I don’t reblog things often, but in light of some recent posts around the webs, i’d like to share this.
A recent question on RPG Stack Exchange had me researching the attitudes of Dungeons & Dragons towards rule interpretation over the years and I thought I’d expand it into a post here.
The allowed scope of DM rulings has absolutely changed over time in D&D. The balance between Dungeon Master’s discretion versus reign of the rules versus player empowerment has always been debated in D&D circles but there’s a clear evolution of thinking across the span of versions. The attitude towards rulings vs. rules in the game shows up
- directly and explicitly in the rules text
- implicitly in the text and detectable via textual analysis
- in the surrounding publications considered semi-canonical (Dragon magazine, nowadays forums and designer blogs), and
- the culture of gamers surrounding it.
Let’s stick mostly to the first two in the interest of space.
Original Dungeons & Dragons (0e, OD&D)
In the origins of the game, Chainmail
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