Sunday, April 5, 2009

Realism

Welcome to another week of the Game Dork's Gaming Corner. Today, I'd like to talk about a realisation I had while rereading The Order of the Stick for about the 27th time.

Many of the jokes in that comic revolve around idiosyncracies in the rules. The characters frequently make fun of the Attack of Opportunity rules in Dungeons and Dragons. They have often poked fun at experience points and the level system. These jokes are common topics of humour and/or complaint amongst gamers. People often complain that the rules system isn't realistic.

And yet it occurs to me that they're playing a game in which you take on the roles of elves, dwarves, orcs, and gnomes, encountering goblins, trolls, dragons, and umber hulks, fighting them with swords, magic spells, magic rings, and arrows.

I've mentioned this before, but I still find it quite amusing that people can get so upset over what they perceive to be flaws in the rules, or variations in the rules, or deviations from the rules... and so forth.But it strikes me as particularly odd that people can get so hung up on realism in a game about mythological creatures casting spells at one another. Seriously, why get angry if the rules system does not accurately portray the effects of a halberd on the flesh of a living creature, when the same player will happily have his character wave his hands and chant in an ancient language that never existed in an attempt to cause a large quantity of electricity to jump from his fingertips and kill a zombie?

I realise this probably comes from the fact that I am a Storyteller/Method Actor, but can't we all calm down a little and just enjoy the story? Especially when the players who rant most vehemently about a rules flaw is also the most likely to unashamedly exploit a loophole to maximise the power of his own character.

Anyway, I think that's enough for this week. I'll see you here again next week. 

Game on!

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