2 thoughts on “The philosophy behind the rules in D&D

  1. D. Walker says:

    In the bit where they discuss the exception based system of the rules, and the specific beating the general, they talk about spells in particular.

    I find it hard to take their discussion and philosophy seriously when so many spells in D&D are just badly written. An exception based system is fine, but it invites a lot of doubt as to whether the rules creators made a mistake and forgot to include an exception where it would seemingly make sense for one to appear.

    A significant number of spells have severe problems in terms logical consistency, as well as an explanation of how they even function and what their effects even are. A lot of the time, it feels like spells are incomplete, or don’t sufficiently account for all use cases.

    Why is it that a bolt of lightning from a Lightning Bolt spell will ignite flammable objects, but the bolts of lightning from a Chain Lightning spell or a Call Lightning spell do not? Why do both the “thin sheet of flames” produced by Burning Hands and the “mote of fire” produced by Fire bolt ignite objects, but the “line of roaring flame” produced by Aganazzor’s Scorcher does not?

    Why is it that Warding Wind makes ranged attacks which pass through its area suffer disadvantage, but Gust of Wind, which is capable of sending much heavier creatures flying, does not affect ranged attacks at all?

    Why is it when you cast Transmute Rock on a 40 foot cube of cavern ceiling, transforming 64,000 cubic feet of rock into 2.3 MILLION LITERS of mud weighing 4,700 tons, it only deals 4D8 damage to anything it falls on, or only 2D8 damage if they succeed on a DEX save?

    Why is the Knock spell just as noisy as the Thunderwave spell? Why aren’t the explosions of the Pyrotechnics or Fireball spells deemed equally noisy, if not more so? Why do none of the spells that actually summon bolts of lightning produce thunder effects comparable to spells like Thunderwave? Why is it that the audibility of some spells is left undefined, but for others it is spelled out exactly, to a precise distance in feet?

    Why do some spells receive a specific ruling exception, but others are left only with a “general ruling” that doesn’t actually involve any written rule at all, and instead leave it up to the DM to determine?

    • Chapps says:

      Because it is a game, and is balanced as such.

      I could go into more detail on certain things. Suppose archers can account for a continuous wind, but Warding “blows around you” and may be less predictable. It ultimately falls to a DM to interpret the rules should a player query the issue. Perhaps they will decide Fireball is audible, or that it instantaneously illuminates an area with dim light 30′ from the edge.

      Of course there are omissions, and doubtless some are accidental. Should a DM determine the omission is a balance issue in their games, they can amend it. However, the material has been playtested as is, and there is an assumption that omissions, intentional or otherwise, nevertheless produce a balanced experience for the spellcaster, their allies, and the Dungeon Master.

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