D&D Poll: "Life Is Different!" Vs "Seeing Diversity As A Problem!"

In the light of this video, it got me thinking just how much D&D has changed from its archetypal nature in its earliest times, to the more generic nature it can seem today.

So, this is just a quick poll to see which side of the fence gamers who read this sit … Feel free to add any comments for your decision if you believe it helps.

  • “Life Is Unfair” (Races should differ in their basic initial abilities bonuses.)
  • “Wokeism: Everyone’s a winner!” (Races should have similar intial ability scores.)

0 voters

Which earliest times do you mean? Racial ability modifiers are a thing of Advanced D&D. Before that the three little brown booklets only had a class level restricition per race. Personally I liked that best. The later editions just focused too much on ability bonuses here and skills there. At its core D&D is just a dungeon romp with disposable characters trying to survive hauling loot from the deadly depths.

Perhaps they should have named it Depths & Deads to cement that eery feeling down in a dungeon. You just rolled 3D6 in order and tried the best you possibly could do to lead your character to fame and glory, knowing damn well that around the next corner death could catch up with you. As soon as the Grim Reaper’s tool of trade parted your head from the rest of your miserable existence you laughed or shed a manly tear with the others round the table. Seconds later the next character faced monsters and traps for some meager coin.

Not your character sheet separated the wheat from the chaff, but being clever and cunning as a player. Trick those monsters. Parley with the ones able to speak. Use your resources wisely, and know when to run away.

Didn’t vote because it’s missing the option: “Get off my lawn! (Racial ability modifiers are so new school.)”

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Suggestion - Drop the word Wokeism - Such behaviour has been going on for decades and for this poll the modern word is unnecessary.

TR

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@Semper

From the early 1980’s. AD&D 1E.

@Tarot_Redhand

Yes, I am familiar with the “history”. However, the term has a different context in modern history, especially when we consider the “everyone’s a winner” attitude of the later decades. NB: I was not referring to Hot Chocolate’s track, but the later idea that people appear afraid of celebrating our world’s cultural differences, which modern “wokeism” appears to want to minimise or even eradicate, implying it’s a “bad thing”, in the sense that differences are bad because (in their perception) it means people are not equal. Equality is simply “of importance” without it having to mean “of identities”. And by identities, I also include people’s differing abilities (and all differences) in every sense. In this way, we are not equal, but that is a good thing - and not something to be frowned upon or hidden behind a misuse of the word “equal”, when people associate differences between us as a sign of inequality in value. For we are all equal in value, even though we may differ in many ways.

However. for “clarity”, and for those that may not understand its context, I’ll try an amendment. One sec … Now set as “Seeing Diversity As A Problem.” Having changed the latter, I needed to change the former to reflect a clearer dynamic between the differences. So the former was reworded to “Life Is Different!” (P.S. I cannot change the wording inside the poll itself, but it’s probably best to leave it anyway, as it gives a sense of meaning to this conversation.)

That done, I do find it a shame that the game (in the above example) has undergone changes, influenced by “modern attitudes”, which I believe only serve to damage the diversity and gameplay of an RPG like D&D/NWN. Sometimes, things are simply different, and no amount of modernisation or “wanting to be the same” (as if that makes it equal and fair for everyone) makes any sense in the face of those differences, especially in a fantasy RPG. This seems to be that kind of modern ideology creeping into the game that is simply… not required… and a form of change for the sake of change that undermines the thing it is trying to support.

This approach to life (and “equality” or “levelling the field”) reminds me in a sense of The Emperor’s New Clothes, where everyone believing the emperor has great new clothes until a lad points out the emperor has no clothes on! Somebody has to point out when something being done is simply a step too far with respect to providing a “level playing field”. (I.e. This kind of levelling the playing field needs pointing out the “nakedness” for what it is!) I think I even read once of an argument that what we once knew of as an “evil race” in the game (orcs or something) was now being asked to not automatically assume such in a game! And while I am all for a great story line where such may be possible, that’s much like trying to eradicate the idea that there are a type of “evil beings” in a fantasy game, that are by design. :dizzy_face: I could say much more about this. but refrain.

I dread the day I hear a player say they want to play a dwarf who is 6 feet tall, decides they have great charisma, and dare I even think it, say they do not want their PC to speak with a “Scottish” accent. :scream: That’s stretching the realms of imagination just a bit too far. :wink: I would likely ask them if they might consider playing a “human”.

How can something flexible damage the diversity of rpg characters? This rule is there to especially break up the mold of fixed fantasy race concepts and empore the player to get the character they want to play. Shouldn’t the abilities of a character reflect their upbringing? Why should every half orc be potentially stronger than other races? Can’t I play a nimble one? Perhaps I was a slave to someone and learned to be highly pleasing to avoid the whip carving my back? That’s also why Wizards introduced a point buy system with the third(?) edition as an option.

@Semper

I honestly don’t know where to begin to answer you :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:… except, maybe start by referring you to what I wrote above again. That said, I will try another way, and hope others may also be able to help explain this better than perhaps I can.

First and foremost, D&D is a game. Certainly, it is one that encourages role-playing, but there has always been a structure in which such role-playing a PC is governed, because, as a game, each PC race and class differs from each other in such a way that each PC complements another in a party of adventurers. Each, to borrow a phrase, was a “master” of its race, class and abilities. That said, the PC you play may be weaker than your friends in some areas, but stronger than his or hers in others. It is these exact character traits (with differences both strong and weak) that make the game exciting, because we have flaws as well as strengths.

If, as has been the design direction over the years, those archetypal differences are made less distinctive, then all that happens is a player starts to approach the game with an attitude of developing a PC that maximises its abilities in every area possible, which, as the years have gone by, includes more and more areas of that character. E.g. Once upon a time, if you wanted to cast a fireball, only a wizard could do that. (Or a multi-classed PC.) Now, a cleric with the right domain can do that. NB: I don’t have a problem with some of these rules, but I am simply using them as an example of when this kind of change can break the game.)

D&D, the game, is/was about a “team effort”, a group of friends who played their PC to its strengths and gained support when required from their friends. If every PC has the same abilities as the best a PC can be regardless of race, class or abilities, then it has lost all meaning, context and challenge that the game originally had, and was a pleasure to play. Modern computer games, especially where a player plays the one single avatar has a lot to answer for players feeling a desire to tweak their avatar to be top at everything.

But, to answer your point about playing a nimble “half orc” … Let’s first recognise that the “half orc” is not real, but was designed by someone as a race of being that had certain traits, strengths and weaknesses by design. One archetypal design of a half-orc is that they are not nimble. So, to put it bluntly, you cannot play a nimble half-orc,because in a world where that race is faithfully portrayed, no such thing exists! Let me give you a real world example with a creature that does exist: You cannot play at being a monkey who can read and talk like a human. The bottom line is that a monkey is a monkey that cannot talk or read, whereas, a human being is a creature that, with the correct education, can read and write. Going back to your “nimble orc”, you can dream about it all you want to, and a non-canon “anything goes” world may support such a crazy ruling, but that does not make it right, nor sensible as an option for a game that works within boundaries. It would be like saying you want to play football where you can pick the ball up and run with it (even when not a goal keeper). Someone would politely tell you that that is called rugby, where the rules allow that. However, no, you cannot pick up the ball if you wish to play football.

I’ll leave it at that for now. The bottom line is that people have lost sight of the boundaries that make an imaginative world of fantasy something worth playing as opposed to an “anything goes”, but neither makes sense, nor plays as it should do, but has become “acceptable” because people appear to no longer understand boundaries and differences that make something worth doing because of those (wrongly perceived as such) “limitations”. Unfortunately, I see this happening in the “real world” too and is why I had used the term “wokeism” because people appear to put forward such ideas as if they are of benefit to a society (or a game in this case), but actually only serve to do it a dis-service.

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Firstly I’m not going to look at the rage-click intended video so I’m just going to assume “Person has not played Dungeons and Dragons 5E and is angry about it not having negative modifiers, despite people regularly complaining about negative modifiers”

Secondly, I’m both woke as hell and, y’know, know how 5E works. So of course there are no negative scores and you can just assign at will. That’s how D&D 5E works. If BG3 didn’t do that, it’d be doing a poor job of being a video game based around D&D 5E

Thirdly, just a point:

This is incorrect. D&D rules were 4d6 drop the lowest. If someone had you only rolling 3d6, you were playing houserules. Go check the books if you don’t believe me. 4d6 was the recommended option

Now let me just dig into some other stuff

Cool, that was great for AD&D when stats didn’t matter too much. Except then this little game called D&D 3E came out and made stats very much important. Along with class and feat combos needing to be done from level 1 and, heck, character building as a whole minigame. Thanks to 3E, it wasn’t ‘differences strong and weak’, it was ‘Entire characters become useless and are repalced by a druid’s bear if you haven’t built them exactly the right way’. We are talking about a system where ‘picking the monk class’ is basically the equivilent of having a terrible stat character in another edition, y’know

I’m pretty sure this is a longstanding thing from 2E. I’d have to check. Regardless though, we’re on a NWN forum. Based on 3E. THE most broken version of the system where to balance the system you have to ban people playing wizards, clerics and druids. Like, blaming Baldurs Gate 3 on this when this is an actual problem the very version of the game we’re playing has is questionable

“Evil races” who aren’t supernatural things like demons or devils are terrible writing and a lazy trope. Races are not ‘evil’. People can be evil as a result of their actions. Civilisations can be evil, driving their people towards dark goals. Races are not however. People do not come out of the womb wanting to do crimes

And orcs are people. They’ve been playable every single version of the game

Counterargument: Who is the most famous half orc out there? Because, well, I’m going to argue is Garona Halforcen. You’ve probably heard of her. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t. She showed up in the Warcraft movie

She’s an assassin. A dang good one. Like, one of the most iconic assassins in Warcraft. Her weapons, the Kingslayers, were an artifact weapon and the rogue equivilent of say, The Ashbringer, the iconic Paladin weapon for Warcraft. She is an agile character. A nimble assassin. A nimble half-orc is absolutely something that is both iconic and expected

And, to go further from that, was were half-orcs recommended class in 1E? Assassin. Assassins are theorised as nimble. Sneaking into places, climbing aorund, those are assassin things. To the point where, y’know. Assassins Creed is a video game.

Furthermore on this, Half-orcs had a charisma penalty. They never had an agility penalty. Nothing presented in-game, rules or otherwise, would suggest that they cannot be nimble.

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I have the 1st ed. ad&d dmg. Prior to that point it was 3d6 period. 1st ed. introduced a choice of 4 different methods to semi-randomly generate ability scores. Not one of these methods is recommended over any other.

TR

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I didn’t actually watch the Baldur’s Gate 3 video at first, but after doing that I can say that I’m a bit torn. I think I actually agree with both statements in the poll. Seems that there are both pros and cons on this. :man_shrugging:

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@Mecheon

I have no idea what you are referring to about a “rage-click” intended video. I was simply pointing to evidence and reasoning for my post. Furthermore, while you are correct that I have not played 5E, I, personally, and I imagine many players that I know, have no problem with negative modifiers. I/we are not angry about the lack of negative modifiers, but see the “absurdity” of of a game without them. The “problem”, if you want me to highlight it is that (as you also highlight) is that later generation of players (possibly 5E weighted for a newer generation of players?) are (to quote you) “regularly complaining about negative modifiers”. And that is my point, why would people complain about “negative” modifiers, when they work as a means of helping a player understand an abstract concept of when something may not be as “good” compared to another trait? That is the point of a negative point system, as it helps to highlight a potential weakness. In language terms, it may be considered a way of difference between saying “Fred is not as strong as Jim” (without negative modifiers), as opposed to saying “Fred is weak” (with negative modifiers). However, the argument, and game, does NOT end there. This is the beginning of the game, and a point about the beginning, is that it sets a framework from which the PC then grows.

This post is not about 5E, but about a change in attitude regarding why certain aspects of D&D gaming are changing due to “modern attitudes” (“woke as hell”) regarding having problems (or “complaining” to use your quote) about the language (or systems) used to describe the starting position of a race within the game. Using a system that is just a matter of applying all positive modifiers as one likes just reinforces the same attitude that negative numbers are to be considered “bad” rather than a natural leaning for a particular race compared to another. From a statistical point of view, the idea that we use positive and negative values when referring to a racial ability is to indicate a general positioning of abilities between the races at the “norm” from the perspective of the game rules. Or, to put it another way, by using only positive modifiers, 5E fails to highlight the “weaknesses” of a particular race because it dare not use that sort of language to imply a “weakness” lest it offend (make people upset and complain) their “modern audience” players, who, dare I say it, embrace a kind of “wokeism” that should not be encouraged. For it simply masks a trait of design of an original type behind “sugary rules”.

You must have played a completely different series of games to me during the 1E to 3E era then, as stats have always mattered in every edition I have ever DM and/or played. In fact, one could even argue that they mattered more before the skills and feats complemented the PCs abilities by the time we reach 3E. Furthermore, I have never played or Dm’d a game where a player who played a particular class felt less part of the team of PCs than another. Only when I played 1E did I (as a DM) actually say that it was impossible for a player to play an assassin class alongside a party, due to difference of interests. But, I digress.

With respect to your 3E comment, I will currently give you the benefit of the doubt that this is your genuine opinion, as opposed to “trolling”. For my personal opinion concludes that 3E/3.5E is actually the most well established version of the game that we have. It took all those ideas we as players wanted to expand in the first two editions and made a good job of bringing the game together in a way that many “home brew” games had already brought to the game. I would go so far to say that it was this edition that cemented the way for D&D games moving forward. The 4E nearly broke the game, and 5E just appeared to be a new spin on the 3E, but with “modern” changes, which kind of sits alongside some of what we are talking about now.

(For the record, the change I mention that you refer to, was not one I had any personal issue with. I was simply using it as an example of where archetypal changes were starting to be impacted.)

You are missing the ideology being presented here, or perhaps I did not describe myself very well. :thinking: The point I was making, like the other points, is that from a gaming perspective, some races were considered (in general) to be of “good” or “evil” alignment in their approach to life. Now, this is a whole other topic, which is far too deep for me to cover in this post, and people who know me, know I have some considered reasoning about what actually determines “evil” in both nature and actions. Therefore, keeping within a gaming argument for now, suffice to say, your own argument where you say “civilisations can be evil” is just as incorrect as assuming every character of a particular race is “evil” by nature. That said, this is a game, and I do understand what you mean by saying what you said, but my argument is that the same attitude as you have towards “civilisations” being “evil” can be applied to a “race” being evil in general. We both know that there can be exceptions to the rule, but from a gaming perspective, we know what we mean when we say an orc is, generally speaking, of an “evil” nature.

It is absolutely impossible for me to take this argument further without defining “evil”, which would open a whole new “can of worms” and we would have gone completely off topic. Therefore, as interesting and as important as that topic is, we will just have to accept that using the terms “good” and “evil” in its true sense cannot be accurately portrayed in a game, but can be used as a tool to indicate the sort of behaviour that many can associate with those terms. The real problem here, is that people do not really understand what “evil” is. To demonstrate this point, I do believe that every person is born “evil” from the perspective of what it means in relation to what is truly “holy” and “good”. However, that cannot possibly be understood without further explanation, and we just have to accept that the terms “good” and “evil” are often used superficially within the game itself.

To conclude this point, playing these “monsters” in this fashion of “evil” is not “terrible writing or a lazy trope”, but a recognition that some creatures in the game are “monsters” and are “the bad guys”, and do not require a layer of unnecessary (and certainly not a required) “modern” approach that suggests that this “monster” is only bad because it had a “bad upbringing” mentality, which has no place in a fantasy world.

Only “half-orcs” have always been a playable race. Possibly only an optional in 1E? :thinking: The full blown orc, was then only a “monster” of the “evil” type. I use this term in the way the game uses it.

Let me give this some context when we use the term “nimble” in this point. Semper said this …

My original post (and this response) was talking about ability modifiers and how modern rules appear to oppose the concept of negative modifiers. Here is what the 3E rules say about a half-orc racial modifiers:

+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma.

To be “nimble” is not just about dextrous actions, but also of the mind (OED 11E):

adjective (nimbler, nimblest) quick and light in movement or action.
(of the mind) able to think and understand quickly.

Therefore, in the context of the way Semper presented his question, I answered it in respect to the racial ability modifiers for races at the start of the game. From a racial perspective, this PC would not be as “nimble” as a human who was in the same position at the same point in startup, all things otherwise being equal. This is because, by nature, a half-orc simply does not have the same physical and mental build up as a human. Put simply, this “player reasoning” is in error because it is applying a “human” thought process to something we are not … we are not a half-orc, therefore, to suggest it is something that may have been “learned to be highly pleasing to avoid the whip carving my back” has “humanised” the race the player was trying to play. This is exactly what I am talking about with respect to a new sort of player and approach to the game - it lacks accurate imagination of something that is designed to be something other than human!

I am not saying that a half-orc can’t be more nimble than others of its kind, but they are the ones who have to work hard to reach and catch up with other races by hard work to do so. The initial negative values show how hard it is for them.

The bottom line is that a new generation of players (possibly with some older players included), have not understood the mechanics of the D&D rules and how to interpret them with respect to actual role-play and imagination. I believe this has been influenced by modern thinking where saying anything “negative” somehow has a detrimental effect on a player that causes them to “start complaining about it”. Then to “change the rules” to accommodate erroneous thinking or understanding just damages the original well designed rules that actually help to illustrate the differences between the races, and encourage role-play of those differences.

@andgalf

They are diametrically opposed. :slightly_smiling_face:

I was asked to change the wording, which may have confused the issue a little, but basically, the options are this … when translated to its rawest and simplest state …

Racial differences are to be welcomed, good and bad, or…
Racial differences can only be improved and where we want them to be.

The first position supports traditional game style where some races excel or benefit less in some aspects, which includes NWN.

The latter position is a more modern approach that wants to suggest there are no weaknesses within certain aspects of the races, only benefits where the player wants them. (*)

(*) This is being erroneously argued as a positive by giving players “agency” over the character builds. It is erroneous because it denies the very fabric of what makes the differences between the races in the first place.

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Hello everyone it’s Dustin.

Succinctly, I need a third choice in the poll: just don’t care.

Why? Because this is just a game, and I will follow the same principle I always have, which is that I to my best of my ability, I narrow my mental context when playing a game to the game world as presented. Of course, I cannot perfectly succeed at that because I’m still every bit a biased, real-world human.

However, part of my enjoyment of games is that they are not the real world. Bringing modern sociopolitical concerns into it is tedious and I don’t really want to be bothered with it.

FWIW, I am as guilty of this as anyone some days! In my recent tabletop play of Paizo’s Starfinder, I objected to some particularly non-realistic game play by another player, only to get slapped down with the reasonable retort, “Keep your physics out of my fantasy game!”

As Mr. Arex (Star Trek: The Animated Series) would report, “Direct hit amidships, Captain!” Ouch.

Larian is free to do as they wish with BG3. I mean, really, I’ve played other RPGs than D&D/NWN (yes, they do exist) and from my perspective, all the races of D&D are just funny looking humans.

If you want to bring the real-world into it, OK, my take: since humans can interbreed with elves and orcs (the base game) dwarves and giants (Darksun) and so forth, in a real-world biological sense, all the races of D&D form what is known as a clade (Clade - Wikipedia). From that perspective, it makes sense that the various races have different base stats and that half-races are a blend of those.

So to the question of game mechanics in BG3, which particular funny looking human you play is up to you, since the mechanic described in the video is now that all races have the same potential stats and are thus fundamentally the same in game terms. Race is now nothing more than a “skin;” nothing more than an aesthetic choice.

Do I have BG3? Yep, I bought into early access and I did indeed submit bug reports. Will I use or otherwise cope with this change in character generation mechanics? Sure, I enjoy the game, and I will take what the designers have delivered and play it.

If you want a more traditional, “race as game mechanic” influence on character generation, you can have it! Just agree with the other players that bonuses must go to certain stats, or do so yourself in solo play.

I have not seen anything about Larian’s justification for this change. (I didn’t watch the whole video, so perhaps it is referenced there.) However, before dragging the culture wars drama into this or choosing to view everything through that lens, I would ask if anyone can point to some statement on their part that this was done to appease a particular group of real-world humans.

Even if it was, I still don’t care.

It’s just a game.

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Yes, and I think both sides have good points. That’s what I meant with “I agree with both”. Maybe I should have said: I can see pros and cons with both perspectives.

I think I agree mostly with what @Dustin_Offal is saying here. He made very good points.
I will probably buy BG3 when it is released in…I think it was in august. There seem to be much interaction with the companions and much roleplaying (real roleplaying, I mean, not about the fighting but how you play your character) which I enjoy.

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@Dustin_Offal

This may come as a surprise, but I nearly did add that option. :smiley: I didn’t do that in the end because I wanted to understand what makes people play what they play, and that third option does not help.

Again, I agree, and I am looking forward to the game, regardless of the system they use. However, it is disappointing when, as you alluded to, it seems changes are made because of changing social attitudes towards such things in a game.

Agreed.

I think this is what playing a different race has become to modern players now. This is what I mean about players not really understanding the differences between the races. This is the modern attitude and approach to the game that “breaks the rules”, or rather, has the game makers “change the rules” to suit this changing attitude.

And hence the reason for my poll. :smiley:

From it’s results, it is interesting to understand the differences between the types of players and their own likes and dislikes about a game style. The point is, however, these kind of changes, while they appear small and subtle, they actually can play a part in impacting further changes down the line that may affect more people.

I don’t know the specific reasons behind the changes. The closest possible reason we have is from Mecheon (above) who claimed that

And if this is the case, then that is reason enough to raise the point that a modern trend of complaining about “negative modifiers” is a sad sign of the times if such modifiers cannot be seen in a positive light due to the way modern language has been used.

Note: I am not concerned about BG3, 5e or any game that has its own rules. My concern is about changes made to good sound systems due to pressures from people complaining about something that they are not fully appreciating its values… even if they be “negative”. :wink:

It’s more if a concern about the people that play the games and their attitudes towards them rather than any game itself. :thinking: Although, I also would not want the games to eventually change to the point where they lose interest to me due to becoming very “all about having the best stats”.

@andgalf

Maybe my above response to Dustin helps clarify. Bottom line, it’s not to do with the game itself, as such, but the changes broader implications with respect to players attitudes and current “understandings” with respect to such rules.

@Lance_Botelle you did mention that your poll titles were perhaps not the best choice, and I agree. I also do agree with a lot of what you’ve said about the negative impact on the game itself due to changes that amount to a “blanderization” of the rules in an attempt to appease the audience.

However, I accept that Larian is a commercial enterprise and they are motivated to make money on top of their obvious love of the game itself. If they’ve received feedback from enough playtesters that they don’t like negative stat adjustments, then a change that we elders of the genre dislike to increase appeal to a younger generation of players is not unreasonable.

So I’ll just roll with it, so to speak. The people with whom I play BG3 will still take hours to optimize their characters, and will still play with an emphasis on killing and looting everything.

The great fun of BG3 for me, the war gamer who didn’t encounter RPGs until university days, is that it is tactically fascinating. The tension for me is that I usually play the spokesperson for a multiplayer group, so I the player am often annoyed and bored since my character often doesn’t get to talk to an NPC unless my PC has the Speak with Dead spell! :roll_eyes:

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@andgalf

I guess these times are a changing. :wink:

Youtube these days uses rage clicks to drive engagement. Considering you had put ‘woke’ in the options, on the option you clearly don’t like, what am I supposed to think except for “You and this video are attempting to rile people up”?

5E doesn’t use negative modifiers, it was one of its decisions. Well, 2 races had negative modifiers. On one of them (Kobold) it was almost justified, because Pack Tactics (Advantage for all allies in melee range with you) is a strong ability and you can justify it. On the other, Orcs? It was not justified. They were one of the weakest races and it got removed to the point every reprint of orcs since Volos has been the later stats which… Well, they’re not great, but they’re better than Volo’s. That’s why people complained. Because people want Balance. And arbitery negative stats weren’t good balance

The strongest race in 5E incidentally is either Dwarves, or either Yuan-Ti or Satyrs due to their absolute powerhouse ability that is magic resistance

You may see it as ‘absurd’, but. that’s how 5E is. If it had negative modifiers, it’d be a poor example of being 5E

The game is based on 5E. It emulates 5E. Therefore, the post is on 5E. Heck, BG3 was one of the bigger things that went 'yeah rangers are Bad Enough we have to buff them in this game", which WotC denied for years.

This has been something from 4E and 5E because it turns out folks like to play against type. Dwarf wizards, considered impossible in former editions, are pretty regular. And with that comes the re-analysis of stats and what they mean. For example, Dwarves had the Charisma penalty. Does that mean there are no charismatic dwarves? None able to inspire others, to lead armies?

I would argue against that. Strongly, even

You call it ‘wokeism’, I call it ‘stats are ultimately flawed and the negative ones introduced early were to enforce stereotypes the developers have’. Per older editions of D&D, apparently even the greatest dwarf speakers just, aren’t great at leading people. That’s what its meaning. Does that fit in with what people think of dwarves?

Stats mattered, sure, but stats mattered way more in 3E and above. They upper the influence they had on damage and health. Older editions, a medium stat didn’t matter as much as it mattered in the more char-op focused versions of the game

Did you play any 3E games with the CODzilla combo going absolutely ham and say, a monk with below average stats? Or, heck, if you really want to drive it home, a CW Samurai from 3.5E, the class so bad it is in fact better to use NPC intended classes rather than play it

Don’t get me started on my ‘assassins being Always Evil is dumb’ arguments we’ll be here all week

I’d argue 5E is the most establuished. Its certainly the most popular version of the game, having outside both 3E and 3.5E. Regardless though like, 3E and 3.5E are fundamentally broken because the way the devs intended it to be played was not the way people ended up playing. Not Pun Pun bad of course, but the sheer power discrepency in just the PH is absurd

4E didn’t ‘nearly kill the game’, this is a myth that’s been circulating. It sold fine enough, just not to Hasbro’s ridiculous standards which even 3E would have failed to meet. It outside Pathfinder in all cases. Yes, I know the rumours about ‘oh Pathfinder outsold 4E’ but, they’re not true in the long run. Folks from Hasbro and Paizo have both come out and confirmed it. And like… Why would both parties agree on it if it wasn’t true? Wouldn’t Paizo want to go ‘yeah we outsold 4E’?

Yes, and this was dumb and bad writing. I know in older editions they had that, but it was bad and a poor understanding of how to form a culture. From a worldbuilding perspective, how do you even justify this? Especially given these races were, y’know. Playable. So they could be anything

‘Holy’ doesn’t mean good. Not by a longshot. Plenty of people done evil in the name of religion. Like in the award winning MMO expansion Heavensward for Final Fantasy XIV, free trial copypasta, etc, etc. But, well, you decided to bring up the evil races thing despite it being an example of bad writing in D&D’s past.

That game actually goes real good into why its bad and why its the culture or civilisation that tends to be the thing pushing people towards conflict, not the individual people themselves.

And its bad writing. Its an old tired trope. Give me some good writing like Final Fantasy Tactics, not “These are the designated Bads, now fight them”

Orcs have been playable in every edition of the game. BECMI? Orcs of Thar (Boy, speaking about a bad book). AD&D? Complete Book of Humanoids. 3E? Monster Manual and some others for Grey Orcs. 4E? Monster Manual again. 5E? Started in Volo’s, got its better re-print in Eberron

Cool, the 3E stats don’t match with how Half Orcs were presented in older editions or since. They’re actively working to make it hard for you to play as what is the archetypal Half Orc fantasy character of either ‘A 1E half orc assassin’ or Garona herself. Because, let’s be honest. D&D has done nothing with half orcs. People get that inspiration from elsewhere

People are inspired by more sources than just D&D. Games like Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy or Warcraft get along fine without negative stat modifiers, and two of those games absolutely did far better at it than D&D. You can complain about it being a new generation or whatever, but the game rules have to move with the times or be left behind. No one talks about Tunnels and Trolls these days, do they?

Someone who wants to play an orc in this day and age is not going to think about D&D orcs. They’re going to want to play something like a Warcraft orc, because it turns out if you spend time and energy investing into a race, defining what they are, and going with that, they’ll be popular. S’why people care about Drow, whereas Duregar are ignored

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I used the term “wokeism” (in its modern context), to hopefully reflect the opposing viewpoint that said “life is unfair”. Neither is a great option, if you think about it. The point is, by using the word “woke” I was highlighting that such people will just want all “positive” modifiers even at the cost of it not being accurate to the original rule intentions of the game. The “woke” emphasis was to highlight how the decision was based on their attitude towards their own thinking about what is “fair”. The opposite “life is unfair”, is the true opposite (and recognition) that sometimes such “unfairness” (in the way the game was trying to promote) is actually a position such voters have accepted due to the way they perceive the way the rules are intended to be interpreted in the game. The bottom line, I meant to express the two extreme ways of thinking, which players would have to decide to choose from based on their own ways of thinking about modifiers in the game.

That said, alongside what TR pointed out, I took on board how that may be interpreted and so changed the wording. It was not meant to be “emotive” but as a descriptive example of extreme positions. One for those that agreed that the negative modifiers were an acceptable rule for their character builds to the game versus those that do not accept these values as “fair” to their character build. That’s it! I suppose I could have simply replaced the word “woke” with “fair”, but that does not help emphasise the opposite option available in the proper context of what the rules are supposed to be implying. Hence, “woke” felt best suited.

I cannot comment on this, as I do not play it. (Hopefully in CRPG’s later.) :slight_smile:

This comes back to the thrust of my main poll: Life (in this way) is not balanced, even in a fantasy game! And I would like to quickly add, I do not believe any stats were arbitrarily adjusted, but adjusted in a way that helped people understand racial differences. Our human brains already quickly “humanise” every race we play. Sure, we can balance stats, but you know what, (and perhaps this is just my opinion) that feels like it is “neutralising” the game. Now, I must quickly add that I am not advocating such imbalances that will ruin the game by going to the other extreme. What I am saying is that stats, when well played, can add a level to the game that is interesting, and not a game-breaker due to being “unfair”. But, as I say, I believe this is part of what I am trying to explore here in modern attitudes. I do not recall any player arguing about negative stats based upon a player race. They embraced a racial strength and were happy to role-play the negatives along the way. The game was fun because of these differences and not made sour and claimed “unfair” in spite of them.

Again, I have to emphasise that I am not criticising any game or rule set, except where it makes changes that feel as though they have changed to please for the “wrong” reasons. Although, I also recognise that companies also build games to sell them. For myself, I admit that if a game feels as though it has parted too far from the genre I am expecting (or hoping for), then it may mean I am no longer its target audience - and I accept that. The point, as has always been the main thrust of this post, is that it is people’s understanding or interpretation of something that can end up breaking an otherwise good thing. For example, I like playing football - or used to when I was both younger and fitter. If, they ended up changing the rules to the point where it felt more like rugby (because everyone complained they thought it unfair that only the goal keeper could pick up the ball), then the game would no longer be the game I wanted to play. Sadly, the game would have changed too much for it to be something I liked to do. Again, not complaining here, but emphasising how people’s lack of understanding about how a game is to be interpreted can have an impact on future renditions, especially in a volatile CRPG environment.

You can play a dwarf wizard in 3E. But, even if you could not play a certain class with a certain race, or are limited in some other way, that is what makes the game exciting, challenging and unique. If there is no challenging, or the challenges are watered down, then the game has lost something! I am not advocating hard games for the sake of hard games, but diversity because diversity is good, and can be made fun.

You miss the point that from a perspective of a fantasy world view, dwarves are just not as charismatic (in general and by default) compared to a human, say, if these rules are observed. But, hey, they are great at stone masonry compared to any other race!

Yes… when you consider that a human, when asked, would, if played according to accepted racial understandings, would rather be led by an elf than a dwarf. Only our worldly “wokeism” has crept into the game and made this seem “unfair”. People no longer “see” and “respect” the different races in the game for the great characters they are, just because unless they are “as good as everyone else at everything else anyone can do”, then it is considered “unfair” by players who are unable to appreciate what different races are supposed to be. They are not humans in a different skin, even though that is how many people end up playing them. In this sense, people are actually ignoring the racial differences, by levelling stats to all be similar, at the expense of the divere nature of the races as created.

As I said previously, they have always mattered. If they did not, then you did not play in a game that was DM’d in such a way that emphasised that. That said, I agree that stats will, by design, matter less if they fall outside of the extremes. However, that is also why we have negative modifiers, as it helps make an interesting PC, who may not just have interesting high stats, but may also have some potentially interesting low stats.

If a class did not fit inside the remit of my campaign, then I did not use it. But, if a class was used by a player, then both the player and the DM invested time into making the game an enjoyable experience regardless of the stats. Sadly, many modern gamers make it all about the stats compared to character building and role-playing. That has been encouraged due to modern games and attitudes.

I have to totally disagree … but I would also add that up to and including 3E, the game was as much about DM and player investment in design and gameplay that made the game that it is. 5E tries to recapture that “mood”, which, to some degree, it has done. However, the core rules, and I agree with you, house rules, that built up alongside the early editions is why the game did so well. There was a hunger to learn and grow. We had skills and feats in our homebrew rules long before they were “finalised” in the 3E. But, you know what, the 3E did a great job of taking all that energy of the early years and making it into something that 5E has had its own modern take on. Again, I am not knocking 5E, as I have never played it to give you an honest appraisal. However. I can safely say that 3E has covered every aspect of gameplay I needed it to cover, and I agree with probably 90% of its official rules. Those where I differ, I have written my own house rules, which the game encourages to include. It is very much the way I prefer to play as a general set of rules, and from what I have heard of your description of 5E rules so far, I think I will be disappointed in the direction it had turned. I will almost certainly still play games that use the 5E rule set, but that will be because the alternative 3E is no longer available. Will I keep playing such? I won’t know that until I have tried playing such a game. If I find its implementation too bland for my taste, then I may well stop playing them, and concentrate more on building in the version I find most exciting to both build and play.

I won’t discuss hearsay, but I can safely say, that from players of my own campaign, we all decided that 4E was not for us, and is was the last set of core rules we bought. I still have the three core rule books in a boxed set sitting on my shelf - never used to play a game as they simply did not work for us. The 3E, on the other hand, well that’s a different story. Suffice to say, we found no need to spend out more on a fifth edition.

You’ll have to play my NWN2 3E campaign when it’s finished (if I finish it), as I have tried to cover this very difficult concept within it. That said, only module one (of three) is currently available, and I have some way to go with module two, and module three will not have any more work for some time yet. So,maybe if we are still all around in about 5-10 years, the maybe I’ll have all three modules release so you can see how I did handle it. You may not like it, of course, but at least it has been handled and explained in a way that I believe to be plausible. It makes use of an understanding that has not yet been fully realised in any RPG that I know of. But, as I say, I cannot go into more details, because it is a big topic, and I also don’t want to give any spoilers for my own campaign . :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

holy (OED 11 E)
n adjective (holier, holiest)
1 dedicated to God or a religious purpose.
2 morally and spiritually excellent.

Also, from a belief that “holy” also means “set aside”. Also opposite of “unholy”.

“Religion” does not equate to being “Holy”. Trust me when I say, religion is a word used that does not equate to someone’s faith, except when used correctly to describe what is truly “good”. I use the word in its proper context, meaning appertaining to God, who alone is “good”. I am not using the term as we might in a CRPG, but neither can I go into more detail, as that would side-track this discussion and require a lot more discussion. Therefore, when I use the term “holy” here (outside of the game), I am using it in its proper form to describe something that we, as humans, are not, and consequently, such terms cannot be easily used when referring to CRPG, especially in their normal context of gameplay. Thus, when terms like “good” and “evil” are used in a game, they are NOT being used correctly, or in a context required to adequately describe the gaming rule or concept being “played”. Therefore, knowing this, we can only use them in the broadest sense and in respect to what that means in game terms. CLUE: How do you define “good” in this real world? If you can reach the exact and right answer to that question, then you should be able to see the difficulties of its usage within a fantasy game, apart from what we understand it to mean in terms of a good old “good” vs “evil” fantasy world concept. In this latter sense, there is absolutely no harm in defining a race, class, or civilisation in the generic fantasy meant terms. However, if you try to bring in “real world” meaning of these terms, then that will open up a whole new debate.

That’s one reason why we would still play 3E.

Agreed, but some of these other sources do not sit well with others. Again, a bit like “rugby” v “soccer”. Some will prefer one type and others, another. But, to stress once again. I have no objection to any other system of game, even if I do not think it’s a good one.

Let me put it this way: If the video had been an argument to allow certain alignment restricted classes to be able to play any alignment, then I would still be having a similar discussion, as once again, that seems to veer from an interesting rule that helps challenge a player’s perception and gameplay of such a PC.For example, some games don’t worry how chaotic actions affect a lawful reliant PC, such as a paladin. I, for one, respect the design of a paladin and the “restriction” placed upon that class as a part of the gameplay I am trying to play. I do not “complain” for being penalised when carrying out chaotic acts with such a PC. If, on the other hand, someone cried “unfair” for their paladin, and the rules were changed to accommodate such chaotic acts from a paladin, then I would question why have a paladin class at all? In fact, why not just have a player determine they are something different at the drop of a hat without any restrictions at all? That is what I mean by a game losing all direction and something that makes a game less enjoyable to the likes of myself. Challenging gameplay has given way to pandering to player’s desires.

Maybe if they come to D&D with a fixed idea of what a dwarf should play like according to another fantasy worlds perspective. However, when a player joins in a D&D game, it is as much about joining a world that has been established with its own rules and boundaries, and playing by them. If that feels like “soccer” to them, and they wanted “rugby”, then they will either adapt and play like the world expects dwarves to play, or end up leaving and joining another group where any kind of dwarf (especially their type) can exist. But, again, this comes back to that very first poll point, sometimes life may be or feel unfair to you, but are you going to accept its position, or claim it’s “unfair” and complain?

Importantly, either way, the poll was asking for people to demonstrate their choice, which reflected their own position and response when it came to recognising why there are negative racial values in a game. I cannot argue from the position of something being “unfair”, as if the negative values were removed, then, arguably, I am just as much benefitted as the next player - BUT, and here is the point, in accepting such a supposedly “fairer and positive” (wokeism) perspective, I have effectively shot myself in the foot, as I can see no sound reasoning for supporting an action that effectively removes those interesting negative values, just so that I can have all positive ones.

I guess it may even boil down to a “stas v role-play” argument, but I suspect that would not be recognised as such either.

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I’m honestly sick of hearing all this nonsense that everyone has to be standardized, that there must be no negative modifiers, that you have to go for something that’s popular and super pumped.

Where are the old heroes who had both positive and negative characteristics?

I’ve played a lot of characters in my life and I honestly loved having maybe one trait with a negative modifier. A wisdom of 6 or 8 that made my character reckless or low charisma that made him shy and unsociable or strength 8, but high dexterity to make him agile in combat at the expense of mere brute strength.

Beyond the mere numerical value and its game mechanics, seeing that -1 or -2 reminded me of a peculiar trait of the character I played. Race modifiers and even certain specific skills made the interpretation of the character unique.

Flattening everything makes a fantasy world full of different life forms and different cultures as boring as real life.

In the forums i’ve read, everyone in BG3 don’t want to make a human character because they have/had useful modifiers for their builds asking to implement variant human to get a feat as compensation, but honestly who cares about values, about not having night vision or immunity to sleep. I choose to create a human character because I want to play a human in a fantasy world with other races of different cultures and abilities than mine and maybe use this handicap to try to show, that at the expense of birth, I can be an adventurer like an elf, a dwarf or a half-orc.

At this point why should a goblin or kobold have low stats or a troll and a giant higher stats? According to this criterion, even a troll should not have a charisma penalty and should not be treated as an evil being on first encounter.

Then I don’t want to imagine what would happen to Drizzt’s stories according to certain extremist criteria. After all, in the first books he is treated very badly only for his race …

I believe that as a concept it also applies to all the Forgottem Realms in the end many of the clashes and wars arise due to racial prejudices and political / religious ideologies in this perspective should we review the whole history and plot of the most popular D&D setting?

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@night76

Exactly. Well put. :+1:

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Actually most people didn’t find themselves in the fourth edition for two simple reasons in my opinion.

  1. They completely twisted the Forgotten Realms with the story of the spellplague to adapt the latter to the new game mechanics and many fans of the campaign made their hair stand on end. And to confirm in 5e the Forgotten Realms are back as in 3.5e.

  2. The game mechanics were so complicated and so similar to a video game that the battles lasted a lot of time and a computer was needed to keep track of all the marks, daily powers, encounters, various counters, etc. etc. All too complicated for an evening of fun and not an advanced math session. The 5e, on the other hand, has really simplified many things and I’m very happy about it.

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