D&D is rubbish! Or is it?

EN World’s Morrus shared three videos created by Nikolas Lloyd three days ago. In these three videos its creator explains why he thinks early D&D was rubbish, why mid-period D&D wasn’t great and why fourth edition D&D is terrible. In my opinion he has a few good points and even if you disagree with him, they are fun to watch.

So, what do you think? Is he right or does he totally miss the point? Discuss!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

9 thoughts on “D&D is rubbish! Or is it?”

  1. Although I am a D&D novice and cant comment on most of the things said in the three videos, I can say that the 4th edition does support you “jumping on top of something and doing something”, I am no expert but a simple dexterity vs difficulty check that the DM considers appropriate, right?
    Otherwise he does have a point regarding the 4th edition being mainly encounter based, but I think the D&D people did say that they wanted it oriented that way.

    1. The problem is that most neophyte (or even experienced DMs) will fall back on “You don’t have a power for that”

      The combat actions of earlier systems were much more open-ended for that. Instead of “pick a card and do it” you chose your action and the DM worked out what the system would be. A little clunky? Perhaps, but more encouraging of creative combat.

      Granted, I’m speaking from a limited experience of 4e. My only session left a bad taste in my mouth, and I have been wanting an opportunity to try again to see if it was an isolated issue.

  2. As someone who’s played 3rd and 4th Editions, read over some of the older materials, and actually runs D&D Encounters at a local shop, I have to completely agree. I’ve enjoyed playing Pathfinder recently, and I agree with a lot of people that 3rd Edition is probably the best of the bunch, but D&D has always primarily been an oddball tactically driven system, even if 2nd and 3rd Editions are quite full of flavor.

    I still play and run 4th Edition, but it’s not really a good role-playing game in itself; its design really does discourage role-playing more often than not. They’ve been making some changes more recently to improve things, but it’s a little disappointed to consider that it took them three years to realize that they hadn’t simply released a generic mechanical system but actually called it a role-playing game and have finally started adding some story to it.

  3. As with most rants, you always run the risk of having your point get lost in the hyperbole. He makes some very good points but a lot of people will not listen because obviously he’s attacking their favorite game.

    I remember when 4e first came out there was a lot of discussion about the improvised rules… 23, 43, or 48.. I forget. Anyway, the one that told you how to roll to leap onto a table and clonk someone with a tankard of ale. I always thought it was a shame that that was only one page. I have also found myself glazing over more and more when it comes to the wall of powers that a lot of rpgs have.

  4. I think that he makes fair points, but is drastically unfair on the whole.

    “Basic D&D sucked because we couldn’t figure out how to play real adventures, and it had some wonky rules.”

    “1e AD&D sucked because it had too many rules, and I have bad eyes. Also, it sucks because I like this other system better.”

    “4e D&D sucks because it costs more than those other games (unlike, say, a gallon of gas, which has maintained a very stable price over the last thirty years). Also, the DM was kind of crappy. And, my weird character concept wasn’t supported. Oh, and it still has all of those things that I didn’t like about D&D before.”

    There’s really nothing new here. The system doesn’t work for him. That’s fine. But, he’s painting with a very broad brush, and failing to acknowledge a lot of things that D&D does very well.

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