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Prior to the publishing of D&D 4e, "d20" was widely understood to mean games compatible with or derived from the d20 SRD. Wizards of the Coast decided that they were going to keep trademarking D&D 4e as a "d20" game, even if that meant contradicting the definition they created in the first place and that the community had been using for the past decade.

This gives us a dilemma for tagging. Should refer to the d20 SRD family of games and material, or should it refer to the SRD games family + D&D 4e?

Whichever it is, the wiki should be filled in to make it clear how to use the tag here.

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I think in all ways but Wizards marketing, which I don't care about, d20 means derived from the d20 SRD - D&D 3e, 3.5e, M&M, Spycraft, etc etc. It is not helpful from a technical point of view to include 4e as it is quite different from that ruleset, and at that point you should probably be just tagging or .

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for dungeons-and-dragons instead of d20 \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 5 '11 at 2:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ M&M is more different from 3e than 4e is. If d20 includes M&M, then it also includes 4e. If it doesn't include 4e, it can't include M&M. \$\endgroup\$ – migo Apr 5 '11 at 7:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @migo - I have all those games, and disagree. There are certainly differences but there are things that are common to the actual d20 games that still aren't found in 4e. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 5 '11 at 12:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my experience, the overlap between d20 games is mostly down at the boring infrastructure level ("you get a feat every three levels"). And while the overlap between any two games may be high, the overlap between any three games starts to drop off. BUT I mostly have experience with the "big" d20 games (D&D3.x, M&M, Star Wars). If there is potential value to the d20 tag, I think that tagging the hex grid question "[d20][dungeons-and-dragons]," or even "[tactical]" should be fine. @migo \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 5 '11 at 13:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some questions are about boring infrastructure. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 5 '11 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Fair enough :) \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 5 '11 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ M&M's power level is completely different from Character Level in other d20 implementations, given that d20 is a class & level based system, that's a pretty significant difference. \$\endgroup\$ – migo Apr 5 '11 at 19:02
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I think it would be most useful to minimize its use, or in other words, not to stick it on every 3.5 or 4e question. Instead, it should be used to indicate general questions whose answers would be useful to multiple games from the d20 srd family, for games in that family which don't have a prevalent tag, questions which might be answerable with knowledge from other games in the family, and for questions the asker wants to limit answers to games within the family.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think that's all correct. What @Seven is getting at, is should 4e be included in that family? \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 5 '11 at 0:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a problem doing so, but since it's a popular tag, and given my definition above, I don't think it changes the use of the tag especially. This would change if any non-D&D games came out using the 4e system. (Or do some already exist?) Hopefully, wizards will give us an easy way to distinguish between the old d20 and new d20 family at that point. \$\endgroup\$ – sebsmith Apr 5 '11 at 1:47
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I would honestly leave that to individual posters (so that's a vote for d20 + 4e, I guess). While all "true" (SRD-based) d20 games theoretically have a common core of rules, in practice they tend to pick and choose which parts of that core they include. As a practical matter, very few "d20" questions will apply to ALL d20-based games. A question focusing on, say, D&D 3.x and Pathfinder will probably not apply at all to Mutants and Masterminds.

The result of this is that most questions tagged d20 will need to be scoped explicitely in the question description (either to specific games, or to games with a specific characteristic). Looking over the questions that have been tagged d20 so far, most of them restrict the scope of the question in some manner.

Regarding the hex grid question that brought this issue to light... While Brian's answer was littered with 4e-isms, and was overly negative to the point of being a little hyperbolic, the core of his points still applies.

When Brian references close bursts being weaker due to adjacency, this still applies. Eight surrounding squares dropping to six is a non-trivial difference for tactical games (which most d20 games are).

Likewise the notes about blast and burst targetting areas still apply. While 4e uses by far the most square area effects (3.x mostly uses pixelated circles), various d20 games DO still make use of squares. The most notable instances being monster sizes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there any questions tagged d20 that are principally about 4e? \$\endgroup\$ – Alticamelus Apr 5 '11 at 6:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alticamelus No. There is one which is incidentally about 4e (among several other systems), whose top-voted answer is slanted towards 4e (rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6986/…). Most of the remaining questions use d20 to cover 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 5 '11 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The hex grid question clearly confused some people about its scope, which suggests that having tags for both d20 and 4e would have been better there. I agree that it's up to the question text to specify scope, but here if the OP had interpreted the d20 tag as excluding 4e and so needed augmentation, that would have been better in this one case. What's even clearer is that having agreement on whether it's in or out is worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$ – Alticamelus Apr 5 '11 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alticamelus That's a fair point. I'd propose "[d20][dungeons-and-dragons]," or even "[tactical]." \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Apr 5 '11 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ [tactical] or [tactical-games] might be a good tag… Perhaps worth keeping in the back of the head while reviewing new questions to see if it fills a tagging need? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 5 '11 at 17:22

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