Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What if there are too many options in D&D (open)

Just something I am thinking about..

What if more options doesn't improve the game but makes it incoherent and less fun?

Instead of allowing all sorts of things, maybe its better to just set up front limits and play from there.

Instead of the dozens of classes and archetypes and prestige classes and such, maybe the older rules were right to limit classes (ignoring Dragon Magazine of course) and abilities just to encourage creativity and play instead of so much "char-op" and metagaming

Let me ask is it possible all this hoo-hah started back with 2e and for those who didn't put the kibosh on them stuff started for many peopleto get "less fun" with kits and all the options.

What do y'all think?


  1. I've wondered the same thing from time to time. I have actually set a date for starting a sandbox game with some friends, and am wrestling with something more rules as written, or going how I'd like it and excising classic clerics from the list, have all these odd race-as-class oddballs here and there and have lots more options for humans (like a class that's a magic-user and thief hybrid, say).

    One thing I am thinking about doing is making a whole set of these nonstandard classes, but the requirements for the class are steep. Since I have two alternate ways to roll each of your scores (3d6 and get a luck point, or 4d6 drop the lowest and get no extra luck; there is no movement of points between scores at creation-time), the specials will be somewhat hard to qualify for. Thus, there will be lots of the archetypes that have no minimums, but those who get to run a "special" class will be all the more special.

    Of course, with new players having lots of options is very difficult since having too many to choose from can be paralyzing. I think with a group of seasoned players, it might be okay.

  2. Skills and Powers Supplement, 2nd Ed

  3. "to encourage creativity and play instead of so much "char-op" and metagaming"

    ding ding ding, we have a winner! :)

  4. Greg, you can almost see the era shift with S&P (which came out a couple of years before 3e) -- its a very modern, option rich game. Its still more D&D than 4e but its moving well into clutter.

    I tend to think the kits were a mess too but YMMV

  5. Restless, both 2e (several actually) and OD&D offered tools to build custom classes and there is a version here as well


    If you as DM use those tools judiciously to help balance new class ideas that fit your game world like say the Thief/Mage (the traditional Mountebank in High Gygaxian) ... thats a good thing. It can add to the game but as its under your careful eye, it won't cause too much clutter. Just do it for you are for a very well thought out player idea, not for the sake of options.

    I tend to see "options and extras" as spice. Used judiciously they add flavor, too much will ruin your game

  6. What if more options doesn't improve the game but makes it incoherent and less fun?


  7. I think Rifts is supposed to be incoherent. As far as I can the primary market is teenage boys and established fans and as such its supposed t be a bit wahoo..