Friday 4 December 2020

It's YOUR game

I seem to be talking about D&D a lot recently, so I promise to offset that with other games in the near future. This is just something I've been thinking about recently and I'm sure it's not gone unnoticed.

Now, I'm not getting at this individual at all - they're not the first and they won't be the last to ask a question like this, but I think this is a good indication of some of the current roleplaying ethos. Jeremy Crawford fields a lot of questions, many of them based on rules clarifications of mechanics. But every now and again I see questions like this crop up. I think the question is a reflection of how Wizards wants D&D to be, possibly more in 5e than ever. 

The game is YOURS. You and your group decide what is part of your game reality. You own the game and you don't need permission from a corporation to do something in your own game. I absolutely don't blame people for asking these questions, though. Wizards has been incredibly savvy with 5e about controlling the narrative. Books are released as events, with multimedia storylines tying into that one narrative. As a marketing professional, I think they've done an amazing job, but as a gamer I don't think it fosters the right culture. I'd suggest the marketing around D&D is partially to blame for a permission culture. 

At its roots D&D was about hacking the rules to your group's tastes. Fermenting and growing your own D&D. Even 4e, in which Wizards had a tight leash, encourages you to create your own world. Some players now seem to need reminding that they're in charge of D&D. I'm almost certain it says this in the 5e Player's Handbook, but that ethos seems to be at odds with the corporate machine.


  1. It's nothing new, I'm afraid. The Sage Advice column in Dragon is full of it. Alongside rules questions like "Are creatures entitled to save vs. level loss when hit by a wight, wraith, spectre, etc.?" you get things like "Can magic-users bring their spell books into dungeons or on overland adventures?" (both from #43, Nov. 1980).

    1. You're right. I was reading Dragon 39 (or thereabouts) last night and there was something similar