Pretention rising


Recent articles in GameGrene have made me just shake my head.

Here are my summaries for the more popular recent articles in Gamegrene:

Acting Out -- "Acting is better than storytelling."
Level One Forever -- "Using powerful abilities is cheating."
To Play Or Not To Play: Non-Human Characters -- "Only some players deserve to play nonhumans."

Before you answer, please note, these are MY summaries. This is the message that I pulled out of the article as being the central theme. When you respond to my little flamebait here, don't deny that I got this impression. You can say that the theme I perceived was not the one that was intended.

Now, on to my point...

These articles are incredibly pretentious. All three seem to be trying to tell people that one style of play is somehow "better" than another. Pretentious tripe!

Next time you write an article for GG, start thinking about whether you're talking about YOUR game, or MY game... and if you're only talking about YOUR game, why do I care?

All right, I'll bite...

While I've agreed with some of what Vaxalon has said elsewhere, I have to disagree with the sentiment here.

While none of my articles were targetted by Vaxalon, I could see where one could argue that I might come across as pretentious. And maybe, on some level, they are. what?

If somebody has had great success playing RPG's with no dice...and they think it's the best way to play the game and they want to share it with the rest of us...then, yeah, they'd better write an article where they think their style of play is "better." Otherwise, I won't listen...and I won't try.

If the dude says..."man, we played a game with no was cool"...then I'm not sold. If he writes a 1000 word article and goes into depth about all the fun he had and how it was much better than the old games he used to play, I'm more inclined to listen and give it a shot myself.

And even if I totally disagree with least he's offering up something that invites conversation. I disagreed with the article that suggested playing at Level One was better...but I'm glad the guy wrote it and I thought some valid points were made.

And I have to wonder...why write a short "article" complaing about other articles. Why not just write your version of a good article? Show us what you're thinking about.

After all, isn't it kind of pretentious to slam the work of other writers without having offered something yourself? You're slamming people for stating that their opinions are better...and in the process, implying that your approach is better than theirs...that their articles would be better reads if they followed your "guidelines."

What is it you're wanting to read, anyway?

Challenge accepted.

Coolio...lookin' forward to it!

And, be warned, I've got an article queued up that explain how making a game out of urinating increases the fun-value of an RPG session.

Forewarned is forearmed!

How long does it take a posted article to show up?

Articles get thrown into a queue, where they're edited by Salvatore. Articles are generally published in the order they are received - there are three articles before yours. We always try to have some sort of queue/backlog going so that we don't run out of stuff to publish, and have a month of nothing new.

I have to admit that you are correct in one regard. The above three articles do have some things in common. One thing that they have in common is that all three articles are about ways to emphasize the roleplaying aspect of the game as opposed to the game portion of it.

I don't know how old you are, how long you've been playing, what kind of person you are or your players are, but everyone that I know or play with has outgrown the game aspect of roleplaying within six months to a year of beginning. We play to tell a story, have a good time, interact socially, and to challenge ourselves and our characters.

Playing just to go up levels, kill things, get treasure or experience gets boring much too soon. Where's the fun? Who cares if your 15th lvl Paladine has a dragon as a mount, a +5 Holy Sword of Doom, and a small keep? There is very little challenge to paying a character like that. It's the story of and behind the character that we really care about.

What you have described as pretentious is in fact merely an effort to enhance the game.
For example:
I've never liked board games because... well, they're boring. However, several months ago I got talked into playing my 1st game of Monopoly with my inlaws. Imagine their surprise when I tried bribing gangs and drug dealers to move into their neighborhood to lower the property value. Or when I threatened a player to get him to pay me "protection money". We had a great time because I "roleplayed" Monopoly. My Inlaws now use what I brought to the game on their friends when they play.

From what you have written in this article and in other posts, I'm kinda surprised that you roleplay at all.

Another thing that the above articles have in common is that the Authors had the courage to write advice and opinions to help other players help enhance their game. I have yet to see you do anything but dog what others have written. It's easy to be a critic. Try being an artist for once. Try to create something worthwhile. It may take a little more "overhead" than merely writting acerbic replies to other people's written articles, but go ahead, give it a shot and see what we think of your little gems of roleplaying wisdom ;-)

I think it'll help illustrate my point with a minor comparison:
Your games are like the original Dragonlance novels. A simple premade world with standard characters and plot, very little character growth for the most part, and written at the 7th grade level.
The games that I'm used to, the games that I have the most fun running or playing are written like Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow, Thorn trilogy. Games where the plot is intricate, character growth and interactions are a vital part of the story, where players make dumb or dangerous decisions because that's what their character would logically do. Games where figuring out what is going on, who to trust, how to stop the Bad Guys, and how to survive are the basic tenets of a decent game.

My players have all remarked that the games that I run are the most challenging, both for the player and their character, that they've ever played. They also state that they have never had as much fun playing the game as they do when I run it. Why? It's not because I'm better than anyone else. It's because I involve them in the game as much as possible. My players always speak to npcs in the first person. They stand up and demonstrate moves in combat. They use quirks, mannerisms, facial expressions, and noises to add detail to their character's actions. And because it's hard, because I don't "dumb" the game down like a bad childrens' movie, whe they DO win, when they finally kill the Main Bad Guy or even when they accomplish something smaller like escaping with their lives, they feel that they have accomplished something. They plot and plan all week until the next session because they are challenged. They can't simply roll some dice to get out of a situstion. Using a skill like fast talk in my game is useless unless the player actually tries to fast talk, then I modify the roll to be made based on what was said. I don't do this because I am a control freak, because I dominate the game, or because I like putting people on the spot. I do this because it forces the player to become more involved than "I roll fast talk".

Which would you rather play? Monopoly on the XBOX, where you can play an entire game by using only the A button. Or Madden 2005 where you have to try to outthink the other player, use multiple bottons, make passes, run the ball, and rely on luck more often than not.
Sales will show that most people prefer playing a game with more depth.

Before you write back or post another angry response to someone else's work (including this one), why don't you try TAKING some of this well meant advice? Give it a shot and see if it works. At worst it will enliven your game just by the fact that you are trying something new. If you try it and it doesn't work, then at least you tried. Who knows, taking our advice might actually improve your game...

"If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly."

"I don't know how old you are, how long you've been playing, what kind of person you are or your players are..."

That's correct, you don't. You've never been to any of my games. And after saying that, you say...

"...I'm kinda surprised that you roleplay at all."

"Your games are like the original Dragonlance novels."


You say, "Try being an artist for once. Try to create something worthwhile."

The article's in the queue.

"My players have all remarked that the games that I run are the most challenging, both for the player and their character, that they've ever played."

Mine too. Irrelevant.

"...I don't "dumb" the game down like a bad childrens' movie..."

Neither do I.

You've entirely missed the point of my post. You think that because I think you have posted really, really bad advice about how to run a game, that I reject your entire style of play. The fact is, we're more alike than you recognize.

Calamar, I have only EVER commented on things you have said about how people should play a game. I have NEVER made any claims about how your games run, or whether they are fun for you, or your players. When you jump to conclusions about how MY games are run, I will call you out on it. Every time.

Cut it out.