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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: tenbones on January 11, 2022, 11:12:29 AM

Title: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: tenbones on January 11, 2022, 11:12:29 AM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

But now? 5e games I see online, generally resemble *nothing* of what I run. Tieflings, Aasimar, and other non-contextual or setting specific weird shit all mished mashed up and running around with Warlocks and Paladins whee!

Obviously not all games are like that, but there certainly seems to be... "more" of the freakshow. So this gets me to eyeballing people of my vintage that play in the OSR...

Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Ghostmaker on January 11, 2022, 11:27:41 AM
And the proper answer is 'as weird as you want it to be'.

You can run it straight, or you can run it like the equivalent of Fallout 3/NV's 'Wild Wasteland' perk is in effect. Or somewhere in between.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Itachi on January 11, 2022, 11:37:03 AM
Yes, I think official D&D is getting "weirder" by the day, and I think Planescape and Spelljammer actually influenced the game to this direction. Tieflings, Aasimar, Dragonborn, etc are more common by the day. I personally prefer things fit context, as you say, so I don't always like rubbing shoulders with a Tiefling. But in some games they fit.

You can run it straight, or you can run it like the equivalent of Fallout 3/NV's 'Wild Wasteland' perk is in effect. Or somewhere in between.
Or, "you can run it like Stalker with Misery mod, or like Fallout 3 with Wild Wasteland perk".  ;D
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 11, 2022, 11:45:20 AM
I've always been open to weird shit, as long as it fits the setting or type of campaign we're playing, but I don't like seeing the huge mishmash of weird shit hanging out right up front. Keep your weird shit sparing and in the options section where it belongs, not right in the open where normal family folk are walking with their younglings. :P
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Svenhelgrim on January 11, 2022, 11:53:58 AM
Wierd is the new normal now.  I played in a 5e game and got teased for playing a human paladin (Vanilla: Oath of Devition).  I just smiled and said to the player (who’s character was a tiefling warlock):”Laugh all you want, just don’t let me catch you doing any wierd devil shit on my watch.”
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Rob Necronomicon on January 11, 2022, 12:00:08 PM
To me, 5e seems completely insane from a world building perspective. It seems to have very little internal logic. It feels like a crazy supers setting or something where everything goes.

Even our old D&D basic games when we were kids were a lot less stupid. Then again, I'm drawn to low fantasy settings ever since I played WFRP 1e.

Those 5e races are so childish and cheesy, like Tiefllings, etc. It's basically a fun park and melting pot for twee gamers to masturbate in.

That said, you could always strip out all that crap and just do your own thing with it. But why give Ha$bro the money?
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Lynn on January 11, 2022, 12:18:17 PM
I think in many ways, it is a slightly more subtle 'wokism' in that tropes aren't fitting a fantasy flavored medieval Europe, and more Seattle-dipped anime.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: BoxCrayonTales on January 11, 2022, 12:36:58 PM
Even D&D-inspired anime isn't that crazy. It is fairly strange to an OSR audience because it's undergone largely separate cultural evolution, but multiculturalism isn't a common feature. Race wars and race-based slavery are much more common.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 11, 2022, 01:08:24 PM
Quote
Those 5e races are so childish and cheesy, like Tiefllings, etc.

You mean 2e races?
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Rob Necronomicon on January 11, 2022, 01:12:03 PM
Quote
Those 5e races are so childish and cheesy, like Tiefllings, etc.

You mean 2e races?

Sure. Any of that weird shit... In whatever edition.

TBH, I've not played any official D&D in decades. I only really like the OSR. I was always a big WFRP 1e fan when I discovered it in the late 80s.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 11, 2022, 01:19:36 PM
I generally speaking like idea of planetouched, I just dislike how they clearly turned to be sexual fetishes in modern D&D.
I'd rather make a random d100 or d1000 table of various planar traits (both cosmetic and mechanic) and make player who picked planetouched roll randomly for them and apply it to his basic race.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: jmarso on January 11, 2022, 01:26:02 PM
My first experience with this was last year, when I joined a drop-in 5E game playing the Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. I rolled up a Northerner human fighter, sort of styled after Herger the Joyous from the 13th Warrior. He'd fit right in, right? (This was the fighter who was sort of also a rogue that I mentioned in a different thread, based on his build)

Well, the other two 'main' players (as in they showed up every session) played a damphir(?), half-vampire something warlock, and his girlfriend was playing some sort of turtle character- I can't even remember the name of the race. Another guy who played a couple sessions brought his dog with him (literally) each time, and changed his character every game to something different.

I lasted about 4-5 sessions, and finally just subtly bowed out. I tried, I really did, but the fun factor was ZERO. 

In terms of trying to put new campaigns together in the future, I'm feeling like the only real choice is to abandon 5E completely and go OSR, probably back to 2E, which I really enjoy, and then house-ruling out the glitches in that system.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Rob Necronomicon on January 11, 2022, 01:29:52 PM
I generally speaking like idea of planetouched, I just dislike how they clearly turned to be sexual fetishes in modern D&D.
I'd rather make a random d100 or d1000 table of various planar traits (both cosmetic and mechanic) and make player who picked planetouched roll randomly for them and apply it to his basic race.

I do like a bit of weird S&S, especially with some Lovecraftian elements thrown in. I guess I like more humancentric games that are not so high powered. I don't like elves but I'll tolerate them for the sake of my players, but I'd rather them not be there tbh.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Rob Necronomicon on January 11, 2022, 01:31:37 PM
I rolled up a Northerner human fighter, sort of styled after Herger the Joyous from the 13th Warrior. .

Noice! My kind of character.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Ghostmaker on January 11, 2022, 01:33:29 PM
My first experience with this was last year, when I joined a drop-in 5E game playing the Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. I rolled up a Northerner human fighter, sort of styled after Herger the Joyous from the 13th Warrior. He'd fit right in, right? (This was the fighter who was sort of also a rogue that I mentioned in a different thread, based on his build)

Well, the other two 'main' players (as in they showed up every session) played a damphir(?), half-vampire something warlock, and his girlfriend was playing some sort of turtle character- I can't even remember the name of the race. Another guy who played a couple sessions brought his dog with him (literally) each time, and changed his character every game to something different.

I lasted about 4-5 sessions, and finally just subtly bowed out. I tried, I really did, but the fun factor was ZERO. 

In terms of trying to put new campaigns together in the future, I'm feeling like the only real choice is to abandon 5E completely and go OSR, probably back to 2E, which I really enjoy, and then house-ruling out the glitches in that system.
I once rolled up a guy who was a straight up expy of Edgtho (sp?) from that movie. Although trying to figure out his fighting style was a pain.

It's a fun popcorn flick. A double feature of 13th Warrior and Knight's Tale is a great way to burn an evening.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Lynn on January 11, 2022, 02:07:09 PM
Even D&D-inspired anime isn't that crazy. It is fairly strange to an OSR audience because it's undergone largely separate cultural evolution, but multiculturalism isn't a common feature. Race wars and race-based slavery are much more common.

The thing with original anime though is that it isn't "Seattle-flavored" and you get exactly that - the sort of thing that the woke crowd wouldn't accept from a US company.

Japanese media companies that are specifically targeting the North American market 'globalize' a bit or as required, but I think they are inclined to leave in what is going to not raise eyebrows in Japan. WotC / Hasbro doesn't have that luxury.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Thorn Drumheller on January 11, 2022, 02:10:22 PM
Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

Good question. I don't know, honestly. When I look at my son and his friends who play the weird races in 5e they really don't see a different looking rac.....er lineage. All they see is what bonus they can get for their build. I know that's just one anecdote and there's probably loads of 5e players out there that wonder how their particular character is fitting into society.....but idk.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Dark Train on January 11, 2022, 02:46:18 PM
Kitchen sink vernacular fantasy (which D&D exemplifies) has always been weird because it is a hasty marriage of numerous, often discordant, elements.  However, I do see a relatively recent change in the core assumptions of the default setting.  From 1e through early 5e an attempt was made to present a relatively coherent assumed world.  Settings and situations were weird to degree they deviated from the implied base-line of a sanitized, modernized, fantasy vision of Lancastrian England.   

Later-day 5e seems to be largely unmoored from any coherent setting.  You have Starbucks, magical robots, anthropomorphized animals, and none of the vaguely Medieval population thinks any of this is remotely odd.*  Even the hyper-detailed Forgotten Realms has become increasingly strange in the way it fits together, or doesn't.  I get the impression that a lot of new players aren't even aware that the Forgotten Realms is supposed to be a coherent world.       

As to why, I think that part of the shift is due to media.  Older players first experienced fantasy through books.  For younger players the primary vehicle of fiction is video games.  Video games tend to have shallow worldbuilding and a lot of ludonarrative dissonance.  As a result you have a large group of players with a very high tolerance for things that just don't make any sense.**   

While some people love 'OMG so random' I have found many (most?) younger, newer players like and enjoy tighter, more consistent worldbuilding, they've just never been exposed to it. 

*Yes, similar things were around in D&D from day 1, but there was the implicit and explicit understanding that these things were unusual

**Granted, Spelljammers and plane hopping makes no sense, but they make sense within the context of the universe presented. 
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Steven Mitchell on January 11, 2022, 02:50:52 PM
Not the person to ask.  I didn't particularly like Expedition to Barrier Peaks.  I didn't like Planescape at all--setting, art, anything about it.  I've never liked weirdness for the sake of novelty or the sake of itself.  So naturally, as those things have become even more popular, I've become less interested in the material that uses them.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: jeff37923 on January 11, 2022, 03:07:37 PM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

But now? 5e games I see online, generally resemble *nothing* of what I run. Tieflings, Aasimar, and other non-contextual or setting specific weird shit all mished mashed up and running around with Warlocks and Paladins whee!

Obviously not all games are like that, but there certainly seems to be... "more" of the freakshow. So this gets me to eyeballing people of my vintage that play in the OSR...

Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

The only problem with the D&D freakshow is that when you say that anything goes in the game, it is like playing tennis without a net. It isn't the same game.

You can say that anime does this a lot and I agree, but the truly strange characters are not just blandly accepted by people. They are distrusted or stereotyped and held at arms length until plot happens (sometimes even after plot happens).

Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Shrieking Banshee on January 11, 2022, 03:18:29 PM
Well D&D has always been weird. Demons & Devils are separate creature types and there is a universe governed by programming principles carried out by weird looking cube-bots.
There are like 12 different ambush predators based on impersonating dungeon elements.

Its just PCs that have generally been humans, hobits, elves and dwarves. Now its anything.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Eric Diaz on January 11, 2022, 03:18:35 PM
Well, you could play a Balrog in OD&D.

And fight androids IIRC.

(I like weird in proper places. Ravnica, Eberron? Sure. Middle earth? Not, you are not playing a warforged).
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: tenbones on January 11, 2022, 03:21:54 PM
Well that's kinda why I ask -

I don't feel there is any presumed "world" in 5e anymore.

All the freakshow aspects of the game have the barest of context. But I'm not sure outside of old-school gamers, how much actual home-brew worldbuilding is going on. I could be wrong but I kinda feel like most of these new players are just running adventure paths/modules and that's about it.

The relevance of "settings" and their implicit conceits seems to matter less - at least with D&D. And I suspect since it's really catering to noobs and older players/GM's that run it from brand loyalty. The influx of the freak-factor seems to be newer players, probably skewing much younger. I don't argue that these elements existed in older editions - they absolutely did. But they were also made contextual to specific settings.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Eric Diaz on January 11, 2022, 03:38:48 PM
Well that's kinda why I ask -

I don't feel there is any presumed "world" in 5e anymore.

All the freakshow aspects of the game have the barest of context. But I'm not sure outside of old-school gamers, how much actual home-brew worldbuilding is going on. I could be wrong but I kinda feel like most of these new players are just running adventure paths/modules and that's about it.

The relevance of "settings" and their implicit conceits seems to matter less - at least with D&D. And I suspect since it's really catering to noobs and older players/GM's that run it from brand loyalty. The influx of the freak-factor seems to be newer players, probably skewing much younger. I don't argue that these elements existed in older editions - they absolutely did. But they were also made contextual to specific settings.

Well, the original D&D implied setting was already very weird - and there was advice on playing any character you wanted.

However, I do agree with your assessment of current D&D. There is really not "no Halfling in this setting" idea. Although (IIRC) the original 5e PHB made some races less common (e.g., dragonborn wouldn't exist in all settings), the current feeling seems to be "all types of PCs in all settings".

The DM is supposed to limit optional RULES (feats, options not from the PHB), but not because of setting concerns, AFAICT.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: HappyDaze on January 11, 2022, 03:40:15 PM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

But now? 5e games I see online, generally resemble *nothing* of what I run. Tieflings, Aasimar, and other non-contextual or setting specific weird shit all mished mashed up and running around with Warlocks and Paladins whee!

Obviously not all games are like that, but there certainly seems to be... "more" of the freakshow. So this gets me to eyeballing people of my vintage that play in the OSR...

Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

The only problem with the D&D freakshow is that when you say that anything goes in the game, it is like playing tennis without a net. It isn't the same game.

You can say that anime does this a lot and I agree, but the truly strange characters are not just blandly accepted by people. They are distrusted or stereotyped and held at arms length until plot happens (sometimes even after plot happens).

Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.
Sure you can. Tieflings can just as easily arise from a curse, perhaps one that skips generations too if you want Tieflings to arise occasionally from human parents.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wulfhelm on January 11, 2022, 04:23:51 PM
Answer: So weird it came around all the way to being completely mundane again.

Not a 5e thing though. As noted, it started with 2e (the earliest edition I have any familiarity with) and intensified with 3.x+. The reason, IMHO: Business. Tons of character options are a good way to fill books of the type the player base is likely to buy. New edition, bloat to death with weird character options, rinse and repeat. That is the business model.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 11, 2022, 04:52:48 PM
I didn't like Planescape at all--setting, art, anything about it.

And this is what decent folk call BLASPHEMY! HERESY!

Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

This is what I hate most about Tieflings. I hate Dragonborn with a passion, cuz they're made up D&D fanservice, but at least there's demon-hybrids in folklore. But unless there's an invasion of rapy infernal beings leaving a bunch of demon-hybrids on its wake as part of the setting backstory, Tieflings have next to NO place in a regular campaign. Otherwise I'd have no problem with them.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 11, 2022, 05:04:28 PM
Quote
You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

Depends. I think 4E tieflings were true race, born from one blood pact of some human population and then breeding true, that's why they were mostly same looking.
In terms of older editions there are other ways to infuse your blood with planar energies sans actual fucking a demon (and half-demons were usually separate being - tieflings were mortal with awakened smaller bloodstrain). Of course with orcs you can also make it less gross if orcs are bit more neutral in your setting, then half-orcs gonna be like half-elves.

Quote
I don't feel there is any presumed "world" in 5e anymore.

Indeed. But then in terms of D&D I played mostly 3.5 Forgotten Realms, and there still were visible amounts of people with weird heritage, considering long insane history of continent... really no wonder.

Quote
(I like weird in proper places. Ravnica, Eberron? Sure. Middle earth? Not, you are not playing a warforged).

Sane assumption, but then I do not think D&D are any good for simulating ME vibe even without weirdos.

Quote
All the freakshow aspects of the game have the barest of context. But I'm not sure outside of old-school gamers, how much actual home-brew worldbuilding is going on. I could be wrong but I kinda feel like most of these new players are just running adventure paths/modules and that's about it.

I think so. Casuals probably were always, or at least since 80's-90's be dominant group of players, but now it looks very much like utter hegemony.

Quote
Sure you can. Tieflings can just as easily arise from a curse, perhaps one that skips generations too if you want Tieflings to arise occasionally from human parents.

Yup.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Shasarak on January 11, 2022, 05:36:48 PM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

I remember when Gygax allowed Balrog and Vampire player characters.

But yeah every other DM has to reject such characters.  ::)
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Vidgrip on January 11, 2022, 05:41:54 PM
The first few 5e games I sat in on were only strange in the sense that any game set in an official D&D setting must be strange. Gygax and Arneson started by throwing lots of great themes from Appendix N into the blender and smashed the "Liquify" button. Sensible coherence only comes to D&D when a DM makes the heroic effort to impose it upon the game (and often the players). That has always been true.

More recently (last five years) every 5e game I've encountered has featured characters that more properly belong in a monster manual. DM's now make no effort to suggest the world make sense. They have either given up or are young enough not to have ever read a fantasy novel and have no concept of setting or verisimilitude. My impression is that 5e play has shifted from exploration of fantasy worlds to exploration of fantasy characters. The setting is only needed as a blank canvas that cannot be allowed to interfere with players' weird character concepts.

I laugh when old-school gamers describe their gonzo DCC stuff or LotFP books as "weird". Current play with the latest edition is far beyond that on the weirdometer.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Zelen on January 11, 2022, 09:25:00 PM
5E as a system is (deliberately) shallow, and adding new races is one of the few things they can publish to fill pages without directly adding complexity. Every new race is new artwork, new culture sections, new quirks and backgrounds.

I'd also keep in mind that 5E as a system is simplified to the point where choosing race & class are the only meaningful mechanical choices you can make. If you're rolling up your 10th Fighter character and want to create something with mechanical differentiation from the previous characters, you're naturally going to gravitate to a different race.

There is obviously a cultural element too. But 5E's system actively encourages this because you basically have to.

D&D 3E actually solved this problem by making Human more-or-less the mechanically best race. Yes, there were a ton of races published, but at least in my own campaigns it was common to see Humans just because they were (marginally) better than most other race choices.
If I were running a 5E game I would probably houserule to disallow anything other than standard Fantasy races & give human characters a culturally-relevant extra background, or some other kind of perk.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Omega on January 11, 2022, 09:27:33 PM
Obviously not all games are like that, but there certainly seems to be... "more" of the freakshow. So this gets me to eyeballing people of my vintage that play in the OSR...

Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

1: Its mostly because 5e is mostly set in the Forgotten Realms which is pretty much anything goes. I mean theres dog people, turtle people, Flying squirrel people, clockwork people, and more. And that goes back to 2e at the very least. Then theres Eberron which was another anything goes allowance due to the weird magitech of the setting.

2: If anything the OSR can be even weirder depending on what materials are drawing from. BX and BECMI alone opened up the doors to dozens of monsters as playable with its Creature Crucible line and any given Dragon article, and more. AD&D had plenty of odd races too from various sources.
OD&D allowed for players playing pretty much any monster. See some of the original players comments on the crazy stuff they played. And thats not even getting into the crossovers with Gamma World and Boot Hill that carried over to A and 2e.

x: If any thing, so far 5e is the LEAST prolific of all the settings. The actual new races that are AG allowable is not as big as some like to complain about.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 11, 2022, 09:53:01 PM
Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

This is what I hate most about Tieflings. I hate Dragonborn with a passion, cuz they're made up D&D fanservice, but at least there's demon-hybrids in folklore. But unless there's an invasion of rapy infernal beings leaving a bunch of demon-hybrids on its wake as part of the setting backstory, Tieflings have next to NO place in a regular campaign. Otherwise I'd have no problem with them.
On the other hand, if your setting includes, say a Demon Empire that reigned for a thousand years before it was overthrown by the forces of light at dawn of recorded history… having Tieflings be a common race (more common than elves even) would make sense for that setting.

My personal feeling is that if you’re presenting yourself as a generic fantasy toolkit (vs. say, Forgotten Realms the RPG) then you should have a broad range of species available from mundane to weird because it’s a lot easier to exclude from a list than it is to create new options (and to have consistency across tables when the same thing is used… vs. Tieflings at Table X being completely different than those as Table Y).

You just need to make it clear that it is expected that GM’s will probably only allow 1-5 options from the list as available in their world.

Because I could see a setting where the three dominant species are humans, dragonborn and tieflings; the 4E Points of Light setting basically set such a thing up with both tied into a significant historical event in the campaign region.

I could also see a campaign with heavy fey themes where only fey (elves, eladrin, gnomes, pixies, etc.) and those touched by the fey (half-elves) are allowed (i.e. no full-blooded humans).

Or one with dragon riders are the main focus where the only racial choices are humans and young dragons.

A toolkit list of races including oddballs will allow a GM to assemble any of those using available material. Cutting it down to just the Tolkein-clone standards means they have to put more work into designing their own races and so will probably just default to the same old boring pseudo-Tolkein expy that 99% of fantasy settings end up being.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: jeff37923 on January 11, 2022, 10:43:19 PM
Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

This is what I hate most about Tieflings. I hate Dragonborn with a passion, cuz they're made up D&D fanservice, but at least there's demon-hybrids in folklore. But unless there's an invasion of rapy infernal beings leaving a bunch of demon-hybrids on its wake as part of the setting backstory, Tieflings have next to NO place in a regular campaign. Otherwise I'd have no problem with them.
On the other hand, if your setting includes, say a Demon Empire that reigned for a thousand years before it was overthrown by the forces of light at dawn of recorded history… having Tieflings be a common race (more common than elves even) would make sense for that setting.


That sounds a lot like a demon incursion to me.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Jaeger on January 11, 2022, 11:45:08 PM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

The freakshow has always been there - but it was largely in supplements.

So most GM's hand no problem excising stuff by just saying PHB races only.

Of course the desire was always there; just look at how much Gygax letting one of his early players play a Balrog keeps getting brought up as "proof"  of: "See, it was OK with Gary!!!"...

But largely it was the core 4 - with a decent human majority.

But nowdays... The freakshow is directly in the core. You can see the steady creep since 3e.

I Blame Eberron.


Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

I never saw the appeal of Spelljammer or Planescape.

Default D&D has always been a Gygaxian Gonzo Kitchen Sink Fantasy.

It has stuff from Weird fantasy, Sword and sorcery, with a vague Tolkienesque veneer all thrown in together...


I like my Medieval Fantasy more of a mishmash of: Lord of the Rings, The Witcher, and the first three books/ and first six seasons of a Game of Thrones. You toss in a dash of The adventures of Robinhood, Brothers Grimm, Norse sagas, with a touch of the 13th Warrior, and you are just about there.

So yes, I Dial even B/X D&D wayy back.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 12, 2022, 01:01:39 AM
Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

This is what I hate most about Tieflings. I hate Dragonborn with a passion, cuz they're made up D&D fanservice, but at least there's demon-hybrids in folklore. But unless there's an invasion of rapy infernal beings leaving a bunch of demon-hybrids on its wake as part of the setting backstory, Tieflings have next to NO place in a regular campaign. Otherwise I'd have no problem with them.
On the other hand, if your setting includes, say a Demon Empire that reigned for a thousand years before it was overthrown by the forces of light at dawn of recorded history… having Tieflings be a common race (more common than elves even) would make sense for that setting.


That sounds a lot like a demon incursion to me.
Yes. The point I was refuting was that Tieflings don’t have a place in a core book because a setting where there was a demonic incursion is not, supposedly, a “regular” campaign.

I resent the assumption that Tolkeinish elves and dwarves and halflings must always be the default… that including those as player options is a given instead being just as setting dependent as say, playable sapient golems.

Because elves (particularly the Tolkein-ish D&D variety) most certainly are not some universal cultural myth that belongs in every setting, nor are 4’ tall dwarves who are good at mining and engineering and aren’t some type of nature spirit. Nor are 3’ tall hairy-footed humanoids found anywhere in broader myth and legend other than in Tolkein’s works.

Worse, the presumption thaf elves, dwarves and halflings must be included leads to setting creators having to figure out how to include them in the setting… vs. just using species that actually make sense for it.

And worse, to try and make their setting feel less like a Tolkein rip-off, they decide to radically reinterpret the race in some fashion; ex. cannibal halflings of Dark Sun.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Opaopajr on January 12, 2022, 01:23:52 AM
It's no longer weird for the generations younger than us. Remember, they grew up on CCGs, JRPG Video Games, and Isekai Harem Anime, and those cultural touchstones hold more resonance. Each of those play up to archetypes hard while desperately trying to stand out in their straightjacket, and thus end up painfully similar. (This is the part where I say, "I was over anime and what you now call 'ships & stans' before you were even born..." 8) )

There's a reason my signatures about MtG and Katamari Damacy are there, and are quite old at this point (IIRC over ten years at this point). It's what happens when all the surrounding context weight melts away, you are left with what looks like myopic narcissism. When all is selfies, 'Onlyfans' counts. Sell, sell, sell, baby, and maybe you too can be a star!

(Yes I have a very dark humor viewpoint. ;) )
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Greentongue on January 12, 2022, 07:01:13 AM
More recently (last five years) every 5e game I've encountered has featured characters that more properly belong in a monster manual. DM's now make no effort to suggest the world make sense. They have either given up or are young enough not to have ever read a fantasy novel and have no concept of setting or verisimilitude. My impression is that 5e play has shifted from exploration of fantasy worlds to exploration of fantasy characters. The setting is only needed as a blank canvas that cannot be allowed to interfere with players' weird character concepts.

I think you nailed it though, I personally have no context to determine.

Added to that thought is the online "Character Builder" sites to min-max a character.
Why would you play a sub-optimal character when you can take some of this at this level and some of that at that level?
Lot's of online gaming has tuned people to using the tools to make the "prefect" character.

Character just from play seems to be an alien concept. Follow the build guidelines.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Persimmon on January 12, 2022, 08:42:10 AM
I think in many ways, it is a slightly more subtle 'wokism' in that tropes aren't fitting a fantasy flavored medieval Europe, and more Seattle-dipped anime.

Yeah, I think this is certainly part of it, perhaps in hand with the Planescape stuff people referenced earlier.  From the 90s in particular the early exposure to Anime and other aspects of genericized Japanese/global cultures, not to mention the proliferation of RPGs that aren't D&D and are influenced by other cultures/mythologies has created a new pop culture soup that the younger generation draws from and this has made its way into D&D.  It's pretty interesting to hear my college students getting into Anime lore and connecting it to 5e yet not having the slightest clue that the ogre mage of 1e is really an oni. And most have never read the major Appendix N authors with the possible exceptions of Tolkien or Lovecraft, though even in those cases it's more likely they know them from movies or other cultural mediums.  So I think the pop culture milieu of teens is just a lot different than it was for us back in the 1970s.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 12, 2022, 09:44:47 AM
Lets take Tieflings. You cannot have Tieflings in a setting unless you also have (or have had) a demon/devil incursion into that realm because Tieflings are hybrids. It is similar to the half-orc problem. Any kind of demon/devil incursion large enough to create a population of Tiefling hybrids will also be a major event in that realm's history which does affect the setting. Same with half-orcs.

This is what I hate most about Tieflings. I hate Dragonborn with a passion, cuz they're made up D&D fanservice, but at least there's demon-hybrids in folklore. But unless there's an invasion of rapy infernal beings leaving a bunch of demon-hybrids on its wake as part of the setting backstory, Tieflings have next to NO place in a regular campaign. Otherwise I'd have no problem with them.
On the other hand, if your setting includes, say a Demon Empire that reigned for a thousand years before it was overthrown by the forces of light at dawn of recorded history… having Tieflings be a common race (more common than elves even) would make sense for that setting.


That sounds a lot like a demon incursion to me.
Yes. The point I was refuting was that Tieflings don’t have a place in a core book because a setting where there was a demonic incursion is not, supposedly, a “regular” campaign.

I resent the assumption that Tolkeinish elves and dwarves and halflings must always be the default… that including those as player options is a given instead being just as setting dependent as say, playable sapient golems.

Because elves (particularly the Tolkein-ish D&D variety) most certainly are not some universal cultural myth that belongs in every setting, nor are 4’ tall dwarves who are good at mining and engineering and aren’t some type of nature spirit. Nor are 3’ tall hairy-footed humanoids found anywhere in broader myth and legend other than in Tolkein’s works.

Worse, the presumption thaf elves, dwarves and halflings must be included leads to setting creators having to figure out how to include them in the setting… vs. just using species that actually make sense for it.

Demonic incursions are not a typical thing in most fantasy worlds. They can be a thing, but not frequently enough to say that demon-human hybrids are this common thing typically encountered in fantasy world. If anything they're more of a horror trope.

D&D also started out mostly as European style medieval/ancient world fantasy, with other cultures being secondary, since most of the inspiration came from European myth, with some sprinkles of Middle Eastern and North African elements thrown in, plus hints of Far East, cuz Martial Arts films. So creatures like Elves and Dwarves make sense as boilerplate samples of what "fantasy" creatures might look like. Halflings are pure Tolkien, though. Orcs should be Hobgoblins, cuz that's actual folklore, while the etymology of "Orc" is dubious and more related to Tolkien.

Still, there are pros and cons of including the entire kitchen sink right in the core books. While in the surface it might make sense from a strictly universal game system PoV (which D&D quite isn't), it can also overwhelm players with too many options that might not even exist in whatever campaign they're playing and fill their heads with ideas. Some of those races might not even work that way in settings that do have them, cuz fantasy races of the same type can vary so much by setting. They work mostly as GM tools that players don't need to know about, and when they do, they tend to complain when GMs either don't allow them, or handle them a different way than the "official" holy writ of the core rules.

A more concise list is better to provide players with a general idea, without overwhelming them with choices. The obvious con being that they fail to cover a wider variety of options that GMs might use, but that's why I don't like them right in the core books--cuz if GMs are the ones who're really gonna pick them, they're GM tools. So they work better as side supplements than cluttering the core rule manual.

To the degree that it can be argued that Standard Races stablish an expectation that they have to be included in every setting, though, imagine how much worse that would be if the Standard Race list was the kitchen sink. Then realize why this tread exists.

And worse, to try and make their setting feel less like a Tolkein rip-off, they decide to radically reinterpret the race in some fashion; ex. cannibal halflings of Dark Sun.

Except that Dark Sun is the greatest D&D setting ever created and Cannibal Halflings are awesome. So this not a good example of how standard races can make things worse.  :P
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Abraxus on January 12, 2022, 09:48:14 AM
Well it is pretty easy at least in 3.5 and after to make a poor character either by choice or design.

I rather have everyone contribute equally at the table. Not be a burden for the rest of the party.

Case in point a player decided to play a purely ranged character as a Sorcerer. He was blinded by either the damage values or Critical Range  of a Heavy Crossbow. Given he had was it a 12 Dex he kept missing and wasting a full round reloading his crossbow. While also wondering why he kept missing the enemy kept targeting him and did I mention he loaded up on True Strike and no other spells.

Now it is understandable if it is a new player as they do not know much system mastery. If it’s a veteran who should know better you make a shitty  character your personal responsibility. Myself and others are under no responsibility as players to suffer such characters.

Now it is easier to avoid in RPGs who’s attributes are decoupled from everything else. Sure you can play a Fighter with 8 star just don’t expect to wear and carry much or do as much damage a CB player who takes a higher strength.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Shrieking Banshee on January 12, 2022, 09:53:40 AM
5E as a system is (deliberately) shallow, and adding new races is one of the few things they can publish to fill pages without directly adding complexity.

Yup. This guy gets it.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Ghostmaker on January 12, 2022, 11:41:44 AM
Well it is pretty easy at least in 3.5 and after to make a poor character either by choice or design.

I rather have everyone contribute equally at the table. Not be a burden for the rest of the party.

Case in point a player decided to play a purely ranged character as a Sorcerer. He was blinded by either the damage values or Critical Range  of a Heavy Crossbow. Given he had was it a 12 Dex he kept missing and wasting a full round reloading his crossbow. While also wondering why he kept missing the enemy kept targeting him and did I mention he loaded up on True Strike and no other spells.

Now it is understandable if it is a new player as they do not know much system mastery. If it’s a veteran who should know better you make a shitty  character your personal responsibility. Myself and others are under no responsibility as players to suffer such characters.

Now it is easier to avoid in RPGs who’s attributes are decoupled from everything else. Sure you can play a Fighter with 8 star just don’t expect to wear and carry much or do as much damage a CB player who takes a higher strength.
Hence why if your character options are extremely broad, your game should include retraining rules.

We had a guy similar to that who took NOTHING but attack spells as a sorcerer. Now, granted, you're going to have fewer spells overall (as opposed to more spells per day) as a 3E sorc, but until you get up in levels you're still casting one spell a round. He also, for some reason, wanted to specialize in whips.

No, I don't know either.

Funniest thing I've seen was him charging into a room and getting bitchslapped by a flesh golem, then instead of running like a scalded cat for the back of the formation, he tries to engage the golem in melee. With his whip.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Philotomy Jurament on January 12, 2022, 12:46:28 PM
Depends on the DM, and also on the system the DM decides to run (at least to some degree).

Personally, I like some "weird" in the setting and monsters and such, but I dislike much "weird" in the PCs. In fact, as the years have rolled on my tolerance for weird PCs is less and less. I far prefer an approach where most, or even all, of the PCs are humans and the "weird" factor comes from their opponents and the setting. More of a classic swords-n-sorcery approach.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Banjo Destructo on January 12, 2022, 01:12:27 PM
I like Weird adventures and circumstances, but I don't like "Weird" characters, its good enough for me that everyone is human, and one of the 3 main classes.   Like.. its fun if players get picked up by a UFO, dropped off at a truck stop diner in an asteroid, accidentally touch a post-card without putting a stamp on it and get thrown into the galactic post-office dungeon for mail fraud.     And yeah you might have a quirky idea for your character, but you're just playing a strange person, you're not playing a tiefling, or celestial, or half centaur (yeah, really), or anything else properly if you're just ... eh like pundit said, you're either an elf or playing a human in a elf skin suit.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 12, 2022, 01:22:07 PM
Quote
And worse, to try and make their setting feel less like a Tolkein rip-off, they decide to radically reinterpret the race in some fashion; ex. cannibal halflings of Dark Sun.

I must say personally I kinda like twisting various races by trying to shoehorn them to new weird settings.
It not always work - but I think halflings of Dark Sun, devilish gnomes of Midgard or elves and orcs of Eberron were all fine.

Quote
Demonic incursions are not a typical thing in most fantasy worlds. They can be a thing, but not frequently enough to say that demon-human hybrids are this common thing typically encountered in fantasy world. If anything they're more of a horror trope.

Massive horde from other dimnesion, whatever horde it is is definitely epic/dark fantasy trope, not horror one. It's way too big for horror.


Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Armchair Gamer on January 12, 2022, 01:49:01 PM
"[Older D&D] discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The [D&D] of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world."--with apologies to G.K. Chesterton.

:D ;)
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Lynn on January 12, 2022, 02:02:40 PM
Yeah, I think this is certainly part of it, perhaps in hand with the Planescape stuff people referenced earlier.  From the 90s in particular the early exposure to Anime and other aspects of genericized Japanese/global cultures, not to mention the proliferation of RPGs that aren't D&D and are influenced by other cultures/mythologies has created a new pop culture soup that the younger generation draws from and this has made its way into D&D.  It's pretty interesting to hear my college students getting into Anime lore and connecting it to 5e yet not having the slightest clue that the ogre mage of 1e is really an oni. And most have never read the major Appendix N authors with the possible exceptions of Tolkien or Lovecraft, though even in those cases it's more likely they know them from movies or other cultural mediums.  So I think the pop culture milieu of teens is just a lot different than it was for us back in the 1970s.

I think so, though much of what drew us 'earlier generations' in wasn't simply a matter of pop culture - meaning, actual popular culture.

I think one of the greatest influences was the popularizing of video games. The 'parlors' that once had only pinball started having SF & fantasy troped arcade games, and that led to home video games growing out of the province of 'nerds' and into the mainstream. D&D stayed in its nerd niche until people put together that the fun they experienced in other mediums (the return of fantasy movies, Super Nintendo, etc) were similar to what the D&D nerds were doing. Anime was also creeping in the back door via early video rental and into RPGs through some 'cons. For example, I saw The Castle of Cagliostro without subtitles first I believe at the 1980 DunDraCon.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Abraxus on January 12, 2022, 02:18:54 PM
Well it is pretty easy at least in 3.5 and after to make a poor character either by choice or design.

I rather have everyone contribute equally at the table. Not be a burden for the rest of the party.

Case in point a player decided to play a purely ranged character as a Sorcerer. He was blinded by either the damage values or Critical Range  of a Heavy Crossbow. Given he had was it a 12 Dex he kept missing and wasting a full round reloading his crossbow. While also wondering why he kept missing the enemy kept targeting him and did I mention he loaded up on True Strike and no other spells.

Now it is understandable if it is a new player as they do not know much system mastery. If it’s a veteran who should know better you make a shitty  character your personal responsibility. Myself and others are under no responsibility as players to suffer such characters.

Now it is easier to avoid in RPGs who’s attributes are decoupled from everything else. Sure you can play a Fighter with 8 star just don’t expect to wear and carry much or do as much damage a CB player who takes a higher strength.
Hence why if your character options are extremely broad, your game should include retraining rules.

We had a guy similar to that who took NOTHING but attack spells as a sorcerer. Now, granted, you're going to have fewer spells overall (as opposed to more spells per day) as a 3E sorc, but until you get up in levels you're still casting one spell a round. He also, for some reason, wanted to specialize in whips.

No, I don't know either.

Funniest thing I've seen was him charging into a room and getting bitchslapped by a flesh golem, then instead of running like a scalded cat for the back of the formation, he tries to engage the golem in melee. With his whip.


Let me guess like the player in my game your Lash Larue would get offended if you told him to play differently or question his choice. Then wonder why the Flesh Golem nearly sent him to negative hit points.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Ghostmaker on January 12, 2022, 02:26:57 PM
Well it is pretty easy at least in 3.5 and after to make a poor character either by choice or design.

I rather have everyone contribute equally at the table. Not be a burden for the rest of the party.

Case in point a player decided to play a purely ranged character as a Sorcerer. He was blinded by either the damage values or Critical Range  of a Heavy Crossbow. Given he had was it a 12 Dex he kept missing and wasting a full round reloading his crossbow. While also wondering why he kept missing the enemy kept targeting him and did I mention he loaded up on True Strike and no other spells.

Now it is understandable if it is a new player as they do not know much system mastery. If it’s a veteran who should know better you make a shitty  character your personal responsibility. Myself and others are under no responsibility as players to suffer such characters.

Now it is easier to avoid in RPGs who’s attributes are decoupled from everything else. Sure you can play a Fighter with 8 star just don’t expect to wear and carry much or do as much damage a CB player who takes a higher strength.
Hence why if your character options are extremely broad, your game should include retraining rules.

We had a guy similar to that who took NOTHING but attack spells as a sorcerer. Now, granted, you're going to have fewer spells overall (as opposed to more spells per day) as a 3E sorc, but until you get up in levels you're still casting one spell a round. He also, for some reason, wanted to specialize in whips.

No, I don't know either.

Funniest thing I've seen was him charging into a room and getting bitchslapped by a flesh golem, then instead of running like a scalded cat for the back of the formation, he tries to engage the golem in melee. With his whip.


Let me guess like the player in my game your Lash Larue would get offended if you told him to play differently or question his choice. Then wonder why the Flesh Golem nearly sent him to negative hit points.
Ding ding ding. He literally didn't seem to grasp why it would be a good idea to take defensive spells... or utility... or buffs/debuffs... he was almost like a walking example of how not to build and play a sorcerer.

The flesh golem DID incapacitate him, before we could ride to the rescue. Our rogue was seriously contemplating an 'accidental' miss with her bow and finishing him off. I couldn't blame her in the slightest.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: horsesoldier on January 12, 2022, 02:57:20 PM
One of the observations I have about 5e, which has been talked about at LEAST since 3e, but possibly earlier is the freakshow factor of D&D. Snowflake races/classes always existed, and it's a tried-and-true baby GM right of passage to learn how to reject such characters at the table.

But now? 5e games I see online, generally resemble *nothing* of what I run. Tieflings, Aasimar, and other non-contextual or setting specific weird shit all mished mashed up and running around with Warlocks and Paladins whee!

Obviously not all games are like that, but there certainly seems to be... "more" of the freakshow. So this gets me to eyeballing people of my vintage that play in the OSR...

Do others look at D&D as being as weird? I spent decades running Spelljammer - so weird shit is par for the course for me, but context is context - Spelljammer (and Planescape) is SUPPOSED to be weird. Are their OSR games that do contextually weird stuff? And if 5e collapsed - could the OSR reclaim these young players that play this way?

As to teaching these youngins the right way, I don't think so, not without a cultural backstop reinforcing it. A LGS has a good number of people unironically running Strixhaven. Freakshow parties tend to be the norm from what I'm seeing.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Abraxus on January 12, 2022, 03:40:46 PM
@Ghostmaker

Almost exactly like my player.

Pissy and passive aggressive yet it never was his fault.

And if the Rogue “ accidentally “ shot the arrow at your player he would have deserved it.

Sorcerer with no armour trying to charge the fantasy version of Frankenstein with a whip. Yeah that was going to end well.


It was almost comical with our Sorcerer get a go hit with True strike. Spend a full round loading his heavy crossbow then acting in shock when magic missiles would slam into his character or the enemy would walk up to him. 
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Chris24601 on January 12, 2022, 04:12:18 PM
Sorcerer with no armour trying to charge the fantasy version of Frankenstein with a whip. Yeah that was going to end well.
Golems were one of the primary reasons that my 3.5e Rogue had an Adamantine Construct-bane short sword commissioned. He named it Dosenöffner (German for “can opener”). He didn’t need to use it often, but it made a world of difference when those things showed up.

Golems are also why every 3.5e spontaneous caster should aim to have at least one “Spell Resistance: No” damaging spell in their arsenal (they’re usually conjurations that summon up something that then deals damage) and why all spell casters should consider carrying a few scrolls with such spells on them.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: tenbones on January 12, 2022, 04:23:56 PM
@Ghostmaker

Almost exactly like my player.

Pissy and passive aggressive yet it never was his fault.

And if the Rogue “ accidentally “ shot the arrow at your player he would have deserved it.

Sorcerer with no armour trying to charge the fantasy version of Frankenstein with a whip. Yeah that was going to end well.


It was almost comical with our Sorcerer get a go hit with True strike. Spend a full round loading his heavy crossbow then acting in shock when magic missiles would slam into his character or the enemy would walk up to him.

That's funny because I'm running Savage Pathfinder, and I had a player make a Dwarven Dragon-Blooded Sorcerer, straight up melee-killer. He doesn't wear armor, of course, but because it's Savage Worlds it totally works because there is Defense based on fighting skill. It totally works. He ended up going with a classic Human Cleric of Lathander, tho, since the party needed a healer (not really - but he's coming from D&D where the DPS/Healing/Tank trinity lives large in the player's minds).

As an aside, I'm wondering where the freakshow ends? Does the OSR start mutating and adding in all the weird shit? Or does it happen organically with OSR Spelljammer/Planescape as the Plague Ships that bring the freaks to other tents?
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: jeff37923 on January 12, 2022, 05:08:12 PM

As an aside, I'm wondering where the freakshow ends? Does the OSR start mutating and adding in all the weird shit? Or does it happen organically with OSR Spelljammer/Planescape as the Plague Ships that bring the freaks to other tents?

It will go in cycles. When anything goes (like 5e now), there is nothing to mark a specific as unique because everyone is unique. Once the character race choice is no longer special, then it will change to how that character race choice can be played - which will make the character unique.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Jaeger on January 12, 2022, 05:18:27 PM
...
Still, there are pros and cons of including the entire kitchen sink right in the core books. While in the surface it might make sense from a strictly universal game system PoV (which D&D quite isn't), it can also overwhelm players with too many options that might not even exist in whatever campaign they're playing and fill their heads with ideas. Some of those races might not even work that way in settings that do have them, cuz fantasy races of the same type can vary so much by setting. They work mostly as GM tools that players don't need to know about, and when they do, they tend to complain when GMs either don't allow them, or handle them a different way than the "official" holy writ of the core rules.
...


TSR, and now especially WotC have always been very coy about D&D being a 'universal' game.

D&D is very much its own fantasy genre, but it has always presented itself as 'generic fantasy'.  It's market leader position and subsequent influence on fantasy that came after it have allowed the IP holders to do so.

But as WotC has gotten the current fanbase to see D&D as a 'universal' game with their D&D 'multiverse' push, in order to have their cake and eat it too, it has made for some curious effects.

Lots of the current generation of gamers WotC has chosen to service are very much about - if it is official WotC D&D - it should be allowed.

And they cry loud and hard if it is not. Discussion on other forums and twitter are rife with "If you don't allow my half tabaxi tiefling Bard, you are a bad GM / lack creativity.."

Making "D&D your own" is what Grognards who don't want to game with a PC menagerie are told to make them shut up and bugger off to their home game so that everyone else can enjoy official WotC D&D without criticism.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Dropbear on January 12, 2022, 07:17:41 PM

Lots of the current generation of gamers WotC has chosen to service are very much about - if it is official WotC D&D - it should be allowed.

And they cry loud and hard if it is not. Discussion on other forums and twitter are rife with "If you don't allow my half tabaxi tiefling Bard, you are a bad GM / lack creativity.."

Making "D&D your own" is what Grognards who don't want to game with a PC menagerie are told to make them shut up and bugger off to their home game so that everyone else can enjoy official WotC D&D without criticism.

What’s really amusing is when you as GM point out that multiclassing and feats are optional, and not core rules, to a table of die-hard WotC devotees, and that they won’t be used. Scream, cry, holler. Likewise, with variant humans.

The newer players devoted to WotC D&D 5th Edition want all of the rules options to be open for them to use. But only if they are player-facing, I have discovered.

Implement all of these in a game when “devotees” demand access to feats and multiclassing even when you’ve mentioned you don’t want to use optional rules in your game some time, and see what happens for you.


It’s the same results for me, every time. Scream and cry and holler how unfair it is, and it’s not how the rules work even when I quote DMG pages, then ragequit.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Shrieking Banshee on January 12, 2022, 07:54:10 PM
While I dislike 5e (way more then most people here actually).....Just buckle down and just communicate with your players. That your not a organic computer and the experience needs to be fun to you too.

'Players want to be overpowered and use exploits! [Game I dislike] is exclusively at fault for a universal game trend! And sports on page 12!'

Freakshit is REALLY not new. I wouldn't even say its more egregious now.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: jmarso on January 12, 2022, 08:50:01 PM

It’s the same results for me, every time. Scream and cry and holler how unfair it is, and it’s not how the rules work even when I quote DMG pages, then ragequit.

Sounds like a great way to vet potential players and rid yourself of the snowflakes. Of course, these days it may take some effort to put a good table of players together.  ;D
-
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Opaopajr on January 13, 2022, 12:51:45 AM
"[Older D&D] discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The [D&D] of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world."--with apologies to G.K. Chesterton.

:D ;)

 ;D That is surprisingly on point. What to do when you are not grounded inside? Bring the mundane into the fantastic: shopping, prom, slice of life... It is almost like a cry for stability.  :( Aww, now I just made myself sad with pop-psychology, empathizing that these are confused, scared people. I am probably wrong and carried the metaphor too far.  :-[
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: S'mon on January 13, 2022, 02:55:05 AM
The 5e PHB & DMG made it clear the DM should set the weirdness dials of their setting.
'OC' style play is often based on how weird you can make your special snowflake PC. Organised Play seems to be an influence on this, with people making characters in isolation from any setting/theme. And I think Crawford's determination to make D&D as 'gay' as possible is a factor - a 'no Tieflings' setting would be 'gatekeeping' and 'exclusionary' and other no-nos.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Greentongue on January 13, 2022, 06:50:13 AM
What to do when you are not grounded inside? Bring the mundane into the fantastic: shopping, prom, slice of life... It is almost like a cry for stability.  :( Aww, now I just made myself sad with pop-psychology, empathizing that these are confused, scared people. I am probably wrong and carried the metaphor too far.  :-[
Maybe not so far off the mark?
If people will accept my mega strange character in the game, maybe they will accept me in Real Life?
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: tenbones on January 13, 2022, 11:48:22 AM
The 5e PHB & DMG made it clear the DM should set the weirdness dials of their setting.
'OC' style play is often based on how weird you can make your special snowflake PC. Organised Play seems to be an influence on this, with people making characters in isolation from any setting/theme. And I think Crawford's determination to make D&D as 'gay' as possible is a factor - a 'no Tieflings' setting would be 'gatekeeping' and 'exclusionary' and other no-nos.

Sounds pretty spot-on. I always need to dial new players back coming in from 5e to my Savage Worlds Realms game from the Snowflake Tier. And I'll be clear, because I don't mind Snowflake concept characters, as long as the player understands the *context* of what it means to be that Snowflake (whatever it is) in my game.

When I hear someone tell me they want to play a Tiefling, I *really* make them understand that "Fear and Loathing" will be the name of the game in Savage Northlands where we're playing. You are TAINTED - whether you had loving parents or not. People might very well want to kill you - because DEVILS ARE EEEEEVIL.

It doesn't mean I won't let you play, or even help create a background for you that may offer some support - but it *will* be in context to the game. This holds true of being an Aasimar, Genasi, Drow, Half-Drow, Half-Orc etc. And to be honest, given today's attitudes, these options sound tame. But you know... I try to keep my cultures "realistic" - and that rubs a lot of the SJW kids wrong.

Though I've only lost one SJW player because of it, heh.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: David Johansen on January 13, 2022, 02:01:04 PM
In my "evil kingdoms" 5e campaign things were turned on their heads a bit.  Vampires and cambions were respected noblemen and when the warlock got surrounded by villagers they were chanting "A WITCH!  A WITCH! HORAY! A WITCH!" because warlocks are the lower class folk heroes unlike the evil clerics and wizards that abound in the realm of Trondar.

I find some players just really want to play something weird.  I've heard the "I'm already human, I want to be something different," many times over the years.  Heck, the second time I played D&D I wanted to play a blink dog but the DM wouldn't let me.  Oh well, one more reason I'm a GURPS GM.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 13, 2022, 04:03:44 PM
Yeah, I mean mine long-time team, also embraced weird for D&D like games despite being generally far, far from woke.

For 3,5 games we had weretiger bloodrager, cannibalistic ice halfling, Mulhorandi aasimar cursed into being drow woman, illiterate orc paladin with heavy belief in trial by combat, summoner/bard riding flaming tapir, tactician psion selling people boardgames... and now for planned Realms & Ruins playtest I already have - catfolk gadgeteer, unicorn, human-mushroom mutant, golem assassin.
So yeah. D&D is weird.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Eirikrautha on January 14, 2022, 02:11:11 PM

Let me guess like the player in my game your Lash Larue would get offended if you told him to play differently or question his choice. Then wonder why the Flesh Golem nearly sent him to negative hit points.
Wow, now there's an ancient reference!  Shows how we *ahem* experienced gamers see the world...

BTW, I actually met Lash Larue at a Western convention when I was a kid...
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Redwanderer on January 14, 2022, 02:25:52 PM
Well, isn't the whole game kinda weird? Elves, magic, dungeons, weird monsters- weird.

So isn't it weird vs REALLY weird?  ;D
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Rhymer88 on January 14, 2022, 02:43:26 PM
Back in the 1980s, my friends and I liked to play a mash-up of AD&D 1e and Gamma World. The setting was completely homebrew, of course, but it certainly enabled a maximum level of weirdness such as a magic-using, green-furred flying dwarf with X-ray eyes. However, as I got older, my tastes turned toward low-magic, historically inspired games, which is why I don't play 5e at all.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Pat on January 14, 2022, 06:24:56 PM
We clearly need a weird meter. Perhaps several axes of weirdness, like Ken Hite's "colors" for describing a super hero world.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 15, 2022, 10:13:25 PM
Quote
Well, isn't the whole game kinda weird? Elves, magic, dungeons, weird monsters- weird.

Nah, those are mainstream mundane tired tropes :P

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: palaeomerus on January 15, 2022, 11:39:42 PM
Well they were still somewhat on the weird side in the 50s before McElf sold 1 million pairs of McBoots and Campbell and bad acid washed the older standards away.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Wrath of God on January 16, 2022, 03:57:13 AM
That's because 50's was era of modernist degeneracy when people in Germanic-sphere forgot their ancient elf-lore. Now it's thankfully restored.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Omega on January 16, 2022, 10:54:46 AM

As an aside, I'm wondering where the freakshow ends? Does the OSR start mutating and adding in all the weird shit? Or does it happen organically with OSR Spelljammer/Planescape as the Plague Ships that bring the freaks to other tents?

It will go in cycles. When anything goes (like 5e now), there is nothing to mark a specific as unique because everyone is unique. Once the character race choice is no longer special, then it will change to how that character race choice can be played - which will make the character unique.

Thats how it was in the TSR era. There would be a slow increase in choices. Then next edition would pare it back down again and start building up again. WOTC has done overall the same. Though 5e is still far far behind any other edition in opening up race selection. So far.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Naburimannu on January 17, 2022, 04:01:24 AM
Thats how it was in the TSR era. There would be a slow increase in choices. Then next edition would pare it back down again and start building up again. WOTC has done overall the same. Though 5e is still far far behind any other edition in opening up race selection. So far.

This claim surprises me; for example, http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/#toc3 lists 67 current WotC-written races for 5e; it looks like 13 or 14 are unofficial, and 20 are setting-specific, but that still leaves 34 official races in core books. How are you quantifying race variety in other editions?

(Happily, the one player in my new 5e game who wanted to play Harengon asked if it was OK, but it's an explicitly Forgotten Realms kitchen-sink game to make my co-DMs happy, so we said yes.)
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 17, 2022, 06:12:23 AM
Thats how it was in the TSR era. There would be a slow increase in choices. Then next edition would pare it back down again and start building up again. WOTC has done overall the same. Though 5e is still far far behind any other edition in opening up race selection. So far.

This claim surprises me; for example, http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/#toc3 lists 67 current WotC-written races for 5e; it looks like 13 or 14 are unofficial, and 20 are setting-specific, but that still leaves 34 official races in core books. How are you quantifying race variety in other editions?

(Happily, the one player in my new 5e game who wanted to play Harengon asked if it was OK, but it's an explicitly Forgotten Realms kitchen-sink game to make my co-DMs happy, so we said yes.)

2e had the Complete Book of Humanoids, which had like 25 races, and I believe OD&D had supplements that included Classes for other races beyond Dwarves, Elves or Halflings. So this stuff isn't exactly new.

The difference is that 5e has NINE "common" races out of the gate now, and they include Drow right in the Elf's entry. Back in 2e you had to get Drow of the Underdark, or some later supplements to even get access to them. Now they have a picture of Dritzz right at the start page of the Elf's entry in the PHB.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Omega on January 17, 2022, 09:33:42 AM
Thats how it was in the TSR era. There would be a slow increase in choices. Then next edition would pare it back down again and start building up again. WOTC has done overall the same. Though 5e is still far far behind any other edition in opening up race selection. So far.

This claim surprises me; for example, http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/#toc3 lists 67 current WotC-written races for 5e; it looks like 13 or 14 are unofficial, and 20 are setting-specific, but that still leaves 34 official races in core books. How are you quantifying race variety in other editions?

(Happily, the one player in my new 5e game who wanted to play Harengon asked if it was OK, but it's an explicitly Forgotten Realms kitchen-sink game to make my co-DMs happy, so we said yes.)

Unearthed Arcanna doesnt count as thats all playtest stuff.
Planeshift is its own setting and doesnt count as AL doesnt recognize it. Same for Eberron and Ravinca and especially Theros as thats an outsourced work. The nu-Ravenloft ones might count but its hard to say as they are iffy on being new races. YMMV. So far Adventurers League does not allow any of those.

The monster races are also iffy as they were optional. But AL I believe will allow.
The Haregon and one or two others are from modules.
The Tortle is an iffy one as its only up as a PDF and not sure if AL allows or not.

So 9 core races. Actually more than that as the list does not include Drow, Duergar, Snivirblin, and one or two more offshoot races.
It also misses the Eladrin and Aasimaar from the DMG. So technically more than 9.

Im not counting anything that exists only as a PDF. A few have made it into books. But so far many have not. Campaign modules are also iffy as if you dont have the module, they essentually dont exist and AL flip flops on whats kosher and whats not. Otherwise every single race in TSR era Dragon and RPGA would count - and that kids is a ton of new races.

So still the race count is very low for official stuff and about TSR era for iffy stuff. TSR used to flip-flop on what was playable and what wasnt as well.

I'll have to pull out the core books, not modules and do a real head count, again. Its still damn low compared to TSR and pre-3e WOTC.

Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: VisionStorm on January 17, 2022, 09:59:38 AM
Its still damn low compared to TSR and pre-3e WOTC.

How? You've basically dismissed every non-core rule race in 5e on the ground they're "iffy" or setting-specific (both of which pretty much applies to 100% every single race in pre-3e era D&D outside the PHB), yet 5e has more core races that any prior edition of D&D, including 4e, which had almost as many. Or are we only counting non-core races in pre-3e D&D?
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: SHARK on January 17, 2022, 02:12:35 PM
Greetings!

Well, some people can split hairs all they want, but from what I see on the ground, at my LGS, with Adventure's League or not, fucking everything is embraced race-wise. Every kind of Elf, Dwarf, Halfing, Gnome; Half-Orc, Genasi, Teiflings, Tortles, Cat people, and on and on. It is pretty rare to run into a DM that restricts race options in any way.

Game store games--and other groups I have encountered as well--have fully embraced a crazy zoo atmosphere.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Pat on January 17, 2022, 05:04:12 PM
Greetings!

Well, some people can split hairs all they want, but from what I see on the ground, at my LGS, with Adventure's League or not, fucking everything is embraced race-wise. Every kind of Elf, Dwarf, Halfing, Gnome; Half-Orc, Genasi, Teiflings, Tortles, Cat people, and on and on. It is pretty rare to run into a DM that restricts race options in any way.

Game store games--and other groups I have encountered as well--have fully embraced a crazy zoo atmosphere.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
It's easier to have cat ears and say meowrr once in a while than to come up with a personality.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: tenbones on January 17, 2022, 05:31:25 PM
It's easier to have cat ears and say meowrr once in a while than to come up with a personality.

Ahh shit. That was funny.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: mightybrain on January 17, 2022, 07:13:04 PM
I usually play humans. But currently I'm playing a dwarf. I'm quite enjoying it.
Title: Re: Just How WEIRD is D&D?
Post by: Ghostmaker on January 17, 2022, 10:42:23 PM
I have been tempted, repeatedly, to play a grippli in a PF game. Make him a bard and call him Kermit.

Come on, the jokes just write themselves here.

But yeah. Sometimes it feels like that comic where the human fighter walks into the tavern, and gets yelled at for not being 'original'.

It ends with the fighter burning down the tavern.