So, it’s taken me a few different campaigns/GM’s, but I really don’t enjoy D&D. Mind you, this is simply a reflection of the games, I’ve played. So it’s quite possible that it’s an outcome that occurs where I live.
Also, yes, I realize that another commonality is me. So I fully admit that which I see as a flaw originates in my personal preferences for playing tabletops.
Anyways, I realized the issue when I examined all the things that irked me, and I realized they were symptoms of an underlying root cause. Individually, they could be dismissed as emergent properties that, with effort, could be turned into non-factors. Even several of them together could be avoided. But to have all the symptoms occur repeatedly is problematic and consistent with an underlying reason, a root cause.
After reading other tabletop games I own, it dawned on me. The issue, as I see it, is that in D&D, there is no central core to the game. There are several things made implicitly important through the writing, but D&D lacks a section of fundamental tenets. So this (seemingly) has led gm’s and other players (at least the ones I’ve played games with) to all do the same set of things. To enumerate the issues, I’ll lead with the general concept
~ Embrace a simplified trinary ethics/morality axis as the be all and end all as a yardstick for character actions. Good/evil and lawful/chaos with a neutral point as an origin.
This is something I’ve seen almost every player use as an excuse to play a derivative pastiche of a character. The dwarf always makes beer and knows his way around the forge, the half-orc is a barely functional idiot that has no social graces, the alluring elf that’s one with the wilderness, the minotaur who fights in between naps…… You get the idea.
~ Monodimensional classes.
All the classes aren’t about doing solving situations or impacting the world or exploring pretty much anything but combat. When I say monodimensional classes, I mean each class is designed to answer one thing, and that is “How do I combat?”
This issue is somewhat possible to avoid in 3/3.5/Pathfinder, but that would take a player who’s cognizant of this and has a perspective not unlike mine. Fifth edition is a prime example of what I see as the problem. Tangenting off of this:
~ The linear trainride through the GM’s fanfic with the occasional stop at violence-ville.
If you’re going to write scenery porn for my character to see as we walk into the next encounter, go write a novel. I’d probably get more enjoyment out of the book than being told what the area looks like before imminent violence.
~ Forced investment into said trainride.
Honestly, I’ve got no personal attachment to fighting any of the moustache twirling villains we’ll be visiting on the train ride. I’m not going to attack them just because they have moustaches, they twirl their moustaches, or that they’re villains. You want to know my character is doing while on this trainride? Looking to pull an Old Man Henderson. Hell, I might even side with the villains cause I have no reason not to.
~ The leveling system as the arbitrary method to determine if I can solo a moustache twirler
Oh, look, the great big bad is so many levels higher than me. Guess I can’t kill them after sneaking in on them sleeping. Because reasons.
Anyways, gripefest done. Hope you’re all doing well.