Questions relating to Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, or to multiple versions of Dungeons & Dragons.

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43
votes
10answers
8k views

Overview of D&D retro-clones

I'm getting more and more interested in the D&D retro-clones. I keep seeing various names thrown around, like Labyrinth Lords, Swords and Wizardry, Lycanthropes &… something else starting with ...
72
votes
9answers
17k views

I'm at a loss with “Dungeons and Dragons.” How does one play it, anyway?

I'm no gamer at all, so this could be like a very silly, basic question for you guys. The thing is that I always read about "Dungeons and Dragons" game (not the video game, but the normal game to play ...
52
votes
9answers
2k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
71
votes
20answers
11k views

I'm creating an original setting for D&D—where do I start? [on hold]

Creating a new fantasy setting for D&D is daunting but I don't want to use one of the published settings. I have a blank piece of paper in front of me and a whole world to create. My friends want ...
35
votes
17answers
11k views

Can a D&D Necromancer be of a good alignment?

I've been considering creating a good-aligned necromancer, but I'm not sure if it's realistic from a role-playing perspective. Is there anything inherent in necromancy that would require someone to be ...
33
votes
4answers
46k views

What are the differences between D&D 3.5 and D&D 4th edition?

I have a small group of players who don't play often and we've been playing D&D 3.5. I wanted to know if there are any significant differences between D&D 3.5 and D&D 4e? Do they use a ...
40
votes
13answers
1k views

How to communicate to the players that an encounter can be solved also through diplomacy?

When you play D&D, you are not supposed to chat with the enemy during encounters. The system is made for fighting. However, in some circumstances, it would be nice to make the players conscious ...
17
votes
8answers
12k views

Homebrew D&D with only 2 players (plus DM)

I DM'ed for my buddies this semester and it was really fun. I got my roommate hooked and now he's asking for me to make another campaign (I've got a great idea). The problem lies in the fact that I'll ...
50
votes
3answers
30k views

What are the big differences between the D&D editions?

I've been out of the loop for a while, and I used to play AD&D 2nd ed, but today I find there are a lot of different versions that have fairly different gameplay. Can anyone summarize the really ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

What about character death should be included in a social contract?

For a D&D (4e, primarily) game what about player-character death should be included in a group's social contract? What are some options for best reaching consensus about the possibility of death ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Relationship Mechanics for D&D/Pathfinder?

My Pathfinder/D&D games tend to involve relationships - romantic, friendly, etc. - between PCs and NPCs alike. 3.x only has the Diplomacy mechanic for any kind of relationship mechanic. I'm ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

What defines the “old school renaissance”?

I'm aware that the old school renaissance (OSR) is all about hearkening back to old versions of D&D and the play styles of the 70's and 80's, but what characteristics really define this movement? ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from?

Where does the modern D&D of a dwarf come from? I've noticed it's fairly far from the old Germanic concept of a dwarf. Where did Gary Gygax and company get the idea for the current long bearded, ...
8
votes
1answer
795 views

Is it possible to use rules from OGL or GSL in a computer game?

I'm experimenting with making an RPG game for mobile phones, and I could save some time if I used an established system for stats and combat etc. From a quick read of the licenses I'm not sure whether ...
58
votes
19answers
4k views

How should a GM deal with sexuality in an RPG?

I think it's a matter of fact that since the first moment a player realizes that he or she can interact with someone of the opposite sex romantically within the game, things get hairy. I had my fair ...
25
votes
7answers
3k views

How does D&D Vancian magic make sense in-game?

One thing that bugs me about Vancian Magic in D&D as I understand it is the following: How is "fire and forget" remotely believable when I can slot and ready more than one "copy" of a spell? Say ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Guide to convert a 3.5e DM to a 4e DM

I have never played fourth ed, I have read most of the new books, but it is so different as to be quite foreign to my play style. Is there a primer or guide out to help 3.5 DMs switch to 4th smoothly? ...
3
votes
4answers
253 views

What is the current state of affairs of SpellJammer?

Is there an expectation of anything happing with it in the future?
8
votes
5answers
827 views

Can a Psion become a Thrallherd, then drop Diplomacy with Psychic Reformation?

I have a Psion(Egoist)/Thrallherd with Psychic Reformation. I'm wondering whether I can use Psychic Reformation to drop the points in Diplomacy and the Inquisitor feat, and reassign the points to ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I convert a 4e D&D character to 3.5e?

I have a character in 4e that I've been using for a while, but I recently met a DM who wants me and a friend to play his 3.5e campaign, since he doesn't like 4e or something... but our characters are ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How to roll perception checks for characters who aren't actively looking?

This applies to all d20 systems, but with an example from the from the Pathfinder PRD (emphasis mine): Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual ...
54
votes
15answers
9k views

Why does everyone carry a 10' pole?

Based on this comment over on CRPG Addict: No adventuring party is complete without a ten foot pole. ... Jason, but WHY? In God's name, WHAT IS IT FOR?! What is a 10 foot pole used for ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

How to reduce minis dependence in d20-based games?

In Pathfinder and similar versions of D&D, there is a lot more miniatures/tactical map dependence than in earlier versions (and in most other RPGs). I am interested in reducing the dependence on ...
31
votes
11answers
3k views

How can a GM justify changing a player's alignment?

Lately, in one of my campaigns, I've been having problems with a character who everyone agrees is acting out of alignment. Everyone, that is, but him. The problem, of course, is that he's playing a ...
22
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it possible to actually kill a Tarrasque?

I've seen a good bit of conflicting information on this creature. Is it possible to actually kill it? Permanently? Is the answer to this something that varies from edition to edition of D&D?
34
votes
15answers
3k views

Narrative Combat versus Use of Miniatures

When I first started playing D&D, my DM did not use battlemaps or miniatures to describe combat. Everything was described to us, and questions to the DM were part and parcel of the experience, ...
33
votes
11answers
3k views

Is it practical to run a weekly lunch-hour game of D&D with my coworkers?

I'm looking to get some of my coworkers together and start a lunch time, casual, D&D game. Has anyone done this - is there a practical way to do this? Our lunch breaks run for about 1 hour, but I ...
20
votes
16answers
1k views

Why aren't magocracies and theocracies dominant in D&D settings?

Anyone has (or has links to) well thought-out, logical explanations for why magocracies and theocracies are not the dominant forms of government of D&D worlds? I'd also be really interested in ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Is there a good searchable database of D&D adventures?

I have shelves and shelves of RPG books, and a lot of it's D&D. I have every Dungeon magazine from #1 on. But for some reason I can never find the right adventure for what I need. What I'm ...
20
votes
5answers
861 views

How does Charm Person affect a PC?

It's quite clear how the DM should play any NPCs that get Charmed by a PC -- the NPC should behave as the caster's best friend, and do things that he'd do for his best friend. But how do you play ...
18
votes
11answers
969 views

Encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in combat encounters

I'm a GM currently running D&D 3.5. I try to think of situations that present the players with a number of possible solutions. The players, however, always resort to the same pattern of killing ...
10
votes
8answers
562 views

Minimum player knowledge of the rules

None of my group of players have read any of the rule books, not even the Player's Handbook. I find this isn't a problem when making rulings, as they all accept my word (and a quick lookup if I'm not ...
6
votes
1answer
339 views

What are the historical and literary backgrounds of Dungeons & Dragons Languages?

Is there a source for the nature of the fantasy languages in D&D? An official source would be best, but I'd also be interested in other players' interpretations of the languages. If the D&D ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are DCs supposed to be secret?

Are players not supposed to ask what is the DC for a roll? If you're the DM and someone asks, would you tell them you can't say? Would you instead tell them the difficulty in relative terms like, ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Do I reset XP to zero on a new level?

In the D&D group I play with one of the players insists that when you reach a new level you have to zero your experience. However when I checked the PHB1 there is no reference to this. PHB1 uses ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

What is a good way to explain the difference between a Chaotic Neutral character, and a character who is just crazed?

When I first started playing with a group of completely new players, one of the first things I did was to explain the alignments as best I could at the time. When describing Chaotic Neutral, my exact ...
4
votes
2answers
250 views

About monster definition and distinctions

I was having a discussion with some guy and I argued that I think D&D made distinctions between monsters and regular characters since earlier editions, and it even employed different mechanics. ...
37
votes
10answers
2k views

How can I invoke actual fear in my players?

I'm a DM that focuses heavily on story, description and setting. My goal is to send players home wanting -- no, longing -- to actually be part of the mythos I've created. The ultimate goal for me as ...
29
votes
5answers
7k views

What are the differences between Holmes, Moldvay, and Mentzer D&D?

What are the differences between Holmes, Moldvay, and Mentzer D&D? Also, which one came first?
60
votes
12answers
2k views

What's a good mechanic for rewarding players for keeping their characters happy?

In a lot of setting and systems, such as D&D, the aim of the game tends to be to explore and kill things. Money is spent on useful items and hirelings. However, a real adventurer would probably ...
30
votes
6answers
2k views

In an even fight, how many rounds does a typical monster need to drop a PC?

Inspired by the closed question: DnD Next Hitpoint Inflation, There have been claims of HP inflation in dnd-next, and there certainly were increased in the absolute value of HP in 4e. In order to ...
48
votes
26answers
4k views

What alternatives are there to replace orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins in low-level encounters?

In your average "generic D&D" campaign and setting, orcs, kobolds, and hobgoblins are frequently used to stock low level adventures and dungeons. These are usually nice for 1st/2nd level ...
19
votes
1answer
686 views

How has D&D changed over time in its guidance to DMs as to when to extrapolate from written rules and when to improvise?

This answer (to a question about a levitating character trying to catch an object that exceeds the spell's weight limit in D&D 2e) states that: The spell levitate has a maximum weight limit, ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

As a GM, how do I keep Dungeons & Dragons more interesting for young players?

Currently, my group of players is my children, ages 7+ through 14+ (and several in between). They all are really excited about playing, but I am having great difficulty keeping them all interested ...
15
votes
15answers
2k views

What are some interesting ways to structure a random encounter table? [closed]

The standard tables I've seen have been basic 'Wandering Monster' tables where you roll some dice in order to generate a random encounter. I'm sure many have taken this concept further, but I haven't ...
28
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I run a successful and engaging campaign without combat?

I'm thinking of starting my own campaign with a few of my friends with me as DM, primarily because I wasn't extremely impressed with the campaign my friend was DMing. When I started thinking about the ...
19
votes
10answers
989 views

What are the core tropes or assumptions of D&D?

After an interesting discussion with my local GM, I was left wondering What are the core tropes and assumptions that players bring to a game of D&D? Specifically the ones that are different from ...
14
votes
7answers
939 views

What qualifies exploration gaming?

In the run up to DnD Next the designers seem to have categorised gamers and/or classes that focus on Combat, Roleplay and Exploration. See this quote from Mike Mearls: "Setting aside mechanics, I ...
21
votes
3answers
351 views

Athas: A terrifying vision of the future?

Athas, the desolated world of deserts, obsidian and ecological ruin that is the focus of the Dark Sun campaign setting, is generally portrayed as a prime world nearing the end of its life expectancy. ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...