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”?).

About AJ

Gamist: 14%, Simulationist: 29%, Narrativist: 57%. Ah, the irony.
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71 Responses to Top 5 reasons why D&D sucks

  1. Mark says:

    Do you know, I only played D&D for the first time a year ago even though I’ve been gaming for, what 15/16 years (can’t remember)? Loved it. We tried to play it to the hilt which as much rules as we could stomach, lots of roleplaying too.

    Not that that’s an indication is a good game at all. It is what it is. The one thing D&D has over White-Wolf, is that D&D is completely honest about what it is. You know what you get with D&D.

    Alignment and Levels didn’t bother me too much. We never really played long enough for them to matter. But the continual need to have more and more books really puts me off. It’s partly what pushed me over the edge with White Wolf. Along with the Rabid Players… 🙂

  2. Gav says:

    When people derisively turn their noses up at ROLLplaying (now that expression is so 1980s) I always find myself thinking that RPG stands for roleplaying GAME. Games need rules, obstacles and the opportunity to succeed through skill or even luck. People need to understand what they’re facing and trust that their actions will have some impact.

    I’ve never read any of the so-called ‘diceless’ RPGs (I find the concept abhorrent) but most of the system-lite games I’ve seen rely extensively on GM judgement to resolve situations. Some even revel in it. That’s all very well if you have a skilled GM, but in less expert hands this is a recipe for railroading, fudging and eventually player disengagement – why bother trying if the story is predetermined?

    Some games suggest that the more abstract a game becomes the better, to the point that they’ll have skills like ‘Combat’ in order to simplify things. It may indeed simplify things (to a level fit for six years olds), but it can be pretty jarring when you realise that your Angry Barbarian character is theoretically a master artilleryman.

    To give two examples, I’ve played in games where no PC would ever die. You’d take damage, but because the system was a little fuzzy on detail, the GM would always find away to keep a PC alive. He meant well of course, character death is a pain, but without the danger people lost interest.

    In another game, D&D, the GM concentrated on the story and let the ‘rules as written’ handle outcomes. In this game if you planned it right and the dice went your way you could off a major bad guy way before he got carry out his Evil Plan, and the GM would have to deal. Similarly, as all dice were openly rolled, a peasant with a shovel could roll three crits in a row and kill The Hardest Man Alive – I saw it happen. Being in a world where anything can happen focused the mind and heightened the excitement.

    Additionally, a lot of people like to work out the nitty-gritty details of their characters, and while many may be happy to let details like encumbrance remain off-camera, others will find their suspension of disbelief damaged by the inevitable character that carries 2000 arrows or 15 different guns.

    I also think the implication that a rules-heavy game leads to less roleplaying is ludicrous. I’ve played many games with many people and the only constant is that good roleplayers tend to roleplay well no matter what the system, and bad roleplayers suck in any game.

    As for the rest:

    Alignment: In D&D Evil is a metaphysical reality, not a personality trait. The D&D Mythos includes planes devoted to each alignment and if you are a Paladin or Cleric you are connected to that plane. If you want to play a normal guy, be Neutral. If you want to be a slightly dubious priest, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t expect the Lawful Good god of righteousness and flowers, who is very real and looks into your soul every night, to sponsor you.

    Levels: Perhaps not the greatest method of character advancement in the world, but it does help the GM avoid situations where players find their characters’ abilities are out of whack with the world and (more importantly) their teamates.

    Two-book minimum: This is kinda the same as the ROLLplaying complaint. There’s a lot of detail in D&D, and if it where all in one book it’d be unwieldy. Besides, what roleplayer doesn’t have a library of books for each game? It’s part of why we like the hobby.

    Rabid players: There are plenty of strange types who play D&D and RPGs in general, but since D&D is the best system available it’s easy to get riled by it’s (usually) snobby critics.

    So there.

  3. Mark says:

    I’m going to hell for this…

    When people derisively turn their noses up at ROLLplaying (now that expression is so 1980s) I always find myself thinking that RPG stands for roleplaying GAME. Games need rules, obstacles and the opportunity to succeed through skill or even luck. People need to understand what they’re facing and trust that their actions will have some impact.

    All true…

    I’ve never read any of the so-called ‘diceless’ RPGs (I find the concept abhorrent) but most of the system-lite games I’ve seen rely extensively on GM judgement to resolve situations. Some even revel in it. That’s all very well if you have a skilled GM, but in less expert hands this is a recipe for railroading, fudging and eventually player disengagement – why bother trying if the story is predetermined?

    Bolox. You talk about people turning their nose up at D&D and what do you do? Turn your nose up at everything else. Nobilis, a diceless game, is feck’in brilliant and no it’s not “predetermined”. Rules-lite does not mean rules-less. Fudge, Universalis etc.

    Some games suggest that the more abstract a game becomes the better, to the point that they’ll have skills like ‘Combat’ in order to simplify things. It may indeed simplify things (to a level fit for six years olds), but it can be pretty jarring when you realise that your Angry Barbarian character is theoretically a master artilleryman.

    That mis-representing the concept altogether. If your going to run a game where “combat” in even an abstract sense, is going to take place then you need a system that can handle combat. Fudge, for example, can give you various levels of granularity. If you want combat, have tons of different combat skills… little combat, have one or two combat skills if at all. Depends on the type of game and setting.

    To give two examples, I’ve played in games where no PC would ever die. You’d take damage, but because the system was a little fuzzy on detail, the GM would always find away to keep a PC alive. He meant well of course, character death is a pain, but without the danger people lost interest.

    Real reason: Bad GM.

    You can run games that are not centered on combat and death and where tension is derived from completely different dramatical origins.

    In another game, D&D, the GM concentrated on the story and let the ‘rules as written’ handle outcomes. In this game if you planned it right and the dice went your way you could off a major bad guy way before he got carry out his Evil Plan, and the GM would have to deal. Similarly, as all dice were openly rolled, a peasant with a shovel could roll three crits in a row and kill The Hardest Man Alive – I saw it happen. Being in a world where anything can happen focused the mind and heightened the excitement.

    I’d like to point out, that it’s still possible, with a complex system, for the GM to to 1) railroad, 2) fudge (no system can cover all eventualities and all systems require interpretation), 3) player disengagement (for some roleplayers this is the lifeblood of roleplaying) and 4) predetermined stories. I’ve seen them all, on a wide variety of systems.

    Additionally, a lot of people like to work out the nitty-gritty details of their characters, and while many may be happy to let details like encumbrance remain off-camera, others will find their suspension of disbelief damaged by the inevitable character that carries 2000 arrows or 15 different guns.

    Yea and a lot of people don’t. I don’t. I find my suspension of disbelief is lost the moment someone starts calculating how many seconds are in a combat “turn” or when you spend five minutes calculating the fifteen plus modifiers to do a single attack and you end up not being able to do it because of some weird exception in the rules. Or worse, you lose the battle only to discover that you missed some bonus or other on your character sheet that would have turned the tide.

    I remember reading these excellent rules for gun combat, coming from some who had military training. One of the interesting thing was that you weren’t allow track your bullets because in reality you wouldn’t either and you’d have no idea how many you have left. It heightens the tension. So you can still work out the “nitty gritty” of how many bullets your gun can hold… you just have no clue how many you’ve fired when in combat. You can model the “experience” or you can model the “reality”. Of your can just have a good game.

    I also think the implication that a rules-heavy game leads to less roleplaying is ludicrous. I’ve played many games with many people and the only constant is that good roleplayers tend to roleplay well no matter what the system, and bad roleplayers suck in any game.

    True. But also the implication that “rules-light” and “diceless” systems lead to suspension of disbelief is ludicrous. 🙂

    Levels: Perhaps not the greatest method of character advancement in the world, but it does help the GM avoid situations where players find their characters’ abilities are out of whack with the world and (more importantly) their teamates.

    Arg. I hate that, everyone on the same “power” level. It’s completely unrealistic and undramatic. In most fantasy genres (besides D&D and roleplaying) you have characters of various power levels. (Doesn’t mean the hero is the most powerful). Mages should be fucking scary for example. It’s unrealistic and takes from my suspension of disbelief. Even without levels there are other ways to balance power, such as access to knowledge or in-game resources.

  4. matt says:

    I’m going to start this off by saying categorically that I don’t like d20® from a mechanical, a roleplaying or a political standpoint.

    I find the mechanics antiquated and blocky and the insistence that there are optional rules and you can ditch this and that to be counter to the point. I find the arguments about how it IS the One True Game to be boring and an echo of the bad old days when the AD&D players snubbed everyone who played anything that wasn’t AD&D. We see the same mentality on RPG forums now especially, as Aidan said, with Mutants and Masterminds – their advocacy is so strong I’d suspect someone of AstroTurfing (fake grassroots community) but some of the guys are reasonable enough. It’s the militant hatred of anyone who criticises M&M that I find hard to swallow.

    From a roleplaying perspective, I don’t like d20 because I don’t believe for a second that it promotes heroic roleplaying. It’s a generic, antiquated mish-mash and promotes only sales of it’s core rulebooks. The promotion of heroic roleplaying was always the “line” we were fed in our old group when someone wanted to play D&D. And I fell for that line so many times. It does nothing to promote any sort of play. It’s just rules. There are a lot of rules in those books and defenders will tell you that many of them are optional…

    From a political point of view I’m very cynical about the blatant land-grab attempt by WotC which plunged roleplaying into get another dark age and it’s only managing to clamber out of it due to the rising popularity of Indie Games. White Wolf was catalyst for bringing roleplaying ut of it’s last great dark age. Seems we need these landmarks. WotC trademarking and copyrighting the very things which were previously ruled to be non-trademarks and not copyright left me with a bad taste every time I read their books and noticed the small print.

    I hesitate to bring in the GNS terminology (Gamist, Narrativist, Simulationist) because it’s only partly relevant here. The rules themselves do not matter but some rules-sets lend themselves to G games because there’s a reward-based system (old D&D springs to mind because you gained XP to progress and had to kill monsters and steal treasure to get it) or S games (because the rules so accurately portray encumbrance, autofire spray and wound effects). I’m an N gamer – but that said I’ve never played a strictly diceless game. I like using dice as a prop more than anything and players in my games shouldnt notice that the plot progresses with or without the dice roll – with successful dice rolls it progresses in their favour!

    I’ve written a few systems now and some of the ones I like best are, for example, ERIS – which is a N/S type system. Designed to help me roleplay, but also having some nice crunchy bits around the guns and wounding area.

    Encumbrance bores me so I left it out.

    I must applaud Aidan at an excellent piece of troll-bait. I don’t care what systems others use. It’s only when I have to try and read stuff like M&M that my brain starts reminding me that I’m of an age when everything is slowing down. Yet it perks up again reading Wild Talents or when I start to think about 23rd Letter, 3rd Edition.

  5. petrofski says:

    d&d sucks??? sorry but it’s only for people who have imagination and freedom of thoughts. The prices? I play with regular friends and we split costs… I paid a total of something like 20€ max… also regarding Alignments?! What is a paladin known for… it’s something of a Knight adicted to religion and law… why to be changed? if you prefer a different class pick another one or make a new one (trying to respect the rules of course)!!!

    D&D does not suck and it is in my opinion a grandson of Tolkien’s imagination and the father of roleplays.

    imagine it like real life with a mix with fantasy and fiction (including magic and overwhelming powers)

    and this is a very personal opinion:
    rolling dices… that’s a fun part of the game that you can avoid if you like. you know why? ask your DM to shorten encounters by only describing them based on pre-roled dices by himself. and while he’s telling the battle you can ask to take an specific action or whatever else you wish inside the rules!

    You can change the game. The advice is not to break the rules… then you’ll be “pimped out” and the game will have no fun because it will give you no challenge…

    best regards
    just a simple d&d player and DM 🙂

  6. matt says:

    Sadly the comment shows that petrofski didn’t understand the question

    imagine it like real life with a mix with fantasy and fiction
    (including magic and overwhelming powers)

    See, this is exactly my point. you can make D&D as good as other games by avoiding the rules!

  7. Sunblast says:

    5. You can play it however you like. I’ve been in games where no one knew the rules. It got unbalanced, and it quickly began to feel like everyone was just a supporting character for the guy that ignored the most rules. They help keep the balance, but you can get rid of them if that’s nto a concern.

    4. Were you planning to play a paladin that committed heinous crimes whenever he felt like it? There are a couple of alignment restricted classes, but that’s because members of those classes would live pretty restricted lives. Are you going to throw a fit with the Catholic church because they forbid their preists “certain activities?” Besides, you could just play a different kind of paladin. Paladins of freedom are pretty neat concepts.
    You could just play without alignments, but then it messes with a few of the games concepts. The paladin’s detect evil suddenly becomes pretty useless if no one has an alignment.

    3. Meh, it’s just a game. Lots of games use the leveling system, and they’re really quite popular. Not really realistic, but perhaps you should get a bit more creative. When you take hit point damage, you aren’t always bleeding. Hit points do NOT just represent your health. They represent luck, divine favor, etc.

    2. SRD. ‘Nuff said.

    1. Pretty much ANYTHING will have those kinds of fans. They’re really just unavoidable. I fail to see how THAT’S the number one reason that you give for your dislike of D&D.

    I really like the game, but if you think you can do better, then go ahead. D&D is tons easier to mod than any video game.

  8. aidan says:

    SRD is a nice idea. Still, a book is nicer – I often game in places with no internet connection, and I hate roleplaying with a laptop in front of me.

    Fans: most games have fans, only a few have fan-boys.

    Alignment: All paladins are the same – I’ve yet to find a D&D novel that has a main character as a paladin – they are just so 2-dimensional. In fact, alignments in general discourage character. Maybe that’s the real problem – all the rules allow you to create an entity but don’t encourage you to create a character.

    In fact, I think there’s a blog post in that notion…

  9. Carpe DM says:

    I want to point out the ‘Two book minimum’. In my game, we have players handbook and DMG (yes, it is two books). But the rest of the books I have on my computer. It works fine. Those books are like MM, FR Campaign setting and so on.

  10. Lathana says:

    Some interesting points. However your lack of imagination regarding alignments doesn’t really reflect badly on the system, more on you. A lawful good paladin can be a lot of fun, inquisitors and other such church fanatics are technically lawful good but they’re crazy. The term ‘kill the heathens’ can be an awesome way to make anything seem plausibly good. Morality is murky ground, but as long as you can justify you actions in terms of your alignment there are a million possibilities. Just think a bit more creatively.

  11. aidan says:

    Lathana: I think inquisitors etc. are probably lawful neutral – obeying the law of the church at all costs. However, I do agree that those characters are fun – all the most interesting alignments are the ones with “neutral” in them.

    I understand the reason for the mechanism, it just feels too much like a mechanism to me, which detracts from the character/story and adds to the feel of a simulation (i.e. something where numbers matter).

  12. matt says:

    I think petrofski and Lathana are showing some deep rooted insecurity here 🙂

  13. hexe says:

    well said! away with dnd once and for all. it’s boring. the latest effort, Eberron, is a major flop.

    we used to spent more time tinkering with the rules than actually playing!

    for example, here’s a little benchmark. once my players reached 10th level, the process of leveling up took them between 1:30 and 2:00 hours. yawn

  14. Junus says:

    I am playing the original AD&D game as it was written by its original author and I don’t have a single problem.

    I like levels because they are more simple to deal with.

    We focus on the game as a game, not as storytelling, or medieval emulation or theatrics silliness. Some things don’t make sense but it’s a ~game~.

    Alignment is part of the game: you choose this action and you lose some treasure or you choose that action and you have problems with your alignment.

    I am very sorry to see people being drowned in a sea of rule books for the various “editions” of the game, but so be it.

    The original editions of the AD&D game can be found on the internet.

  15. SteelCaress says:

    I think the main reason d20 sucks is the complete dearth of rules. It seems as if it were written for the 12 year old who has never run a game before and needs rules for when you fart near a torch (and what the to hit penalties are when holding the torch in your off-hand and if you’re flat-footed while doing so). The incredible amount of page after page of this rule and that rule pretty much ensures that the target audience will have a heck of a time digesting all that.

    I saw Risus, modified it to my heart’s content, and never looked back.

  16. JensenBane says:

    Foremost, it’s a game. The sources aren’t especially imaginative, and a lot of rules are stupid or paltry, and the setting is not cogently developed–but in the end, it’s a game, and it works, because I have tremendous fun while playing.

    I must say, I don’t like leveling either–it makes no sense that a “higher” level being should survive the sword stroke that would have chopped him in half two “levels” ago. But it works, well enough, to balance the game so that it’s a challenge for the players, however stupid it is metacognitively.

    And I have food for thought… What I’m hearing, from several opiners, is that they like narrative games, or storylines, or whatever… but I much prefer open-ended gaming where I get to mess around in a fun world, without the heavy-handedness of a gamemaster with a narrative to tell. I don’t like being pigeon-holed into a storyline where I can’t do what I want to do. Not that any of the other games do this (that is, not that I would know one way or another); but D&D provides a very good template to allow players to wander around and set their own goals, instead of relying on the gamemaster to provide them with everything.

    Lastly, I’ve seen (and played) paladins with character. Alignment does not restrict roleplaying–uninspired players do.

  17. matt says:

    I don’t see how d&d enables open-ended play any more than any other game. Indeed you have to start ignoring the rules to increase playability – something d&d advocates keep mentioning.

    IMO Narrative games tend to be MUCH more open-ended if you stick to the rules. Once you start dropping rules then you’ve compromised your position.

    d&d provides a supplement for the unimaginative. Imaginative players can obviously play d&d. Sometimes theres no choice

  18. Dustin says:

    I have been DMing second edition AD&D for nearly 9 years now. And I have to admit that I infact have a problem with imaginative characters, the fact of the matter is I have DMed something like 100 Joe Has A Long Sword fighter’s in my time. And I’m telling you doing that for 9 years is warring down my patience. I think there are loads of good creative ideas in the various Class Handbooks (I do agree btw yes they web you into book after book… but well…I tell you I have had a bit of fun hunting threw old book stores and so forth. Then again 2ed edition books are kind of collectable anymore so…). I constantly do everything to do to expand and deepen my Champaign setting (histories, complex pantheons, mythologies, cultures, things actually happening in the world that don’t involve the PC’s.) But every one only wants to play Joe Has A Long Sword with no personality and not so much look at a kit (For some classes kits turn them into basically a hole new class! I realy cant belive they never utilized this if even for a uniqe set of abilitys). I’ve done everything in my power to premote role-playing but I have always been lacking in responce (my one role-players actually moved away). But I have to ask is another game system really have anything that really promotes better role-playing? I mean some people are just a bit too simple and uninterested in the complicated aspects. You have the be the kind of person who can invent a unique personally separate from your own. I would need some persuaded to think this has much to do with the game system. Uninvetive player are just inventive players i dont think you can blame D&D for that (P.S. I hate 3ed edtion, it has sucked all the charm out of the game and brought on a videogame-like state that i find revolting :p )

  19. Amante says:

    5. Rollplaying game
    – Games need rules. it’s the law. even in real life there’s a lot hanging on to luck…

    4. Alignment
    – Can you not say, that, IF you read the alignment page well, you don’t fit into one of those alignments yourself? there are 9 alignments… and i can say i can pit any of the people i know in life into one of those alignments.
    – Alignments don’t restrict you… instead they’re guidelines so you can RP your character better… “what would a chaotic evil character do here?”

    3. Levels
    – How else are you gonna know how strong you are? In life you gain skill points and levels at everything you do… you like to draw? you learn a new technique… there you go. level 2.

    2. Two book minimum
    – No. There’s ONE book minimum – the player’s handbook. if you have any idea what D&D is you know that you don’t NEED the DM Guide to play… only the DM has to have it.
    – And there’s this strange concept which is sometimes called SHARING…

    1. Rabid players
    – No i didn’t miss the whole point. Instead, I am willing to believe you have no idea what you’re talking about (especially after reading number 2). I have proved you wrong at every one of your points. (Except maybe on number 5… which is ALMOST true. But we don’t mind it.)

    PS: Random encounters (just to prove i read your whole post)
    – No good DM would EVER incorporate random encounters. Every adventure is well planned out and random encounters are only for PC RPG Games (which suck.)

  20. matt says:

    Point 5: Not all games have rules when they start. We might impose them later but I don’t remember sitting down to learn the ground rules of “cops and robbers” when I was a child. The only guide was our imagination.

    Point 4 does illustrate that you think the world fits into a narrow set of alignments ranging from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good. Why do we even need psychologists if the entirety of human existence fits into these simple catgories.

    Point 3: IIt’s true, every few months of my life I suddenly become more experienced and harder to kill. Suddenly and without warning. Usually after either receiving a lot of money (XP for gold!) or after killing someone on the way to work (and stealing their stuff).

    With respect to point 2: you’ve admitted you need TWO books minimum for a game. All the players can huddle round the players handbook but the DM needs the DM’s book as well. That’s…uh…TWO….

    And point 1. Well. Failing on integer maths when the highest number is “2” shows real rational behaviour. I therefore postulate you are indeed a rabid D&D apologist!

    The only good DM is a dead DM.

  21. Slerotin says:

    If classes are “professional archetypes” for fantasy characters then alignments are the “ethical archetypes.” Fantasy stories give many examples of characters fitting these nine archetypes. The DM determines the role of alignment in the campaign, but I’ll admit that it’s hard to sort out the exact meaning of each alignment with the small amount of information that’s normally available in each rulebook.

    Since alignment information is scattered throughout the rulebooks, over three different editions, and also found in other non-D&D sources, I’ve compiled all of the alignment information I have in my library and put it on a website. It may be helpful. Most of the time a rulebook or a source will only give a paragraph or two describing the alignment. This is hardly enough to describe an entire metaphysical, ethical, and social philosophical viewpoint. However, when all of these individual paragraphs are put together on one page, it is easy to see what each alignment represents.

    I haven’t found anything yet that delves deeper into each alignment, so I have to be content with my borrowed paragraphs and lists. I’m still adding more content and I’m working on referencing everything. It’s a work in progress.

  22. matt says:


    So we postulated that two books as a requirement to lay was too much…

    now we get

    I’ll admit that it’s hard to sort out the exact meaning of each alignment with the small amount of information that’s normally available in each rulebook.

    Cheers, glad you agree D&D is shit.

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  24. EvilNight says:

    Of course it sucks. It’s a juvenile game for juvenile players, designed to prop up lack of imagination with a scaffolding of rules that utterly choke all free thought. D&D has all the creativity and tolerance of military boot camp or an average American high school. Nearly every idea in the entire system was stolen straight from better, older, simpler games (Earthdawn in particular). WotC has brought quite literally nothing new to the table in their revision of D&D, then added insult to injury by “opening” D&D, guaranteeing that all other games (at least for now) will have to bear the burden of D20-compatibility to get the attention of any gamers out there. It’s worse than GURPS. Conrats, WotC, I honestly didn’t think it was possible to achieve that level of groupthink and Microsoft-style lock-in in a community that almost by definition has above average intelligence. Well done.

    A game’s rules are *part of the flavor* and in good systems are essential to the atmosphere. Look at Deadlands – the brilliant inclusion of playing cards and poker chips in a western roleplaying game, with rules that fly nearly as fast in combat as the real thing should. That’s a damn sight better than D20. Other games that focus on roleplay even have their advancement built in completely, doing away with XP (Continuum for example) or managing it like currency (Earthdawn again). People addicted to dice-heavy systems can’t even conceive that an entire multi-player combat scenario can be resolved with a single D10 roll, or with diceless rules (Continuum, Amber). Systems like Unknown Armies even use creative rules (fight/flight/freeze) to stimulate roleplaying and give charaters more unpredictability.

    When (if) the young D&D players mature in twenty years they’ll come around. Until then they’ll pay ridiculous prices for ridiculous libraries of useless, barely read and rarely relevant content, keeping the gaming industry healthy for the rest of us.

    There is hope – the rather chilly reception WotC got for its hints at a 4th edition shows that there’s already a generation of D&D players starting to get sick of the system and being taken advantage of. There will be a renaissance of non-D20 games in the next decade as people get sick of them and branch out to try anything they can find that is different. We may see some games that actually advance the idea of what an RPG can be for a change.

  25. Drezta says:

    so yea D&D 3/3.5 isn’t the best but if you go into a room of gamers and say ‘anyone up for a D&D sesh’ most of them will know enough of the rules by heart to make a basic charactor and you can jump into hack and slash within minuets if you want a quick bit of cleichet(sp?) roleplay fun. its not a serious game and anybody who treats it like that doesn’t get the idea of PLAYING. and the only reason the D20 system is as big as it is is because its quick to learn and simple to use (if you don’t let it bog you down in details)

    but realy the only thing that needs saying is if someone likes it let them play it, and if you don’t like it don’t play it.
    and don’t go slagging off every system but your favorite because it only enrages the fanboys

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  27. Kaiser Chuck says:

    Well, I have to gently disagree. I see all of your exceptions (reasons 1-5) as based on the limited imagination and experience of the players. Not that they aren’t real reasons – I am not disregarding them at all – but I have seen them again and again over the years be the cause of game failure, and in almost all of those cases, it was because the players involved (or worse, the DM) did not have an amplitude of imagination or a modicum of experience with role playing.

  28. aidan says:

    OK, thanks for that Kaiser. I’m unimaginative and/or inexperienced. Not at all to do with the system. Well, I’m going to strenuously disagree with your gentle disagreement. First off, how can inexperience or limited imagination account for needing to buy two books to play the game? You buy a game to play the game, not to play half the game and make the other half up.

    While I may well be unimaginative, and my years of experience may all be shallow, I think that the D&D system creates the other problems. I’ve known (literally) award-winning gamers turn to Munchkinism once they start playing D&D. I’m sure it can be argued that D&D can be played in such a manner to avoid these issues, but the simple fact is that 99% of the games are not played in that way.

  29. matt says:

    Agreed. D&D Players give the rest of us a bad name which is why there’s such distaste for the hobby because we’re all tarred with the “D&D” brush.

  30. Adlai says:

    actually, we use our imagination, and its actually good for us. you can tell d&d is better than halo when someone cant spell “role”

  31. aidan says:

    Although someone also can’t spell “can’t” nor punctuate their sentences correctly (ever hear of upper case?). Also, it’s usually a good idea to use the word “actually” once in a sentence.

  32. matt says:

    Command of the English language has nothing to do with the quality of a game, as you have proved.

    Besides, where did Halo come into the conversation? It’s a linear story line in a video game. D&D, I would presume, plays differently in your group (which evidently incorporates a Spelling Bee?)

  33. aidan says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that I spelt role-playing wrong deliberately as a pun, because D&D places so much emphasis on the rolling of dice.

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  35. higgins says:

    Your list has created some pretty fuzz, but much of the points are arguable. =)

    Anyways, here is the list of reasons why I don’t use D&D:

    1. Power level.
    I’d like to define a certain power level and stick to it throughout the game. In D&D it’s impossible, because if you want to improve your character in any way, you get a damn package of abilities with every level. The guard dogs you feared in the beginning of the game will be helpless pups after a couple of “adventures”.

    2. Restrictiveness.
    Rather than make the character you want, you have to mix and match options to get the closest idea you were striving for. If you want to be a proficient brawler, you have to take a level in a certain class (monk). Character progression is pre-set — why did my back-street brawler suddenly become immune to all diseases (monk class ability)? And why can my witchdoctor take animal forms now (druid class ability)? If you take riding lessons for example, you cannot increase the Riding skill until you gain a level (which can take months in-game, or more, if you’re higher level). You cannot make up your own spells. Many character concepts are banned at starting levels (this is especially true with magic-users). And no, you cannot be a good singer because you chose the Fighter class.

    3. Mystery killing.
    How many times have you seen or thought yourself: “The guy touched my sword and it rusted and crumbled to pieces. This must be Rusting Grasp spell (which the group wizards Spellcraft check confirmed), which means we’re dealing with at least 7th level druid. His Wisdom must be at least 14 to cast that spell, so, his Will save bonus is +7 or greater. He also has a good Fort save, so we better use some spell against him that requires Reflex, which is probably his worst. We gotta keep him away from the bushes too, as he’s got no movement penalties there and he can Entangle us if we follow. He also leaves no tracks behind. Druids also have animal companions, so we better be ready for surprise, and if he starts to lose, he’s got an ability to turn into eagle and fly away. Better watch out for that one, as we need information for him.”

    Okay, I must state I don’t do this on purpose, but this kind of information just comes to me. In essence, one single detail tells me VAST knowledge about the character we’re dealing with. No mystery at all — I know pretty well of what the character is capable of. And if GM modifies things that it isn’t as I think, this is to possibly cause scorned reaction from players: “Hey, why didn’t you tell you allowed such class? I would have really liked to play such a character,” etc.

    4. Logic holes/silliness.
    Weapons have damage caps. Roll 1d4 point of damage for hit using a hand crossbow. WTF!? This is a really dangerous weapon, and this doesn’t even account for a scratch on most non-starting characters.

    Okay, while never mentioned in the books, I can understand that Hit Points are meant to represent also stamina and dodging, not just taking wounds. However, this makes an arrow just as easy to avoid as a punch. Although it’s better than having barbarians running around with a dozen of arrows in their chest, it’s still silly. But hey, that’s what D&D is — silly. A friend of mine explained me once how he can make a character who dishes out 1d6+4 damage with a random twig picked up from the forest (don’t remember the mechanics, sorry, but it didn’t require exceptional Strength). It was also amusing that a single shuriken can CONSTANTLY make just as much damage as an average longsword (1 damage + 1 point blank shot + 2 weapon specialization = 4 automatic damage). Have fun combining it with the Flurry of Blows and you get a character whose biggest problem is that he cannot physically carry enough shurikens… They just run out before the combat ends. =D

    Have you ever-ever seen any PC take cover in D&D against a single archer? Their defence trait vs. bullets/arrows is the same as in melée, so it would be stupid to take cover, as there’s no additional danger in charging ahead to hack the archer down. (Some firearms-based settings have upped the base damage of ranged weaponry to address this issue, but it’s not evident in D&D.)

    This chapter also covers the impact of a the d20 roll has on a skill/ability checks. In case of the latter, your characters capabilities make up a diminiscule part in the final result. Yes, this means that people with no training can outshine professionals time-to-time, and that arms wrestling contests between Strength 8 and 18 characters are mainly resolved with luck.

    And as someone has very wisely said — though the skill ranks certainly help to succeed in tasks, they have more to do with qualifying for a prestige class.

    There are more and more detailed issues on it, but they tend to fall into the four categories presented above.

  36. matt says:

    Wow 🙂 That was fun to read. Glad we agree. 🙂

  37. Eamon says:


    that was a great piece.


  38. Rob says:

    WARNING! If you don’t like D&D because the fantasy adventure genre doesn’t appeal to you or because you’re a Narrativist and D&D is Gamist, or something like that, nothing in this post is going to remotely interest you. Don’t bother reading it! If you just don’t like D&D for reasons of rules and flavor silliness, read on…

    If the five things in the OP are your biggest issues with D&D, you might check out one of the retro-clones. A lot of the stuff you guys are mentioning is pretty strictly problems about the later, kruftier WotC editions of the game (And to a much lesser extent 1st and 2nd ed. AD&D).

    Retro-clones are games that basically use the OGL as an excuse to republish the older versions of D&D in more readable books. Given the reasons listed in the original post I would stay away from OSRIC (It’s 1e AD&D, which can gets stupidly complicated as written). However, Labyrinth Lord ( and Swords and Wizardry ( might suit you well, and best of all, are available free online. There are far FAR less dice rolls and finicky rules; most of them use a Law vs. Chaos alignment setup that’s more for labeling your allies and enemies than for defining how your character acts; and almost all of them are either one or two books (which, I repeat, are free on pdf – everything tastes better free!). And unlike 3e and 4e, most of the rules are pretty easy to mix and match, or to tinker with if you don’t like some of the minor ones. You can also use adventure material from up to 2e AD&D or pretty much any retroclone almost entirely interchangeably.

    A few of the logic holes stick around, but 99.5% of the stupid combat shenanigans that let you deal a million damage a round with shurikens are also gone. Most of the rules for weird scenarios are centered around letting the referee actually exercise common sense instead of depending on silly charts.

    Levels are sorta integral to D&D – you could ditch them, but you might as well being playing another system at that point – so there’s not much you can do about those other than vary the XP rate and starting level of the game. Probably the best thing for Higgin to do, for example, in his constant-power-level game would be to issue a starting level, then award no XP at all. Bam! Constant levels.

    As for games where different characters have different power levels? Just about any level system kinda handles that already. It may not be terribly common to meet players willing to play sidekicks, but I think it’s fair to say that the system’s not really the issue there. And incidentally, even in 3.x you can use better spell slots for weaker spells. Besides, the hypothetical wizard who can throw five magic missiles per day is a genuinely stronger character than that original guy who could only hurl three. Which is why giving Fiver an extra level or two makes sense. If you need a bigger change that that, just do it and damn the consequences. Most RPG systems are robust enough to handle quite a lot of house-ruling.

    Mystery-killing is a tough one to answer in any published system (especially one where the players all own the rules), but only if you never create any original content yourself. And when a fairly complete monster statblock looks like this…

    Firedrake: 3HD, 13 hp, AC15, bite 1d4+1, fire breath (2d6, 30′ cone) 3/day.

    …There’s not really any reason not to (other than maybe not wanting to do the creative part of the work). Tweaking old classes, abilities or spells, or building new ones for characters that don’t quite fit an existing mold is a bit harder, but really not all that much.

    So yeah. Admittedly, I’m a Rabid D&D Fan but I think about 2/3 of the complaints here have answers, even if sometimes that answer is “Play an less complicated version”, “Ignore that rule”, “Take ten minutes and write a more suitable class”, or “Look for a DM less crappy than the one you played with”. I highly encourage anyone who’s never tried early D&D or a retroclone to give them a shot. If all you’ve ever tried is the Wizards editions, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  39. PugRock says:

    Not that it’s important to topic, but on the topic of the lawful/good paladin issue….you really think that only the lawful/good gods choose to have armadon champions? Seriously….get with your DM and work something out with a less than spotless Deity.

    5. Can’t agree more, especially with 3e and 3.5, do I really need to roll to scratch my ass?
    4. Alignment strict gaming is only good if you’re certain the character you made will always follow that path…..unfortunately there are times even good folks do bad things when pushed far enough, and same goes for evil characters, just as capable of pulling off a good act without warping their psyche for life, I’ve had evil characters in goody two shoes parties, saving the world…because it served their purpose, alignment strictures have always annoyed the hell out of me, who gives a damn what a neutral/good or whatever would do in that situation, what would MY character, in THAT situation, under THOSE circumstances, choose to do?
    3. I’ve played level progression, and skill progression type rpg’s…and I really don’t have a preference here, it’s what works for DND, not a perfect system to be sure, although I find it hard to imagine any other method being accepted by the die-hards
    2. Two Book System, that’s funny, if you want to get to 20th lvl on nothing better than 4th lvl monsters and the occasional 25th lvl dragon, be my guest, but I’d get bored as hell of the same 11 monsters you get with those two wonderful books, and what the hell is with the monster book price hikes? oh and by the way, “if you want to know how this works it’s covered in *random book you don’t own* chapter7”. taking the important information you actually NEED and chopping it up amongst all your random and “not neccessary to play” release books….ingenious marketing.
    1. Rabid followers that blindly and incoherently defend something instead of making rational responses, I’ve seen too many of. If something is broke, it’s broke, don’t judge and criticize just because I voice my opinion on the brokeness of a part of a game. Why else are house rules formed by so many people? Because the game is broken in some way and needs a better interpretation, or way of dealing with whatever situation/action is taking place. example: 3e making an unarmed attack such as a punch while not being a Monk character class, your oponent gets a free attack if they are holding a weapon….wouldn’t someone trying to punch a person with a weapon already taken the weapon into account and looked for an appropriate opening? or would a lvl 16 fighter with 4 attacks a round be humiliated by any 1st level character with combat reflexes feat and a dex bonus of 4 by getting smacked 16 times for throwing 4 punches? really?? longsword is a common weapon ingame, a 1st lvl char doing 16d8 damage(16-128pts) in a round, not counting his/her normal attack….tho unlikely….doesn’t change that it’s possible, or that it’s broke

  40. Incarnum13 says:

    Thank you all, I am working on my own RPG, and this all helps, I have been surfing the net for the past 3 months because my game is almost done, but I need to see what I can do to make it better. I am sorry but it is level based, while level based games are not realistic they help to balance the games power, however while the game is level based that doesn’t mean everyone is alike, I agree that spell casters should be something to fear, it’s hard to make the system balanced with that in mind but I have achieved it. The rule system so far is easy and fast, and leveling is quick. The game also uses alignments but because of a subclass system your alignment really only tells you what your most likely to do in a situation, not what you’re going to do.
    There are a few things I am sorry about, 1st is the game uses three core books, players book, gms book and creature collecting. This is because all of this is needed but cannot be put in one book, while the game doesn’t require the gms book, the creature collection will be required if players wish to play certain classes, or use certain abilities. Also I do plan on bring out more book, but I plan on having all the needed rules in the players book, so players who don’t want the new books don’t have to buy them.
    Second is the rolling system, we have cut as many corners as we can to limit the rolls during game play, but not as much as some would like, currently I am working on a way to allow spell casters to do more damage with less dice, but it’s a little difficult.
    This game has been in production for 8 years now, (4 years were not much more then testing out idead, but the last few years have turned this idea into a game that (so far) all my testers have loved, and say it beats D&D and Rifts to a pulp.)
    If anyone would like to chat about things you think would make the game better, or other things, you can contact me at . the site comes up this march, and we start selling this July. Again I see a lot of you have a problem with more than one book, but think of this, have you ever tried to make a game? I figured it would be easy, 8 years later here I am.

  41. jkjkkhjk says:

    d&d is overrated people say its the best game ever but this game is for nerds who lives with their mothers stop staying in the closet and go outside get some exercise the only girls you see is video game girls

  42. PC1975 says:

    I would also like to point out that the system lacks a universal mechanic. My group plays a hand-full of different games, and no one in my group has all of the D&D rules memorised, so when someone needs to turn undead, they have to stop and look up the rule. Disarm, stop, look up the rule. Jump distance, stop, look up rule. Sunder…well, you can see where I’m going with this. Throw spells into the mix, and yech. Then there are prestige classes…

    Once the player has looked up the rule, if you have GM who thinks the player is cheating or doesn’t agree with the rule, he has to stop and look at the rule too. There are plenty of games we play with universal mechanics or near universal mechanics for task resolution.

    You wanna see a rule that defies logic, and completely class/level system obsolete, read the Turning undead rules very closely, and apply it to a level 2 character turning level 1 undead, then apply it to a level 20 cleric turning higher level undead. Clerics become less powerful as they level.

    Healing naturally, everyone heals so many hp per night of rest…this is the same for a level 10 as it is for a level 1…so, level 1 characters heal faster? Wizards recover from fights easier than warriors do? Flaw. I could do this all day.

    I wish my group would drop this turd of a system completely, but they cling to it for some reason, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

  43. aidan says:

    Now I have this fantastic image of a group of PCs, replete with cloaks and magic weaponry, grimly clinging on to a large floating turd as they are swept through storm-tossed waters.

  44. Maurycy says:

    It feels weird taking a part in a flamewar, especially so old, but I want to say my thoughts as the discussion here broke my illusion that RPG gamers are generally smarter than average person.
    First of all let me comment on five of your points:
    5. Roll-playing Game: I think that out of all your accusations this one is the hardest, which makes me wonder why you made it as #5. Anyway I personally don’t see a problem with having to roll the dice from time to time. Most of the things require only two rolls, if that’s a problem with someone then yep, DnD sucks for YOU. I, as well as my players, take great joy and tension out of dice throwing and we know how to make it an enjoyable thing. so it actually is something that ADDS to the fun, not takes from it as you make it sound.
    And it’s not that throwing a dice takes time (as I can imagine such argument being stated). For me, throwing a dice, determining a total score, throwing a second dice, determining the second score, comparing and then finally telling my players what happens usually takes no more than 5 seconds. most of the time you get pretty wide rolls (like 17 vs 8) and you immediately know whether you have a failure or success. It gets a bit worse for battling, true… But that is only a problem if you have abundance of them, which is not something we seek in our games.
    I would also love to address the argument that there are too many rules. It might be that I misinterpreted the whole thing, but the moment I started Game Mastering I realized, that the rules out there are only for you to select from. Sure, there are some things which could be hard to change (like attacking or leveling), but the rest is to be use-or-ignore. No one forces you to follow every single guideline and little tiny rule in the core books. You are free to do what you want, if you actually feel up to it. Just don’t get angry when you end up with completely unbalanced game at some point due to wrong rule modifications.
    As for synergy bonus – it only shows that the person who keeps an eye on the character lacks common sense – who forbids you to write all your synergy bonuses next to skills? It’s not like you are losing them during the game. And, as mentioned above, no one forbids you from ignoring this.

    4. Alignment (I am going to address some accusations mentioned in the comments too): Indeed, these serve only as a guideline for your character’s personality. Aren’t actually all of the (GOOD!) Paladins a “shining paragons of justice and virtue”? Or to be more precise – can you imagine a good paladin, who serves a good god, in a world where a paladin is chosen and accepted by aforementioned god (unless I have got something wrong here in which case my point may or may not be completely invalid) to be a bastard who goes around stealing from people and hurting them without reason? Such person would be abandoned by that god and voila! We have an ex-paladin here. The same for a paladin who completely ignores his order’s law (chaotic)? They would just kick him out because he failed to fit into them. Not a problem. And also characters can change alignment if I recall correctly, so that is one problem less.
    Someone here said that alignment is a bad thing, because you can force a good cleric to do a bad deed and an evil person can do something good. Sure, but the good cleric will be, as said, FORCED to do something (say, kill somebody). But he won’t stop being a good person, because he did it for greater good, not for his own selfish needs. The same for evil character – he travels with heroes not because he wants to save the world but because he wants to do some killing/get powerful to be better tyrant/get cash/bask in the glory and so on. Saving a city doesn’t change the fact that he did it only to have his own monument and get his weight in gold. So that’s not really an argument here. And besides, you still can ignore or modify the alignment rules if you feel like it.

    3. Levels: While you say it is unnatural and I have to agree with you, but I can’t disagree more with your hostility towards it. One thing I always loved in RPGs was leveling. The enormous joy you feel when you know you have become stronger. But I guess it is once again a matter of taste as I personally never liked the idea of training skills in RPGs, it was always too unpredictable (some Roguelikes) or too much like casual grinding (Morrowind and some other RGs). So yes, it is UNREALISTIC but at least as much, if not more, fun. Besides, as you mentioned, implementing training would implement more rules which we know you already dislike and it only adds to general complication of gameplay.
    And random encounters… Well, I never really thought that there is anyone who actually uses them. Besides you can create random encounters chart for ANY system so it’s not a valid point in my eyes.

    2. Two-Book Minimum: Fine, it’s that if you want to play D&D legally (or without extensive researches) you need to pay quite a bit. But how does that relate to the actual content? Just because something is expensive it has to be bad? I don’t want to be filled with prejudice against you, but argument like that gives an impression that you are either a troll or a flamewar spewer. I am not going to bias my opinions and post on that thing so I will assume that you are a decent person.

    1. Rabid Players: with all due respect to all posters above me, terrifying majority of people above who talked against DnD spend their keypresses on insults, missing the point and pointing mistakes (really, is there any better way to prove that you don’t know what you are talking about [or are just plain stupid] than ignoring content of the post and nitpicking writing mistakes?) The sole reason for big amounts of DnD fanboys is that DnD is popular. Take your favorite system, imagine that it is as popular as DnD and now, can’t you see all the fanboys out there? Or take the crappiest system, you will see the same thing. So I am saying again – arguments like this one don’t really give a good impression about the poster.

    Some of the other arguments I saw in the comments:
    # Non-standard rules in DnD – can’t really say anything about it, I am afraid I never played any other system – we play diceless when we want to, and we enjoy rolling the dice enough to don’t need any simplifications.
    # DnD is a feeder for imagination-less people – well, SORRY, but I think someone holds here a personal vendetta against DnD. I might not be the most experienced player, but the time I spent on my campaign for this game was no more restricting than me writing a novel.

    So these are my opinions on the matter. Feel free to disagree but if all you can say are more or less insults then please feed yourself some hay. Thank you for your time :).

  45. John Drohan says:

    Alright, I hate to get in the middle of everyones BS session, but, having played D&D in particular for about 17 years, Maybe I can add a bit to this forum, and I promise I will stay non-biased on this. I’m a DM myself, so as such, I can say that I own and have read almost all of the D&D rulebooks. (Between AD&D 2 – D&D 3.5. Haven’t gotten around to 4 yet.) The rules, as written are a bit too linear, and in truth, the dice rolls can suck at times, (especially when you are running the game session and the dice seem to hate you.) but everyone focuses a bit too much on how it was all put down, and it really hasn’t been changed any since the late 1970’s. I play 3.5 because of a few simple subtleties that I feel add to it. For example, to touch on the issue of alignment with Clerics and Paladins. The basics are still there, must be of lawful alignment, etc. but nowhere does it say that it must be lawful good. A paladin is nothing more or less than a divine warrior. That does not necessarily mean that they are good, it just means that they are aligned to a particular deity. There are quite a few evil deities out there, if you choose to play it that way. Likewise, there is a little rule that everyone overlooks, known as objectivity, which makes it to where evil and good are merely a difference in opinion. Example, as though I really needed one to explain something as simple as that to any of you.

    Upon the wasted battlefields, in the frozen tundra, Sturm Brightblade and the Knights of Palidine stood, weapons at the ready, staring down the vile Knights of the Rose, who slaughter entire villages in the name of there heathen gods. On the opposite end of the field stood Jareth Mortryr, a Knight of the Rose, waiting for the orders from his lords to cite the attack upon the vile enemies, who oppress there subjects, putting to death any who disagree with their belief in Palidine.

    In a case such as this, which side is right. Both sides have undying faith in their causes and beliefs, and likewise both believe that their ways are right, but how do you tell the difference? ( I know it’s Forgotten Realms, but Sturm Brightbalde is actually from the dragons series of Forgotten Realms novels aiden. very good series, and I do recommend it, if your interested in reading it. It gives alot of depth to the different classes.) Now to cover a couple more of the major gripes.

    Though the leveling system can be somewhat overwhelming, when you want to for a little while, step out of reality and into a place that exists purely in the imagination, and I speak for myself on this one, I personally would like to have a fighting chance at survival as the adventures continue to get harder. That is the main thing I dislike about war and fighting games. (Well, that and the fact that most, if not all of them are based in a setting of pure reality. When I want to play a game, it’s not to do the things I could do in real life, ex. join the military and shoot people for a living, start a fight and beat people up on the streets, etc.) I will admit that there are a few aspects that I dislike about D&D, but in most cases if you are either DM, or in a campaign with a good DM, those things can be easily worked out as you go. For example, and I’ve had this one happen recenly to me in a session, so I’ll type out the conversation for your enjoyment.

    Player: I really like the wizards, but what I’d really like to do is be able to incorporate fighting and magic for a more fun game.
    Me : Well, I mean, you can choose to multiclass, but you’d have to be second level to do that.

    Now if I hadn’t read the books, and had I wanted to be a jerk, that whole conversation would have ended there, and I probably would have lost a player for that campaign, but as it stands, the conversation continued as such.

    Me: There is a rule in the PHB that talks about making new classes. Lets see what we can do to make it a bit more fun for you, within reason.

    We sat down and within 30 minutes had a character made up that she has enjoyed playing ever since, and is still throughly impressed with. She is able to do things that in real life, she never would have even dreamed of doing, aside from the simple magical aspect. Also, just to try to debunk a few myths about the genre of people who play games such as this, she is a soldier in the U.S. Army, has been in for about 8 years, and plans on staying in to retire. I myself am the typical college student at OU, and am majoring in business management. The other people in my campain are professional types, and we are all adamant players. (Kinda reinforcing the Rabid Player stereotype, but oh well.)

    Now on to the next subject, the “Two Book Minimum”. I personally have all the 3.5 books on my external hard drive, and I hate to say it, but aside from certain expanded parts, can quote most of the rules from memory. That comes in handy, because in most cases, if my party needs a rule, I can just turn my laptop around and let them see it, or I can simply give them the hard drive, and they can hook it up to one of their laptops, as I really only need Microsoft Wordpad to run a truly fun and successful gaming session. That is one sign of a truly good DM, but I realize that not everyone can afford to memorize all that stuff, so that is not the only way. I’m not getting into all the ways right now, as I’ve taken enough time on this subject for those of you who will actually read this.

    Now then, since I’ve mostly pimping D&D, and explaining ways that it can be made more fun, I’ll go ahead and focus on some of my least favorite aspects. First, I’m not a big fan of looking like a geek when I’m walking into where ever we are playing with a full bag of dice. (Take it from me, using a Crown Royal bag to try to hide what you’re carrying really doesn’t help much.) If there was a way to change that, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat. Maybe a computer program to do the dice rolls for you………..
    Likewise, the length of a game session is a bit on the tedious side. When I’m being descriptive, which I always have to be, otherwise my people will get bored, it usually takes anywhere from 10 to 48 hours to get through one session. That equals alot of free time, (we only really play on weekends) tons of patience, (Which at times can be in short supply, depending on whats going on in the peoples lives) and still more Mt. Dew. (which, after about five 24 packs in a weekend can get pretty pricey.) Next and last gripe.
    At all times, you’re at the mercy of the dice, which at times really truly sucks. It'[s all like shooting craps, with more sides to the dice. Some nights, you may be on a roll, (Unintentional humor, and I do apologize if you don’t get it.) and then other nights you may lose it all. Only real difference is, in craps, if you lose it all, you walk away broke, while in D&D, if you lose it all, you walk away without a character. It has happened to the best of players. (I’m sure that even Mr. E. Gary Gygax has died a time or two in a game. For those of you who don’t know who that is, he was the creator of the most popular pen and paper RPG of all time, D&D.)
    Now, from a DM’s point of view, one of the best things I can have happen with a session is having all of my players, once we finally finish, walk away with smiles on their faces. Sorry for being so long winded, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents in this argument, and add another fairly well informed perspective to this speculative debate on an opinion that was stated from only one side of the margin of them. (Yes people, I’m talking about the original post. He does not like RPG’s, and I won’t criticize him for it. As they say “Different Strokes for Different Folks.”)

  46. Robert says:

    As long as the rules give the dm total control on a game that is suppose to be for players, then you are always going to haven problems.

    It’s the Dm’s world! your just living in it, if you do not like it there is the door!

  47. Nick says:

    I have only been playing for around 5 years. It is more like three books you have to use the players, dms guide and the monster manual. Thats why if you look at the cover they say core on them. I don’t mind paying the $100 for those books I have been using the same ones for 5 years. I stopped buying and playing as many video games because of it so in the long run it has saved me money. For the time it takes for most people to make a character it takes me probably four times as long. I use great detail when making the character and understand what it does and don’t mind doing so. Character creation is my favorite part. Yes the leveling does suck but whatever. I find the reason most people play a hack and slash character is because they are easier then learning a bunch of rules. Yes the rules get in the way lots of times but I never change them just find a way around them. I think it would have been better if they split AC up one for armour and one for the characters ability to dodge or parry an attack. There are fan boys for anything, people like what they like. If a campaign you play is to parallel it is your DMs fault not the game. I had a DM who made a world different adventurers through out the world and then let us roam free (we died cause a player thought it was a good idea to sail through a storm). I definitely don’t think the dice are an issue its actually what ended up killing us in the storm. For the alignment thing yes it is a pain in the ass to deal with I usually end up making my players when I DM be neutral and what there actions are will dictate what alignment they end up with. There are variants for classes and yes you have to buy another book (OMG another book) or you could just download them. Then you could play as a paladin of slaughter. Like I said my favorite part is character creation so the more classes and prestige classes the better for me. You can only do so much with a little amount of classes. If it bothers people to have so many weapons don’t get them. I played an iron kingdoms campaign an ended up with around 16 pistols (all single shot) it was just faster the reloading. My strength was high enough to carry all the weapons. I assume there isn’t going to be many people reading this.

  48. Scryer's Eve says:

    The best part of this rant was the comments. 🙂

  49. crusader131 says:

    Here’s an idea i just had while reading this. Why not change the Paladin class to a prestige class? Anyone can gain a Paladin’s abilities by following that strict moral code, aligning themselves with a lawful good god, or by just acting as a paragon of virtue for the people of the land to follow. Let Paladin be a title with benefits. Why not have a lawful good wizard who can also smite a little evil?

    Another possibility, if you don’t want to rework the class, would be to change the setting the Paladin operates in. Tired of playing a lawful good character in a lawful world under the domain of a good god? How about playing a Drow Paladin, not from the Underdark, but IN the Underdark?

    Suddenly doing the right thing isn’t so easy, and being a lawful good character becomes more than a restriction, it becomes life threatening. This could lead to excellent character development, well beyond a two dimensional “good guy with a sword and some healing spells”.

    I’ve always like the Paladin conceptually, but on paper and in DDO they just fail to impress me. If you want to heal, play a Cleric, if you want to fight, play a Fighter or Barbarian. Clerics can be any alignment that has a god, right? And there are no (or few) alignment restrictions for Fighters or Barbarians, are there? How hard would it be for bunch of neutral good or lawful neutral characters to live in the Underdark and party with the lawful good Paladin?

  50. AerenCarter says:

    I dont normally comment on blogs, but your post, Top 5 reasons why D&D sucks « lategaming , was well written and made me want to read more of your work. Well done and keep it up.

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