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Questions tagged [dungeons-and-dragons]

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

159
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9answers
65k 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 ...
129
votes
14answers
15k 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), ...
114
votes
10answers
19k views

How to stop players from making the game X-rated

After 30 years, a few of my friends and I finally managed to get together and play D&D. We've managed to play 2hrs once a week for the last 6 weeks. I unfortunately ended up being the DM. My ...
98
votes
3answers
141k 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 ...
97
votes
1answer
17k views

Why is the D&D gorgon a metal bull?

In mythology, the gorgons were Medusa and her sisters; snake-like beings who petrified those who saw them. In Dungeons & Dragons, gorgons are bulls with metal scales and the ability to breathe ...
95
votes
3answers
17k views

Why are psionics controversial?

I have recently had a conversation with some of my friends about psionics and their place in the D&D universe, both lore-wise and gameplay-wise. We were discussing the psionics as an optional part ...
94
votes
15answers
35k 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 (its ...
90
votes
1answer
9k views

Why does “dungeon” mean the places adventurers go to kill stuff?

Why does ‘dungeon’, in the context of roleplaying games and D&D in particular, mean the places adventurers go to kill stuff? I’m asking because ‘dungeon’ usually means a kind of prison, and I can’...
86
votes
1answer
23k views

How has D&D's guidance to DMs on when to extrapolate from written rules and when to improvise changed over time?

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, ...
77
votes
4answers
9k views

OD&D said it could be played with 20-50 players and one referee. How was that expected to work and still be fun?

Original D&D is often the shorthand name for the 1974 Dungeons & Dragons, Vol. 1, Men & Magic, written by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The section on "Scope" has this quote: Number of ...
74
votes
20answers
54k views

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

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 ...
72
votes
12answers
6k views

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

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 ...
71
votes
4answers
8k views

What is Pathfinder's relationship to D&D?

Pathfinder is often conflated with D&D, 4e I think, but it isn't actually named "Dungeons & Dragons." What is Pathfinder's relationship to D&D, and how does it fit in with the various D&...
68
votes
4answers
12k views

Why does dandwiki have a poor reputation?

Dandwiki has a markedly poor reputation in the online RPG community; material from it is often dismissed out of hand, and users are encouraged to avoid it and to not incorporate work posted there into ...
68
votes
1answer
6k views

What's the inspiration for the owlbear?

The standard explanation for the owlbear in-universe is "A Wizard Did It." Which is fine, as far as it goes, because the trope of "madman tinkering with bizarre mutations" is part of our speculative ...
64
votes
4answers
5k views

How to play when you have little experience and speech difficulties?

I can't talk, not a word, but I am really interested in getting into tabletop RPGs. But from my understanding of the game, this is difficult to do when you can't talk. I am learning sign language but ...
61
votes
11answers
13k 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 ...
61
votes
6answers
13k views

What's the deal with alignment languages?

In early D&D, there was the concept of an "alignment language." The original "little brown book" D&D says only: Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each ...
60
votes
10answers
13k views

Player has arachnophobia: what to use in place of spiders?

I have a player who joined an ongoing campaign; after a session which involved a fight against giant spiders and an anxiety attack, I was asked by said player's partner to remove the spiders from the ...
59
votes
13answers
13k views

How do I encourage Drow players to not make Drizzt clones?

Every once in a while, I have a player wants to create a Drow character. The problem is, virtually every one of them winds up looking suspiciously like Drizzt Do'Urden: they are some variation of Good ...
59
votes
13answers
5k 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 ...
59
votes
4answers
22k views

Why do Sorcerers use Charisma?

Sorcerers use Charisma as their primary Ability Score for spell-casting in Dungeons and Dragons. Wizards use Intelligence to cast, and Clerics use Wisdom. Intelligence and Wisdom make sense for the ...
55
votes
8answers
25k 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?
53
votes
26answers
16k views

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

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 ...
52
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
52
votes
6answers
9k views

Has Christianity ever been given stats?

Background We have plenty of material through several editions of D&D for several pantheons of old - Norse, Greek, Egyptian, and etc. Have there ever been published material for Christianity? Or ...
51
votes
6answers
10k views

What's the best way to make time spent travelling more interesting?

My players are going from Neverwinter to Comyr in D&D 4e Forgotten Realms. So, what I do everytime they travel is, learned from The Order of the Stick, a single random encounter (which, honestly, ...
50
votes
6answers
29k views

How to randomly generate a village or town for old school D&D game?

There is a lot of material written on random generation of dungeons for play. But inevitably characters have to return from the to spend those ill-gotten gains. And where else but a nearby ...
49
votes
3answers
5k views

Can a new player join a group only when a new campaign starts?

I moved into a house share with my friends (ages 24-29), and they play role-playing games on weekends at the house, but they won't let me join in because they say it's not fair to the players that ...
46
votes
8answers
7k views

As DM, how do I deal with PCs that expect everything in the game to be relevant to the story?

I've started DMing a new group. We've only had two short, 2hour sessions, and most players are new to DnD. I've been a DM before (though just a dozen or so sessions) but in those cases it was with a ...
46
votes
17answers
45k views

Can a D&D Necromancer be of a good alignment? [closed]

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 ...
45
votes
5answers
2k views

One of my friends/players committed suicide. How do I continue the game from here?

Content Warning: Suicide I'm posting anonymously for privacy and I'm sorry if this is kind of disjointed, the topic is obviously very emotional. About a month ago one member of our friend group, and ...
45
votes
2answers
7k views

What sound does an owlbear make?

A discussion in my gaming group led to us wondering: what does an owlbear sound like? Many monsters, especially those as iconic and strange as this one, have had long-winded descriptions across the ...
44
votes
6answers
8k views

How did D&D end up so focused on fighting, when its inspirations weren't?

There are a lot of systems around nowadays that don't focus on combat, and that's great. But I was struck recently by the fact that D&D has always been, and remains, heavily oriented toward ...
44
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the etymology of the term 'Gish'?

I understand that it roughly means a fighter/mage, as per this question: How to optimize a Gishy [Fighter/Mage] Character? But I just wanted to know more about how the term came about. It's so hard ...
43
votes
5answers
66k 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 ...
41
votes
9answers
17k 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
6k views

How do I keep my players from focusing too deeply on unimportant details?

A little bit of backstory. Me and a few friends from my job decided to play D&D 5e while we're kinda stuck in one place and were quite bored. So we got everything we needed and they chose me to DM....
41
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the reason behind “one level at a time” level advancement in D&D?

During the answering to this question about large experience point gains getting truncated -- when a single XP award would raise a character more than one level at a time -- the following question ...
40
votes
9answers
9k views

Is it okay for the DM to create their own world, races, classes, and abilities?

First post and newish to tabletop RP games Is it normal/acceptable for DMs to essentially create their own world, races, classes, and abilities? I have kept some of the traditional races and classes ...
40
votes
5answers
6k views

Is the “+1” in “Long Sword +1” for OOC use only?

Do your characters say, "I'd like to buy that Long Sword +1," or is that "+1" for OOC reference only?
40
votes
6answers
5k views

Problems to look out for if you are a D&D group who play Fate for the first time?

Soon I will be hosting my first two games of Fate. One will be an intro-session with one GM and one player and the other will be a more serious gaming session with one GM and three players, which will ...
39
votes
16answers
13k 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, ...
39
votes
10answers
10k views

In what medium does D&D get played nowadays?

I'm 38, and I remember playing D&D when I was a kid, almost 20 years ago, but to my knowledge have not heard of or know how it is played today. Being that there is a stackexchange for concept it ...
39
votes
1answer
4k views

Does an Ooze (Gelatinous Cube) float?

If I have a situation where an ooze, such as a Gelatinous Cube, is near a source of water, like a small pond or underground stream, is there source material somewhere that says whether the ooze floats ...
39
votes
6answers
8k views

At what point did polyhedral dice become part of D&D?

I was reading some articles the other day about Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and the history of Dungeons and Dragons. I started to wonder: Where did these guys from Wisconsin get the now iconic polyhedral ...
39
votes
3answers
4k views

Are Drow Cities Illuminated?

I am delving into DM'ing a Drow campaign. Despite having read numerous novels and publications spanning from TSR to WotC to Paizo, I am now having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of their ...
38
votes
10answers
11k 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 ...
38
votes
3answers
6k views

What inspired the D&D version of the Rakshasa?

Rakshasa have been part of D&D for more than 35 years, appearing in every edition. These evil magic cat-people are clearly inspired by the rakshas from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies, but they ...
38
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...