adulting these days?


I mean, lets say the DM hands out a random something at the start.
Yours happens to be called :  Mrs Pumpernickel's Secret Sauce
But it gives you :
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Somebody new might be dumbfounded or mystified about fitting that into whatever Barbarian they'd just started thinking about.
A hard core c.o.-er can react to it any darn way they choose (and not just cuz aDMg sez so)
but would know the relative effect on the game is near nothing.  Oh wait.
It gives me 5e Inspiration?!  Fine  :P
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Offline Archon

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 02:08:36 AM »
His views on starting a character at level 1 even if the party is level 8 or 9 are frankly baffling, and not supported by most games.  Yes, there's a little bit of rubber banding in D&D, but not to the point that you can have a first level character adventuring with a mid-high level party and have it not be a big deal.  Anybody who's ever had their friends "power level" them in an MMO will tell you, it's not fun for anyone.  The low level person just gets dragged along for the ride, and the high level person has to stop whatever he's doing to help his friend so they can get back to the "real" game.  It's like an escort quest in a single player game.

So, ignoring that the rubber-banding is much heavier because of the older editions, he has a couple of other mitigation's for this issue. (Though, they might make it worse, depending on your point of view)

His games are Hench-man heavy. A level 1 character gets to join the flocks of henches, and do secondary missions for while. The other big thing with the hench-men, is that if someone dies, they essentially just take over their Hench-man, who is probably only a few levels down, which helps somewhat. I don't necessarily agree with this, but it helps mitigate these issues quite a bit, I think.

His Hench-Man Rules are kinda neat, if very strange and not much for the fighting-style of 3.5 (they work better with the more logistical combat of the older editions, I think). Every character gets a secondary henchman, with reduced XP gain at 5th level, and every 2 levels thereafter. Including the henchman. Most of his players in the main game are walking around with half a dozen to a dozen effective characters, in a wide range of levels. I don't know if that would change anyone's opinions, but it's a interesting idea. Not something many other people do.

Offline nijineko

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Re: The Tao of D&D: A Pox Upon Thee
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 10:48:38 AM »
it clearly strikes me as forming an opinion based on too little evidence and too much hearsay.
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