Quiet Sunday afternoon talk: What is DnD to you?

For those who don’t know, I’m somewhat part of the old guard of RPG Vienna. Last Friday I had the chance to join a V.A.L.U.E. game for the first time, and it was a blast! Plus generally seeing how many people are enjoying the hobby is great.

I do still have to admit, that DnD 5e isn’t really my cup of tea. Still, if I had more time on friday evenings, I would probably be playing Aelar, the wood elf monk some more.

For me 5th edition DnD is a good way to get to act out all the sillyness that you can’t usually in every day life. It’s good at absurdist fantasy. That plus some good old consequence-free (or at least consequence-light) violence.

What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear 'em.

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D&D 5E is a very good gateway/entry to the hobby

  • the rpg-material is out there
  • there is a phone app that helps you build and roll dice for your character
  • you can watch streams of rpg groups
  • Stranger Things came along, followed by finally a good D&D movie
  • the BG3 game brought in yet another wave
  • since there is so much material, there is also much 3rd party content such as adventures

do I think that other systems are “better” (whatever that means is a discussion on its own)
= yes

… but 5E has a lot of advantages (most of them are/were just circumstancial)


When I show up at a FR game to run yet another crazy oneshot, most of the people there know the rules, and I do not need to bring pregens with me


I think this is a bit different than the question in the header. :slight_smile:

D&D is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I think one question that’s kind of interesting in an abstract way in the context of RPG editions is: When does something become an entirely different game? Are AD&D and 5th ed the same game? Where is the line? If you play OSRIC or whatever, are you playing D&D?

Agreed, but I also think that this material, particularly the scenarios, really lets the game down.

What I think is truly interesting about 5th ed is that it’s really the first game where something like Critical Role has had such an enormous influence on how the game is played [insert System Matters comment here]. It hasn’t just brought in a lot of new people, together with Stranger Things and the movie, as Darth said, but it’s left its mark on a whiole lot of players, DMs and tables. That’s something we’ve never really had before.

some of the old adventures are imo overated … maybe the were a novelty back in the day … but not anymore (they were children of their day)

still give kudos to brilliant ideas that became standard today, but would not agree that old scenarios are “better” on average (plus nostalgia is a thing)

Critical Role also showed to stream-viewers, how this group plays their game

… and this set expectations for the viewers what a “rpg-group” looks like
not knowing that there is a full caleidoscopic colour palette out there

Hey, I said it was interesting. No value judgment implied. :slight_smile:

Oh, absolutely. I’d say some of the old stuff is wildly overrated, largely due to nostalgia.

But the good stuff, yeah, that was real good. Meanwhile, we haven’t had a true you-gotta-play-this scenario in decades.

Modules are different now. There was definitely a major shift in the approach to writing scenarios. A lot of people point to Dragonlance as the major inflection point, when scenarios, generally speaking, shifted from mere situations to preordained stories. That makes a difference.

No value judgment implied. :slight_smile:

did not think that judgement had been implied here :slight_smile:

true … it is a shift in style … both styles are fun though :slight_smile:
(as long as it is not too rail-roady :railway_car:)

will ponder about this and write tomorrow :smiley:

Okay after a short break back the header question :wink: For me D&D is a good way to meet (new) people and have some fun together to tell a story which is driven by the decisions of the characters / the group. Therefor the Friday games (meeting more new people) and the campaigns (get more connected to the same people) have a different flavour. Also all the people I now in campaigns with I meet first at VALUE.

Ruleswise D&D 5e is not too complicated (but also nor the easiest system) and fast to learn. As darthbinks mentioned the available of inspiration material makes it even easier to dive into the system. After some time you don’t have to concentrate too much on the rules anymore so you just can enjoy the social interaction.

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Therein lies the rub …

Played something along these lines the other day. Good DM, fun players, snacks. And the story was a pretty good one, as far as these things go, with some nice depth. But it was the DM’s story, and nothing on earth was preventing it from reaching its predetermined set piece climax.

(Kind of like the D&D movie.)


As for the original question, lots of ways to answer this one.

From the books, the most D&D part of D&D for me is Appendix N. It’s all the building blocks. Want to know why trolls are the way the are? Or rangers? Or prismatic sprays?

It’s all there.

Or encapsulated in a picture, it’s the Player’s Handbook cover. It’s not the greatest illustration ever (probably best not to examine the foreground too closely). But it’s the quintessential D&D situation. You just know that statue is going to come to life and really bad things are going to happen, but my word, those gemstones are enormous …

That’s D&D in a nutshell.


But for me, D&D is simply the Wardrobe.

That’s what it always felt like to me: a gateway to an entirely different place where all sorts of things could happen. And when I eventually read Gygax describing the game he and Dave Arneson had discovered, it didn’t read like a rulebook. It reads like Lucy telling the others about what she found.

D&D is the Wardrobe.