Dungeons & Dragons is a game with a long, gargantuan, tradition behind it. Approximately 50 years have passed since the first d20 rolled across a table, and its legacy remains latent in the last die you roll, after all, as they themselves force us to remember D&D is “the greatest game of all time”.
The celebration of a critical hit, the satisfaction when leveling up, and the feeling of holding 8d6 fire damage in the palm of your hand are the hallmarks of our game.
In the same way that the ludic exercise is articulated with these game experiences since the beginning of time, some of the stories we built also remain and are sustained to this day; Some for good, others for not, although this is purely subjective.
This is why today we are going to examine three of the most exploited traditions since the beginning of time and which, on a very personal note, are already somewhat tiresome.
“Three of the most clichéd tropes in Dungeons & Dragons”
This is not a rank, nor a rant, but a tour through a gallery of commonplaces that are not intended to point a finger to anyone; Any resemblance to the reality at your gaming table, is mere coincidence.
The “It’s what my character would do” Syndrome
The first thing to mention is that these words are often used as a justification when a player is about to commit an act that he knows will have negative consequences for the rest of his teammates. Don’t be that player.
An example is the classic Rogue who steals from his own companions.
Dungeons & Dragons is, first and foremost, a cooperative game and this kind of attitude is aligned to a somewhat more selfish way of playing. We understand that when a player has to justify his character’s actions, it is because he knows he is not playing as a team. On the other hand, it’s like saying “my character is an asshole, and it’s what my character would do,” but the question that is left on the table then is “Why would we choose to team up with an asshole?” The answer is that we wouldn’t, it doesn’t make sense. Seriously, don’t be that player.
Behold the Power Gamer
Also known as the “Murderhobo”, the “MinMaxer”, etcetera. It refers to that attitude of the player who focuses exclusively and obsessively on exploiting the game mechanics through character design based on the maximum use of resources and building synergies.
Technically there is nothing wrong with this, but it falls a bit into the same vice of the previous case: A selfish play style that commonly builds “Lone Wolf” type stories, where the protagonist is not even the character, but the player and his mastery of the rules against the system and/or the DM.
And not that that’s wrong, but it’s not so much fun when the table is playing a different game, building a story, exploring a world, you know… playing the game.
The Hero with a thousand Archetypes
Here we include all those worn-out and recurring archetypes that are repetitive and tiresome, to name a few:
- The Horny Bard, College of sex assault
- The moron Human Fighter, Martial Archetype of Archetype
- The Hippie Druid, Circle of natural drug addiction
- The orphan edgy Warlock of Edginess Patron
- The boyscout Paladin, Oath of the Mother Teresa
This point is self-explanatory, and not that it is wrong to play a character that has been played a million times before, but exploring other opportunities can be very rewarding and take the gameplay to another level, not only on a narrative level but mechanically, try out some new character builds.
I can’t close this article without repeating once again that this is all rather a subjective matter, more related to preferences and play styles than to playing Dungeons & Dragons “right” or “wrong”. I would love to know what recurring tropes happen at your tables, to share experiences as a community.
See you next time and keep rolling, remember: Crit Happens.