Author Topic: Is D&D a game about imagination?  (Read 4169 times)

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ImperatorK

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Is D&D a game about imagination?
« on: July 24, 2011, 08:22:28 PM »
Does imagination play a role in D&D?
Do rules limit imagination?
Are rules supposed to limit imagination?
What other thoughts do you have on this subject?

This thread was inspired by this statement:
Quote
D&D isn't just a game of "imagine". Not just anything is supposed to be possible. The rules are in place to limit your imagination. Within those limits, there might still be considerable leeway - for example, you can imagine infinite amount of different numbers between 1 and 2. But again, not just anything is supposed to happen in the game because you can imagine it.

 If you don't want to impose limitations on your imagination, why use a limiting ruleset? Why bring chessboard and pieces to the table if you aren't going to play chess? Again, not a rhetorical question; you can answer it.
... in a discussion about "Immutability of Fluff".
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

weenog

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2011, 09:45:05 PM »
Certainly imagination plays a role in D&D.  Even if you're not a Real Roleplayer and live for the wargame aspect of D&D, you're not actually fighting or even planning out fights, all the action is strictly imaginary (excluding dice-throwing after a bad call).  The rules do serve to limit imagination, and rightly so.  See, not everyone imagines the same thing at the same time, and nearly everyone is selfish to some degree or another (not a bad thing, just a survival trait).  However, when you combine mismatched imaginations with selfishness in a collaborative project to imagine struggle and conflict, you eventually wind up in a little kid shouting match along the lines of "I shot you!" "No you didn't, you missed."  "But I'm the best shooter in the world!" "I have super speed and can dodge arrows and bullets!"  "I never miss, you're dead!" "No, I ran over to you and kicked you a hundred times before you could finish drawing your weapon, you're dead!"

I don't believe fluff should serve as a limiter, however.  If it has no bearing on the mechanical outcome of a conflict (not always combat, the struggle between a puzzle's designer and the guy that needs to solve it to move on is conflict too), it's not necessary.  Sure, it can serve to enhance the experience, but it can also degrade it.  If the fluff is interfering with the players having a good time, it's having a negative effect, not a positive one, and it needs to butt out.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 09:48:36 PM by weenog »
"We managed to make an NPC puke an undead monster."
"That sounds like a victory to me."

RobbyPants

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2011, 03:56:58 PM »
Weenog pretty much nailed it. Yes, imagination plays a role in D&D. While rules can limit imagination, it's important to have a working framework and baseline for rules adjudication if you're playing a game. Without it, the game just stops working.

I mean, if you want to play 100% Magic Tea Party, you can totally do that, but you probably shouldn't be paying money to do so.
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2011, 04:24:20 PM »
So you guys are against refluffing?
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

RobbyPants

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2011, 04:33:04 PM »
So you guys are against refluffing?
Not at all. I love it.

Where did you get that idea from what I said?
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2011, 04:37:47 PM »
So you guys are against refluffing?
Not at all. I love it.

Where did you get that idea from what I said?
Well, you where talking about Magic Tea Party, but nowhere did I suggest to ignore rules.
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

Bozwevial

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2011, 04:52:39 PM »
Fluff is more important than crunch because otherwise you're just doing your tax returns and throwing them at each other. On the other hand, crunch is more important than fluff because eventually you need an answer to the eternal question of, "Bang, is he dead?"

So if you want to tell me your monk with Throwing on his Necklace of Natural Attacks has rocket fists, that's grand. Just be prepared to explain any discrepancies and accept the limitations on what they can do according to the rules.

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2011, 05:09:51 PM »
Fluff is more important than crunch because otherwise you're just doing your tax returns and throwing them at each other. On the other hand, crunch is more important than fluff because eventually you need an answer to the eternal question of, "Bang, is he dead?"

So if you want to tell me your monk with Throwing on his Necklace of Natural Attacks has rocket fists, that's grand. Just be prepared to explain any discrepancies and accept the limitations on what they can do according to the rules.
This.
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

RobbyPants

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2011, 05:15:46 PM »
So you guys are against refluffing?
Not at all. I love it.

Where did you get that idea from what I said?
Well, you where talking about Magic Tea Party, but nowhere did I suggest to ignore rules.
I see.

I said that from the standpoint that if rules do get in the way of some creativity, I still think it's important to have them. That being said, if you're fairly creative, you can typically come up with some way to refluff something and keep it inside of the rules. So, I think we agree. That, or I'm suffering from reading failure.
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2011, 06:14:51 PM »
I'm all for refluffing. I understand that some people might not know that mechanic is just a metagame construct and the flavor isn't limited only to the fluff that's in the handbooks, BUT I don't get people who are saying that you can't change fluff. :banghead Yes, there are a few exceptions, so we can't exactly say that ALL fluff is mutable, but they're so rare (Paladin, Assassin)...
Refluffing is using your imagination, so if someone says that rules limit imagination then that means refluffing shouldn't be easy/possible. and that's silly IMO.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 06:17:37 PM by ImperatorK »
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

Shiki

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2011, 09:06:05 PM »
"Immutability of Fluff," ahah. People are so closed minded some times.
"An ally of truth."

Soundtrack of the week:
Kagamine Rin - Antichlorobenzene (ft. Kagamine Ren)

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2011, 10:04:11 PM »
"Immutability of Fluff," ahah. People are so closed minded some times.
Have you read that thread? It's not about "Fluff is immutable", it's about "Is fluff immutable or not?", because there are many discussions about it (one big one was ended some time ago, it was an off-topic in a thread about ToB) and the OP was confused.
I encourage to read it. It's hilarious. :lol
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=206955
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 10:14:23 PM by ImperatorK »
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

Shiki

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  • Mindraped
Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2011, 10:55:44 PM »
Oh, from GitP. Why am I not surprised. Thanks for the link, I'll go through it. :p
"An ally of truth."

Soundtrack of the week:
Kagamine Rin - Antichlorobenzene (ft. Kagamine Ren)

weenog

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2011, 12:17:11 AM »
so if someone says that rules limit imagination then that means refluffing shouldn't be easy/possible. and that's silly IMO.

"I shoot the tarrasque! It should be easy for an expert like me to hit a target that big."
"You'd think so, but it looks like you rolled a 28 against his AC 35.  Guess you'll have to kill all the witnesses to keep your rep for a perfect record intact. Again."

Remember that limiting imaginations includes reining in overconfident types who think they're so phenomenal they can one-shot anything by knowing it has a brain and mentioning they're aiming at it through an eye socket or something.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 12:19:39 AM by weenog »
"We managed to make an NPC puke an undead monster."
"That sounds like a victory to me."

RobbyPants

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2011, 03:07:15 AM »
Remember that limiting imaginations includes reining in overconfident types who think they're so phenomenal they can one-shot anything by knowing it has a brain and mentioning they're aiming at it through an eye socket or something.
Well, there's nothing wrong with trying. If they're lucky, they'll roll well enough that they can even describe it that way!
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

weenog

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2011, 07:40:28 AM »
Remember that limiting imaginations includes reining in overconfident types who think they're so phenomenal they can one-shot anything by knowing it has a brain and mentioning they're aiming at it through an eye socket or something.
Well, there's nothing wrong with trying. If they're lucky, they'll roll well enough that they can even describe it that way!

Sure, but thinking you're going to OHK everything with a 1d4-2 damage bow and not even a source of precision damage, just because your concept is world's greatest sniper and you the player have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy, doesn't cut it.

I did have a DM once that kind of liked the idea of surgical strikes and he wound up granting (or improving existing) sneak attack for characters with sufficient Heal ranks, but that was an odd edge case at best.
"We managed to make an NPC puke an undead monster."
"That sounds like a victory to me."

ImperatorK

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2011, 03:36:20 PM »
People can think lots of things. How many of them are joining "Idol" or "I Have Talent" shows with the confidence that they win for sure? :p
I like to think that I'm the best lover around, yet in reality I'm probably just mediocre at best. ;)
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 03:39:23 PM by ImperatorK »
"I'm done thinking for today! It's caused me enough trouble!"
"Take less damage to avoid being killed."
"In the arena of logic, I fight unarmed."


[spoiler]
Quote from: Lateral
Or you could just be a cleric of an ideal. Like, physics and say that the domain choices reflect potential and kinetic energy.

 Plus, where other clerics say "For Pelor," "For Nerull," or "For Crom?" You get to say, "FOR SCIENCE!" *fanfare*

About me:
Quote from: dark_samuari
I know your game, you just want a magical Amazon.com to knock off those good ol' honest magic shops run by polite, old wizards!
Use Iron Heart Surge on the sun. That'll teach him to use fluff as RAW.

Damn you! You totally ruined my build that was all about getting epic far shot early and throwing my enemies into the sun!
[/spoiler]

InnaBinder

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2011, 05:33:23 PM »
To me, the key word you quoted in the OP is "just."  Of course D&D uses imagination, and of course D&D uses rules to clarify how the collective imagination of the folks participating shapes events.  The way this topic is phrased reads, to me, as a "yes/no" false dichotomy setup.
Winning an argument on the internet is like winning in the Special Olympics.  You won, but you're still retarded.

I made a Handbook!?

Blind Sight

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2011, 01:42:48 AM »
Yes, you can change fluff. They have official sources doing so, hence the Paladin variants in UA, for example. Alternatively, D&D is a game of imagination, which is why spellcasters dominate it; The more creative applications of a spell you make, the more you're able to bend reality to your liking.

RobbyPants

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Re: Is D&D a game about imagination?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2011, 05:02:47 PM »
Sure, but thinking you're going to OHK everything with a 1d4-2 damage bow and not even a source of precision damage, just because your concept is world's greatest sniper and you the player have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy, doesn't cut it.
Well, clearly the concept and the mechanics don't really fix, now do they? If you want to play the world's greatest archer, you should probably pick classes and feats that make you good at archery.


I did have a DM once that kind of liked the idea of surgical strikes and he wound up granting (or improving existing) sneak attack for characters with sufficient Heal ranks, but that was an odd edge case at best.
These types of things can be cute and fun. If done right, they can encourage creativity, and I think that's a good thing. If done carelessly, they can throw off the balance of the game even more.
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]