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D&D Questions

HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959
edited November 2013 in Off-Topic
Given how much I enjoy Baldur's Gate, I decided to have a look into a long term curiosity of mine... PnP D&D. I got some questions to begin with though:

1) Obviously I know BG is based on 2nd Ed. D&D. But for PnP Players, is there a 'most popular' or default edition that people use, or do you all just update your gaming system as new ones are released?

2) Having read a few of your D&D stories from the 'Memorable PnP characters' thread in this forum, it seems like you can do all sorts of quirky and some VERY specific things in your games. How does that work? Like say you get attacked next to a river by an angry Ogre, and your warrior says 'I will use my shield as a flotation device to escape... how would this situation resolve? I don't imagine there can feasibly be a book somewhere that can list all the specific and creative things players might think of.

3) If a DM is technically the 'enemy', what prevents him from just engineering an encounter that gives the heroes no chance? Imagine if Charname had been pulled into the Planar Prison just after leaving Candlekeep. He'd have just become another drone. Is there a competitive side to D&D, and if so, how is it managed?


  • reedmilfamreedmilfam Member Posts: 2,808
    1) The answer to this really varies. 2nd Edition is the 'old school', while 3.5 is the 'new school', and they play very differently. 2nd is like BG - strict limitations on class based on race chosen and the like. 3rd lets you do hybrids a lot more seamlessly. I happen to prefer 3.5, as I don't like some of the arbitrary limitations of 2nd edition, but you'll see lots of preferences.

    2) D&D does include a lot of rules for strange situations, including but not limited to swimming in armor and the like. Computerized games are limited to what the programmers included, and always will be (although the limitations reduce as systems become more advanced). The Dungeon Master's Guide helps a lot in this regard and, for stuff in between, you have to (as DM) figure what's fair in determining the player's chance of success.

    3) Aside from making a game miserable, the only thing that prevents this is that a DM without players is not DM of anything. The DM wins when it's a fun experience and there's good role play. Slaughtering the party just because he/she can is hardly fun for anybody. As for competition, they used to have tournaments where teams approach the same challenge and are scored for how they do, but I've never been to one. Since I'm not a good DM, it's not something I've really dug into.

  • ajwzajwz Member Posts: 4,122
    1. I think the most popular, ubiquetous version is 3.5.

    2. It varies depending on who you are playing with. Personally I enjoy pushing the limits of magic and physics within a game, but some DMs frown upon it. The rules are usually along the lines of roll a d20, add or subtract appropriate modifiers as determined by DM, and hope to score high.

    3. Some DMs I have played with somehow feel the need to do this. For the most part though, the role of DM is not to conflict with the players ambitions at all. Quite the opposite. The DM tends to get enjoyment about showing off there adventures and making things people enjoy playing. A bit like the role of a game developer or modder.
    There is a competitive side to D&D which some people are into, but that is normally player vs player, with a DM style referee.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Yes, the DM's job is to give the players a fun, challenging experience. I would recommend skimming through some of @LadyRhian's threads in the "Roleplaying" section of this forum. She is a DM, and she has dome some very interesting online D&D threads in there, where groups of forum people play pnp D&D remotely through the forum.

    Those sessions all took a long time to construct - it's like playing chess by email. Everybody had to wait and keep checking the forum for everybody else to have made their move. But, if you read through the fully constructed threads, you will see exactly what happens in a real time pnp D&D game. Only, in the real life version, you get the added pleasure of meeting in person and spending quality time with friends.

    Also, I almost missed this thread because of somebody having just necromanced about two dozen threads from a year ago! I almost missed this new thread, because it almost got lost in all that necromancy. So, bump. ;)

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    You might enjoy taking a look at "DM of the Rings". The artist uses outakes from the entire Lord of the Rings movies, and substitutes dialogue as though a group of tabletop D&D players were playing through the entire epic scenario. It's very funny, and it shows you exactly what it's like to play real life D&D:

    Also, the same thing done with Star Wars, "Darths and Droids":

  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959
    lol was just reading the LotR one.

    I guess u need a group of people with good imaginations and the right attitude for D&D to work properly. It sounds as if it is not a 'rigorous' game like Chess, with clearly defined rules for what you can and cannot do.

    I have actually glanced at LadyRhian's roleplaying challenge before, I didn't realise that was actual D&D. I'm guessing the whole concept is still a bit alien for me, like I played Warhammer 40K, and my friend and I considered playing online with a simulator. But the main problem is that it's adversarial, so it's kinda hard to trust the other player 100% with dice rolls when a single roll can sometimes be critical to the outcome of a battle. I am guessing that it works for D&D because it's more about the experience, and not the winning.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    @Heindrich1988, yes, that's it, exactly. The DM of the Rings is a parody of a *bad* D&D group, which unfortunately, is all too often what you get. But with a good group, the experience can be quite exciting and "magical". (Pun intended.)

    Since I enjoy roleplaying, I also have more fun with a group of people who will stay in character and act their parts, making it into a fun exercise in improvisational acting. (The group in the comic is *not* one of those groups.)

    The writer of the comic is a DM, and he is thinking about how DM's have to go through an enormous amount of work, writing, and preparation, in order to host a group, and then they often come in and ruin everything by not taking his hard work seriously.

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