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I made a claim in chat roughly a year ago:

I'm staying dnd-5e neutral this year, and I've just posted my first question, and made sure to ask a non-dnd-5e question :D1

And I'd like to reflect on how that went for me, and what I learnt.

Motivation

My motivation originated from me asking a spate of questions sometime in 2021 which were the sort of 'open to interpretation' questions where the literal reading of the rules wasn't as useful as just asking your GM to make a ruling.

I realised that, because of the way D&D 5e is written, it was all too easy to create hypothetical situations with unintuitive results, that ended up generating what felt like an almost infinite number of questions. At the same time, those questions would likely be useless if they ever came up in an actual game, because someone's GM might sensibly decide to rule a different, more intuitive way.

This realisation was particularly important to me, because even without the non-hypothetical questions, D&D 5e content here vastly outnumbers that of other games and RPG topics.

Observations

Firstly, I managed to keep to my word. All days on which I posted a question tagged dnd-5e also had a question posted without that tag.

Secondly, I definitely noticed occasions where I felt I was slightly 'manufacturing' a non-D&D question so I could ask a D&D question, but I did my best to make sure the non-D&D questions were all real problems I had, even if they weren't current problems. Othertimes I noticed I was completely holding off asking a genuine D&D question I had, because I couldn't think of a non-D&D question to go along with it.

And much more rarely did I notice I had 'saved up' a non-D&D questions to ask when I had a D&D question I needed answering. That felt weird, like I was still prioritising the D&D questions. It didn't last long.

One positive I noticed was that when I couldn't ask my D&D questions on this site, I ended up asking my group and my GM instead. That meant I knew how he'd rule, and the group was aware of my questions. I could go into more detail about how I thought it might be relevant, and didn't need to waste effort making sure the question wasn't too narrowly focused on our group or providing context to the community here.

I also noticed I started looking for more non-D&D questions to ask, and eventually ended up asking them without having D&D questions in mind that I needed 'neutralising'.

Finally I definitely stopped asking the bizarre theorycrafted questions that had little to no purpose, and only occasionally brought them to chat.

Conclusion

Was this exercise worth it? Would I do it again?

It was certainly worth it to break me out of the habit of those questions about bizarre hypothetical situations. And it made me discover lots more non-D&D games I might have questions about.

Most importantly it encouraged me to bring the relevant questions to my group and GM.

I don't think I'd strictly stick to this again, but I would go back to it if I found myself falling into bad habits.


  1. I also included the tag, and had I felt the need to ask, other D&D versions would have been included too.
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2 Answers 2

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Congratulation!

As someone that does decidedly not like 5e for various reasons (and Wizards did not endear itself to me in January this year especially), Kudos for asking rare game questions. For keeping the lights on for those off the mainstream. Maybe we can see an uptick in other systems (most likely Pathfinder) now that the storm is ebbing off? After all, Paizo just sold out their books that should have lasted until September! But in any way: let's hope for a diversified field of games! We embrace all game styles, so we should embrace all games!

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I think this worked very well

I did only join a year ago, and if someone had asked me before I saw this post of yours, I would not have put you down as a mainly D&D player. To the contrary, I thought you are mostly into more obscure 1-page role playing games and only have the occasional D&D question here and there, that being one of many different games you enjoy engaging in and playing.

One positive I noticed was that when I couldn't ask my D&D questions on this site, I ended up asking my group and my GM instead. That meant I knew how he'd rule, and the group was aware of my questions. I could go into more detail about how I thought it might be relevant, and didn't need to waste effort making sure the question wasn't too narrowly focused on our group or providing context to the community here.

This is an excellent observation. Engaging here and having Q&As to work out a theoretically correct answer to a question is not needed for most practical play at home, and doing it is just much harder than asking your DM. The DM makes a call, and that is that. Even if the site here comes to another conclusion, at best you can point to an answer to help them consider, but especially during play it often is not worth the disruption in flow, and even afterwards, in the end it is their call.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I had fun in 2021 \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2023 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to the observation: i tend to ask mostly questions for sources of the rough material, so I have the ammunition to deal with some players at my table, that are prone to get into edition mismatch... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jan 31, 2023 at 22:54

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