Every time I go back to reading The Angry GM, that sonavabitch makes me want to try running a game again. Not just any game, but good ol’ DnD. What can I say? Either he’s a persuasive writer or I’m just a gullible sod.
In either case, reading the latest batch of rants and articles got me thinking about player agency. After looking up some old stuff of bankuei’s on fictional positioning, and I’m thinking the two go hand-in-hand with 5e’s Advantage and Disadvantage system.
A brief overview: In 5e, players can sometimes either get “advantage” or “disadvantage” when performing an action. If they have an advantage, they roll two d20’s and take the higher number, if they have a disadvantage they roll two and take the lower result. As part of 5e’s unifying superstructure, there’s a lot of conditions, statuses, and spells that grant advantage and disadvantage in specific situations, but there is also a surprising amount of leeway given to the GM.
Y’know, I should point something out that seems kind of obvious in retrospect, but nonetheless hit me upside the head when I first realized it:
Organized Play is not supposed to be as fun as a home game.
You’re probably rolling your eyes right now. “Of COURSE it isn’t as fun! It’s modules! It’s strangers! It’s a cruel, hacked-down imitation of “Real” roleplaying!
But re-read what I just wrote. I contend that it’s not SUPPOSED to be good. See, look at it from WotC’s perspective. What’s more profitable, a bunch of people running and playing in free modules based on free rules forever and ever and ever, or people playing the free modules, getting sick of ’em, going out and buying all the books, and running their own damn game?
…Don’t talk about Adventurer’s League. Apparently. I’m being harsh. Everyone know’s it’s Wednesday Nights, which is at least good branding, if nothing else. Also, it being a bigger deal than I thought it was is probably… good?
Let me start from the top. I recently had a Dungeons & Dragons 5E game I was playing in go on hiatus, and with no other gaming in site, I decided to check out 5E’s organized play option, “Adventurer’s League.” My original plan had been to DM at a local hobbyist store, but the organizer never got in touch with me so… I did the somewhat shitty thing and decided to go and play at another FLGS. Hey, if it comes around to it, I can always go back to Plan A.
Top image taken from “Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set”
I’m beginning to notice that basically every nerd has the same basic story about the first time they tried a roleplaying game. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Someone bought the books, they all rolled up characters, and then… well, then they just kind of screwed around for a bit. No epic adventure, no grand quest.
It seems like in the mid 2000’s, there was an epidemic of this going around. I think it’s gotten a bit better since then, and I have a couple ideas why. Let’s break this down a bit.