Khedrac wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:40 pm
FaerieGodfather wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:04 pm
The problem is the modern designers' sentiment that everything should be playable in every setting
It's not just the designers - over on the GiantInThePlayground forums there seem to be plenty of players who believe that they should be able to play whatever combination of races and classes they want regardless of the DM's description of the campaign world. Example exagurated for effect: DM: "This is a new world, elves and humans are the only races that have developed civilizations so you need to play one of them (dwarves exist but are not yet in contact)"; player "my character is a warforged dwarf/orc crossbreed aiming for an alignment-limited prestige class with the alignment restriction removed, they ride a halfling-only optional mount."
There have actully been long discussion threads with people arguing this position (that they should be able to play whatever they want); thankfully the majority seem rather more sensible but far too many of them believe it.
I do have a fair bit of sympathy with the designers here though; I don't necessarily think it is their idea - I think they may be instructed to do this. For one thing, it is a major step towards solving the old problem that books for DMs only don't sell to people who don't DM, and if a section is for DMs only then non-DMs may stop buying because of those sections 'wasting' their money.
You guys are hitting on an fascinating aspect of tabletop RPG gaming that bleeds over into other areas, such as MMOs. What do people most enjoy and get out of playing RPGs other than spending time with friends? It comes down to one of two possible reasons, or a mix of those two reasons.
1) Some people like adventuring into the unknown and overcoming challenges. This is the original style of play developed by Gygax adapting wargame rules to heroes and their small band of henchmen.
2) Some people like playing a hero vicariously in a story, this is a latter style that probably includes the majority of players now.
I want to emphasize neither of these is "wrong". Later editions of D&D rules cater more to the second type of player, as many people want to play a hero who receives regular power upgrades(aka wish fulfillment). OSR gaming tends to meet the needs of the first type of player. Type 2) players tend to play in games where the characters overcome challenges using their powers, type 1) players tend to play in games where the players overcome challenges with a mix of their own wit along with their characters.
The people who insist on being able to play any type of character are type 2) players, the DM applying constraints on what their hero can be interferes with their enjoyment. Type 2) players are also more likely to object to a version of a setting not being up to date because their concept of the story their hero is in might be impacted, but a type 1) player who has fond memories of Greyhawk pre-Ashes isn't going to like an updated Greyhawk either.
My own group tends to be a mix of the two, or at least I try and mix in as much of 1) as I can with 2) being the default.