Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Three Deities of D&D

I was giving some thought to real factors that control the players and the D&D game and how those factors are so powerful they are basically deistic in nature. The first is the Dungeon Master ( aka. GOD), who is the creator, narrator, judge, jury and all out big big cheese of gaming. There are good DMs, bad DMs, very giving DMs, stingy DMs, fair DMs, unfair DMs, etc, but no matter what kind of DM you game with, they really are the true GOD of the game.

The second most powerful deity of the game are the dice ( aka . CHANCE). The roll of the die dictate probability of most every event in the game that is not a direct call by the big chief himself, the DM. The dice can be fickle for sure. Some times their on a roll other times they just suck ass and this goes for DM and players both.  While, the dice also have the capability of affecting the DMs decisions, actions, etc, a DM also can override the rolls of the dice if he sees fit, or wants a certain outcome ( cheat the dice). But if a DM is the kind of God that dictates that the results of the die are the word of law and accepts the rolls from himself and his players no matter what, then it seems CHANCE may be the real Head Honcho...

The third most powerful deity in the game is the end (aka. DEATH). Now this can be death of a party member, a total party kill, or end of a setting/campaign due to many factors ( player participation, DM lack of interest, lack of player interest, campaign/setting goals reached, etc). From the players perspective, I think Death is the most powerful Deity in the game. I mean, Raise Dead and Resurrections aside, the end of a character sucks, especially if you have played that character a while and have invested "soul" into him. I mean the DM can sometimes be reasoned with or swayed, the dice can be altered or cheated, but the death of a character is the end of the game for that players invested identity.

Death of a campaign/setting can be both a positive event or negative. The ending of a game due to total party annihilation means the players and the DM have to start over. A campaign/setting  ending because the party reached its goal ( saved the world, killed the big bad dragon, defeated the evil wizard, etc) can be rewarding and welcome ending, even if players die in the ultimate battle for that ending. A campaign/setting dying due to lack of player participation or interest sucks for any DM, I can attest to that.

Maybe there are more factors here that I am missing ( and if anyone has any please pipe up), but I just thought it an interesting concept to address the Three Deities of the Dungeons and Dragons Game as I see it.

So for now on when someone asks what deity can they worship  Ill tell them " well you can worship ME, the DICE or your impending and eventual DEATH-MUAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!)"

It should be noted I left out "RULES" specifically as I see them as more a subset of the DMs purview but Im sure one could make a justification for the rules ( aka LAW) being another Deity....


  1. I want to add another Divine Hierarchical model when applied to the D20/3rd Edition of the game at least as how I see it: Starting from Most to Least Powerful in Divine power

    Characters ( the Players)
    the dm

    I see a constant battle for supremacy between the Players and the Rules as one tries to outsmart and use/over use the other to their benefit. The dice get lots of say here since, well you get to roll lots and lots and lots of them for any one action. The DM, well, I see him as mostly just a narrator here and since the the Players and Rules have pretty much casterated his Godhood. And Death, well thats just a dirty little word that noone wants to use because when you have system thats set up to be modeled around the characters ( and specificaly to an extent video games where your all "special" and if you fail well you can just begin anew like nothing happened), no player want to face that potential.

  2. It really depends on the style of game the DM encourages. For min-maxers it will be the rules. I don't like playing with those sorts of players, so I'd have to go with the list provided here. I believe in what I call "the sanctity of the dice". You must play and interpret the dice as rolled.

  3. Min maxers are a gigantic pain. I've never DMed for any, but simply playing beside a couple of them in various games has given me quite the distaste for them. I think Min/Maxing to a certain extent is good and normal, it's only when you get "those" players that it becomes a problem.

    The main reason I wouldn't want to play with min/maxers or rule lawyers as they're called sometimes, is because of the fun sucking aspect they add to the game. the total focus on rules and number crunching takes away from the role playing aspect of any D&D setting. If a player wanted to play as Hafling barbarian (which would only really happen in 3e or up) because it's fun, this is the opposite of min maxing. I hate it when I see interesting character choices get criticized by someone with little to no originality, and only wants to create an engine of destruction that steamrolls over everything the DM has, as well as the other players in the process.

    These reasons are where my dislike of 4E comes in to play, as it seems that edition is modeled exclusively for people who wish that type of gameplay. There's plenty more I could say but I prefer your original "pantheon of gods". It reflects a type of setting where the focus is on the flavour of the character's personalities and the player's wits, rather than totally on a game where you basically have to be an accountant to play.

    1. I agree with you completely. Unfortunately for me most of the games I play in are with these kinds of players. Most of whom have absolutely no interest in anything else ( or going back to more old school as it were). I wont go into everything here, as I intend to post something to my this blog soon that talks about just that. I know people have been griping for years and everyone has had their say, but I havnt yet.....