Monte Cook’s Legends are Lore articles are a little puzzling to me. They certainly take an old school approach to D&D that isn’t even present in Monte’s own version of D&D (3.0), but that’s a thought for another time… The latest article asks if “the game presents players with challenges that have pre-made solutions?” This is something that I’ve thought about through my experiences playing D&D, but obviously more after I started DM’ing the game. My takeaway is “can players roll to figure it out, or do they need to think it through?”.
My thought leans towards there being two different types of D&D for DM’s of the game:
One version of the game (old school) exists where the players have to match wits agains the DM to solve puzzles, clear obstacles, etc; and one exists (post year 2000) where the players’ rule knowledge, along with the DM’s rules knowledge duel it out. I know that’s a bit of an unfair statement, it doesn’t always come down to skill roll vs. DC to solve a puzzle in modern era, but sometimes it feels like it does.
I can’t help to think that sometimes modern D&D design has taken players to a point where they’re simply rolling check s to see if the challenge is beat, rather than using their brains to figure it out. On the flip side, I wonder how many DM’s have gotten lazy and have accepted this method as a fine way to play the game.
So I’ll throw this out there for discussion: Does the version of the game influence DMing style and what you accept at the table from your players, or is running a game a one size fits all approach, no matter the edition?