Dungeons & Dragons Online

Against the Spirit of the Game

Hey all! This may seem like a directly negative post, and it’s not an extremely popular take, but I just wanted to discuss some things I’ve been seeing on the subreddit a lot: people who don’t seem to understand the spirit of the game.

Now, what this means is obviously up to interpretation. What I’m talking about is people who seem to have absolutely insane notions of what’s normal for how the game is run and what’s acceptable to do with a group of people. For example, a person who claimed to be DM’ing for a group in which he directly told someone they couldn’t make a character with high Charisma because they weren’t charismatic in real life. What is the logic in this? Where do people draw the line in what’s acceptable to role play in a fantasy game? Obviously, that would have been at best insulting to the player in this scenario.

I find it very interesting how people can look at this game that millions of people play and immediately begin making changes to it, to what doesn’t suit their tastes. And with that in mind, all I can really think is: why are you still playing D&D? What’s the point in changing and crafting all of these ridiculous (in some cases) new rules and making arbitrary rulings that are directly harmful to people around you, or so poorly thought out that they barely work? And on the opposite end of the spectrum, seeing lore and statistics already made and butchering it until it’s just a broken reflection of what it used to be, rather than just making your own.

If you want to change the game so fundamentally, why play it? There are hundreds of TTRPG’s out there. It feels as though so many people are just slapping the name “D&D” onto things to trap people into playing another broken and twisted facsimile of the game. It just seems that many people bear such callous and wild disrespect to the people who’ve put thousands of hours into designing these things over decades, the other humans that they’re playing with, and anyone who criticizes their work.

Do these people not understand that the random people they find in game shops or online are humans? Would you treat people who you had to interact with on a daily basis with this kind of ridiculous disrespect? With the popularity of multiplayer games, it seems so many people just buy a book, hate half of what’s in it, make awful rules or lore to substitute it, and move on. Or make a game, advertise it to people, and put in no effort to make sure that these people are the sort they’d get along with, or even consider the implications of their actions toward these people because of the “not all games are for everyone” mentality.

I am begging you, whoever is reading this, please put some serious consideration into the people you’re around, the rules and lore you’re tampering with, and the effect whatever you’re making will have on the people you’ve roped into playing with you. If you can’t conjure up the common courtesy to think about who you play with or what you’re doing past “this seems cool to me, and if they don’t like it, they can go somewhere else”, maybe social games and ttrpg’s aren’t for you.

I’m expecting at least a little backlash here, because this post is firmly in the gatekeeping camp, but it’s all I can think of when I see some ruling that is going to ruin a game for someone, or the next abysmal homebrew that shouldn’t ever hit play test because it’s so poorly thought out.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk, please tell me if I’m the asshole in the comments.

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