Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There's a reason our game is set in an original wacky fantasy land, and not in any attempt to recreate an actual historical era.

Members of the public who find themselves curious about those chat games I'm always rambling on about shall note that Trollsmyth has written up a second State of the Campaign covering both in honor of the end of the year.

The public shall further note that Grognardia has just published a missive that can only be described as a vile and untrustworthy slander on the style of play that Trollsmyth and I and the other good folk of the Doom & Tea Parties game have heretofore enjoyed. What other motive than base treachery could he have for the following?

Granted, this isn't a fault with Oriental Adventures itself, but it's very much a product of a gaming culture that conflated immersion with roleplaying and thus promoted the accumulation of reams of social and cultural details as necessities for "properly" roleplaying. It's not an approach I've favored in some time and I don't miss it at all.

It's almost as if he means to imply that there's something wrong with spending several hours discussing, in character, the courtship rituals of the various creatures and cultures that populate the milieu.

In all seriousness--it's good to be reminded, every so often, of the weaknesses of one's chosen style of play, and the ways it can go wrong if handled poorly. Just as, say, more pure dungeoneering is often slandered as inevitably devolving into nonsensical powergaming, the kind of game that I currently find so engrossing can easily take a turn towards navel-gazing alpha-nerd one-up-manship. (Though apparently I have not escaped an infestation of en dashes. Curses and lamentations!) Perhaps more importantly, someone who likes a more freewheeling, whimsical style of play would get just as bored with Doom & Tea Parties as I would with a game where the main difference between various gods was the name I wrote on my character sheet and the particular peculiarities I imparted upon my cleric.

But mostly what I worry about is the alpha-nerd thing. Thus the quote from Trollsmyth: "There's a reason our game is set in an original wacky fantasy land, and not in any attempt to recreate an actual historical era."


  1. I feel like one of the finest services all these gameblogs we write can provide is to show how it's possible to run [whatever kind of game isn't at all like the one the reader plays] and still not be a tedious jackass.

    I mean, a year ago I would've assumed anyone writing about "dungeon soap operas" was, a priori, a terrifying bore. Now I know that isn't necessarily true.

    The best advertisement for whatever style of play anybody plays is just to write some stuff on the web every week or so and sound sane and reasonable.

  2. There's got to be a way for me to not be a tedious jackass...

  3. As you and Zak S say, I am constantly amazed by the vastly divergent style of gaming across our hobby. Some of which do not interest me at all and even leave me shaking my head.

    Like the Doom & Tea Parties group, my Pathfinder group likes to explore the world and play IC, though I suspect we may be a bit more zany than the D&TP group. While my Indie Game group we are much more into over the top action and high weirdness whenever possible.

    Anyway, a fun read and I look forward to reading more in 2010.