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TheWhisper
2011-01-09, 04:20 AM
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Zaq
2011-01-09, 04:24 AM
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's the biggest game in town. Roleplaying is a social activity, after all, and the more people there are with whom you can play (and/or discuss what you're playing), the better off you tend to be.

That's certainly not the only reason, but it counts for a heck of a lot.

Serpentine
2011-01-09, 04:24 AM
Anything you can think of, you can do with D&D3.5. If it can't, you can make it do it. Everything you list as being awful about it? I don't give a damn about that.
Maybe when I have a chance to try them, I'll like others more. For now, D&D's great for my purposes.

Godskook
2011-01-09, 04:42 AM
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Since you make no mention of pre-3.5 editions, I'm going to just point out that Gygax's involvement with 3.5 is much akin to Moses' involvement with writing the New Testament.


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Because 3.5 is a freaking *AWESOME* game. It is. Just absolutely fantastic. Its hard to nail down why that is, but it is so.

What's more, the kinks you mentioned? They're *EASY* to fix. Like, really easy. Pun-pun is shut down by houseruling the Sarukh, while the Twice-Betrayer is a tad lame without metamagic abuse, and his most required feat(Initiate of Mystra) is likely banned at most tables.

I came to 3.5 *VERY* late in the cycle, fell in love, and I'm going to stick with it for a while. I know the rule-set, and I love the modularity(read: lego-ness) of the system that can't be found in a lot of other games.

Yahzi
2011-01-09, 04:53 AM
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Actually, 2e was a pretty good imitation of Vance's style in "The Dying Earth."

I have been asking myself why I bother with 3e, but then I went and solved a bunch of the problems you brought up, so it's not quite so bad. The solution is simple: XP is tangible. Check out my sig if you want to see why that fixes everything.

Anway, the reason to stay is becuase D&D has a particular flavor (for instance, spell-casting armor-wearing fighting priests are AFAIK unique to D&D). Also, of course, people already know it, which helps a lot.

Galileo
2011-01-09, 05:01 AM
I think that the lego-y modularity of 3.5 is definitely one of its greatest strengths, as Godskook said. With a bit of thought and time, you can homebrew your own... anything. I've tried homebrewing for other systems, and to be honest, I had a much harder time coming up with ways to do so.

Sure, most of that is simply the amount of time I've put into each system, but dammit, I spent those hours reading all the splatbooks, I'm not gonna abandon it just cause someone tells me it's not as well balanced as newer RPGs. I know that, I'd be a fool not to. But I'm comfortable with D&D for now, so I'll keep playing it. And finding a community to discuss it is a lot easier.

Cespenar
2011-01-09, 05:05 AM
The brokenness of the system means little %99 of the time if you're playing with actually reasonable people (who you should play the game with after all).

Xiander
2011-01-09, 05:13 AM
Two things.

1) If you pitch a game concept well enough i would play it in any damn system, and probably manage to have fun.

2) I find it amusin to fool around with 3.5 to see how far i can stretch it. I am not skillfull enough to outright break it, thank god.

AyeGill
2011-01-09, 05:13 AM
To me, roleplaying systems is not a matter of divided camps, of choosing one over the other, as you make it seem. The way you put it, it sounds like you can't both play DnD with your DnD playing buddies, and play other systems with your other systems playing buddies. Why not?

I know some people who only know DnD, so obviously i play DnD with them. And the great community doesn't hurt either. But playing with those people, and being a part of the community, doesn't prohibit me from playing exalted with other people, and participating in a Shadowrun or World of Darkness one-shot once in a while.

RPG systems are not mutually exclusive.

molten_dragon
2011-01-09, 05:27 AM
Why do I play D&D?

Because it's fun! Despite all its pitfalls (and it does have a lot) D&D is a fun game to play. Sure, other games are fun too, but D&D is the biggest game in town, and it's much easier to find players for. So I play it.

KillianHawkeye
2011-01-09, 05:36 AM
Short answer: Because it's D and frikkin D!

FelixG
2011-01-09, 05:41 AM
I will play most game systems.

I prefer 3.5 though as its simple, modular and fun.

When you play with people more focused on fun and not trying to "win" at the game the tier levels and what not really dont matter as much.

faceroll
2011-01-09, 05:52 AM
To me, roleplaying systems is not a matter of divided camps, of choosing one over the other, as you make it seem. The way you put it, it sounds like you can't both play DnD with your DnD playing buddies, and play other systems with your other systems playing buddies. Why not?

Because organizing 4+ people to play is hard enough, but organizing 8+ people, and going to school, making money to pay the bills, researching my master's thesis, ice climbing, sca, and girls? There's just not enough time.

FelixG
2011-01-09, 05:55 AM
Because organizing 4+ people to play is hard enough, but organizing 8+ people, and going to school, making money to pay the bills, researching my master's thesis, ice climbing, sca, and girls? There's just not enough time.

Thats why you let someone else do the organization and you just attend, take some time from ice climbing or SCA to do so. Both of those are recreational activities so you could replace them with a slightly more relaxed recreational activity

JBento
2011-01-09, 06:11 AM
D&D is not the only broken system. I can bend GURPS over my knee and spank it madly with 5minutes toying around with the rulebook (I never played the others you mentioned). Both the broken builds you pointed out, btw, never enter in my games, simply by the fact that I don't use Retar, er Forgotten Realms material.

But seriously, GURPS is way more broken than D&D - the more modular a system is, the easier it is to break, simply by the fact that it gives more options to combine. GURPS character point total means absolutely squat, even less than level means in D&D (and at D&D, you can do a second power calibration by tier - though there is no accounting for player skill, just like in any system).

GURPS is an awesome system, mind you. It's just no holy grail of balance. :smallsmile:

DwarfFighter
2011-01-09, 06:20 AM
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I don't know about you, but my players aren't constantly trying to break the game. We're just having a good time hacking monsters and taking their loot. For this the 3.5 system works great.

-DF

AyeGill
2011-01-09, 06:33 AM
Because organizing 4+ people to play is hard enough, but organizing 8+ people, and going to school, making money to pay the bills, researching my master's thesis, ice climbing, sca, and girls? There's just not enough time.


Well, obviously, if you have that little spare time/that much other spare time stuff you'd rather do than RPGs, you have to prioritize. Me, i find that i have enough spare time on my hands, or at least enough stuff that i'd prioritize below RPGs, that i can make room for a couple groups. of course, it depends on how often you play, too(For us, it's about once a moth for both my exalted and my DnD group). And, as was said, it takes a lot less time when you're the player and only have to attend.

Thurbane
2011-01-09, 07:45 AM
I don't know about you, but my players aren't constantly trying to break the game. We're just having a good time hacking monsters and taking their loot. For this the 3.5 system works great.

-DF
This...very much this.

I've been playing 3.X D&D for about 5 years now, and the brokenness issues I so often read about on forums really haven't crept up in our regular games. Sure, I can see the potential, but in a relatively low op, beer n pretzels group with a "gentleman's agreement" about not using obviously broken things, we're golden.

I played 1E and 2E for around 20 years before that, and they also had their share of balance issues and nonsensical rules. I also throughly enjoyed playing them.

nedz
2011-01-09, 08:06 AM
I've played most version of this game, and they all have different foibles. That is they can all be broken, albeit in different ways.
I've only played GURPS once, and I broke it effortlessly with my first character.

The issue is the balance between Realism and Heriosm.
Realistic games cannot be broken any more than you can break real life.
As soon as you make a game Heroic then you have a broken reality.

Trouble is: Heroic games are more fun.

The only was to limit the 'damage' is to play at lower levels, but actually players seem to like the brokeness - despite their protestations.

In the original game (I'm talking about the three little books here) characters could not advance beyond 6th level simply because the rules did not exist. As soon as you go beyond this point you start to leave the Fantasy Normality of litriture and begin to enter the Gygaxian Tippyverse.
It is no suprise to me that people who prefer their games to be more like the fantasy books they have read; play low magic systems such as E6.

Tyndmyr
2011-01-09, 08:07 AM
Anything you can think of, you can do with D&D3.5. If it can't, you can make it do it. Everything you list as being awful about it? I don't give a damn about that.
Maybe when I have a chance to try them, I'll like others more. For now, D&D's great for my purposes.

While this is trivially true, that is true for every system. Yes, you can theoretically play cyberpunk with 3.5, but almost everything you used would be custom.

D&d is solid for epic fantasy, pre firearms. Anything beyond that requires signifigant mods or is much better done by another system.

The big reason everyone plays d&d is the same reason everyone plays wow, network effects. Rpgs make poor solo games, and people are often reluctant to learn new things.

Serpentine
2011-01-09, 08:10 AM
Maybe, but it's my understanding - based purely on what other people have said, as my experience is limited - that D&D3.5 is unusually easy to modify, recreate and build with in comparison with most other systems.

AslanCross
2011-01-09, 08:11 AM
Frankly, the balance of issues, while glaring on paper, do not necessarily appear in practice. They certainly haven't happened in my games.

The Rose Dragon
2011-01-09, 08:22 AM
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Gygax was not bad at game design. Outdated, maybe, compared to today's knowledge, but far better than what WotC did in 3rd Edition and 3.5. If I had the books, I would still play 2nd Edition, while I will likely never play 3rd Edition ever again. So, really, why do I bother? I don't! I am fairly good at getting people offline to play new systems if they play RPGs at all, and most of my gaming happens online, so the popularity of D&D really doesn't affect me much.

Mastikator
2011-01-09, 08:39 AM
Personally I don't bother. But it's not for balance reasons. I'm just not a fan of the level/class system.

Totally Guy
2011-01-09, 08:41 AM
I think that D&D is popular because it's popular.

I think there are plenty of things that have this property. It's like language and money.

If you were the lone speaker of a language it would be effectively useless. If you had the only telephone in the world who would you call? If you invented the Giant in the Playground Florin as a brand new currency... Well you'd probably have a hard time buying things with them.

All these ideas get better and better when more people agree with them and invest in them.

D&D compared to a lot of well designed RPG systems is the same. D&D is a well spread language with all it's quirks and flaws (much like English). Other games are a little known tongue. So which on do you pick? Which will be give the best reward for the least investment? D&D will.

Emmerask
2011-01-09, 08:49 AM
D&D3.5 is unusually easy to modify, recreate and build with in comparison with most other systems.

That is absolutely true, it has its limits but within those it is very easy to change stuff or add new content all thanks to its modular structure.

And as far as the ability to break the game goes, even todays "modern" systems are all quite easy to break if you take some time.

The ability to break a game is just a byproduct of having a lot of options, the more options the more breakable.
The only system you will find that are (nearly) "unbreakable" are those which put you in a straitjacket not allowing you anything...
I much rather deal with the occasional breaking of the game (which I then can rule 0) then to deal with a game without options :smallwink:

Saph
2011-01-09, 09:05 AM
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Well, because it's not the dark ages of gaming. Your list of complaints is fairly inaccurate, after all.


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Because you like putting on a performance, would be my guess. :smallwink:

Foryn Gilnith
2011-01-09, 09:08 AM
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Skill > Build > Class. Novices fail the first part. They're also likely to fail the second.


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Yes, but there's yet another point where we have to wonder why we care so much that the emperor is naked. The emperor is naked, Mystra is overpowered, sarrukhs are ridiculous, psionics is sloppily written, cats are overpowered. But why not look at the emperor's public policy? Why not look at 3.5 in action instead of quibbling about your distaste for alignment?

What's your point?
Is it the question you asked, Why do people play D&D? I personally can't cite anything worthwhile. Habit, I guess; I've played 3.5 for long enough that I'm comfortable with it. I could claim other things like ubiquity, but at this point 3.5 isn't exactly an overwhelming majority of games, especially on the internet.
If your point is something like "learn other systems", I agree completely. But if your point is something like "stop playing D&D", I'd have to say that a lot of your post is hyperbole and aesthetic quibbles. That's no criticism of your argument; I find that a lot of rhetoric is like that, and in your textwall you hit upon several very valid and painful points (e.g. CR, magic not affecting society). But a lot of the points you raise seem to be, IMO, simply the result of your personal sensibilities, calibrated to more "modern" systems, seeing things that 3.5 merely does differently and lumping them in with things it legitimately does poorly.

The Big Dice
2011-01-09, 09:21 AM
I don't play 3.5 anymore. After buying 30+ sourcebooks and who knows how much time and money invested, I realised something that I already knew before I bought into it in such a big way: D&D is rubbish. It's overly complicated, full of all kinds of stupid restrictions on classes, skills and feats. It's a throwback to an era of gaming that died of natural causes 20 years ago.

Why do you think the retro clone movement is so popular? People are harking back to the 'good old days' of their roleplaying experience.

People talk of D&D as being modular, but it really isn't. You have classes, levels, skills, feats and spells. Add on a combat system and there's the game. You can't take any of those modules out without making the rest of the game cease to function. Except maybe Feats. Or spells.

Having things to choose from when you make a character doesn't make the game modular. It means there are things to choose from when you make your character.

People talk about D&D as being heroic and epic. Except I don't see acts of heroism taking place in D&D games. I see people wandering off to ind things to kill and stuff to steal. That's not heroic. Where is the sacrifice? Where is the altruism, boldness and daring? All I see is greed and a desire for the next toy.

People talk abot D&D being epic. Except it's really not. Powerful doesn't mean epic. Epic is as much about scope as it is scale. Like genius or classic, it's one of those words that has been used so much that it has lost it's meaning. All I know is, there's not much difference between the stuff a 1st level and a 31st level D&D character does. Except the travel is to weirder places and the monsters are bigger.

What D&D is, and has been for as long as I've been gaming, is the gateway drug of the RPG world. When I started gaming, the path usually went: (A)D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, Marvel Super Heroes, then on to other more exotic games like Palladium or RoleMaster.

Now it's so much easier to find new games to have a try of. There's reviews of all kinds of stuff on RPGnet. There are free game, there's print on demand, traditional FLGS, mail order from all kinds of places. The options are endless when it comes to trying out new games.

And even if you don't like something new and different after you gave it a try, there's nothing to stop you going back to D&D.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 09:26 AM
Maybe, but it's my understanding - based purely on what other people have said, as my experience is limited - that D&D3.5 is unusually easy to modify, recreate and build with in comparison with most other systems.

No more than any other system with loose connections between the setting and mechanics. And much less than systems actually designed to let you build anything, like GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds.

I don't play DND 3.5. It's too easy to break, characters who are not casters or ToB classes are too limited, there are too many relics of old game design such as rolling for HP - and it does not give me anything to make up for those flaws. For example, Exalted is ridiculously easy to break too, but it makes up for it with an awesome premise, setting, and freedom during character creation - which is why I like it, despite its flaws.

Serpentine
2011-01-09, 09:28 AM
People talk about D&D as being heroic and epic. Except I don't see acts of heroism taking place in D&D games. I see people wandering off to ind things to kill and stuff to steal. That's not heroic. Where is the sacrifice? Where is the altruism, boldness and daring? All I see is greed and a desire for the next toy.That's a problem with individual games, not the system. Don't blame the system because your DM didn't set up heroic campaigns, or the players didn't play heroic characters.

You've given me food for thought, actually. Most of the adventures I've sent my party on have been selfish ones - even the one where we saved a little girl from being sacrificed by yuan-ti. Gonna make sure I give my group a chance to do some good sometime soon.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 09:33 AM
DND does not really encourage heroism, though. Exalted does, because you get extra dice for doing awesome stuff. Fate/Spirit of the Century does, because like half of the system centers around using your character's aspects to do badass stunts. DND encourages crawling through CR-appropriate dungeons and finding CR-appropriate treasure, and being careful in combat because you can be killed before you can even react if you're not lucky. And sleeping for 8 hours right before you fight the evil mastermind.

Emmerask
2011-01-09, 09:35 AM
I don't play 3.5 anymore. After buying 30+ sourcebooks and who knows how much time and money invested, I realised something that I already knew before I bought into it in such a big way: D&D is rubbish. It's overly complicated, full of all kinds of stupid restrictions on classes, skills and feats. It's a throwback to an era of gaming that died of natural causes 20 years ago.

Why do you think the retro clone movement is so popular? People are harking back to the 'good old days' of their roleplaying experience.

People talk of D&D as being modular, but it really isn't. You have classes, levels, skills, feats and spells. Add on a combat system and there's the game. You can't take any of those modules out without making the rest of the game cease to function. Except maybe Feats. Or spells.

Having things to choose from when you make a character doesn't make the game modular. It means there are things to choose from when you make your character.

People talk about D&D as being heroic and epic. Except I don't see acts of heroism taking place in D&D games. I see people wandering off to ind things to kill and stuff to steal. That's not heroic. Where is the sacrifice? Where is the altruism, boldness and daring? All I see is greed and a desire for the next toy.

People talk abot D&D being epic. Except it's really not. Powerful doesn't mean epic. Epic is as much about scope as it is scale. Like genius or classic, it's one of those words that has been used so much that it has lost it's meaning. All I know is, there's not much difference between the stuff a 1st level and a 31st level D&D character does. Except the travel is to weirder places and the monsters are bigger.

What D&D is, and has been for as long as I've been gaming, is the gateway drug of the RPG world. When I started gaming, the path usually went: (A)D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, Marvel Super Heroes, then on to other more exotic games like Palladium or RoleMaster.

Now it's so much easier to find new games to have a try of. There's reviews of all kinds of stuff on RPGnet. There are free game, there's print on demand, traditional FLGS, mail order from all kinds of places. The options are endless when it comes to trying out new games.

And even if you don't like something new and different after you gave it a try, there's nothing to stop you going back to D&D.


I think no one is denying that being open minded and trying out different systems (if you have the time to do so) is a good thing.
I myself started with rolemaster then went to dark eye then to d&d mostly (some wod shadowrun etc from time to time) and now we play a d&d/dark eye hybrid with the rolemaster crit system attached to it :smallbiggrin:

And for d&d being at least partial modular there is for example the sanity system module that you may use, yes its not as modular as gurps, but as I said before gurps is by no means as easy to modify as d&d is.

unosarta
2011-01-09, 09:35 AM
(e.g. CR, magic not affecting society).

I honestly have to completely disagree here. If the DM is running with their own system at all, this will never be a problem. How game aspects affect a society is entirely up to the DM, and not at all tied to the game system.

Although the base setting (which is mostly ignored, because it wasn't that well written) doesn't have it affect society, the DM can change that, just like they can change pretty much any other aspect of culture, politics, economics and magic within the setting.

Basically; this point is only based on the limited imaginations of the DM, not the system itself.

gbprime
2011-01-09, 09:44 AM
But as a veteran of many more modern, balanced, designed RPGs (GURPS, Fantasy Hero, Champions)

Now that's funny. All of those systems predate 3.5 D+D by over 15 years.

GURPS - great system for playing normal people, but it does not lend itself to an epic feel. Your characters will never move mountains, but it makes for decent "low fantasy".

Fantasy Hero - This is champions with the shackles on. Your stats are pretty much multiple choice (do you have a 13 or an 18 in that stat? Ooo, a 20!) and your gear and bag of tricks available is quite limited and all kinda looks the same. Again, good for low fantasy, but not as good as GURPS.

Champions - this is a seriously robust and powerful rule system (and my personal favorite), but it only takes off after 150 points or so on your character sheet. It is for superheroes almost exclusively, and that's what it's best at. Most fantasy campaigns cannot handle it, unless you want to be gods or avatars amongst men. Epic only need only apply.

Against these backdrops, 3.5 and Pathfinder have a great niche. It fills the gap between low fantasy (GURPS, Fantasy Hero, HARN, Savage Worlds, etc) and superpowers (Champions, Mutants and Masterminds, etc) and has few competitors for said middle ground. It lends itself to characters that start slow but pick up the ability to move mountains like no other system.

So yeah, that's why we bother. :smallamused:

Tyndmyr
2011-01-09, 09:56 AM
No more than any other system with loose connections between the setting and mechanics. And much less than systems actually designed to let you build anything, like GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds.

Well said. I can easily use, say, d20 modern revamped to do anything d&d can do easier unless its material published for d&d. A great many other systems with similar flexibility exist.

The only really difficult rpgs to mod are those like 7th sea. Mechanics in that are fairly strongly linked with setting. Not impossible, just less convenient.

However, 3.5 isn't rubbish. It may be a poor basis for your star wars larp, but its pretty good for playing relatively standard d&d. I use it for that, and use other systems for other things. There are enough different niches that many systems have value.

Coidzor
2011-01-09, 10:05 AM
DND does not really encourage heroism, though. Exalted does, because you get extra dice for doing awesome stuff. Fate/Spirit of the Century does, because like half of the system centers around using your character's aspects to do badass stunts.

Heroism (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heroism)isn't awesome stunts though, it's more about courage and doing the right thing.

Exalted doesn't encourage moral behavior as far as I know of it, in fact, amorality of the player characters is taken as a given/divine mandate if Keychain of Creation didn't alter that for the webcomic's dramatic purposes.

Crow
2011-01-09, 10:08 AM
Actual gameplay with reasonable people is not nearly as bad as the forum makes it out to be sometimes. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178400)

Interestingly, the monk still sucked, but more to the lack of investment by the player than anything.

Dsurion
2011-01-09, 11:00 AM
I don't know about you, but my players aren't constantly trying to break the game. We're just having a good time hacking monsters and taking their loot. For this the 3.5 system works great.

-DFExactly. Honestly, I'm playing a game where one of my players' faces just lit up like a Christmas tree when he found out what his ranks in Tumble were good for in combat. We're at a moment in our gaming where essentially anything we do is going to be a blast, and moments like that in our group are awesome for everyone. We have fun like this, and don't add extreme complexity to our game/story/system. No one even plays fullcasters. No one "optimizes." And we have no intent to change that.

I have a few reasons why I play 3.5 still:

I bought the books. I'll be damned if I'm not going to be using what I payed for. Along those lines, I don't have money for another system, so I'm not paying for another one. Until I do, 3.5 will cover whatever base I want it to.

As I said earlier, it does what I want it to do, within reason.

I've never run into problems with the mechanics, because we play mechanics-lite anyhow.

I'm not interested in learning new systems. If someone buys and/or presents it to us, then fine, I'll give it a shot.

Yes, it's outdated. Yes, it technically has balance problems (though to me, it seems like a lot of people scream "The game is broken!" when they're, y'know, trying to break it). Who cares? Certainly not me.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 11:15 AM
Heroism (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heroism)isn't awesome stunts though, it's more about courage and doing the right thing.

Yes, but if a game encourages acts of standing up against overwhelming odds, you're most likely to act heroically. In DND, a lot of the time discretion is the better part of valor.


Exalted doesn't encourage moral behavior as far as I know of it, in fact, amorality of the player characters is taken as a given/divine mandate if Keychain of Creation didn't alter that for the webcomic's dramatic purposes.

Wrong. It's almost impossible to play a Compassion 3 or more character without being extremely moral, and "heroes whose brave deeds change the world for the better" is one of the most basic campaign ideas. You can play an amoral jerk if you want to, but nowhere does the game assume it's default.

Psyren
2011-01-09, 11:23 AM
The brokenness of the system means little %99 of the time if you're playing with actually reasonable people (who you should play the game with after all).

This. If Theoretical Op is actually making its way to your gaming table, the problem lies with the group, not the system.

EDIT: Also, what gbprime said

Terraoblivion
2011-01-09, 11:42 AM
Also if you play an amoral jerk in Exalted you're not playing a greedy bastard who has determined that killing greenskinned people and stealing their lunch money is lucrative. You play Achilles who lets the entire freaking army he's part of get slaughtered because he's sulking over the leader of said army taking price loot for himself. Or you play Qin Shi Huang who has hundreds executed or experimented on to find the secret of immortality. If your desires are as petty as earning money no exaltation will find you and in all but the most unusual games of Exalted you simply won't be played.

At least if you play along default assumptions and what both mechanics and the setting encourages, which isn't the same as saying that all Exalted players play it that way. Regarding the specific reference to Keychain of Creation, it's a series of jokes you won't truly get unless you have a solid understanding of the system. It is not about exalts being expected to be jerks who lord their power over others, it is about how being centuries or millenniums old and having the power to warp reality at will and shape societies like putty might detach you from normal human thought and concerns. It is just played for laughs, rather than for horror, tragedy or pure academic interest like the system actually means. Also, an explicit comedy comic might not be the best source for detailed setting information. Just saying.

Kaiser Omnik
2011-01-09, 11:47 AM
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First, those are extremely biased statements and there is no such thing as "dark ages of gaming" nor even "modern RPGs".

Second, there are lots of reasons. Some actually like classes and levels. Some like the in-game universe (tolkienesque elements, but also more original ideas like mindflayers, undead-turning clerics, etc.). Others like the feel of heroic (over the top) fantasy as depicted in D&D games. And there are actually people out there that like some brokeness, or the fact that 3.5 has obvious bad choices, "pitfalls" of character creation.

The point is, there is no ultimate, perfect RPG, and while you may think GURPS is much more elaborate, it is not necessarily for everyone. I know many gamers who would be confused at the number of options for character creation and the time it takes to make one character (note I haven't played GURPS, I just got the rulebook).

Lastly, if the RPGs you named were so perfect, they would be more popular than D&D and the latter would be run out of business. Strangely, that is not the case at all. You can say what you want about D&D having a longer history and people simply being used to that title, but the fact remains that there is a very large community of gamers who are, simply stated, very satisfied with D&D. That doesn't make the game better than GURPS or others, but it surely means it appeals in its design (yes, believe it or not but D&D has had many serious designers!) to a great number. People who are not perfectionnists.

EDIT: As others in this thread have said, Pun-Pun and other stupid tricks of theoritical OP are never actually seen at the table. The only time I've met a player who truly tried to make his character god-like with cheesy tricks, he didn't stay in our group long, for the simple reason that he wasn't being a team player. Most groups don't accept jerks who only play to make themselves feel superior. And such jerks can play any system, not only D&D...

Drascin
2011-01-09, 11:55 AM
DND does not really encourage heroism, though. Exalted does, because you get extra dice for doing awesome stuff. Fate/Spirit of the Century does, because like half of the system centers around using your character's aspects to do badass stunts. DND encourages crawling through CR-appropriate dungeons and finding CR-appropriate treasure, and being careful in combat because you can be killed before you can even react if you're not lucky. And sleeping for 8 hours right before you fight the evil mastermind.

Uh, Tengu, dude, you're suggesting that D&D isn't heroic because it encourages being excessively careful, and praising Exalted in the same breath? Seriously? Exalted is one of the most paranoia inducing systems ever. I need full trust in the ST and knowledge that he will hold back before I will even attack, much less actually do anything heroic, because the system encourages being a turtle and never getting into anything unless you are superior to your opponent or can overwhelm him in some other way.

Urpriest
2011-01-09, 12:01 PM
Ever look at this forum's Iron Chef build competition? That thing is beautiful. There is also no other system out there in which that sort of thing can exist. None. Not even earlier or later editions of D&D. I'm not even entirely sure what this means, but it feels important, and it's a big part of why I keep coming back to D&D 3.5.

Tyndmyr
2011-01-09, 12:06 PM
While I dislike gurps too, I feel it'd unfair to say that better gaming systems would automatically become the most popular ones. By that logic, mcdonalds is the pinnacle of dining.

Ernir
2011-01-09, 12:10 PM
D&D has what I call "the spark". It keeps sucking me in, regardless of what cool other stuff I see in other systems. Some games are just like that. And no, it doesn't make sense. Does it have to?

Yes, the D&D system is crap. But it's my crap and I love it.

Derjuin
2011-01-09, 12:14 PM
D&D has what I call "the spark". It keeps sucking me in, regardless of what cool other stuff I see in other systems. Some games are just like that. And no, it doesn't make sense. Does it have to?

Yes, the D&D system is crap. But it's my crap and I love it.

I think I have to agree with this :smallsmile:

Also, if players are competing 'round the table for an award for hogging the most screentime by demolishing the most monsters the fastest, then the problem is likely to stick with you because it's most likely a fault that lies in the player, even if the system's ability to be broken is only fanning their flames :smallconfused:

Saph
2011-01-09, 12:19 PM
While I dislike gurps too, I feel it'd unfair to say that better gaming systems would automatically become the most popular ones.

It's not automatically true, no. But if lots of people like a system, there's generally a reason for it. I don't know of any really popular RPG systems that are genuinely bad. I know lots of RPG systems that people SAY are really bad, but in my experience what this usually means is: "this system doesn't meet my personal preferences, therefore it sucks".

Knaight
2011-01-09, 12:24 PM
I ditched D&D when GMing a long time ago, almost entirely because it doesn't synchronize well with my GMing style. It also isn't my preferred system to play, but I will happily play it, simply because almost everybody does and its the easiest way to play in a game.

Regarding why D&D is the most popular game, lets not pretend that its because it is the best. That is a massive oversimplification, ignoring several reasons that are much larger. Consider the inertia of the brand, the existence of D&D is common knowledge, to the point where there are people who play D&D that aren't aware of other games. That alone is enough to keep it in the biggest game, as just about everyone goes through it even if they play something else. Furthermore, people willing to branch out past one game are likely to sample a larger variety, meaning that D&D goes up against everything else, as people who won't move from one game that they know almost all stay in D&D, where other people spread through the rest of the industry. Then there is the matter of funding, WotC can market far more heavily than anyone else, which also adds to inertia of the game, if not the brand as a whole. Even if some system that was perfect for everyone was created, there is no reason to expect it to out do D&D.

The Big Dice
2011-01-09, 12:27 PM
First, those are extremely biased statements and there is no such thing as "dark ages of gaming" nor even "modern RPGs"
The "dark ages" of gaming were, when RPGs came out, bringing the doom of wargames. When CRPGs came out, bringing the doom of conventional RPGs. When CCGs came out, bringing the end of conventional RPGs again. When the OGL was released, bringing hte end of any system other than D20.

As for "modern RPGs" I beg to differ. There is a huge difference between RPGs of the 70s, 80s, 90s and now. The 70s were all about discovery and figuring out what roleplaying was for, as well as killing things because they were different and had stuff you wanted. The 80s were all about experimenting with genres, sometimes blending and sometimes keeping inside the boundaries of them. The 90s were all about a "new style" of gaming that really wasn't that new, about narrative being the main thing rather than the location or the treasure. And then came the 21st century, with a huge step back to the 70s combined with a desparate clinging on to the 90s.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 12:28 PM
Uh, Tengu, dude, you're suggesting that D&D isn't heroic because it encourages being excessively careful, and praising Exalted in the same breath? Seriously? Exalted is one of the most paranoia inducing systems ever. I need full trust in the ST and knowledge that he will hold back before I will even attack, much less actually do anything heroic, because the system encourages being a turtle and never getting into anything unless you are superior to your opponent or can overwhelm him in some other way.

Only if you're playing with a ST who min-maxes every NPC up the wazoo. Never happened to me.


Lastly, if the RPGs you named were so perfect, they would be more popular than D&D and the latter would be run out of business.

Quality has very little to do with popularity.

nyarlathotep
2011-01-09, 12:32 PM
Only if you're playing with a ST who min-maxes every NPC up the wazoo. Never happened to me.

But then that same assumption comes with D&D, both are absurdly poorly designed systems that have advice to the DM/ST on how to overcome these problems. In D&D if your immediate reaction to a ogre is "oh that's CR2 and therefore I can take it"; then the problem is with you just as it would be if you memorized how ST described various charms in exalted and fought based on the number and types your opponent had.

Callista
2011-01-09, 12:32 PM
It's fun. And I've never--I mean literally never--encountered an unsolvable game-balance issue with 3.5, in eight years of playing. The flexibility that's necessary to make it so much fun does make it easy to break, but avoiding breaking the game is even easier. I'll take the flexibility and fun any day, especially when systems that are harder to break essentially have classes that are either all very similar or else locked into specific roles from which they cannot easily diverge.


People talk about D&D as being heroic and epic. Except I don't see acts of heroism taking place in D&D games. I see people wandering off to ind things to kill and stuff to steal. That's not heroic. Where is the sacrifice? Where is the altruism, boldness and daring? All I see is greed and a desire for the next toy.Wow, you must be playing with the wrong groups or something. Here's some of the stuff I've seen...
The dwarf who set up an explosion in a coal mine to trap and kill a dragon...
The CN sorcerer who flipped off an evil deity, died (obviously), and got a resurrection and a celestial ally out of the deal...
The party who double-crossed a vampire lord who was trying to manipulate them into killing a monastery full of innocents by putting them into a Trolley Problem situation with the fate of the world on one set of tracks...
The wizard for whom Benign Transposition might as well have been re-named Save Your Ally's Life But Get Squished/Vaporized/Shredded In The Process (my character)... who survived much longer than she had any right to...
The reformed warlock who repeatedly risked his soul, not just his life...
The barbarian who took down two flesh golems single-handedly--at sixth level--when his caster friends were crippled by spell resistance, out of spells, or just plain unconscious... "retreat" was just not in his vocabulary
The "You Shall Not Pass" situation at the planar portal...
The cleric for whom "I shield him with my body" is a normal strategy...

Lots more where those came from. Believe you me, it can be heroic. All I can think is you must've fallen in with a bunch of min-max-obsessed non-role-players or something... one bad experience is all it takes sometimes to form a horrible impression.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 12:32 PM
Because its cool? I've been intrigued by DnD ever since I read an article about in magazine an another article about D&D online. To do things you just cannot do in video games... and the wonder of Eberron...

I know there are other systems but this the first system I know. I've learn a lot about it and there are so many supports. 1st and 3rd party sourcebooks. Even now there is still homebrews and Pathfinder.

Heroism? Meh, more of a problem with individual games and settings. You can have any kind of games if you try. Sure the system may designed to be better with some type of campaign than the other, but it doesn't have to limit your creativity or fun.

And DnD settings is great to me. Eberron will always be my favorite. From 3rd party there was Midnight and now there is Golarion or from homebrew, Zihaja, World of Aether... and so forth. Those are awesome settings with great feeling&nuance in my opinion. Exalted, WoD, Shadowrun or others.. I'll just say people have different taste and those games setting and feeling just doesn't excite/inspire me as much as DnD settings.

The only other RPG that is more awesome for me is Nobilis. If only I ever have chance to play :smallfrown:

Anyway, I don't care much about the brokenness. That can be handled. In fact it is fun to see all of this crazy build & combos people can made. :smallbiggrin: I Laughed really hard when i read about Pun-Pun, Twice betrayer of shar, Beholder mage (my favof LoP's stuff) Arcane spellsurge combo, ect.:smallbiggrin: It's not like it is something that will show up in the table for real anyway.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 12:36 PM
But then that same assumption comes with D&D, both are absurdly poorly designed systems that have advice to the DM/ST on how to overcome these problems.

Yup. As I said, Exalted makes up for it for me by having a great setting and letting you build much more varied characters. DND doesn't.

Psyren
2011-01-09, 12:39 PM
Quality has very little to do with popularity.

Wrong.

It is better to say "quality is only one factor that relates to popularity," but to say it isn't a factor at all is utterly false.

Draz74
2011-01-09, 12:40 PM
Yeah, 3.5e has plenty of flaws. And you know what? I can argue that none of them really matter using just three words. Ready?

The. SilverClawShift. Archives.

Any RPG system that can produce those adventures (which, yes, do involve a lot of heroism) must not be too bad. :smallsmile:

nyarlathotep
2011-01-09, 12:44 PM
Yup. As I said, Exalted makes up for it for me by having a great setting and letting you build much more varied characters. DND doesn't.

D&D does have fantastic settings: Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Spelljammer (yes I do find the irony in that they are all 2nd edition), your DM's homebrew setting (the reason he's DMing in the first place). Unfortunately one of WotC's weaknesses was in fact canceling all the cool campaign settings, but the did introduce one good new one in Eberron.

I also fail to see how Exalted allows more variety. In my (admittedly limited) experience with Exalted there are no rules for playing a psychic sandwich, a sentient swarm of insects, or even just someone who defeats opponents by controlling the battlefield around them.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 12:50 PM
Funny, of those 2E settings only Ravenloft and Planescape that i kinda like. (Well, FR too maybe, but only the Underdark and Netheril).

Foryn Gilnith
2011-01-09, 12:51 PM
DND encourages crawling through CR-appropriate dungeons and finding CR-appropriate treasure, and being careful in combat because you can be killed before you can even react if you're not lucky. And sleeping for 8 hours right before you fight the evil mastermind.
CR-appropriate dungeons and sleeping for 8 hours are a construction of the culture, not of the system. The Dungeon Master's Guide quite clearly says that half of the encounters PCs face should not be generic EL = Party Level threats. It wasn't the system or the company that caused these ills, it was the consumers who cried foul when WotC took the unthinkable step of following the guidelines in the book and including a CR 12 roper in a level 6 adventure. Heavens forbid people actually find ways to trivialize encounters (the PCs should be able to do so about 20% of the time) or even consider not fighting a stationary enemy. And don't even mention the possibility of having a dynamic evil mastermind.

2 of those problems are caused by incompetent users (a necessary consequence of a popularly acclaimed system), rather than being inherent flaws of the system. The third problem, regarding WBL, is more a subset of "Problems with CR". The books say only that balance will be harder with wealth divergent from WBL; segments of the playerbase have chosen to interpret that as "You Shall Not Violate This Table".


If your desires are as petty as earning money no exaltation will find you and in all but the most unusual games of Exalted you simply won't be played.
The path to greed can lead to great stories. In one particular one called "The Salt Tycoons" that I doubt I'm allowed to link (google it if you're inclined), exploiting D&D commodity prices in pursuit of greed ultimately led to an epic battle across an Ethereal Plane rift for the future of an interplanar soul trade.


Yup. As I said, Exalted makes up for it for me by having a great setting and letting you build much more varied characters. DND doesn't.
D&D characters can't be varied?

Psyren
2011-01-09, 12:51 PM
D&D does have fantastic settings: Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Spelljammer (yes I do find the irony in that they are all 2nd edition)

Dark Sun was converted to 4e actually

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 01:09 PM
to say it isn't a factor at all is utterly false.

Yeah, which is why I didn't say that. I said it matters very little, which is true. Marketing, brand recognition, accessibility - all of these are much more important. Look at Blizzard, for example - I'm not saying that their games are bad, I really like them, but they're such marketing geniuses they could release a literal crap in a box, and they'd still sell millions of copies. And the same is true for everything else, not just video games.


D&D does have fantastic settings: Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Spelljammer (yes I do find the irony in that they are all 2nd edition), your DM's homebrew setting (the reason he's DMing in the first place). Unfortunately one of WotC's weaknesses was in fact canceling all the cool campaign settings, but the did introduce one good new one in Eberron.

I don't find any of these as interesting as Exalted, to be honest. All of them, when you strip them to the basics, are still generic medieval fantasy with warriors in plate armor and long-bearded wizards, and I don't like generic medieval fantasy. Well, Dark Sun is different, but a grittier system would serve its grimdark atmosphere better. And I don't like grimdark much either.


I also fail to see how Exalted allows more variety. In my (admittedly limited) experience with Exalted there are no rules for playing a psychic sandwich, a sentient swarm of insects, or even just someone who defeats opponents by controlling the battlefield around them.

And all of those are only available to spellcasters. If you're not a spellcaster, or a ToB character, then at best you're limited to one or two tricks which you will repeat over and over because you suck at everything else, and at worst you're almost identical to every other member of your class. That's boring. In Exalted, you can come up with almost every concept that makes sense in the setting and have a guarantee that it will be viable and, more importantly, fun to play.

Callista
2011-01-09, 01:13 PM
D&D's popularity does give it at least one drawback--all the people who are just starting out, who don't know anything about role-playing and role-playing games, and the people who will play for a short time and quit because they don't like it, tend to pick D&D as the first game they try.

So you will naturally find more incompetent, new, and casual players in D&D than in other systems. That is a direct consequence of its popularity and has nothing to do with the system itself. It can be good when you get to introduce a newbie to a pastime they'll enjoy for years to come; but it can also be very annoying because that newbie could just be a guy who came because his friend lured him with the promise of free beer and Doritos and said D&D was "kind of like WoW".

Foryn Gilnith
2011-01-09, 01:13 PM
All of them, when you strip them to the basics, are still generic medieval fantasy with warriors in plate armor and long-bearded wizards, and I don't like generic medieval fantasy.
Stripping down Planescape results in generic medieval fantasy about as much as stripping down Shadowrun results in generic modern life. From what little I know of Spelljammer, I'd hazard a guess that it's similar.

Looking at what Tengu_temp is saying, I would like to put forth the following statement (which roughly corresponds with my views):
D&D is good for powergaming. Exalted is not. If you take Exalted to its limits, you turn a functional combat system into a Cold War microcosm. If you take 3.5 to its limits, you turn an incompetent full attack machine into a capable combatant with actual options.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 01:18 PM
Stripping down Planescape results in generic medieval fantasy about as much as stripping down Shadowrun results in generic modern life. From what little I know of Spelljammer, I'd hazard a guess that it's similar.

I gotta admit that most of my experience with Planescape comes from Planescape: Torment. But let's agree, it's an exotic and unusual setting.

It's also released only for AD&D. And AD&D has even more problems than third edition. Problems that really don't make it worth it for me.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 01:25 PM
I've heard many people prefer 2e.

Some other people said it was never a game about balance (can't judge the system itself due to poor knowledge but some non-official advice I've found about 'making the game interesting' are just ewww)

Crow
2011-01-09, 01:26 PM
Yeah, which is why I didn't say that. I said it matters very little, which is true. Marketing, brand recognition, accessibility - all of these are much more important. Look at Blizzard, for example - I'm not saying that their games are bad, I really like them, but they're such marketing geniuses they could release a literal crap in a box, and they'd still sell millions of copies. And the same is true for everything else, not just video games.

Blizzard doesn't sell games because of their marketing. Blizzard sells games because they make a quality product. I am not a fan of Starcraft or Warcraft, but did have fun playing Diablo, and can admit that these games were reasonably well-made. I know about blizzard because I remember playing these games way back when I saw a friend playing them on his computer. Even then, "Marketing" didn't really play a part in my deciding to try them. Nowadays, I have seen ZERO marketing for Blizzard titles aside from a Mr. T commercial on cable. I don't frequent sites where their advertising is done. Rather, if I decide to buy a Blizzard title, it will be because of the QUALITY of their previous titles. When i buy a game from Blizzard, based upon past experience, I have a reasonable belief that I will be getting a well-made game.

All the marketing I have seen for D&D admittedly has been for 4e and Essentials, and I don't like (or play) either of them. Marketing does not guarantee sales, quality does. Blizzard could crap in a box and sell millions, but it isn't because of marketing. It's because of their reputation for putting out good games.


And all of those are only available to spellcasters. If you're not a spellcaster, or a ToB character, then at best you're limited to one or two tricks which you will repeat over and over because you suck at everything else, and at worst you're almost identical to every other member of your class. That's boring. In Exalted, you can come up with almost every concept that makes sense in the setting and have a guarantee that it will be viable and, more importantly, fun to play.

This is the attitude that seems to flood these forums, but which doesn't see reality in about 99% of real-world games played. See my link to a level 1-25 synopsis earlier.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 01:34 PM
I don't like AD&D for several reasons. The most notable ones are:
1. Almost complete lack of mechanical differences between two members of the same non-caster class. Your class defines you almost completely, at best you can choose a different weapon or some non-weapon proficiencies that will come up in the game once in a blue moon.
2. No variety of combat maneuvers. If you're not a caster, your options in combat are limited to attacking, moving around, switching weapons, using items and, sometimes, doing something plot-important.
3. Total lack of consistency: every single thing is resolved in a different way! Why is opening a lock resolved in a completely different way than swinging a sword? Why are the ability scores completely non-standarized?


All the marketing I have seen for D&D admittedly has been for 4e and Essentials, and I don't like (or play) either of them. Marketing does not guarantee sales, quality does. Blizzard could crap in a box and sell millions, but it isn't because of marketing. It's because of their reputation for putting out good games.

And how do you know that Blizzard's game will be good even if you didn't play it? Brand recognition! Which is exactly what I was talking about.

You personally didn't like 4e, but it sold well. Saying that something didn't sell because you didn't buy it doesn't have much sense, don't you think? And I personally think 4e is a much better game than 3.5.


This is the attitude that seems to flood these forums, but which doesn't see reality in about 99% of real-world games played. See my link to a level 1-25 synopsis earlier.

I don't know about other people, but variety of options sure as heck matters to me. If I played a generic DND fighter stuck with auto-attacking, I'd get bored really quickly.

Psyren
2011-01-09, 01:37 PM
Yeah, which is why I didn't say that. I said it matters very little, which is true. Marketing, brand recognition, accessibility - all of these are much more important. Look at Blizzard, for example - I'm not saying that their games are bad, I really like them, but they're such marketing geniuses they could release a literal crap in a box, and they'd still sell millions of copies. And the same is true for everything else, not just video games.

Do you have any justification for your hyperbole? Say, the sales figures for "literal crap in a box?"

This kneejerk hype aversion that "it's popular therefore it sucks" is every bit as useless in reality as believing that things are popular solely because they are good. Face it, D&D has done (and continues to do) lots of things right. If the damn game was unplayable then nobody would play it. They are, therefore it's not. Simple as that.

For example; the iPhone has been extremely popular for years. Is it a poorly-constructed device? I can't stand it, but even I have to admit it's technical quality at all generations/iterations.

nyarlathotep
2011-01-09, 01:39 PM
I don't find any of these as interesting as Exalted, to be honest. All of them, when you strip them to the basics, are still generic medieval fantasy with warriors in plate armor and long-bearded wizards, and I don't like generic medieval fantasy. Well, Dark Sun is different, but a grittier system would serve its grimdark atmosphere better. And I don't like grimdark much either.

By this same coin I don't find Exalted to have a very interesting setting either. It is fantastical and original but I don't find it fun to play in the same way I find either version of Vampire or Mage rather boring to play in.

Also as some people have pointed out stripping down any of those (save Ravenloft) to generic medieval fantasy is the same as stripping Exalted down to fantasy version of DC superheroes.



And all of those are only available to spellcasters. If you're not a spellcaster, or a ToB character, then at best you're limited to one or two tricks which you will repeat over and over because you suck at everything else, and at worst you're almost identical to every other member of your class. That's boring. In Exalted, you can come up with almost every concept that makes sense in the setting and have a guarantee that it will be viable and, more importantly, fun to play.

Or Incarnum user, or psionic manifesters, or binders. Now there are some classes that are so horribly pigeon holed to only be buildable a handful of ways (looking at you barbarian). The vast majority of concepts in D&D are achieved by some combination of classes, prestige classes, and feats. Fro instance suppose I wanted to play a one-man circus he would probably start off as a bard but he would then likely dip into several other classes to obtain the correction combination of abilities to be how he was envisioned at creation.

AyeGill
2011-01-09, 01:40 PM
And all of those are only available to spellcasters. If you're not a spellcaster, or a ToB character, then at best you're limited to one or two tricks which you will repeat over and over because you suck at everything else, and at worst you're almost identical to every other member of your class. That's boring. In Exalted, you can come up with almost every concept that makes sense in the setting and have a guarantee that it will be viable and, more importantly, fun to play.


You're absolutely right. You're screwed if your DnD character isn't an arcane caster, or a divine caster, or a ToB character. Or a meldshaper. Or a psychic, or a binder. Or an artificer. or one of the 42 possible combinations between two of those. Or, y'know, a factotum. and of course, fighting types can be optimized for variety, While maintaining power, just the same as all those.

Now, if you actually build a character in exalted with only fighting Abilities, only Charms that are excellencies or other stuff that only improves your skill in battle (note: they can't actually give you new options in battle, because that would be ToB), then i think you'd have a pretty boring exalted character too.

Knaight
2011-01-09, 01:42 PM
All the marketing I have seen for D&D admittedly has been for 4e and Essentials, and I don't like (or play) either of them. Marketing does not guarantee sales, quality does. Blizzard could crap in a box and sell millions, but it isn't because of marketing. It's because of their reputation for putting out good games.

Quality is an aspect. However, for any product to be successful people need to find it, then like it enough to use it. While exceptional quality is helpful to recognition (World of Goo for instance), that doesn't mean that it isn't much easier for a product to thrive if it is already well known, or is from a well known company. Look at Blizzard, Starcraft Two doesn't really stand out all that much, but Starcraft did, Blizzard is known, and that is enough to guarantee early sales. Combined with the polish and presentation, it allows continued sales.

However, tabletop RPGs are a niche market, and RPGs that rise high within that niche are still unlikely to be well known outside it. D&D is the only real exception, though the WoD books are getting that way, which means that simply being better than D&D isn't enough to supplant it.

Callista
2011-01-09, 01:43 PM
With as many books as D&D has available, primarily physical fighters do have quite a few options. I agree that Core-only non-magic-users are somewhat limited; but once you get past Core, the options explode just like they do for magic-users. I don't see a problem beyond needing to make sure your group pools the available books and makes sure the non-casters and half-casters get access to the strategies, feats, magic items, etc. that will make their jobs more interesting.

Eldan
2011-01-09, 01:44 PM
I have fun with D&D 3.5. It's that simple. It allows me to build a world I think is complex, intriguing, internally consistent and logical, if I put enough thought into it.

I have looked at a lot of systems. And few, very few, do what I want them to do. Which is:

a) Allow me to build my own world. To do this, the system has to be flexible and allow a wide variety of mechanics and the easy integration of new mechanics I come up with myself. Furthermore, it should not have any mechanics that have fluff strongly attached to them. With enough work, you can detach the fluff from anything, true. However, for some it is more work than others.

b) A wide variety of playstyles and power levels. I want a game where I can have a party of mythological heroes, godlike wizards, actual gods, tentacled monsters from outside reality, a group of four farmboys and the local village priest, the crew and captain of the voidship Starbreaker, three licensed psionicists in the Green Dawn Theocracy, a down on his luck private investigator trying to solve the murder of a vampire prostitute in Sigil's hive or a duo of knights cursed by the Faerie Queen of Autumn trying to escape back into reality.

c) Nice and useful abilities. I want utility abilities with dozens and hundreds of applications. I want illusions, mind control, alchemy, possession, futuristic and mystic weapons and versatile magic, along with combat styles for those who just want to hit things with sticks.

Short version: I want a toolbox, not a balanced system. Balance is unnecessary.

The Big Dice
2011-01-09, 01:49 PM
Short version: I want a toolbox, not a balanced system. Balance is unnecessary.
Sounds like you want GURPS.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 01:50 PM
Do you have any justification for your hyperbole? Say, the sales figures for "literal crap in a box?"

Sure. Look around you, pick something that's very popular but what you consider utter, complete crap. Why is it so popular?


By this same coin I don't find Exalted to have a very interesting setting either. It is fantastical and original but I don't find it fun to play in the same way I find either version of Vampire or Mage rather boring to play in.

Your choice. Different people, different tastes.


Or Incarnum user, or psionic manifesters, or binders.

All those are spellcasters with different names.


The vast majority of concepts in D&D are achieved by some combination of classes, prestige classes, and feats.

And there's a high chance that the prestige class you pick will have some extra stuff with it that simply does not fit the concept. And that the finished result will still be a guy who can only do one or two things, rather than offering any interesting variety.


Now, if you actually build a character in exalted with only fighting Abilities, only Charms that are excellencies or other stuff that only improves your skill in battle (note: they can't actually give you new options in battle, because that would be ToB), then i think you'd have a pretty boring exalted character too.

The difference is, in Exalted you have to purposely try to make your character mechanically uninteresting. In DND, if you're not a caster then you have to put effort into making it mechanically interesting, or else it won't. And there's a high chance your efforts will fail anyway.

Callista
2011-01-09, 01:51 PM
You can't say balance is unnecessary. Perfect balance is unnecessary; but if you've ever DMed for a party where someone has fallen far behind the others, you know that balance is important--like, say, you've got a 3rd-level character in the 7th-level party; how will you plan encounters that can challenge the 7th-level members without killing the 3rd-level? Thankfully, D&D doesn't have balance issues that can't be dealt with by using sensible, non-cheesy builds.

ffone
2011-01-09, 01:52 PM
Saying "why is it so popular? it's so broken" is like the joke "It's so crowded, nobody goes there anymore."

I betcha most or all systems have exploits - it's just that, cuz 3.5 is popular (...and you're hanging out on a board where half the threads are about these loopholes!), more loopholes have been found, and discussed / complained about to death.

I'm not familiar with other systems, but I vaguely remember 2e had some great loopholes (cast strength on a high-strength monster to *reduce* their strength to 18/00 with no save....or maybe that was just Baldur's Gate). And most of the Final Fantasy games have some loopholes (a few tactics which blow the others out of the water, or you can farm XP ultra-quickly.) FFXII had an uber secret boss who's supposed to take 5 hours to beat...but it turns out there was a place in his area you could stand hidden and spam a ranged damage spell and he'd never see/attack you (and MP 'regenerates' in that game so no need to go rest). Console RPGs may be off-topic, but you get the idea - for me, the burden of proof is on knowing some other system is foolproof.

Also, re the comments like "Exalted has a more awesome premise" - part of what I like about 3.5 is that it's fairly broadly/vaguely fluffed, and then you have specific things like regions of each campaign setting with more specific fluff. I like that variety. I don't want a system where everyone has to be the descendant of a god, etc. Too narrow and Mary Sue.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 01:53 PM
Sure. Look around you, pick something that's very popular but what you consider utter, complete crap. Why is it so popular?


My taste just different?

Callista
2011-01-09, 01:54 PM
Yeah, people have different priorities. I, for example, do not think Twilight is a well-written book, but some people do not place good writing on their list of priorities when they pick up a novel.

Crow
2011-01-09, 01:55 PM
And how do you know that Blizzard's game will be good even if you didn't play it? Brand recognition! Which is exactly what I was talking about.

Brand recognition, but not from something as superfluous as "marketing". I DO NOT know that the product will be good. But I can expect that it will at least be decent NOT because I was told that it will be good, but because past experience with their products have shown that they produce a good product.


You personally didn't like 4e, but it sold well. Saying that something didn't sell because you didn't buy it doesn't have much sense, don't you think? And I personally think 4e is a much better game than 3.5.

Now you are blatently placing words in my mouth. I never said that 4e didn't sell well. Lots of people absolutely love 4e. Though I find it positively priceless that you complain about the lack of options in 3.5 melee while in the same breath saying how much you like 4e, where *every* class just a tiny variation from the next.


I don't know about other people, but variety of options sure as heck matters to me. If I played a generic DND fighter stuck with auto-attacking, I'd get bored really quickly.

If you feel that your fighter can do nothing but "auto-attack" as you put it, then that is a YOU problem. At the very least it is a YOUR DM problem. Some people play melee almost exclusively, and do so very creatively I might add.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 01:56 PM
Or they have different definition about what is good writing, or at least what is enjoyable writing.

Eldan
2011-01-09, 01:57 PM
Sounds like you want GURPS.

I don't like Gurps. It just doesn't work for me. It, basically, falls in the same direction as all point buy systems do for me: 90% or more of it's abilities end up utterly generic.
Yesterday, I built a psion with the ability to turn space two-dimensional. It was a class ability from a homebrew class. What kind of point buy system has a thing like that?

true_shinken
2011-01-09, 02:01 PM
DND does not really encourage heroism, though. Exalted does, because you get extra dice for doing awesome stuff. Fate/Spirit of the Century does, because like half of the system centers around using your character's aspects to do badass stunts.
This just means D&D heroes are more heroic than others, really. Heroism is not about doing good things under an incentive, it's about doing good things because it's the right thing to do.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 02:03 PM
Brand recognition, but not from something as superfluous as "marketing". I DO NOT know that the product will be good. But I can expect that it will at least be decent NOT because I was told that it will be good, but because past experience with their products have shown that they produce a good product.

I said that brand recognition is not the same as marketing, and that both matter more than quality. You're confirming my point here.


Now you are blatently placing words in my mouth. I never said that 4e didn't sell well. Lots of people absolutely love 4e. Though I find it positively priceless that you complain about the lack of options in 3.5 melee while in the same breath saying how much you like 4e, where *every* class just a tiny variation from the next.

Here, this is what you said:

All the marketing I have seen for D&D admittedly has been for 4e and Essentials, and I don't like (or play) either of them. Marketing does not guarantee sales, quality does.
What does this imply? To me, it implies "I didn't buy 4e, so its marketing didn't guarantee sells".

And classes in 4e might not have a lot of differences between themselves (though still more differences than many people claim), but all of them give you a lot of options in combat.


If you feel that your fighter can do nothing but "auto-attack" as you put it, then that is a YOU problem. At the very least it is a YOUR DM problem. Some people play melee almost exclusively, and do so very creatively I might add.

I said generic fighter. A generic fighter is not creatively played. A generic fighter is the default. Why isn't a fighter fun to play by default?


This just means D&D heroes are more heroic than others, really. Heroism is not about doing good things under an incentive, it's about doing good things because it's the right thing to do.

Those other characters do it under player incentive, not PC incentive. Or are DND players more heroic than players of other systems?

Eldan
2011-01-09, 02:05 PM
And just an aside: the OP immediately made me think of this:

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20090818.gif

true_shinken
2011-01-09, 02:08 PM
I find it greatly amusing that somehow people can take seriously someone who says Gary Gygax does not have imagination and that the guys who came after him copying his work are the ones who have imagination.



Those other characters do it under player incentive, not PC incentive. Or are DND players more heroic than players of other systems?
Player incentive is always there is every game, so I really don't see your point. Characters can't do anything without player incentive, can they?

woodenbandman
2011-01-09, 02:10 PM
You stated a false dilemma. A good DM will balance encounters to the party so that it will work no matter what. It's pointless to build your character to be optimal because as long as all the characters have their niche, things will work out in the end. Too much of the "win DnD" mindset because of perceived weakness of fighters/strength of wizards, people completely ignore the simple solution to "overpowered/underpowered" classes, which is to decide at character creation to play something in line with the group power level, and to grab a DM who can handle that.

Bang!
2011-01-09, 02:11 PM
I went home during my winter break from college. A bunch of nerdy-type friends from my high school decided that since we're all back in the same town, we should spend a couple nights doing some gaming.

We were trying to think of a game to play. I plugged All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Somebody else pushed GURPS. Somebody else pushed for Deadlands. But to play any of those, we'd have to subject everyone else to learning a new rule system, just for a couple nights of actual play.

We settled for D&D 3e not because any of us particularly liked the system, but because it was the one gaming language we all knew - it had a long run dominating gaming store shelves, and we'd all played it occasionally. The same couldn't be said for games like Spirit of the Century or Dogs in the Vineyard, which may be more fun (I think so anyway) but weren't distributed or advertised by a company as large or powerful as WotC.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 02:13 PM
Player incentive is always there is every game, so I really don't see your point. Characters can't do anything without player incentive, can they?

There are two systems. The PCs are about to do something heroic, but reckless and not carefully planned. Here's what the game's mechanics themselves say about such an act:
Game 1: They are doing something cool, so they will receive a bonus, and even if they fail they still have a high chance of saving their skins!
Game 2: They're gonna get owned. Hard.
Which of those systems encourages heroism more?

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 02:16 PM
I find it greatly amusing that somehow people can take seriously someone who says Gary Gygax does not have imagination and that the guys who came after him copying his work are the ones who have imagination.


I don't think the OP included the second part.

And it just a simple question really, what's wrong with taking it seriously?

Emmerask
2011-01-09, 02:18 PM
There are two systems. The PCs are about to do something heroic, but reckless and not carefully planned. Here's what the game's mechanics themselves say about such an act:
Game 1: They are doing something cool, so they will receive a bonus, and even if they fail they still have a high chance of saving their skins!
Game 2: They're gonna get owned. Hard.
Which of those systems encourages heroism more?

And d&d actually allows for that in the dmg are two different ways to assist such pc actions:
-situational bonuses
-dm fudging rolls (I think we all had a pretty long discussion about that so no need to start it here again ^^)

So your point is?

nyarlathotep
2011-01-09, 02:21 PM
There are two systems. The PCs are about to do something heroic, but reckless and not carefully planned. Here's what the game's mechanics themselves say about such an act:
Game 1: They are doing something cool, so they will receive a bonus, and even if they fail they still have a high chance of saving their skins!
Game 2: They're gonna get owned. Hard.
Which of those systems encourages heroism more?

To be fair this does exist in Eberron, as there are action points and the DM is specifically told to either allow an action to be preformed without costing an action point or grant additional action point under specific heroic or awesome conditions.

Urpriest
2011-01-09, 02:21 PM
I said generic fighter. A generic fighter is not creatively played. A generic fighter is the default. Why isn't a fighter fun to play by default?


Who plays a generic Fighter? There are very few people new to 3.5, since new players tend to join games that are, y'know, in print. The people who still play 3.5 are people who are aware of the multitude of options and enjoy using them because they have experience building interesting things out of them. Yes, Core isn't balanced. But there's no compelling reason for anyone to play Core any more because Core is no longer a bunch of books you see in a bookstore. 3.5 should be evaluated as the game that actually gets played and discussed on boards like these, not the game some hypothetical person who just picked up the Core books would play.

Crow
2011-01-09, 02:23 PM
I said that brand recognition is not the same as marketing, and that both matter more than quality. You're confirming my point here.

Dude, brand recognition and marketing are worthless without quality. Otherwise both become a liability rather than a strength. Quality is where it all begins.


What does this imply? To me, it implies "I didn't buy 4e, so its marketing didn't guarantee sells".

"Marketing doesn't guarantee sales." was an entirely separate sentence, as implied by the period at the end of the one before it. Otherwise I'd have written, "I didn't buy 4e so it must not have sold well."

Besides, I did buy 4e because I considered 3.5 a quality product so wanted to try 4e when i heard about it on these boards. I didn't find 4e to be a quality product (Subjective, yes. Let's say it wasn't what I wanted in a game.), so I didn't buy anything else from their 4e line, regardless of what I heard about it.


And classes in 4e might not have a lot of differences between themselves (though still more differences than many people claim), but all of them give you a lot of options in combat.

I'm not going to bog down this thread with edition wars, but will leave it at "Superficially yes".


I said generic fighter. A generic fighter is not creatively played. A generic fighter is the default. Why isn't a fighter fun to play by default?

Plenty of people still have fun with "generic" fighters. Always have, always will.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 02:23 PM
Repeating other poster's point, Awesomeness/doing cool things is different with heroism.

Anyway, what does this 'encouraging' matters anyway? If i'm going to do cool things that's because I want to do it. Are players is that so-non-heroic that they need rewarding such action became explicitly specific part of the rule?

Callista
2011-01-09, 02:25 PM
Yep, and there are usually ways of finding mechanics that will let it work, too.

It's called Rule Zero, people! If I as a DM see a player asking to do something cool, you better believe I'll let him do it.

And in many cases, the "do something cool" can be a simple variation on an established mechanic.

For example:

RP: "I run up the wall and try to kick the enemy wizard in the head!"

Mechanically: Charge and unarmed attack. (Most likely if you're kicking things, you've got the necessary feats to make it effective, neh?)

RP: "I stand guard over my unconscious friend. If any of those orcs want to cut his throat, they're going to have to go through me."

Mechanically: Share a space with the unconscious man (giving him cover) and ready an action to attack anyone who attempts a coup de grace on him.

Simple as that.

Tengu_temp
2011-01-09, 02:28 PM
And d&d actually allows for that in the dmg are two different ways to assist such pc actions:
-situational bonuses
-dm fudging rolls (I think we all had a pretty long discussion about that so no need to start it here again ^^)

So your point is?

+2 to attack or AC won't turn an almost-suicidal charge into an awesome victory. Fudging rolls is not in the rules. Exalted and Fate still encourage heroism much more.


To be fair this does exist in Eberron, as there are action points and the DM is specifically told to either allow an action to be preformed without costing an action point or grant additional action point under specific heroic or awesome conditions.

More points for Eberron, then.


Who plays a generic Fighter? There are very few people new to 3.5, since new players tend to join games that are, y'know, in print. The people who still play 3.5 are people who are aware of the multitude of options and enjoy using them because they have experience building interesting things out of them. Yes, Core isn't balanced. But there's no compelling reason for anyone to play Core any more because Core is no longer a bunch of books you see in a bookstore. 3.5 should be evaluated as the game that actually gets played and discussed on boards like these, not the game some hypothetical person who just picked up the Core books would play.

So newbie-unfriendliness is a good thing now?


Dude, brand recognition and marketing are worthless without quality. Otherwise both become a liability rather than a strength. Quality is where it all begins.

I'd love to live in a better world where only quality products get popular. But that's not the world I happen to live in.

Not saying that DND 3.5 is terrible. But there are much, much better RPGs out there.


Plenty of people still have fun with "generic" fighters. Always have, always will.

I'm not those people.

---

I said everything I wanted to say in this thread, and I have more important things to do, so don't expect me to post anything else. Just saying.

true_shinken
2011-01-09, 02:28 PM
Which of those systems encourages heroism more?
I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that it's more heroic when you don't have a incentive.


I don't think the OP included the second part.

Oh, but he did.


{Scrub the post, scrub the quote}
Emphasis mine. He's even implying Gary Gygax couldn't do math. For some reason, he's also implying that programing computers makes you a better game designer. Or maybe he's trying to imply programing computers requires you to be 'more intelligent' than others? Nevermind Gygax was from a time when computers were not nowhere as widespread as they are now...

Callista
2011-01-09, 02:31 PM
D&D also has action points, which you can spend to turn the suicidal charge into a victory... well, unless it was so suicidally stupid that there was no way it was going to work in the first place! And since this is D&D, not Deus Ex Machina, that is as it should be.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 02:32 PM
I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that it's more heroic when you don't have a incentive.


Oh, but he did.


Emphasis mine. He's even implying Gary Gygax couldn't do math. For some reason, he's also implying that programing computers makes you a better game designer. Or maybe he's trying to imply programing computers requires you to be 'more intelligent' than others? Nevermind Gygax was from a time when computers were not nowhere as widespread as they are now...

Oh.
You see, I'm not even taking that part of the post in a not-serious way, I just ignore it :smalltongue:

Urpriest
2011-01-09, 02:34 PM
So newbie-unfriendliness is a good thing now?


"Smacks Head"

THERE ARE NO NEWBIES! The game is nigh-unpurchaseable! D&D 3.5 is not a game that people just pick up in a store! That was my whole point!

As such, newbies are (gasp!) irrelevant to this discussion! The system isn't newbie-unfriendly or newbie-friendly, they simply aren't part of the equation. It's friendly to experienced people, who interestingly enough are also the only people who try to play it anyway. If a game pleases the people who use it and it doesn't need to make money for anyone, why does it need to appeal to anyone else? The OP is asking why old gamers keep playing 3.5, not why new gamers pick it up.

Tyndmyr
2011-01-09, 02:35 PM
On the broken topic, I feel 3.5 has so many exploits known for it because its so popular.

7th sea? Go trait heavy for rapid xp gain, grab 5 footwork and drachenheisen to be unhittable. Laugh while dueling demigods.

D20 modern. Buy a 50 cal and take the feat rapid shot. Your class is fast, and you own a leather jacket. Yay for ac and the ability to 1 hit kill anything. That or abuse nades.

Call of cthulu? You win by avoiding the plot as much as possible and finding excuses for skill rolls.

Exploits and imbalance are everywhere.

Thiyr
2011-01-09, 02:36 PM
Sounds like you want GURPS.

I get the feeling from what I've heard of it that GURPS works in a similar fashion to Hero (which I will use as reference due to my unfamiliarity w/ GURPS, despite my experience also being fairly limited), to which I say...No. I play D&D because I want a toolbox. I want to have a variety of implements with which to mess around with to make what I'd like to make. In this analogy, however, while 3.5 acts as a toolbox, having a large variety of options, Hero instead acts more like a pile of lumber, metal, twine, plastic, and rocks (and other raw materials that I'm too lazy to try and be accurate with). I can do a lot more with the second, sure, but yknow, I'd rather improvise what I need out of pre-existing tools than make a whole new tool myself. Similarly, this is why I've been fairly resistant to joining in with a few guys I know who've been playing hackmaster. Because, from my again somewhat limited experience, it feels like everything's decided for you. To go back to the analogy, instead of having a toolbox, or even the materials to make new tools, I am handed a hammer (of indeterminate quality, sometimes good and sometimes bad) and told to go nail stuff down, even if the last thing I feel like doing is hammering.

3.5 gives me options without making it so open ended that it can't give me inspiration. That is why I play it.

Emmerask
2011-01-09, 02:38 PM
+2 to attack or AC won't turn an almost-suicidal charge into an awesome victory.

The problem is, that if you have a reliable method to make a suicidal charge into a low risk charge then the whole charge was not suicidal and with nearly assured victory and little odds against the whole thing becomes much less heroic :smallwink:

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 02:38 PM
"Smacks Head"

THERE ARE NO NEWBIES! The game is nigh-unpurchaseable! D&D 3.5 is not a game that people just pick up in a store! That was my whole point!



There are newbies... I think. There are at least post every now and then of people who just started to learn DnD.

AyeGill
2011-01-09, 02:39 PM
Call of cthulu? You win by avoiding the plot as much as possible and finding excuses for skill rolls.


Well, you dont as much win in Call of Cthulhu as you escape to play another session. Seriosuly, the best thing you can do is keep moving, and always have the option to rapidly skip town available. And, of course, keep The Elder Sign on you shirt at all times.

Callista
2011-01-09, 02:41 PM
Yes, there actually are quite a few people new to D&D. 3.5 is still so popular that it's attracting new people. However, most of those new people are joining groups with at least half experienced players, so they're being taught by veterans who know mostly what they're doing. Pathfinder is slowly taking over from 3.5, but they're made to be similar so it's much the same effect.

Psyren
2011-01-09, 02:44 PM
There are very few people new to 3.5, since new players tend to join games that are, y'know, in print.

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/neverwinter_nights_diamond_edition/

Hi, new players 3.x, close enough

Callista
2011-01-09, 02:52 PM
The SRD makes the "out of print" issue much less of an issue. Plus, D&D 3.5 books are being shared among gaming groups. Between us, my group has a good selection of books at the table, and that's just the ones we have physically. PDFs probably double that number (and are easier to carry). Technically you can play D&D with just the SRD and no financial investment beyond the pizza and the dice.

Knaight
2011-01-09, 02:52 PM
Emphasis mine. He's even implying Gary Gygax couldn't do math. For some reason, he's also implying that programing computers makes you a better game designer. Or maybe he's trying to imply programing computers requires you to be 'more intelligent' than others? Nevermind Gygax was from a time when computers were not nowhere as widespread as they are now...

The other interpretation being that the modern WotC designers are incompetent. Which is fair enough.

Regarding Gygax, the early editions of D&D are a mess. That doesn't mean he's a bad game designer, it was new territory. The Wright Flyer is a primitive, pathetic machine next to even a post WWI biplane, that doesn't mean the brother's Wright were lousy engineers. The same concept applies.

Eldan
2011-01-09, 02:56 PM
The SRD makes the "out of print" issue much less of an issue. Plus, D&D 3.5 books are being shared among gaming groups. Between us, my group has a good selection of books at the table, and that's just the ones we have physically. PDFs probably double that number (and are easier to carry). Technically you can play D&D with just the SRD and no financial investment beyond the pizza and the dice.

I would say that the SRD is extremely unhelpful for new players. It doesn't tell you how to build a character, just what a character gets. It doesn't tell you how to build an adventure, it just gives you part that could be in it.

true_shinken
2011-01-09, 02:56 PM
The other interpretation being that the modern WotC designers are incompetent. Which is fair enough.

Not when he calls them 'the poor people in WotC', no.

Terraoblivion
2011-01-09, 03:00 PM
There is a substantial amount of differences between the two, Emmerask. For one thing stunt bonuses in Exalted, and a host of other systems, are a core element of the system the circumstances under which you can gain are clearly defined, situational bonuses and GM fudging are explicitly options placed solely at the GM's discretion. For another the nature of the bonuses is different and need to be justified differently. Fudging is meant to be kept hidden and not revealed to the players and is inherently not meant to be something you can be planned for. Situational bonuses on the other hand are made explicit, but they need to be justified in the circumstances making things easier not on whether it is cool, thematic or anything of the sort. A given group can deviate from this, of course, but that is not sticking to what the system intends or encourages, which is really what the discusion is about.

In general i will personally say that D&D, and especially 3.0 and 3.5, is a deeply dishonest system. It pretends to be generic and allow you to do anything you want, but look at just about any published setting and tell me whether they needed to either add or remove a substantial amounts of rules to make them work. Even Eberron, marketed as the setting that included everything, needed to remove the entire alignment system, add a whole host of setting-specific rules, completely rewrite all aspects of every race and mess around with how a substantial amount of spells and psionics work. Most other settings require many more alterations in order to function.

Not just that, once you take a closer look at the system you notice that it comes with a long list of assumptions about characters, setting and narrative style. Overwhelmingly the rules encourage stories about personal scale combat since support for any other human activity is spotty at best. Going purely by the rules any action that does not relate to fighting will in almost all cases be handled by a single roll defining binary success or failure without middle ground. Further looking at the subsystems that are both developed and could potentially focus on something else, most notably magic, the focus of what has been developed is overwhelmingly on how you can either kill your enemies or prevent them from killing you. This focus on combat even goes so far that the rules are written with the assumptions that the players will get into four fights on a typical in-game day.

The other great aspect of the narratives the system encourages is an almost obsessive focus on material wealth. The very idea of a wealth-by-level table, no matter how strictly the GM should or shouldn't follow it, makes this blindingly obvious. If material possessions were not a deeply integrated into the system this would not be necessary, similarly it is telling that all monsters have as part of their stats what forms of wealth they can be expected to have.

Other aspects that can be more easily modified and are of lesser importance, are such things as the centrality of rules and dice in most pursuits. This even goes so far as encourages letting chance rather than narrative imperative or player choice determine the outcome of a dramatic event. This and the implied antagonism between players and GMs are aspects that stems from the way D&D favors being a game much more than most systems do. This also shows in how it is official WotC policy that no supplement can be released without providing new mechanical material. I even remember reading an editorial from the editor-in-chief about how any developer who wrote interesting material but didn't attach any mechanics to it could not get it accepted until they wound up creating mechanics. The editorial was called "Where's the beef?" and you might be able to find it if you poke around old issues Dragon Magazine or WotC's site.

Together these issues mean that if i were to play a game in any of those excellent D&D settings Nyarlathotep mentioned, i would not use D&D for any of them except Eberron and possibly Spelljammer which i don't know. The focus on combat and limited rule for anything that isn't combat, completely undermines the core ideal of Dark Sun, that it is the world itself that is your greatest enemy. The mechanical integration of material wealth and improved equipment also work poorly with a setting where something as simple as a metal weapon is a rare price. For Ravenloft it's arguably worse, focus on the game, active fighting and material wealth all actively serve to undermine not just the atmosphere of horror, but also the moral universe and underpinnings of the setting. In fact i would go so far as to say that of all systems that actually work at all, D&D might be the least suited for Ravenloft, it certainly is the least suited of the ones i know, even including something as over the top as Weapons of the Gods.

I don't know Planescape as well as the other two, but i know that philosophical musings and the power of belief in defining reality are both central concepts in the setting. D&D has by default absolute zero support for this, while also being defined in ways that make adding rules for it rather mechanically inelegant and making them either very muted or mesh quite poorly with the general rule system. But in a more general sense, since D&D was not designed to fit closely with any of these settings it really isn't much more work to port them elsewhere than it is to wrestle D&D into being able to work with them. You could play all of them pretty much straight using any truly generic system like GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds, it would most likely even be less work than fitting them with D&D.

So does this mean that D&D can only do one thing? Of course not, you really can play whatever you want using D&D rules. It is just a lot of work adapting the system to suit settings and stories in which material possessions are unimportant and physical violence undesirable. Anything except D&D-style "heroic" genocide of creatures arbitrarily defined as evil followed by looting their valuables, is fundamentally unsupported by D&D and is often directly in opposition with the basic design philosophy of the system. Basically, you could do it, but why would you?

FMArthur
2011-01-09, 03:02 PM
I sort of like D&D 3.5 for being so disfunctional. When you need to have a character be able to do something, the methods to do so are often very roundabout and excessively intricate character-building challenges, which I quite enjoy. I guess I subscribe to the D&D is like LEGO method of enjoyment more than anything else.

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 03:07 PM
.... Basically, you could do it, but why would you?

Because those are fun things to do.

Because learning new system is a pain, especially if that system do not have good enough flavour. Not for playing, but for encouraging reading the rules in the first place.

Because there is difference between not focusing in something and not supporting something.

Because sometimes you don't need complicated rules to do things.

nyarlathotep
2011-01-09, 03:11 PM
Not saying that DND 3.5 is terrible. But there are much, much better RPGs out there.

Granted I just don't think Exalted is one of those

onthetown
2011-01-09, 03:11 PM
3.0 is what my first tabletop rpg session was, so I learned how to play it for the campaign. Then we went to 3.5, so I went along with it. At the time I was so new to tabletop games that I assumed D&D was the only tabletop rpg, and you couldn't play the older editions (or something similar). Even after I became a bit more knowledgeable, 3.5 is just what I like to play. We've switched over to Pathfinder now, but it's pretty much the same thing so I don't mind it.

Terraoblivion
2011-01-09, 03:15 PM
Any system can be used to play any kind of game, at least excepting the truly wretched ones that simply don't work. I don't think anybody has ever found a way to make FATAL or Synnibar work for anything.

However, D&D supports philosophical ruminations about as well as Paranoia supports trying to emulate Hollywood action movies. It just leads to headaches as the mechanics actively fight your attempts at using them for something else.

As for whether it's a pain to learn a new system. This might just be my personal preferences, but i find it easier and more interesting to learn a new system than it is to remember a large number of variant rules. It's easy to find a psychological explanation for that, though, a system is a coherent whole where different parts helps you remember the other, remembering variant rules in effect has to be done largely independently.

Gametime
2011-01-09, 03:15 PM
Not saying that DND 3.5 is terrible. But there are much, much better RPGs out there.

"Better" is a meaningless term when unsituated. There is no such thing as a "better" RPG, except colloquially. There are RPGs that some people like to play, and RPGs that lots of people like to play, and RPGs that lots of people like to play lots more than other RPGs. Always, however, the RPG is better for someone; even a game like FATAL appeals to an incredibly narrow band of individuals. As reluctant as I am to acknowledge it, I must admit that there exist people for whom FATAL is a "good" game.

Now, there are certain criteria we can apply to "objectively" rate games: Balance, modularity, ease of play, popularity, and so on. Ultimately, though, what makes a game "good" is whether people enjoy playing it, in the same way that an incredibly well-made meal is a failure if it doesn't satisfy the people actually eating it. You don't seem to enjoy playing D&D, but other people do, and your tastes don't get priority over theirs when we talk about games being "better."

Eldan
2011-01-09, 03:17 PM
OKay, then.


There is a substantial amount of differences between the two, Emmerask. For one thing stunt bonuses in Exalted, and a host of other systems, are a core element of the system the circumstances under which you can gain are clearly defined, situational bonuses and GM fudging are explicitly options placed solely at the GM's discretion. For another the nature of the bonuses is different and need to be justified differently. Fudging is meant to be kept hidden and not revealed to the players and is inherently not meant to be something you can be planned for. Situational bonuses on the other hand are made explicit, but they need to be justified in the circumstances making things easier not on whether it is cool, thematic or anything of the sort. A given group can deviate from this, of course, but that is not sticking to what the system intends or encourages, which is really what the discusion is about.

Here I inherently disagree. For me, the players can expect and count on such a bonus, the atmosphere at the table is destroyed. You don't do something cool and heroic and awesome because you think your characters chances of survival are better that way, or because you think he'll survive it anyway. You put your character's life on the line, knowing that he may well die, because it's the right thing to do.



In general i will personally say that D&D, and especially 3.0 and 3.5, is a deeply dishonest system. It pretends to be generic and allow you to do anything you want, but look at just about any published setting and tell me whether they needed to either add or remove a substantial amounts of rules to make them work. Even Eberron, marketed as the setting that included everything, needed to remove the entire alignment system, add a whole host of setting-specific rules, completely rewrite all aspects of every race and mess around with how a substantial amount of spells and psionics work. Most other settings require many more alterations in order to function.


I think this is entirely the wrong approach. D&D contains almost everything you can think of (or you can include it with little work), but it's not supposed to contain everything in the same campaign. If I want to play in ancient Babylon, I don't want Spelljammers. Perhaps I don't want Aboleths in my campaign, or clerics, or metal.
The D&D rules are a toolbox that contain a lot of tools. A D&D setting is a project you build with those tools. You don't need a crane to build a birdhouse, or a nailgun to repair your roof, to take that metaphor just a little too far.




Not just that, once you take a closer look at the system you notice that it comes with a long list of assumptions about characters, setting and narrative style. Overwhelmingly the rules encourage stories about personal scale combat since support for any other human activity is spotty at best. Going purely by the rules any action that does not relate to fighting will in almost all cases be handled by a single roll defining binary success or failure without middle ground. Further looking at the subsystems that are both developed and could potentially focus on something else, most notably magic, the focus of what has been developed is overwhelmingly on how you can either kill your enemies or prevent them from killing you. This focus on combat even goes so far that the rules are written with the assumptions that the players will get into four fights on a typical in-game day.


That is true, I will admit. However, D&D, unlike just about any system I've encountered over the years, has an enormous wealth of homebrew, including whole new subsystems so that, with a little work and picking and combining, you can get almost anything you want.



The other great aspect of the narratives the system encourages is an almost obsessive focus on material wealth. The very idea of a wealth-by-level table, no matter how strictly the GM should or shouldn't follow it, makes this blindingly obvious. If material possessions were not a deeply integrated into the system this would not be necessary, similarly it is telling that all monsters have as part of their stats what forms of wealth they can be expected to have.

True, and I don't know how to counter this. Not giving the "right" amount of wealth makes appropriate combat painful. My solution is to never do level appropriate combat, but that's not for everybody.



Other aspects that can be more easily modified and are of lesser importance, are such things as the centrality of rules and dice in most pursuits. This even goes so far as encourages letting chance rather than narrative imperative or player choice determine the outcome of a dramatic event. This and the implied antagonism between players and GMs are aspects that stems from the way D&D favors being a game much more than most systems do. This also shows in how it is official WotC policy that no supplement can be released without providing new mechanical material. I even remember reading an editorial from the editor-in-chief about how any developer who wrote interesting material but didn't attach any mechanics to it could not get it accepted until they wound up creating mechanics. The editorial was called "Where's the beef?" and you might be able to find it if you poke around old issues Dragon Magazine or WotC's site.

This is true, and one of the things I dislike about 3.5: the way WotC writes a lot of stuff. I, personally, discard almost all of their fluff, and forget just about anything they tell me about how to play. IT works then, but for a new player, it's a bad system.


You go on to write how many settings would work better in other systems. I have to counter this. Compared to D&D and the freedom it allows me, every other system I've seen feels like a gigantic straightjacket that doesn't allow me to do half hte things I want to see in a game.

Drascin
2011-01-09, 03:19 PM
Only if you're playing with a ST who min-maxes every NPC up the wazoo. Never happened to me.


Uh, no. Actually, it's the reverse - only if you're playing with an ST who doesn't know pretty well the system and the thousand ways it can kill you. Which is a lot of STs. Killing someone by accident is way, way easier in Exalted than in D&D - in D&D, the DM needs system mastery to annihilate his players with level-appropiate encounters, and anyone can see that Save or Dies will kill people if they fail the save - they're very obvious about it. In Exalted, he needs system mastery to not do so. This is especially bad since the fluff paints Exalted as being these awesome people that can withstand great odds, which can certainly throw off a new ST - who will then find Exalted are actually made of cheap plastic and held together with prayer and motes.

And, as said, there have been few systems (Dark Heresy comes to mind) where I have felt so downright useless and at the mercy of the elements as in Exalted. Absolutely anything unexpected will ruin your day, because character versatility is near-nil, and increasing it is downright hellish, and nothing you don't have a dice pool of six or more wll see you succeeding with any degree of competence, much less if you actually intend to affect anything of use. Plus, the issue of self-belief - in D&D at least, I know a random stab can't kill me, there's a cushion of HP there. In Exalted, any attack that manages to hit you has a pretty good chance to kill you. It's not something that really makes one happy to put oneself in harm's way.

Really, if you want a system that encourages people to be off-the-wall, it's M&M. Exalted is certainly not it.

Kaiser Omnik
2011-01-09, 03:29 PM
Edition wars are so passť.

RPG wars are the cool new thing. :smalltongue:

Salbazier
2011-01-09, 03:38 PM
Any system can be used to play any kind of game, at least excepting the truly wretched ones that simply don't work. I don't think anybody has ever found a way to make FATAL or Synnibar work for anything.

However, D&D supports philosophical ruminations about as well as Paranoia supports trying to emulate Hollywood action movies. It just leads to headaches as the mechanics actively fight your attempts at using them for something else.


Not that I ever tries to, but I don't think thinking of variant rules will be that headaching, at least not if I don't want a perfect system. And If i'm homebrewing system to use in my game, I can well accept that it may suck/broken just like I accept that Core is filled with suck&broken



As for whether it's a pain to learn a new system. This might just be my personal preferences, but i find it easier and more interesting to learn a new system than it is to remember a large number of variant rules. It's easy to find a psychological explanation for that, though, a system is a coherent whole where different parts helps you remember the other, remembering variant rules in effect has to be done largely independently.

... that's work completely in opposite for me. Because variant rules are variant to the existing rules they are easier to remember. If I want to add new rules about organization, working profession, running a country I don't have to learn or remember many things at once. And the new rules still have similarity to the previous. And I don't even need to learn all of the variants at once, Just one at the time depends on the need or interest.

Learning new system, I have to read all if not most of the basic rules to get things make sense. Otherwise I may miss something important. And it may have no similiarity at all to the previous system I learn before.



You go on to write how many settings would work better in other systems. I have to counter this. Compared to D&D and the freedom it allows me, every other system I've seen feels like a gigantic straightjacket that doesn't allow me to do half hte things I want to see in a game.

I agree. Most of the other game system I understand (as opposed to know. I know what is GURPS but my mind just getting headache from seeing it that never have the understanding to give it any judgment) are designed for specific kind of setting or nuance. DnD, or perhaps I should say d20, can fit into a lot things quite easily.

TheWhisper
2011-01-09, 03:47 PM
Wow. What an enormous response.

Okay, instead of trying to respond to individual posters (that way lies madness), I'm going to try to summarize some of the things people have been saying repeatedly and respond to those.

I'll try not to set up any straw men.

Objections to stuff I said:


Pun-Pun is easy to houserule out. Reasonable players don't make Pun-Pun.

Pun-Pun isn't the problem, Pun-Pun is just an example of the brokenness. One doesn't have to look for loopholes to exploit. In fact, the game is broken out of the box.

Far from simply having to be reasonable, one has to exercise vast rules knowledge and no small amount of skill to avoid the system's many pitfalls of brokenness.


Stop playing with munchkins

Munchkins aren't the problem. It's that things are so unbalanced that you can become one by accident. Or you can nerf yourself completely. Or you can admit one to the game, and it requires a GM with the cunning of Disraeli and the personality of Bismarck to block all the holes.


A good GM can fix D&D

A good mechanic can fix an Edsel.


What do you mean, Gygax had no imagination?

Not none. Less than he gets credit for. He had trouble anticipating the consequences of his design decisions. He codified crude stereotypes stolen from Tolkien and other fantasy fiction into the rules. He made a mass of fiat rules, rather than a system.


Gygax didn't build 3.5. He built earlier editions.

And I played them as a child, so I know that.

What's wrong with 3.5 is what it inherited from earlier editions. The tragedy of system design is that the more fundamental the decision, the earlier you have to make it... and therefore the less information you have about how to make it well.

I'm sure the old story about the Space Shuttle boosters and the horse's rear end is apocryphal, but it illustrates the principle nonetheless. (Google it if you have no idea what I am talking about.)


What do you mean, he couldn't do math?

He could do arithmetic. Math isn't about numbers.


WoTC ain't so great.

They're trying to fix a train wreck. Have some compassion.


GURPS and Fantasy Hero ain't so great.

Agreed. But they are less broken.


What does programming a computer have to do with anything?

Gives you a lot of practice at designing mathematical and representational systems in a balanced and elegant fashion, that's what.

Reasons y'all play it anyway:


It's so flexible, you can make anything!

Go play Champions for a while. See if you still find Race-Class-Level a fluid medium to sculpt with.


Everybody else plays it.

Yeah, D&D got there first. It owns the playing field, and the ball. There's a lot of advantages that come with that. One of them is the sheer volume of source material... a lot of it quite excellent (except game-mechanically).

No argument here.


Rich source material, milieu, background, etc.

Totally agree. I think this is the real reason why I'm sitting here ranting my frustration instead of just trying to get my group to play something else.

Even just reading the source material is fascinating. It's not all good, but there's so damn much of it that rich and inspiring ideas abound.

But it's frustrating.

D&D is like a bag of chocolate-covered wingnuts. It looks delicious, but you can't actually consume it without excruciating discomfort.

Terraoblivion
2011-01-09, 03:48 PM
What other systems allows as much freedom as D&D? Let's see...Mutants and Masterminds and GURPS definitely do. I believe Savage Worlds might as well, but someone who knows the system might be better able to answer this. This is strictly looking at freedom as the ability to create weird, hypothetical cases if you really want to. If you also want the options of what to be able to create to feel meaningful, it isn't really a question of systems but rather a question of setting, as any narratively-based choice gets its meaning through how it ties into the setting rather than how it ties into the system. A more abstract argument could also be made that freedom only exists in the presence of limitations since you need to have some basis to measure your creation or actions against, as well as to establish what actions are even possible. Won't really go into this as it is likely to become pseudo-philosophical gobbledegook and bad logic after a couple of rounds of discussion.

In regards to D&D being a toolbox...i really don't know where to start with this. Yes, you can fiddle around with items, spells, feats, races and classes available. However, these are just the surface ripples of a large, elaborate edifice of rules none of which are even remotely modular. It's like changing the stove and the wallpaper of a house, but making no further changes and then saying you refurbished it completely. That's really all you can do with D&D. You still end up sitting with a focus on fighting other creatures and taking their possessions in order to become more effective at fighting other creatures and trying to stray out of that forces you to work ten times as hard as straying in any other system. Even ones closely tied to a setting like Weapons of the Gods. You'd have to write whole new rules in order to not play what is basically freeform, and not D&D, if you try straying too far.

So no, D&D is not a toolbox nor is it remotely close to a toolbox. It's a saw or perhaps a screwdriver and sure you can try pounding nails in with them, but it really is a lot harder than just finding a hammer. Actually generic systems are toolbox, but D&D isn't one of them.

Callista
2011-01-09, 03:49 PM
D&D is like a bag of chocolate-covered wingnuts. It looks delicious, but you can't actually consume it without excruciating discomfort.Or you can just melt the chocolate off the wingnuts and use it to make your own candy. That's what my group does. :) When decent chocolate is hard to get, it's worth the effort.

Eldan
2011-01-09, 03:53 PM
See, I don't agree with that. I've read both GURPS and M&M. Neither of them feel like they'd allow me any of the freedom I want in a system. M&M has a narrow selection of powers in it's core rulebook (I haven't read any others) and that's it. You get points to buy the powers you want, but those powers? Most of them only allow fighting as well. There's no truly creative and inspiring abilities in there.

averagejoe
2011-01-09, 03:55 PM
The Mod They Call Me: Thread locked.