Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Hardest Core RPG Theory Post

In every stupid RPG design argument the side that's wrong has a powerful irrational fear of A, B, C, or D. Usually D.

Which is dumb, because you need it. And sufficiently good B can overcome any unfortunate D. And without sufficiently good B, your game's fucked anyway.


Pierce said...

All summed up neat and tidy.

I find that D type situations are like an invitation for players to step up with C types.

Adam Dickstein said...

I'm dumb and apparently suffer from irrational fears.

I think D is the least interesting part. I would rather have an E.

E. Thing Nobody Knew Would Happen because the Player didn't know what obstacle the GM would think up, the GM didn't know what solution the Player would think up, the logical resolution of the two thoughts require creative thinking on the GMs part, partially added by player input.

But that's just me.

Zak Sabbath said...

That "E" you describe is not a new element, that's an example of what's in the center "What happens in the session".

None of the ingredients you describe isn't already accounted for--it's just a combination of B and C.

Holly Oats said...

But emergent properties are freakin' awesome! Plus, the whims of Fate promote improvisation on the part of both players and the referee, which is half the fun in playing a tabletop RPG

AsenRG said...

Actually, I'd say sufficiently good C can overcome any D. And D by itself isn't a bad thing, it's only a problem when B relied on D not happening. Which would be a problem with B in my book, not with any of the other elements.

Unknown said...

Fukken beautiful. I think it is mostly story gamers who are terrified of D.

Jeff Heikkinen said...

I like it to the extent I understand it, but I'm not sure I follow what A is and am even less sure I can think of an example of A being the subject of the irrational fear you talk about. The interaction of B, C and D, though, I think you've captured beautifully and in a wonderfully simple way.

Zak Sabbath said...

Another example of A might be "We're playing Shadowrun, so there's cyberware".

A is anything you come to the table assuming is always part of the game

Jeff Heikkinen said...

Okay, fair enough.

Unknown said...

I (used to) get into stupid arguments with gamers who fear B, C and D. they have taught me a rational fear of A.

I am thinking of the time Perkins GM'd for the robot chicken. at one point they were locked in a room with two different traps. all the players but one went to punch the traps repeatedly. one player tried to open the door. after a few turns of this they accused the character at the door (in game) and the player who controlled him (out of game, in RL) of being a traitor. he shrugged and started punching the traps with them. once they were punched the player on the out suggested that they take some of the weapons from the room with them. the other players refused in cold silence. now, his A was my A. but their A was their A. and their assumption that their A was -THE A- was fuking creepy.