There's a discussion on Twitter right now about whether or not D&D is a "violence simulator" and it just strikes me as such an off-mark conversation to have
Because, there's a certain sense in which, of course it is. If, for you, D&D is the thing in the core rulebooks, it's a wargame with extra things tacked on to it to make the combat asymmetric and handle out-of-combat scenarios. A third of the rules are things to fight.
But there's also a sense in which it makes little sense to say that at all. If D&D, to you, is the thing that happens at the table, it's an expression of what the players find interesting. It's a way to give players a kind of power they don't have in their real lives. The rules put limits on that power so that it's satisfying to gain more - more gold, more magic items, more class levels, more political power.
So what we end up arguing about is which semantic level we're speaking on - something we should just acknowledge and frame the conversation around in the first place.
If your players want to do violent things - players here including the game runner - they will build that kind of story, in D&D or Heart: The City Beneath or Microscope or Dream Apart. If your players are interested in finding non-combat solutions, they will find, execute, and enjoy those plots, in whatever game you pick.
Anyway I hate being the person defending D&D because WotC is bad. But, as someone who plays a lot of other games, including games by people who have expressed exactly this opinion - that D&D is about violence in a way that other games are not - I keep coming back to it, not because of marketing but because of community, because of modularity, and because of the, frankly, wide breadth of things it does well.
@tindall playing D&D is not really playing. It is historical enactment. There are soo many better RPGs and rule sets these days.
@tindall chess is a classic game. D&D was a prototype. We now have games like Rune Quest or Vampire The Masquerade or Call of Cuthulhu...
@jens_d are you saying that VtM and CoC are categorically better than D&D in every way? That seems hard to defend.
@tindall D&D is a primitive hack & slay & level up game. You hardly need dice. High level Character
wins the fight anyway.
@jens_d I don't agree with you, on an experiential and factual level. It's good to play other games but D&D is also pretty good.
@tindall Also, I quite like biffing things in games. Nothing wrong with a game being “about violence” if that’s what you want to play
@ghost_bird Absolutely. To the credit of folks talking about this, I think they recognize that and acknowledge it.
@gunchleoc Power gaming’s related but not identical. You can absolutely have a game of combat without power gaming
@ghost_bird We did combat too of course, it's part of the game. What we did though was to abolish the XP system and simply decide as a group when it was time to level up, so that we wouldn't level up too fast.
@gunchleoc One of the things I like about 5e is they made that an official option. It always made more sense to me, really, but that’s because I tend to focus on narrative
@ghost_bird We always had some house rules, e.g. the skill "Dangerous half knowledge" which was the most fun when you rolled badly.