19 July 2008

The nature of the hobby?

You may have already read this, but there was an interesting article a few weeks ago describing the way that gamers can be a bunch of pretentious blowhards. The author accomplished this by examining this analogy: RPGs, like cookbooks, are a series of seemingly rigid rules that, in practise, "require a certain amount of adaptation for your own tastes." So if people treated cookbooks like they treat gaming books, it would sound pretty horrible, wouldn't it? You can read it to see for yourself.

If you don't remember, I posted some time ago about the different gamer types. The vast majority of gamers are either butt-kickers or power gamers. By far the minority are the storytellers and method actors. (Granted, for the purposes of this argument, I am ignoring the casual gamer.) Given that the butt-kickers and power-gamers prefer hard core rules systems, which empower their particular emotional desire to game in the first place, while storytellers and method actors dislike hard core rules on account of their desire to play less combat-centred storylines, it is not surprising that this should be the case. For the butt-kickers and power gamers, the rules are everything, because it's the exacting script by which they create havoc and chaos.

But you can see the point, can't you? Sometimes they tend to focus on the rules to the exclusion of their own ability to enjoy the game. They tend to forget that the rules, especially in RPGs, are meant to be modified to suit the needs of your particular group. But with the need for rules that most gamers feel, especially the fanatical devotion to the canon as laid out by the authors of the game in question, adaptation and modification are not seen as options.Which is a shame, really. I myself still play 2nd edition Changeling. Most of the fans of Changeling set about to alter the rules they play with to accommodate the 3rd edition changes being made in Changeling's sister games, Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage at that time. If that's what they want, fine. But most of the changes were changes that I didn't like (most notably the damage systems, which I've ranted about in other places, so I'll spare you for the moment). So I left it as it was.

I have strongly considered finding a way to fuse the Blue Planet damage system onto the Changeling system, and I also like the Exalted system of initiative. I have devised a streamlined system of combat adapted from the Storyteller System, GURPS, and my own ideas of what combat should be like. I haven't had a chance to try these, since I've not had a group for which to run a Changeling game since I devised the idea. But I have certainly altered the rules to fit the needs of my game.

That may make me an outcast among other hardcore gamers. But oh well. As I've said many times before, I'm not here to tell you how to play your games; neither will I listen if you try to tell me how to play mine. Everyone has a right to play the games that they enjoy playing, the way that they enjoy them.

So that's something to think about. In the meantime, keep playing games, and don't forget to 

Game on!

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