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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Introduction

    For the past year or two, I have been mulling over the advantages and disadvantages of a white list of sources versus a black list of sources, and how they affect the DM's Control. This was prompted when I met my current 2E DM, who is an old style grognard who has been playing/DMing since before 2E came out and loves complaining about everything that is wrong about today.

    From his (numerous) complaints about "how things are" and reminiscing of "how things used to be," I began to see a pattern emerging. A pattern of how games used to have a white list of sources and rules, placing the power of the game in the hands of the DM, versus a blacklist of sources and rules, placing the power of the game in the hands of the players. Once aware of this pattern, I began to see a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the existence of such a pattern, ranging from how the various groups I have been a part of discuss and play D&D to how these boards and the WotC boards talk about D&D. I wish to share my observations, and give the community here an opportunity to discuss my observations.

    Disclaimer

    Before I get started, I must say that this is not an edition war thread. This is a thread that is evaluating the mentality of gamers and how that mentality has shifted over time. I will be referring to editions because they are a good milestone for delineating time frames and also that a given edition will approximately reflect the attitudes of the community. The written rules (such as suggestions in the appropriate edition's DMG) may or may not support the generalizations about gamer mentality that I am about to make. The rules may influence the attitudes of the players, and the attitudes of the players may influence the rules, but they can be seperate from each other. I will mention the written rules and suggestions in HOW they influenced this attitude, but my focus is on the assumed attitudes in system and of the players using the system.

    Also, I will be making use of a lot of anecdotal evidence and a lot of generalizations. I will do my best to relate such anecdotal evidence to a greater context of the pattern I have seen emerge. Feel free to share your own opinions, but please relate them to a greater context. Posts like "Well, my group does X, so you are wrong!" are neither useful nor insightful. On the other hand, posts like "Well, my group does X, so my group seems to follow/deviate form the pattern" or "Groups X, Y, and Z do A, B, and C, so I think that your theory might be right/wrong" are more of what I am interested in reading.

    Finally, this is very long. I consider this to be an essay explaining my thoughts. You have been warned.

    So, time for the actual content.

    White Lists
    What is a white list? A white list is list of allowed sources or allowed rules. It is exclusive in that only the sources and rules on the list are allowed in the campaign. For example, the DM can state that only the Core rulebooks and Complete rulebooks from 3.5E are allowed in the campaign.

    However, white lists can be even more exclusive than this. Some DMs, such as my 2E DM, will create a packet of rules, listing everything that is allowed. For example, this campaign will have the standard classes from the 2E PHB, plus these additional classes, these critical hit tables, these critical fumble tables, these gods, ect. The smaller the white list, the smaller the amoount of material and the more exclusive the list. A more exclusive list gives more power to the DM, as the DM has explicitly allowed certain rules, classes, powers, ect. Theoretically, the player has a smaller selection of choices and is less likely to do something the DM does not like.

    A (not so) brief history on White Lists

    Note: The following is my understanding of the history of D&D. If I err in the recounting of this history, please correct me.

    In the beginning, there was no D&D. There was only a supplement of fantasy rules written primarily by Gary Gygax for the wargame Chainmail. Gygax was a very unique person, with an unusual assortment of strengths and weaknesses. Based on all evidence I have heard, he was quite charismatic and ran awesome games. However, he was an inspired artist and had to have things his way (like all great, inspired artists). If players tried to do a combo he did not like, he would almost inevitably introduce unexpected magical interactions to give the player an unexpected surprise. For example, the infamous portable hole and bag of holding interaction supposedly stemmed from one of Gygax's sessions, where a player nested a series of portable holes and bags of holding in an attempt to carry his fortune with him. At which point, Gygax informed the player that the magical interactions of the object had sucked the objects and the player into the Astral Plane, where all were destroyed.

    Over time, Gygax's rules and sessions were codified into Dungeons and Dragons as we know it. Eventually, Gygax left/was kicked out for political reasons concerning the course that TSR should follow. 2E was then created.

    At first, there were not many source books, but over time more and more books were created. Especially in 2E. Some saw the large number of sourcebookes (particularly near the end of the life of 2E) as excessive and labeled the books as poor attempt to grab money.

    So, what is the point of that history?

    I am describing this history so that we understand WHY the early versions of D&D had what I consider a White List mentality. Gygax was an artist, pioneering in the genre of PnP games. He might not have been the first, but he was certainly the most successful. Everything he created WAS the white list. He had full artistic control. Over time, others began to have artistic control, especially after Gygax left TSR.

    Nonetheless, the first DMs were inspired by Gygax's style and many attempted to copy him. The DM was the creator of the game, and the players contributed to the game, but mostly interacted with the DM's creation. Granted, this is based off my 2E DM's first-hand observations, which are by no means a complete picture. However, I am willing to trust what he observed.

    At first, there were not many sources. But as more sources came up, the DM picked and chose what he liked from the source books and from other games, and created the rest. Every game was different. Not like today, where every group uses core and has a different set of allowed books. The rules themselves depended on the DM. Fans made special rules, like the CalTech rules for D&D. This attitude is very prominent in the PHB and DMG of 2E and prior editions. Just look at the 2E PHB. It lists all kinds of optional rules. There are about three different rules for encumbrance, three different skill systems, and all kinds of options. Plus, there were common conventions. For example, 2E didn't have criticals (20 was just an auto-hit), 5-ft adjustments, or fumbles. However, most DMs put these things into their games. Which is why criticals and 5-ft steps are in 3.0 and higher, since they were commonly used in games anyways.

    The DM was GOD. The rules were guidelines. Of course, this had drawbacks. You had to have an awesome DM, or the game sucked. The DM had to put a huge amount of time and effort into the game. D&D was a fringe game, as it took more work than most people were willing to put in, and good DMs were hard to come by.

    Black Lists
    What is a black list? A black list is a list of sources and rules that are not allowed in a game. It is an inclusive list, because everything not on the list is allowed. For example, some groups do not allow Book of Exalted Deeds in 3.5E games.

    The smaller the black list, the more inclusive it is and the less control the DM has over the game. It is very unlikely that a DM has read every single book out there. If a player discovers an exploit in the game system, they the DM has to address it, either by allowing it or squelching it in some manner. While exploits are certainly present in books on a white list, the DM is more likely to be more intimate with the material on a white list. This is, of course, just an assumption. There are fewer options, and thus fewer opportunities for a surprise exploit to occur.

    This means that, generally speaking (YES! There are exceptions! This is a generalization!), a black list tends to give players more control than a white list, while a white list tends to give the DM more control than the black list.

    When did people start using black lists?

    I do not why or when black lists became more common. It is clear that it was not a sudden change, but a gradual shift. While the massive number of source books in 2E might have been ignored by many players of the time (Yes! There were clearly players who used them all! Another generalization!), perhaps the constant availability of lots of potential books eventually got players used to the idea of having them available. Perhaps WotC's marketing department managed to convince people to buy the books, so they could have awesome powers and kill things faster, so they could have more fun! Perhaps going mainstream caused D&D to have more people who wanted to put in less time than earlier generations of players, so that they would rather buy a premade solution rather than homebrew up a solution.

    Perhaps the rapid expansion of D&D caused DMs to lose touch with the original DMs of yore, causing the only guidance of How D&D Should Be Played to be the rules the players were presented. Perhaps players began to prefer consistency of game play over the random quality of a random group using a hodgepodge of house rules? Perhaps WotC has pushed for greater consistency in RPGA, causing people who started playing D&D via RPGA to adopt such consistency?

    Whatever the reason, I am increasingly seeing a black list mentality. Remember how I mentioned that the 2E PHB had a whole buffet of options? Look in the 3.5 PHB. There are much fewer options. They are there, but they are not as explicit with a header of "[Rule](Optional)" like the 2E PHB. Now, the 3.5 DMG is loaded with TONs of options. Tons and tons of options, detailing how to make items, spells, ect. Now, look at the 4E PHB and 4E DMG. Considerably fewer options. Yes, the DMG has options, but they are all fluff-oriented options. Very few mechanics-oriented options. (PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS AN EXCUSE TO DO 4th EDITION BASHING! I am pointing out an attiude in the rules, which was a reflection of the attitudes of the DMs and players during the writing of the game.)

    Also, try asking about how to make a class. I remember back in 3.5E, people would ask what spells they should choose for their wizard. Posters would respond "What books are allowed?" Now, ask how to make a wizard in 4E. Someone will probably respond "Take Illusory Ambush from Dragon Magazine 364." Nevermind the fact that it is from Dragon Magazine, which many people (myself included) do not like to use due to the requirement of needing to pay for it, needing to access a computer to get it (or print it out or whatever), and the differences of the Dragon and Dungeon magazines versus physically published material.

    Negotiation of Sources and Player Entitlement

    Another issue that my 2E DM has commented on was negotiation of allowed sources. Now, in my group (especially in 3.5), EVERY single game had a white or black list, followed by a session of character creation where the players would ask "Can I use X feat/class/spell/whatever from book Y?" Every session. Its just how our group ran. I've seen many other groups do this as well.

    However, my DM has commented that this was simply not done back in the day. He had a decade hiatus from D&D, then came back under 3.0 or 3.5E (I don't remember which). He decided to run a game in his campaign world that he had DMed in for over a decade. Immediately, a few players in the game DEMANDED access to every single source book on the internet. He was completely surprised, as in all of the years he had DMed before his hiatus, this had NEVER happened. Once he said "Ok, here are the rules, here are the options you have," players asked for clarification or said "Ok." And that was it. He was used to the old style of DMing where the DM created a world for the players, and the players participated in the game, but had no contribution to the allowed options and rules.

    He claims that this is a change in our culture in general, that our culture, and particularly the generation of current teenagers/20-somethings has a greater sense of entitlement.

    I do not know if this is true or not, but I do feel that newer editions of D&D appear to give a deeper sense of entitlement. For example, 2E and earlier had no Wealth-by-level tables, no CRs, no guarantees of fairness. It was an incredibly unfair system, with balance coming in the form of strong advantages and disadvantages (wizards being extremely weak in the beginning, but extremely strong at the end, gaining levels at a slow pace, and always having low HP and low AC compared to others). 3.X has general Wealth-by-level (players get X gold at level Y, and should have that much at each level). 4E has a breakdown of the EXACT amount of gp and the EXACT item levels at every level, which is to remain the same under all circumstances.

    I'm starting to stray off topic, but this also applies to the rules. In 2E, every game was different. You could not assume that you had a certain rule, and the rules were rather vague and general. 3.X and higher have very precise rules, where you no longer use "common sense" to determine how the rule works, but the semantics of the rules themselves. There are all kinds of things that don't make sense by applying RAW. I will leave finding examples of rules that contradict common sense as an exercise for the reader.

    Conclusion
    The attitudes and common practices of the D&D community have shifted over time. In general, DM's have steadily lost power and players have gained power. The early days of D&D generally saw the use of white lists of sources and rules, while black lists have become increasingly more common. This has been a gradual change in the community.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing. More power in the hands of the players means games have a more consistent quality. You can join nearly any game of 4th edition and generally know what to expect. You could join a random game of 2E and it could either be awesome or terrible. Yes, variances always exist, but the attitude of putting more power and more control over the game in the hands of the DM results in a higher variance of quality. White lists and Black lists are a representative example of the attitudes that the D&D community has towards a game.

    I am not advocating anything whatsoever. This essay is merely my observations of gamer attitudes. Just because people who used to play 2E had a white list, DM is god attitude and current 4E games tend to have a black list same rules for everyone attitude does not make one better than another. It is all in what one is looking for in a game. I must say, more recent games are more marketable than earlier editions, and it is good to have a broader player base so it is easier to find players for a game. Nonetheless, objectively evaluating which system is better is not useful, as they have different design goals and cater to different demographics and different playstyles/attitudes.

    So, now you can all correct me and show that I am wrong. ;-)
    Last edited by TMZ_Cinoros; 2009-02-19 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Grammar corrections, minor additions

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Regarding white lists becoming the norm, I'd say this happened right when 3rd ed was released. Before that, the GM had the books. They were not for the eyes of players. WotC brought out the idea that everyone owns copies of the books. That, literally, put the books in the hands of the players and it was only a matter of time before we shifted toward a whitelist of acceptable sources.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    The whole white lists vs. black lists question in a facet of the wider debate about DM vs. player empowerment that's current in some circles right now.

    Once upon a time ("Between the time the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas...") the rules of the game were much less prescriptive than they are today. They were written as guidelines for adult hobbyists with a prior understanding of the wargaming subculture, rather than as definitive materials for use in tournament or play-by-post conditions (where clearly defined rules act as a lingua franca for the game). Houseruling was not only expected, it was almost required by the incomplete-by-design nature of the rules.

    If you look at a couple of the grogblogs (particularly this post by Jeff Rients, and this Grognardia post) you'll see that people used to expect to have to re-learn half the game if they guested in another DM's campaign. Your group was entirely supposed to negotiate amongst themselves not only what books were used, but what the rules of the game (beyond the most basic) actually were! As a result there was possibly even more variation between kitbashed versions of the same edition of old school (pre-2E) D&D than there is between editions (say, 3E and 4E) today.

    When did it all go 'wrong'? When did D&D turn from being about your abiding by the DM's rulings into being about following and arguing about the RAW? When did the tyrant DM and his black list fall at the hands of the prima donna player and their 'I want, or...' whitelists? Wiser heads than mine think it may have started as early as the release of 1E AD&D. Others blame 2E's narrowed focus on modelling D&D rather than swords-and-sorcery. Still others pin the blame on 3E's legalese writing style. As ever, you'll sooner get antique clocks to agree than nerds.

    @Darthstabber VV: I hear that Mike Mearls (yes, that Mike Mearls) has been playing 0E in his lunch break and saying "Dammit! This is what I meant all along!" IANMTU
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2009-02-19 at 04:21 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    The move toward consistency in experience has shown it self profoundly in 4e. (the following is not a rant or a bash on any edition, just the facts as i have seen them)

    In 2nd ed every class had it's own xp chart, so a lvl x wizard might be equal to a lvl y fighter and those could be as much as 5 lvls different. 3.X comes along and all classes get experience in the same way, at the same rate. In 4e not only does everyone get experience same way same rate, but they also get the same stuff at each lvl. In 2e you got your gear by DM fiat, in 3.x they introduced WBL to give GMs a ballpark what characters should have, In 4E they get pretty specific saying you should have 1 nlvl thing 2n-1 lvl things and so forth (@ this rate in 5e they will tell you the exact items). In 2e they had the basic combat system (that covered thieves, and fighters) you then had the magic system(which brought the other PHB classes on board), and (for you dark sun fans) then you could tack the psionics system onto that (and bring psionicists to the fray {you know I think i like the term Psionicist better than psion, I may just start calling them by that name next time I dm[/aside]}), In 3.x you had several systems in which to make your mark (off the top of my head, Regular combat, Magic(arcane/divine), Psionics, Incarnum, Tome of battle, and 3*tome of magic, plus stuff i've undoubtedly forgotten). In 4e, you have the same class mechanics for every one, only the effects of you powers different, the method of using them differs not. In 2e you had to guess how strong monsters were, in 3.x you were given an approximation, in 4E they have rules for every type of encounter you could need. Slowly the art of GMing is fading to the relatively simple science of GMing. This means more people can be passable GMs, but the respect accorded that formerly Vaunted chair is now one that could be filled by a chimp (not that there would be a story, but from a hack and slash perspective). Now the only thing that separates a good GM from an Average GM is what happens between the violence.
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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Actually D&D is coming full circle, It started out as a minis game (chainmail) and differentiated it self from there, and now it is coming back around to be more like a minis game (D&D minis, the semi spiritual successor to chainmail). Wow, the things you figure out while smoking!
    Last edited by Darth Stabber; 2009-02-19 at 04:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Did you just put a gear shift on a lightsaber?
    Redneck laser swords only work in manual.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I think quiite a bit of this shift is The Internet jabbing its head into gaming groups.

    Whereas the books players could afford used to be the only ones they owned, the internet has made splatbook piracy require about as much effort as dialing a number into a telephone. And as it becomes easier, it becomes more common. Every player at the table tends to have stolen copies of whichever splatbooks strike their fancies.

    Internet conversation on forums like these just pushes things further. Players talk to each other, give each other advice without knowing what's available. It becomes more common to discuss and think about the game in terms of options from a wide array of sources. Leaving the internet and joining a real group, players don't just go back to knowing what's at the table. They'll know that the Laser Eye Adept is exactly the class to fill the mechanical and fluff needs of their character and they'll know how pitiful their Spectacled Magician will be by comparison.

    Also, looking at it from an internet messageboard is going to skew this even more. Here, we don't know what other people have access to. We might assume that they can get information for anything we tell them as easily as they can stay around to read the responses to their posts, so it can be easier to say "Check out the Eyeglasses of the Optrician from CE, the Umbrella of the Magi from RotE and the Lensmith PrC from EBC" than it is to ask for sources, wait a while for a response and provide fairly identical suggestions.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I tell my players: "We're not playing D&D here, but 'Neithan's RPG'." which mostly consits of the same rules as in the PHB.
    But I heavily customize it, with scraping some skills, using only 7 of the base classes and 2 custom base classes, kicking out some spells and adding new ones, and creating new player races. My players are all completely fine with that, but I think only one of them ever actually read any D&D books.
    I also created an all new monster manual, which is great because nobody has a clue what to expect except for the facts their knowledge-skill provides.

    And I think the rulebooks and in fact all the books should be seen as that: A skeleton rulesset from which gms can create the rules for their own game.
    Which of course doesn't work well when there are more books written for players than for gms.
    That's even how it was actually presented and marketed back then.
    Last edited by Neithan; 2009-02-19 at 04:27 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I think it's (in part) due to a critical mass of DMs seeing their role in the game differently than the Grognards. It's no longer (exclusively) "The DM's game." A good bit of that had to do with a combination of a couple factors - whole groups of friends becoming interested in D&D at once, people who haven't read any of the novels becoming interested in the game, the large number of books published for 3.5, and the increased prevalence of premade adventures available for use in play.

    Example ... if a bunch of people get together, one of them becomes the DM, and they run Shackled City, the DM really had no say in the creation of the world. It's still obviously going to be a unique game, due to his description, interactions, and so on. But all of the monsters are pre-genned, and the DM doesn't have so much emotional investment in it being "his" game. He'd be more open to things like allowing a Warforged into Faerun, since he doesn't have as clear of a sense of the versimilitude to be broken (or not). His default would be to allow players to have what they want, and the players would respond. In that sort of a setup, it's easy to see why the DM would more frequently be reactively adjusting his game based on what the players do - reeling in Nightstick abuse, for example, when he discovers how game-breaking it can be - rather than actively determining what elements he wants to include.

    When a DM sets an "allowed" list, it's generally because he wants only things that achieve a certain amount of coherence in a setting to appear. He'll allow PHB and Eberron, for example, if he's playing in Eberron, and wants only Eberron-specific elements in the game. But if a DM sets a "banned" list, it's usually because he's either encountered a specific game-breaking element within a book, or doesn't own the book in question. With the explosion of books available, chances are the DM's collection and the player's collection won't match up exactly. Particularly, some whole systems of play (psionics, Tome of Battle, Incarnum) are hard to wrap your brain around unless you own the books.

    All that taken together, means that D&D 3.x is much more likely to have a "banned" list than an "allowed" list. It's not that it can't or shouldn't have either, it's just that some underlying factors predispose the majority of players to wards a "banned" list.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I think this is very interesting subject. However, I'm not entirely sure I agree with your final analysis that more recent iterations of D&D give more control to the players.

    I think you are correct in that they have made the information more accessible to the players, and the players are expected to know much more about the system. But, if my memory serves me correctly, 2nd Ed. D&D had a lot of optional and alternative rules, that wouldn't all mesh together into a cohesive system. So there had to be some limitations on the rules. Also 2nd Ed. D&D seems to have had a ton more stuff, and expecting a DM to keep on top of all the expanded rules might be asking too much. Finally many of the rules seem to have cropped out world books of some sort.

    For example, the Mighty Fortress, D&D historical book (the only D&D book I own), gave rules for firearms. On a damage roll of 8, 10, or 12, the die is rerolled and the new roll added to the old roll. The effectiveness of armor (as it relates to AC) was also reduced, depending upon the range. In another weapon expansion book, any roll greater than a 7 was rerolled, and there was no effect on AC.

    Obviously the DM could not simply allow the players to pick which ever rule they wanted, whenever they wanted. Otherwise the "game" would lack consistency. So in the newer editions, while the rules maybe more consistent, nevertheless, I believe that in general an individual game in the old system would still be consistent.

    What's happened is that the D&D environment/game world has become much more specified. As you said, the options available to the DM are now mostly fluff. Now, we get into a matter of opinion. Do you like the idea of the *DM* being so constrained? Or would you prefer that he have more options available to him to create a unique game world?

    I have noticed differences between older and younger players in many games, not just role-playing games. Old school wargames are practically dead. In miniatures games Flames of War might be heralding a comeback for historicals, but the old hex-map games are pretty much gone. Only one store in my town sells them, and most of them are ancient stock. For wargames this seems to have been the advent of computers. Early computer war games were very similar to the "manual" games, but the next generation of game programmers, who never played manual games, focused on graphics and action, and the genre changed dramatically. (There are exceptions)

    Something similar may have happened with rpg's. Many people have said that 4e seems more like a computer game to them.

    This is interesting, because it denotes a shift in attitudes. Either on the part of the designers or gamers. A human DM, with a proper system can be flexible, he can be creative and adaptive. A computer (despite the best attempts of the AI community), can't come close to matching that level of creativity. Most programs don't even bother. So in a computer game everything has to be very well defined, and inflexible. Gamers will very quickly figure out what they can, and cannot do, and everything will be very limited. While this takes away control from the DM, it can also be viewed as hamstringing the players. Creativity isn't rewarded, because it *cannot* be rewarded -- it's outside the scope of the rules.

    So from your perspective, a decrease in control by DM is an increase in control by the players. What has actually happened (from my perspective) is that there is less control by humans in the game, and both DM and players are more constrained by the rules of the system.

    I agree that the players appear to have more control than the DM, relative to earlier editions. But, I believe that this is at the cost of less control overall. It is the result of a well (or over-)specified system (including game world), which allows the players to discover everything about the system very quickly, leaving little which is unknown that might surprise them.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Temp. View Post
    it can be easier to say "Check out the Eyeglasses of the Optrician from CE, the Umbrella of the Magi from RotE and the Lensmith PrC from EBC"
    I am severely tempted to stat up these items.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Regarding white lists becoming the norm, I'd say this happened right when 3rd ed was released. Before that, the GM had the books. They were not for the eyes of players. WotC brought out the idea that everyone owns copies of the books. That, literally, put the books in the hands of the players and it was only a matter of time before we shifted toward a whitelist of acceptable sources.
    Interesting idea. Based on my experience, I think you are right, but I cannot think of how WotC put forth the idea that everyone owned the books. I recall reading the 2E DMG and seeing things like "If you are only a player, put this book down. It is not for you." Never did I see that in 3.5E or 4E. In fact, there was lots of stuff a player needed from the DMG in 3.5. But there must have been something that was done to change the attitude. Marketing, perhaps? Maybe people just stopped saying "The DMG is not for players," and started buying the books?

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley
    When did it all go 'wrong'? When did D&D turn from being about your abiding by the DM's rulings into being about following and arguing about the RAW? When did the tyrant DM and his black list fall at the hands of the prima donna player and their 'I want, or...' whitelists? Wiser heads than mine think it may have started as early as the release of 1E AD&D. Others blame 2E's narrowed focus on modelling D&D rather than swords-and-sorcery. Still others pin the blame on 3E's legalese writing style. As ever, you'll sooner get antique clocks to agree than nerds.
    Heh. Reminds me of Magic: The Gathering. Ever since the beginning, every single change has been harkened by "This will KILL MAGIC!" Its become a running joke online to say "X will KILL MAGIC!", no matter how small. Yet most of the changes were for the better, despite initial pessimism (like the card faces).



    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Stabber
    Slowly the art of GMing is fading to the relatively simple science of GMing. This means more people can be passable GMs, but the respect accorded that formerly Vaunted chair is now one that could be filled by a chimp (not that there would be a story, but from a hack and slash perspective). Now the only thing that separates a good GM from an Average GM is what happens between the violence.
    That is the EXACT metaphor that I have used. DMing used to be an art. Now, it is being turned into a science. Ultimately, DMing being a science is better for WotC, as it means more people can play, which is better for their bottom line.

    Now, there are even rules for playing without a DM. ::shudders:: Just check out p. 195 of the 4E DMG. They aren't thorough rules, just a couple paragraphs on how to go about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neithan
    I tell my players: "We're not playing D&D here, but 'Neithan's RPG'." which mostly consits of the same rules as in the PHB.
    But I heavily customize it, with scraping some skills, using only 7 of the base classes and 2 custom base classes, kicking out some spells and adding new ones, and creating new player races. My players are all completely fine with that, but I think only one of them ever actually read any D&D books.
    Ok, that is completely awesome. I need to propagate that idea to my friends, about calling it [DM's name]'s RPG.

    The problem with doing that is recruiting people. Yes, when you have a group of friends who game, recruiting people is no problem. But if you need to go to your college's gaming club, or a hobby shop, how do you succinctly pitch your game? If you say "X Edition of D&D," more people will know what you are talking about, rather than having to give the same spiel over and over again. And people ultimately feel more comfortable with things they are familiar with, so saying you are playing D&D is more likely to attract players, even though it is only a heavily modified base.

    I mention this because my 2E DM also heavily, heavily modifies his game (almost all custom items, lots of custom monsters, 2/3rds of the original monsters in the Monster Manual thrown out, custom rules, ect.), and he has had more success recruiting players by saying "Heavily modified 2E." Its also why he hasn't moved on to another system, because more people know what D&D is than other, more obscure systems.
    Last edited by TMZ_Cinoros; 2009-02-19 at 05:13 PM. Reason: Moved edit to new post

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by TMZ_Cinoros View Post
    Interesting idea. Based on my experience, I think you are right, but I cannot think of how WotC put forth the idea that everyone owned the books. I recall reading the 2E DMG and seeing things like "If you are only a player, put this book down. It is not for you." Never did I see that in 3.5E or 4E. In fact, there was lots of stuff a player needed from the DMG in 3.5. But there must have been something that was done to change the attitude. Marketing, perhaps? Maybe people just stopped saying "The DMG is not for players," and started buying the books?
    The 3.0 DMG was absolutely for players. When 3rd ed first came out, the DMG was the only source for prestige classes and magic items. Once players bought a DMG, other books were okay to buy as well.
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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    The 3.0 DMG was absolutely for players. When 3rd ed first came out, the DMG was the only source for prestige classes and magic items. Once players bought a DMG, other books were okay to buy as well.
    I think this is a change in the business models. More books sold = more profits. So everybody must have every book. It's about the bottom line.

    Going back to wargames - If you played historicals, you would know that there used to be dozens of rule books to choose from (some clubs used their own), and then, depending upon the particular era, there would be dozens of miniatures manufactures to choose from. Warhammer, War Machine, etc, don't do this. You buy everything from one company. And even Flames of War has adopted this model (although in that case there are alternatives).

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    So from your perspective, a decrease in control by DM is an increase in control by the players. What has actually happened (from my perspective) is that there is less control by humans in the game, and both DM and players are more constrained by the rules of the system.

    I agree that the players appear to have more control than the DM, relative to earlier editions. But, I believe that this is at the cost of less control overall. It is the result of a well (or over-)specified system (including game world), which allows the players to discover everything about the system very quickly, leaving little which is unknown that might surprise them.
    A very astute observation. In the back of my mind, I was kind of thinking that there are more constraints (in the form of conventions, rules, and social pressure) of the DM, and less control of the game in general. But, it feels like to me that the players gain about as much power as the DM loses by these constraints. The less control a DM has over the world, the more opportunity players have to do abusive things. A DM strictly enforcing RAW would have to allow a player to make Pun-Pun. Clearly, this is bad for everyone involved, including the player playing Pun-Pun, so this is an extreme example.

    This just invokes the image of Gulliver tied down with ropes, overrun by the Lilliputians. In the same way, the DM is bound, while the players have full reign to exploit an unchanging RAW system.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    I think it's (in part) due to a critical mass of DMs seeing their role in the game differently than the Grognards. It's no longer (exclusively) "The DM's game."
    It never was "The DM's game" really. It was always the group's game.

    It was merely a different paradigm. A different mode of thought.

    The power was handed to the DM for a specific reason, I think, and it was never about a player vs. DM mentality, or about "no garuntees of fairness." Quite the contrary, a DM was expected to be fair and objective in his rulings. It was never a confrontational relationship, or at least never intended to be one.

    The power was given to the DM because he was the one who was to "build the house" so to speak. In the early days, the rules weren't whole or comprehensive and needed work to become playable for each group. Rather than distribute that power between all players, putting it in the hands of one person, one mind, meant that things were more coherent and focused from a point of view rather than scattered and created by committee (anybody who's actually worked a committee knows for a fact that such work is . . . we'll just call it "frustrating").

    It was simply expected of the DM to create a "whitelist" because he really had to take the guidlines and build a cohesive system out of them that worked for his group. Of course he was supposed to take into consideration the wants and desires of his group, that was the point. Of course he was expected to sit back and, realizing something didn't work right, to change it. That was his job, and it was the job of the players to use the scope granted by the whitelist to seek out their fun.

    The change, I think, largely reflects three things.

    First, that more people actually have the books in their hands. "In the old days," often the DM was the only person at the table with the books in hand, and so pretty much he was the law because he was the only one who knew the law such as it was. Now, everybody at the table has them and will chime in. It was a calculated business decision by TSR and then WOTC. If only one person per group is buying the books, that's not at all profitable. It was a decision that Gary himself made, I think, though he never expected it to go this far (and we'll honestly never know what he felt at times).

    Second, as time went on, there were more rules, and more importantly, they were rules rather than guidlines. Every new addition to the collection introduced more complications and "options" to players (for they were almost always aimed at players after a certain point) that it eventually became neccessary for the DM to start blacklisting things that simply didn't fit or ended up frontloading the fun.

    Third, the mentality of the players changed. Your old DM was right about one thing at least: gamers today feel more often that they are "entitled" to any "official" published material not specifically banned. If it's in a book, the player has a right to have access to it and use it in game, or if not, the DM had better give a reason why not. It's not so much that power had shifted (though that happened to) but that the thought process changed.

    In the end, whether you put together a blacklist, a whitelist, or a greylist is merely about your style of play and about who's building the house where everybody's playing that night. Personally, I've always been a fan of whitelists, not because I'm some power hungry advocate of DM dominance, but because predefined scope of the campaign always helps me (both as a player and as a DM) to focus and get into the game rather than the rules. A whitelist is also about being permissive rather than restrictive. It's an act of handing players tools rather than forbidding them, but I supposed in the modern atmosphere, such is the neccessary standard practice.

    This is actually a good topic, think I'll go throw this around on the blog and with the group later.
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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by TMZ_Cinoros View Post
    This just invokes the image of Gulliver tied down with ropes, overrun by the Lilliputians. In the same way, the DM is bound, while the players have full reign to exploit an unchanging RAW system.
    Yes, there really isn't anything new or unexpected that can occur, and in that way it can become boring to some players. So while the players gain power over the DM, they too are constrained by this system. If they come up with something creative and clever, it can't be done, because the system doesn't allow it, and therefore the DM "can't" allow it (of course he/she could, but that would be a violation of the rules, or require rules to be invented on the spot - which might generate all sorts of complaints from other players).

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Part of this may be influences from other games.

    Some are a lot more open than others. I come from a Shadowrun background, and that has influenced how I play D&D.

    My game isn't so black and white, and I allow the players to solve problems in unusual ways.

    Unfortunately, D&D's rules aren't so good at this style of play. It's a system that encourages one to make the most optimized character possible, but understandably, most DMs are harsh about that. Some classes are a lot stronger than others, balance is hard.

    Not that Shadowrun was really balanced either. Some options were a lot stronger than others. But because of the style of the game, it isn't so much a problem. Sure the Bear Shaman can make peoples heads explode, but he can't hack nearly as well as the team Decker. And neither can sneak effectively enough too get past that patrol of guards. The various specializations are not balanced. But it's possible to get everyone to contribute. What's more, if it turns out that they made some bad choices, the character isn't doomed to being useless. Every PC can learn to sneak around, or fire a machinegun, and so on.

    Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu to my understanding has a similar approach. That is, the group is supposed to solve problems together, random character generation, and a very lethal approach tends to result in flat characters without a lot of depth. Still, the idea isn't so much to kill everyone, but to solve problems. Less emphasis on combat, and more on thinking.

    These styles of games tend to encourage PCs to know what the rules are, so they understand what exactly their options for solving problems actually are.


    This is not to say that you can't have really closed approaches to these games, but it doesn't seem to be the intent. The goal here is that the Game Master is there to facilitate the story. Not to defeat the players. Not even in CoC. Of which my understanding is that while the PCs are doomed, they can still make a difference. And, in both games, successfully escaping can be considered victory.

    And, strategies like burning down buildings and lying are encouraged.

    Some of that sort of philosophy has probably gotten back to D&D. Encouraging players to have more options, and involve them to a greater extent in the game. Hence, letting them choose from this vast collection of books.
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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Mostly, I just think that the evolution of D&D has provided a better balance at the published level. This allowed the option for DMs to be lazier. Some have jumped on it, others have not.

    Whitelist vs Blacklist is really just a matter of trust. Do you trust that the published material will be more or less balanced? If so, just allow everything. If not, then only allow specific things.

    But I don't really think that it effects customization as much as being said here. When I DM, I am very open to letting anything get played, but my games are also almost always very heavily modded.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    After two years of DMing and a few months of playing, I've also come up with my own whitelist for material I'd allow in my games (this whitelist will be used in my summer run of Red Hand of Doom). While it's mostly a whitelist, it carries clarifications like "no FR material" (the game will be set in Eberron) and "absolutely no Iron Kingdoms stuff" (due to Iron Kingdoms having its own sense of internal balance that doesn't mesh well with high-magic settings; see armored greatcloak). There's also the very firm "no retraining or rebuilding under any circumstances," and this was due to both the nature of the campaign (there's just no time in RHoD to stop and retrain) and headache management (see below).

    My players are all teenagers (15-17) since they're students from the school I teach in. With the exception of one person who likes combing these forums for builds he could retrain into and items he could sneak into the campaign, the rest are okay with the restrictions and are open to reason. Nobody has given me smack about entitlement to material.


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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I certainly agree with this shift the OP describes being present in the evolution of D&D.

    I happen to be a bit familiar with GURPS, which is more of a toolset for a roleplaying game rather than a game in itself; which I think also correlates with what we're talking about here. Earlier editions of D&D didn't have absolutely distinct rules for everything a player could do, what they should expect, etc. The DM built up a game, and the players got to play it through. There was nothing for a player to read in order to determine what was "fair" or "right"; very little entitlement inherent in the system.

    GURPS is a system that a GM looks at, and then determines what he will use, and what he will not. The players have guidelines for specific tech-levels and how it relates to starting wealth; but, the GM can essentially override anything and no be contradicting any contract made. The only "contract" is found in what things the players spend points on in character construction; effectively saying "This is what I want to do" when choosing skills, techniques, etc, and saying "This is fair game to exploit" when choosing disadvantages.

    I personally feel that a DM/GM should make his players feel entitled to an entertaining game, but as a DM, I cannot say that increasing sense of entitlement is a good thing. When the players feel they should expect a highly specific kind of treatment, it only becomes more difficult for the DM to effectively provide suspense, mystery and intrigue; all highly important in the games I run. I feel it makes my job more difficult when I have to adhere to codes they would not have previously asked about, while still maintaining a game that I would hope to be a fun and memorable experience. Personally, I find it becomes less about enjoying the game itself, and more about bribery.

    I run all of my games in D&D 3.5, and while I do accept WBL, CR and all that jazz - as I don't want my players to feel as if I'm just some bastard who thinks they're too childish for wanting what essentially is just "fairness" - I do my best to shroud the means by which I obtain balanced results, so that players can concentrate more on the scene at hand, only considering out-of-character concepts when absolutely necessary. This, in my opinion, brings about a greater deal of immersion and leads to an overall better experience in roleplaying.
    Last edited by Deepblue706; 2009-02-19 at 05:59 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Temp. View Post
    Whereas the books players could afford used to be the only ones they owned, the internet has made splatbook piracy require about as much effort as dialing a number into a telephone. And as it becomes easier, it becomes more common. Every player at the table tends to have stolen copies of whichever splatbooks strike their fancies.
    Copies of info from RPG Rulebooks were readily available on BBS's more than 20 years ago. It just gets a lot more publicity now.
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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Wow, I must say that I am very impressed by the quality of every single comment here. Everyone has been very articulate and insightful. I'd comment on more people's posts, but it would get repetitive, so I wanted to complement everyone to save myself time.

    Also, thank you everyone for not devolving into Yet Another Edition War Thread. I was really scared of that happening, as it seems as though every thread that even HINTS at the metathemes of an edition devolves into the same cookie-cutter thread. I guess the Huge Wall of Text scared away people who don't have something new to say.

    Anyways, I thought that I should quote the foreword from the 2E Revised DMG. Certainly a much different tone back then than today, what with the need to consult customer service on millions of things, and the FAQ/Oracle questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2E Revised DMG Foreword
    A foreword is normally the place where the author of a book expresses thanks and gratitude. I'm not going to do that here. It's not that everyone involved doesn't deserve congratulations and praise, it's just that I already said all those things in the foreword to the AD&D Player's Handbook. Everything I said there is true for this book, too. On to other things.

    Let's assume that since you're reading this, your are, or plan to be, a Dungeon Master. By now, you should be familiar with the rules in the Player's Handbook. You've probably already noticed things you like or things you would have done differently. If you have, congratulations. You've got the spirit every Dungeon Master needs. As you go through this rule book, I encourage you to continue to make these choices.

    Choice is what the AD&D game is all about. We've tried to offer you what we think are the best choices for your AD&D campaign, but each of us has different likes and dislikes. The game that I enjoy may be quite different from your own campaign. But it is not for me to say what is right or wrong for your game. True, I and everyone working on the AD&D game have had to make fundamental decisions, but we've tried to avoid being dogmatic and inflexible. The AD&D game is yours, it's mine, it's every player's game.

    So is there an "official" AD&D game? Yes, but only when there needs to be. Although I don't have a crystal ball, it's likely that tournaments and other official events will use all of the core rules in these books. Optional rules may or may not be used, but it's fair to say that all players need to know about them even if they don't have the memorized.

    The Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide give you what you're expected to know, but that doesn't mean the game begins and ends there. Your game will go in directions not yet explored and your players will try things others think strange. Sometimes these strange things will work; sometimes they won't. Just accept this, be ready for it, and enjoy it.

    Take the time to have fun with the AD&D rules. Add, create, expand, and extrapolate. Don't just let the game sit there, and don't become a rules lawyer worrying about each piddly little detail. If you can't figure out the answer, MAKE IT UP! And whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of believing these rules are complete. They are not. You cannot sit back and let the rule book do everything for you. Take the time and effort to become not just a good DM, but a brilliant one.

    At conventions, in letters, and over the phone I'm often asked for the instant answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back with a question—what do you feel is right? And the people asking the questions discover that not only can they create an answer, but that their answer is as good as anyone else's. The rules are only guidelines.

    At the beginning of the first Dungeon Master Guide, Gary Gygax stressed that each of us, working from a common base, would make the AD&D game grow in a variety of different directions. That is more true today than ever. Don't be afraid of experimentation, but do be careful. As a Dungeon Master, you have great power, and "with great power comes great responsibility." Use it wisely.

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    Last edited by TMZ_Cinoros; 2009-02-19 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Formatting issues in Quote; Spelling

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepblue706 View Post
    I happen to be a bit familiar with GURPS, which is more of a toolset for a roleplaying game rather than a game in itself . . .
    I run GURPS, and agree with what you had to say. D&D players always seem a bit overwhelmed when designing their first GURPS character, with all the options, and then some are shocked to hear that they are not all available to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepblue706 View Post
    I personally feel that a DM/GM should make his players feel entitled to an entertaining game, but as a DM, I cannot say that increasing sense of entitlement is a good thing. When the players feel they should expect a highly specific kind of treatment, it only becomes more difficult for the DM to effectively provide suspense, mystery and intrigue; all highly important in the games I run. I feel it makes my job more difficult when I have to adhere to codes they would not have previously asked about, while still maintaining a game that I would hope to be a fun and memorable experience. Personally, I find it becomes less about enjoying the game itself, and more about bribery.

    As a D&D player I have noticed a shift since second edition, but time makes it hard for me to pin point it exactly. I seem to remember enjoying the game more and caring about the rules less. Even a good 4e game can be fun, but a lot more time is spent on the rules, from my perspective.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    What about the No-list mentality?

    That's how I roll. Then again, I've been playing 4e. which doesn't have many books so far.

    Either way I've just been letting my players use anything from any source.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Well, some message boards are already clamoring that certain 4E things are t3h ub3r and need to be banned immediately. YMMV.
    Oh I'm well aware that Oversized is overpowered. And that the new Shadar-kai stuff is cheesetastic.

    But I'm letting them have it anyway. I have two bugbears and a Minotaur in my party, and they all use Oversized weapons. It's great fun.

    The only thing I banned was Drow. There will be no Drow in the Goblin village.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain
    TLDR.

    But, white lists tend to be illegibly long. Look through the character creation documents for 3E Living Greyhawk for some examples (yes, they enumerate every feat that is legal, and no, that makes it impossible to find anything).

    Ideally you should be banning only a handful of things, and be clear about those.
    :: sigh :: I'm sorry, but why are you posting in this thread if you, by your own admission, didn't read anything contained in it?

    This thread is not a "Hello, I like using white lists/black lists. How about you?" thread. I can understand how you can come to that conclusion from the thread title alone, but everyone else in this thread (myself included) is discussing something completely different.

    Either way I've just been letting my players use anything from any source.
    You are implicitly using a blacklist with nothing on it. Are you responding to just Kurald's comment, or to the thread in general?

    Well, some message boards are already clamoring that certain 4E things are t3h ub3r and need to be banned immediately. YMMV.
    Please, do not bring in 4th edition criticism (whether it is yours or others). This thread is about the MENTALITY of D&D gaming, not balance.
    Last edited by TMZ_Cinoros; 2009-02-19 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Typos

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Another thing to consider about source material is that the DM has to build the world. For him to build an internally consistent world, he has to know what people can do; and if all source material is allowed, then he has to know what every single type of character can do.


    GM: "The troll has proven undefeatable! Now you begin to see the dimensions of the problem that besets the poor people of..."

    Player: "Wait. Why don't they just cast Defeat Troll?"

    GM: "What?"

    Player: "It's a 1st level spell, available to Trollomancers . It's right here, in the A Thousand and One Absurd Classes source book. It's a divine spell, so every priest of every religion all over the multi-verse automatically knows it. Doesn't this town have a first level priest?"

    GM: "But I spent weeks making this campaign..."

    Player: "Here, I'll take level of Cleric. Now I can cast it. I needed the one level dip anyway, to get into the prestige class Fondue Hut Builder when I'm level 17 and a half. So I cast the spell, defeating all trolls within Caster Level * 1,000 planetary diameters. Now what happens?"

    GM: "Sorry. That spell doesn't exist in my world."

    Players: "OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH! BLACKLIST!!!"


    Theoretically, the published source material (Eberron, etc.) already accounts for this. But wait - it can't. Half the expansion weren't out when the campaign module came out. It's not even a question of balance, just of basic world flavor.

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I really don't see how white and black lists come into this at all. They have no effect on the way the game is played. At some point, as the game started to be more about a balanced game and less about a tome of rules to mush together, it became a shorter list to say what wasn't allowed as opposed to what was.

    The DM having less control I think has nothing at all to do with the rules, though the rules have been affected by it. It happened because the game got more popular, more people started to buy and read the books, and it became common for players to know the rules of the game they were playing just as well as the DM. No crystal dragon jesus black-and-white list symbolism, the game and the culture has evolved all on it's own, and the rules and the way those rules are used have changed. DnD has changed because the people playing it have, simple as that.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Thumbs up Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    I've read through the OP and it's an interesting in a essay sort of way, that is I don't really have anything to add. :P Other than to say that it was interesting and it's something that I'll keep in mind.
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    Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
    ~Kahlil Gibran

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    Default Re: [D&D]White Lists vs Black Lists and DM Control

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    I really don't see how white and black lists come into this at all. They have no effect on the way the game is played. At some point, as the game started to be more about a balanced game and less about a tome of rules to mush together, it became a shorter list to say what wasn't allowed as opposed to what was.

    The DM having less control I think has nothing at all to do with the rules, though the rules have been affected by it. It happened because the game got more popular, more people started to buy and read the books, and it became common for players to know the rules of the game they were playing just as well as the DM. No crystal dragon jesus black-and-white list symbolism, the game and the culture has evolved all on it's own, and the rules and the way those rules are used have changed. DnD has changed because the people playing it have, simple as that.
    White lists and black lists come into this because it is a symptom of the underlying mentality, not a cause. We can see the attitudes players have towards a game in a large variety of ways. My essay was an explanation of the observations I have made, and what I think are the underlying causes of those observations.

    Yes, the game is more balanced now than in the past, I think that is beyond arguing. But the question I'm trying to answer is why it is shorter to say what is banned than what is allowed. 2E had approximately a bajillion source books, plus one. 3.X has a lot of sources books as well. Yet, my DM who played D&D during the 70's and 80's had never encountered the mentality of "Oh, all of the material is allowed" when he played. The question is, what changed? Were all those source books incredibly unbalanced? I don't think they were any more unbalanced than core, which balanced using imbalances.

    I agree that the attitudes of the audience affect the rules. But the rules also affect the attitudes of the audience. It is a two way street. They each provide feedback for each other. I don't know this, but I'm sure lots of people who played 2E said something like "Planning fights is so hard. How can I figure out what to throw at my players?" Thus, the CR system was created, but was imperfect. Then, in 3.X, players said "Ok, I like this CR system, but Creature X is under CRed! And Class Y is over/underpowered!" So, in 4th edition, balance was dramatically improved.

    I do not completely understand your hostility towards "crystal dragon jesus black-and-white list symbolism." I am trying to deconstruct the metagame and metaattitudes of D&D, and how those have changed over time. Yes, the rules have changed. Yes, the attitudes towards those rules have changed. But why? And how? The tool I am using is analyzing the so-called "crystal dragon jesus black-and-white list symbolism."

    If you think that things are what they are, no need to think about them or analyze them, then this thread might not be for you, as thinking about and analyzing them is exactly what we are doing.

    I do not believe that this subject is as simple as you suggest. I think it is a lot more complicated and interesting than you seem to believe. And it appears as though others also believe that this is not a simple subject, as everyone has a different take on why and how attitudes have changed.
    Last edited by TMZ_Cinoros; 2009-02-19 at 08:17 PM. Reason: Added a little bit more, rephrased some things

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