Friday, May 11, 2018

Behind the Curtain (RPG advice)

Hey Game Fans, we’re back with a bit of a peek behind the curtain, and this is for you new folks mostly (though i see some of you grumblers in the back). It’s been a banner year for D & D and we’re seeing a massive influx into our community and that’s absolutely fantastic. Welcome to the community and we hope you can find a group of people that you enjoy playing the game with. You may not click with your first group, but you will find some folks that get out of the hobby what you enjoy eventually, and that opens up a lot of really fun options and chances to collaboratively tell amazing stories with your friends while playing a game that is inherently social and encourages group activity.

The most common thing i hear from a new Player (and especially a new Dungeon Master/Game Master/Storyteller/Marshal/Keeper) is “What if i get the rules wrong?” WIll your new game playing companions in fact hate you for your lack of knowledge? Will you be in fact banished to the kid’s table to play with others who lack the depth of understanding to know that a blue goblin is a psionic creature? Will you be mocked and derided because you got a rule wrong? Hyperbole? Eh, not as much as you’d think. (Also, if you’re the person reading this and thinks that’s totally what we’re going to do, you might want to read a little harder going forward.)

The answer is as simple as it is sublimely profound, and it’s a peek behind the curtain (hence the title of the article for today). We all get the rules wrong. Every single one of us gets a rule wrong from the way it’s described in one of the many sourcebooks or rulebooks we use to play these games. Sometimes we don’t like the way a rule works and we change it as a house rule. Other times the rule is so mind bogglingly complex that you need a doctoral degree in advanced planar mechanics to even find a potential answer. The ones that get really fun are when you take the game in a direction that the rules don’t really support and you have to make your own rules for how that works. That’s an awful lot of fun, but requires you to build your own lines to color in.

The rules as presented are guidelines, and most of the RPG designers and writers you interact with will tell you that. Because RPGs are a social activity with a lot of moving parts and actors interacting with the mechanics, there are no pure, honest, fits all situations mechanics as they sit. You’re going to have to tailor them to your individual group and the game you are wanting to play. The rules aren’t one size fits all, and you can’t realistically use them that way. Your group is going to eventually come up with something that the rulebook doesn’t honestly go into a great deal of detail about. Embrace the chaos and work together as a group to figure out how the make the thing you want to do work.

Remember, you can always reach out to the community. It’s the largest collection of well meaning but potentially overbearing parents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings you’ll ever meet. Bear in mind, the solutions they offer are suggestions, and were things that worked in their game at their table with their friends. It might not work for you but could spur you in a direction that works exactly for you.

TL:DR: The Rules are guidelines and we’re going to torch them if they get in the way of our fun, and you can’t tell us we can’t do that, you’re not the fun police.

Game on, Game Fans.

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