Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Rewards in Dungeons and Dragons" post

There is this post over at the Story Games forum. It looks like someone inexperienced with D&D has chosen my material to play with.

I just find it interesting how different people look at different aspects of games.


  1. That's fascinating. Particularly the idea that, yes, not having your resources depleted is a reward in D&D -- and that this is non-obvious enough that someone needed to specifically point it out. It suggests that one of the strengths of the reward system for D&D is that while the mechanism itself is very simple, and clear to adjudicate, it creates a lot of emergent sub-rewards revolving around the acquisition of treasure and XP.

    And I'm going to stop now before I go on using more phrases like "emergent sub-reward" to talk about friggin' D&D.

  2. Actually, that guy (or girl) Ara Kooser posts on my blog all the time with D&D info, so maybe s/he's not as inexperienced as s/he seems.

    Of course if s/he's on my blog then s/he should already know what behaviors D&D rewards so I'm not sure what s/he's on about in that thread.

  3. I wonder if that's the real crux of the Old School/New School divide--

    If you need some sort of organized, logical "reward and reinforcement" structure put in place by the DM for your enjoyment of the game spelled out for you, you're New School.

    If you just enjoy the thrill of defeating enemies in battle, becoming rich, and avoiding horrendous death traps through quick or sound thinking, then you're Old School.

    I mean, how hard is it for kids today to grok the idea that gold=good, not dying=good, monsters dead=good, getting XP to level up=good? Having to go through actual challenges to get any of the above=double plus good?

    Do you really need some DM there to stroke your ego and throw some soft-ball "level appropriate challenges" and "treasure parcels" at you to feel like you've done something significant in the game? I think it would make me feel the opposite...

  4. Isn't the experience of playing the game reward unto itself? Do we really need imaginary carrots to keep us interested?

  5. @ Ryan: You big romantic, you!

    @ Jim: Maybe people are just nuts these days. To which I say: welcome to the club!
    : )

  6. I don't know if it's overtly romantic to consider the experience of playing the game a reward unto itself, even if the goals of your *character* go unfulfilled. After all, this is almost word to word what Frank Mentzer (of whom yours truly is a faithful disciple) is saying in the red box basic set's player's handbook, after the introductory adventure and the death of Aleena. I know that Gygax writes about successfull adventuring and all, blah blah, but I'm a Mentzerite through and through.

    In old-school D&D games, the fact that your character is after the gold and solving the dungeon does not mean that you, as a player, would have to be into that, too.

    But then again, I have player/character separation as a Flaw... although I often stretch (or completely disregard) it in Jim's games, to the benefit of the style and mood that he's trying to invoke :)

  7. Ummm not inexperienced. Old guy here.

    "I just find it interesting how different people look at different aspects of games."

    That is why I asked the question.

    I am using your adventures to explore this for two reasons.

    1) I think they are by far the best written ones I've seen.

    2) Each one seems to reward a different sort of play.

    Rewards in D&D are not obvious as you can see from different responses on the thread.

  8. Zak: "that guy (or girl)"

    Either one. Doesn't much matter to me.

  9. >>Ummm not inexperienced. Old guy here.

    Ah, OK. I guess the way you phrased your words in the post over there had me confused. (although, honestly, most of my trips to Story-Games leaves me confused...)

    >>1) I think they are by far the best written ones I've seen.

    Thank you. :)

    >>2) Each one seems to reward a different sort of play.

    ... and I consider this a compliment as well. Kind of the same thing as I talked about in the OgreCave review comments in wanting variety in the work.