(5/5) D&D Theory - zen gameplay vs. menu play

| | TrackBacks (0)
Picture: Tavern scene. From The Temple of Elemental Evil (TSR) I can't identify the artist and five were used on the book.

Part one, the overview, is here. But if you're not into D&D then what's the point. Credits repeated at the end.

I first felt the need to define the original game mechanic after playing V3.5 and then 4th edition rules, both WotC games. Player characters now had so many skills, stats and powers that whenever they wanted to do something in the game, they looked at their list to choose an action. I felt this was odd and I call it menu play.

I got around this by drawing my group's attention to the idea of the DM having DM's discretion and being able to make their own calls at times. But, those systems really push into menu play. When deciding to go back to TSR, I wanted to clearly define what menu play was not.

Luckily for me, Matt Finch has a free online guide.

So: you don't use a rule, you make a ruling

There it is. When the situation has been described, in menu play the player looks at his list of things to see what he/she can do. In true play, the player just responds, in character, with an idea - then the DM makes a ruling on it, with the help of a roll if necessary. 

That seems very intangible, I know, but if you've played the game you should grasp the meaning immediately. The players have to consider the situation and think of ideas, this is where player skill comes in and the imagination and creativity starts. It's true Dungeons and Dragons play.


James Maliszewski (Grognardia Blog):

If you then read comments and surf around, you will find a lot more discussion and materials. I have linked the main ones that I found and liked - and that I'm going to borrow from heavily. 

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: (5/5) D&D Theory - zen gameplay vs. menu play.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.kungfuology.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1311

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on August 8, 2012 5:12 PM.

(4/5) D&D Theory - the toolbox was the previous entry in this blog.

What does selling out mean? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.