Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Power of No

I know I promised to take a week off, but this just called out to me.

Seeing all the stuff that Wizards of the Coast is putting out as they sort out the new edition of D&D is always entertaining. Take this bit, for instance:

In this one, the writer talks about races and, specifically, what races are "core" to D&D. He considered tieflings and dragonborn to be "non-core" even though they showed up in the "core" Player's Handbook for 4th Edition D&D. The solution he proposes is to "flag" races as being common, uncommon, or rare, so a Dungeon Master can readily identify the "core" from the "non-core" even if they show up in a "core rulebook."

The idea has merit, but I'm not sure it goes far enough. Not in terms of labeling and structure, but in terms of DM empowerment. The d20 playerbase is nearly infamous for its adherence to inclusion. Specifically, if a DM doesn't allow a player to build their character using abilities from any and every supplement ever printed, even if said character is cheesier than Mayor McCheese himself, the player throws a mighty fit. The glut of d20 material out there for players to use has led to player empowerment to the point of player entitlement.

What the next edition of D&D needs, more than a labeling system, is a couple of pages (not just sentences, but full pages) in the Dungeon Master's Guide that tell the DM that it's his campaign and he has the power to say no to anything. Even if it's "core." If your D&D world has no elves in it, no matter how "core" anyone else thinks they should be, than players cannot build elf characters. If your campaign setting has a mighty dragonborn empire, then dragonborn become 100% core.

1 comment:

Charlie Warren said...

I think your idea is the best idea for 5E that I have heard so far. I remember the good old days when the basic philosophy was "it's up to the DM". It made a lot of sense and still does today.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...