Top 5 reasons why D&D sucks

5. Roll-playing Game

While not as bad as some systems (*cough* World of Darkness) in terms of the amount of dice you roll at one time, there are a lot of rolls for resolving single tasks. There are so many extra rules for things (most of which require rolls) that the emphasis is on the rules and dice rather than the roleplaying. You also need multiples of every type of dice – while most roleplayers have these it’s still a bit of a pain. One roll per action – surely that’s enough for any system? Oh, and don’t forget your synergy bonus!

4. Alignment

While I realise that alignment is just supposed to be a guideline, the rulebooks seem to contradict that. You can’t play a Paladin unless you’re Lawful Good at all times. How do you make a Paladin interesting then, while still remaining a Paladin? They’re all going to be shining paragons of justice and virtue. Playing clerics requires adherence to certain alignments, and the same for some other classes. While it might not be constricting for some, to me it’s like someone pigeonholing me simply because of my ethnic background or my accent.

3. Levels

Now that I’m a 3rd Level Rogue, I’m more likely to survive being stabbed that I was last week, when I was a 2nd Level Rogue. Having arbitrary levels which state what abilities you have or can have is so … 1980s. Please, I thought we left that all behind when we left high school. OK, you can use the optional rules (more rules!) around training, to make this a bit more realistic, but still. It bugs me that I can’t be (for example) a Wizard who only knows a Magic Missile spell but can cast 5 of them instead of the 3 dictated by his level. It feels like exactly what it is – a completely arbitrary way of rating characters so you can pit them against random monster enounters (hmmm .. I should have put random encounters on the list too).

2. Two Book Minimum

You want to play Dungeons and Dragons? Then you have to buy at least two books – the Players Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Oh, you wanted a background? One more book (e.g. Player’s Guide to Faerun). Oh, you needed monsters for the background. That’s another (e.g. Monster Manual). Brand new at MSRP that’s $122.80. Even getting them second hand it’s over $50. One list of “essential” D&D books on Amazon has 40 entries totalling $834.75 (that includes Amazon’s discounts).

“But Wizards spawned the whole d20 movement, when they ‘open sourced’ the system!” Oh, really? Great – lots more games based around the same shit system.

1. Rabid Players

So, after spending vast quantities of money on all these expensive and extensive rule books, it seems that the average D&D player doesn’t want to be told that the game is pile of poo. Instead, they defend any slight vociferously, even when blatantly in the wrong (or when they miss the point entirely). And this symptom seems to spread into the other popular D20 games (ever notice how often Mutants and Masterminds players say “System X is no good, you can do all that and more in M&M”?).

Author: aidan

Gamist: 14%, Simulationist: 29%, Narrativist: 57%. Ah, the irony.

68 thoughts on “Top 5 reasons why D&D sucks”

  1. A most interesting thread, I would say. It seems that there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not D&D is a good game or whether it “sucks.”
    I could debate both sides for hours. I could say that I agree that armor should count as damage reduction, and not be lumped with dodging. I could say that leveling is somewhat odd, and I could say that certain skills (diplomacy, profession) are nonsensical and get in the way of role-playing.
    I could tout the success of D&D, the millions it has made, the amount of people who play it, the ease of the system, and the fact that many people who play it do play it for the fun of rolling dice, yelling “critical hit!,” etc. I could tout many aspects of the rules.

    But I won’t.

    Instead I will say this. D&D is a game. It is played for fun by people who enjoy role-playing games of a certain nature. D&D fits in with them, their personalities, and their interests. They have fun playing it. Is this bad? If we do not enjoy something, should we lambast those who do? Should we start a “flamewar” over which system of RPG’s is better? Should we argue for years over a game, which is a rather trivial matter anyway?

    No. Why? Because it is a game. It is played for fun. If you don’t like it, don’t play it. If you like it, go on, have fun and play it.

  2. D&D is excellent to those who play it. If you don’t think its excellent, then why play it? Why even talk about it? Why not just sell the books on e-bay and be done with it? Why Mr. Anderson? Why? Why? Why?

  3. Let me critisize evry point on you list. I play D&D and I think it’s the greatest roleplaying game of all time. The reason? Because everything is possible! The only limitation is your own imagination. Why? because you can adjust the ”rules”, and play it in any way you like. Which brings me to the first point of your list:

    Dice and roleplaying. If you don’t like rolling the dice all the time, then adjust the rules! Adjust them until you think the game fits your expectations. Apart from that, that is how I see rolling dice, all the dicerolling is a lot of fun. It is exciting, and it is a great rule to simulate luck in the world. Also, you say it is affecting the roleplaying? No it isn’t, because roleplaying is all about adapting to stuff, in this case the dice. If the dice say the bartender is fairly hostile towards you, then roleplay your ass out of it.

    Second point; alignment. The point about the paladin I can cope with. It is a restriction, however it could be fun to play with. But all the other classes and alignments are great! I think you misunderstand the rules about alignments; you don’t adapt to your alignment, your alignment adapts to you. In other words, if you think being lawful good is a pain in the ass, dont be lawful good anymore! The DM will change your alignment, and you can play the game as if nothing ever happened.

    The way leveling goes, which is the third point, is just the for new players so the game will be fairly balanced. Exactly the reason why they put the random encounters in the books, because new DM wont be able to create a wellbalanced adventure; that all comes with the years. If you think you can handle creating a new wizard level that can cast 5 magic missiles instead of three, but also make it balanced, then it is OK for you to do such a thing. There are a lot op people who have made new classes already, and put them on the internet. But until you are able, play the premade wizardclass…

    Point No. 4: Right, you do have a point there… It does cost a lot of money, and to be honest; Most of the books I use, I got here on my computer, downloaded. But the 10 books that I did buy were great! I have them for about what, 6 years? And I’m still using them as I used to do; every holiday I spend reading all the books. I think of it as a neccesary evil. But one that will make you very happy! And about the d20 movement; I dont really know much about that.

    Last point: Rabid players… Well yeah, of course, If you tell them that D&D sucks, they are going to defend it. If someone tells you that your favourite movie sucks balls, that all the shots are louzy and that they could have done a better job, are you going to respond like: ”Mwoa, yeah you are right… … … -.-” Of course not. I see the D&D game as a good book; it is a story in which you can roleplay, and make up your own adventures.

    There are a lot of people who tell me: ”D&D sucks, go play WoW, that is the best game EVER!” I dont even want to respond to that. The whole idea about D&D is that you can change everything. Not only the alignments and the names are guidelines; EVERYTHING in the books are guidelines. You can change the game as you like. Tell me, can you do that with WoW? Well yeah, in several modworlds, but those aren’t always balanced… Apart from that, don’t go sit behind a computer 24/7 and shit in a bucket while yer mother brings you all your food.

    I can understand some of your points, but again, I think you misunderstand the game in it’s whole: You don’t like the system? change it, nobody is going to arrest you for it.

    1. Oh,I see!
      I can change things that I dont like about D&D!

      Great! So I´ll be playing anything but D&D,because I´d change the whole thing…

  4. Why the hell is everyone defending their points with “WELL UM, THIS FEATURE OF D&D ISN’T REALISTIC! THERE ARE NO RULES YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW WITH THIS CHILDHOOD GAME I PLAYED, NOT EVERYONE FITS INTO ALIGNMENTS IN REAL LIFE, ETC…” It’s a game… not real life. Do you guys go around complaining about video games for being linear because they aren’t all free-roaming? If you aren’t happy with all the rules of D&D, then don’t waste your precious time complaining about it; go make your own tabletop RPG.

    On the subject of alignment restriction… There is a reason D&D includes guidelines for class creation, within the only two books you typically need to play. You can’t expect them to print a book with a different class for everything alignment possible. When I see a paladin, I think of a knight in shining armor smiting the wicked. Complaining that holy protectors of the Church and Good (Paladins) are restricted to being Lawful Good is like complaining that Wizards use primarily magic and not swordsmanship. If you want a class type like a paladin that doesn’t act at all like a traditional paladin, create one yourself. That right there proves D&D’s innovation; there are no limits, and the material provided is flexible and ready for change.

    On levels… again, why do you people want to make D&D as much like real life as possible. A leveling system provides both a SIMPLE and NOSTALGIC way to keep track of a character’s progression. I realize there are other ways to handle character growth, but a leveling is the easiest to understand and likely the most used system for growth in any RPG, video game, tabletop, or otherwise. Why put something that works down for not being exactly like real life, something you are ESCAPING when you play D&D, if only for a short time.

    All in all, this has been very enlightening. My support for D&D has only grown stronger writing this and I hope I may persuade others to agree with me, or at least understand my points. The purpose of a fantasy game is not be realistic; it is to be fantastical in nature.

  5. Dud most of this info is outdated d&d is free now. So alote of witch your saying is wrong and inacurate. First of all the rules are ment for the aproch of how a player wants (doesn’t cost money anymore) second of all its not even a bad game it amzazing the gamplay is outstanding better then alote of the mmorpg’s out there. And lastley the other games that you listed suck! They have viruses unlike d&d online. So dud get your facts before you talk shit about a game.

  6. Lol, it’s always amusing seeing D&D defenders, they don’t know ANYTHING of other rpgs usually, they have tried a couple for some sessions maybe, but never understood them “because are so different than D&D”, and then they defend the game in an absurd way.

    For example, the idea “it’s the best rpg ever because you can change your rules as you like”, it’s applicable to ANY rpg or tabletop game. So how could that be a defence point?
    Why I have to loose hours of my life adjusting a wonky game when there are HUNDREDTH of other rpgs that are more suited for my tastes?

    Nobody tells you should NOT play D&D, if it’s in your tastes, go and play it!
    But there are objective FACTS of how things are done in D&D, that can be liked or not.
    Most of “adult” roleplayers, those who have played D&D 20 and more years ago and now are “grown up”, prefer more modern rules, because everything get’s old, and everything could be improved.

    For me, D&D has ALWAYS be a bad game (for my tastes, of course). Fixed classes? No thanks. Fixed skills and stats? Bleah. Math-centered gaming for figuring bonuses and maluses over and over? No thanks.
    The experience I have EVERY TIME I play it (because there is everytime some friends who insist on playing it), is that I CAN’T do the character I like. ANY character. Maybe because I like characters to have some depth and not be only aimed at combat, maybe is because the majority of the players who like D&D like it only for the combat in the end, I don’t Know.
    I know that if I do a nice Bard, aimed at helping the group but expecially and crafting exquisite music and stories and guiding the opinions of people and telling the legends of the heroes… in D&D I end in two way: either I do what I like, and have no fun at all in the game, with other ppls telling “lol, you can’t hit anything. Lol, your character is very sub-par, it’s less useful than an henchman!” (yes, they are cruel, but they like D&D for it’s real value: combat), or I do a perfectly min-maxed character aimed only at fighting, very efficient, and very like all other characters (I roll 20+4+8-5-6+5. I hit. I do 24 damage. Ah-ha. Very funny indeed. Rince and repeat).

    There are thousand of people enjoying that game, and I’m not here to tell they are having “bad wrong fun”, but please don’t try to convince me that I can like D&D if I change this and that.
    I used to play GURPS when all other ppl played D&D, and now I only play “modern” systems, were I can do any character, don’t mind “balance issues”, point systems and abstract calculations on what does what and the exact modifier to hit the f@#@#ing goblin. 😀

    1. I just got into tabletop RPGs, and I really dislike D&D for your said reasons. What games would you suggest to play instead? And if you give me a few comparisons about some of the key points, I’d be very appreciative.

      I’m pretty good at math, and I like rules to give the game some structure, but D&D is far too tedious for me. And the group I found is very negative. They mock you for picking a character and roleplaying it well because that character type isn’t as powerful as others. If I min/max the character into being the best possible, they seek to limit it in some way. I made a badass dwarf figher, and they chose to be pacifists the whole game, and criticized my character for trying to avenge his father’s death versus an overbearing boss of borderline slave miners – said I was being too evil. Obviously, I’m off to find a new group …

  7. D&D, 3.5 and previous anyway, I’ve never tried 4E, is a combat simulator. It is not a fully fledged RP system, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be. If you want to roleplay in your campaign, just *don’t roll the dice*. It’s that easy. GM discretion is your best bet for non-combat RP in any system.

    Also, complaining about Paladins is weird, it’s like you’re complaining about variety, while claiming the opposite. Having restrictive and non-restrictive classes is more variety, not less. If you don’t want to play a devout, religiously strict character… don’t play a paladin. There’s like a million classes, go find something else? And if you can’t find something you like, just make something up. This is PnP, not a computer game, you’re not restricted by what’s in the books.

  8. D&D is what it is…it is a role playing game that evolved out of a miniatures war game. The game base “code” and derivatives have been around for almost 40 years. I think all of the above five points are valid, but, the game still works. DnD really has evolved into a fantasy superheros game. For many that is fine, for some not. As to needing two books, there is OSIRIC, Basic Fantasy, and Labyrinth Lord to name a few that are all one book complete. I play DnD because that is what many other people play. It is no longer my game of choice though but I respect it for what it is and what it accomplished and what it will continue to do, limitations and all.

  9. In my opinion, GURPS is the best roleplaying system in the market. It has this realistic fantasy setting (Banestorm), it was made to be used in every single possible scenario; with the same simple cores rules you can either be a cybernetic enhanced street samurai, a time-travelling demon hunter, a knight with cape and sword… And you don’t have all those infinite modifiers and percentages and penalties. And the realistic combat is just amazing: where you hit your enemy will have entirely different effects, and the types of damage (slashing, piercing, crushing) also have entirely different effects.
    And the Spell system, to me, is superb. Unlike that idiotic D20 spell system which, to me, is absolutely retarded.

  10. I think it’s the players that ruin the game. Where I live i’m close to like 4 cities but it’s nearly impossible to get a group. Not many know what DND is and no one knows how to play it. I tried basically to get a group for around 5 years. I went to 4 hobbie stores that were mostly focused on that MTG game, they said each time they know of no DND groups and probably grew tired of me asking.

    So finally after years I found some people an online ad website that wanted to play. I was thinking to myself “This is great! Finally a group of like minded people who like DND and sci fi and stuff! We’ll all bond together nicely because of this!” Well what happened was this. There were 7 of us in total, the first 2 people made up excuses and left the group after a few adventures. We were left with 5. The DM was extremely rude and ignorent and would make fun of us and degrade us so we played with just us 4 (2 couples). Well they were really excited and could not get enough of playing, one of them became the DM, they wanted to play all the time! So after some time they started to make excuses like they were sick or had some important thing come up but they posted on face book they were shopping at a mall or some other thing so they lied to us. They introducted two more people into the group and then told us we should not play for awhile cause things got busy.

    We are polite, clean, shower, bring lots of snacks, down to earth, easy going etc. It’s just really weird. I thought we’d all bond and become good friends because of all the things we love and have in common which are not easy to find. It’s a really strange experience. It’s like we are only friends during the game then after the game we are strangers and not wanted. So based on the DND community I met, they are cold and seem to not want to bond or become friends.

    So even thought it’s hard to find a group it won’t matter anyway because the people are just not very decent or nice. They don’t want friendship and they definitely don’t have loyalty to each other.

  11. Pretty much the only time I have enjoyed playing D&D is when I wasn’t really playing it – when imagination or roleplaying or something was what was really being done, and I wasn’t noticing the rule system or the hierarchical nonsensical world/monster/alignment design.

    D&D popularized fantasy roleplaying and gave people lots of reasons to invent different systems, so that’s good. And it has tons of content… but even that is kind of mind-numbing to me, since I hate the logic of most of it hierarchical power levels so most of that work is useless to me even as inspiration.

    It’s interesting to read people calling D&D a combat simulator. The combat system is one of my least favorite aspects of it, and I would just about never in any way choose to use it to simulate any combat, as it is bland, mostly devoid of tactics or detail or realism, and ridiculously unbalanced in favor of high level characters, and it achieves that imbalance mainly by giving the people with superior experience, insane amounts of “hitpoints” and lets them shrug off injuries that would kill entire squads of less experienced foes.

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