For a kid who grew up rolling 2D6 for Monopoly, D&D was literally the gamechanger. It was rare genius to build mechanics around how to do anything people could do in real life and then add magic on top of that.

D&D was not chess or backgammon or even an Avalon Hill game but needed a Dungeon Master to adjudicate things not completely solved in the rules. As video games started imitating the RPG experience, the machine became the DM and players found loopholes in the game designer’s logic to exploit.

My son grew up in a whole new generation of players. I remember him playing Skyrim and rather than taking side quests to build up a character, he found he could trap horses and beat them to death to gain experience. If you did that for hours on end, you could start adventures at 20th or 30th level and breeze through every encounter.

I lovingly dub these sorts of players “rules weasels.” These are players who seek to beat the rule mechanics to get an advantage without really enjoying the experience.

I recently returned to playing D&D and found that the rules weasels have invaded this sphere too. You can’t pick up the crumpled note on the dungeon floor without first detecting magic, searching for traps, and detecting the presence of good and evil. And for good measure, you better pick the note up with a Mage Hand.

I just pick up the danged note! The DM is usually kinder and sessions are a lot more fun.

Some of my favorite rules weasels worked hard to beat every rule in The WitchBorn® game. That’s why there was a Second Edition. And they broke many things again so now the Third Edition is starting to roll out with the Wanderers, Wulfs, Dwarves, Guild, and Norn.

Rules weasels make me a better writer. They have improved The WitchBorn. Again.

But please, play for the joy of playing.

My hope is that you become the player who picks up the crumpled note on the dungeon floor and enjoy the stories and conflicts in The WitchBorn. Bad things are bound to happen. But an amazing thing happens when you engage. The victories are so much sweeter.

And finding joy is the purpose of any game!



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