Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And coming in at number three...

People have been saying “Hey Seraph ! What’s the dilly-o, eh ? I KNOW you ! The REAL you ! You play board games ! You read those fancy comics what have a plot consisting of MORE than a guy in a spandex suit clobbering various evil-dooers ! And you play them new fangled RPG’s you’re going to talk about this week ! How come you write YOURSELF into the higher reaches of the Geek Heirachy ? What do you say to THAT, sir ?!”

Hmmm. It’s a fair point I guess.

BUT – gentle reader – let me be the first to say – I pretty much belong to ALL the levels to which I will be writing ( all bar the very worst of the worst that is ) – and so my COLLECTIVE geek status is reduced mightily. Much like an albatross around my neck – my sins will pull me down into the lower reaches … but I fall short of entering the very inner circle … the “Mouth of the Devil” in this Inferno, if you will. Just. Anyway – that’s a topic for later. For now it’s :

Seraph’s Heirachy of Geekdom ( v1 ) !

3. Indie Role-playing Gamers
There was a time when table top RPG games were dominated by ludricious numbers of die rolls, massively complicated charts you needed a slide rule and a fx-82b calculator to interpret and at least three phone-book sized rule books – and that was to just open a door !

It was a question of “Role-playing ? What the hell is that junk ! Let me KILL something else and steal it’s meager collection of copper pieces !”.

They were dark days indeed.

And then, one day, people realized that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the actual STORY did have something to do with it, rather than just a litany of mindless slaughter, inter-party back-stabbing / theft, and the wholesale looting of ancient tombs.

From this first simple thought – the role-players of old cast aside their player manuals and GM guides, and devised games where characters, plot and setting actually meant something. Systems were streamlined – combat downplayed – invention and creativity encouraged. Players could actually HELP tell the story – rather than being the puppets of some power-crazed GM. There was collaboration. There was unity. There was a new age.

And yet – all golden ages fall.

The problem with IRPGers are myriad :

- They get OBSESSED with story elements. Things begin to get overly complicated once more ! “What’s your kicker ? Where’s the BANG ? How about you flangle the klink ?” WTF ??? SPEAK ENGLISH !

- There is a tendency in many IRPGers to think that ANY situation is worthy of RPing. And I mean ANY. It’s disturbing that your average IRPGer would think the following would be a pretty good idea for a game :

HARD DETERMINIST !
You play a 17th century philosopher, exploring their struggle to win approval for their ideas of the nature of life / the cosmos / the universe.

Divide 10 points among your 3 philosophical stats of :
o Ethics
o Meta-physics
o Logic

Choose a main ‘school’ – from the following list
o Solipsism
o Existentialism
o Determinism

Your goal – form a major religious or social group who extol your values. Avoid being stoned to death by the heretics !

Ahhhhh .. NO ! NO NO NO ! Not EVERY idea makes for a decent RPG ! The same goes for any game where you play an adorable animal – “The Happy Bunnies of Fuzzy Glen” is NEVER going to be acceptable as a RPG! NEVER! In fact – if you think it IS, it is a sure sign that you have taken IRPG’s into a place where man was not meant to go. For the love of all that is good and holy – come back to the light !

IRPGers ( or, more accurately these days – Story-Telling Gamers ) are responsible for a vast amount of great things in the role-playing world, and undoubtedly, they have shaped the medium for the better. BUT … they also need to watch their step a little – lest, like Dr. Frankenstein, they become responsible for creating a monster !

Well - Story-Telling Gamers huh ? Where will CONVENTIONAL RPGers come ? Only time will tell !
Thanks to my good buddy BubbaJay for the 'shout-out' on his blog, and a BIG hi to my fellow173c Hanson Street Survivor - Spaceman Jack Dee ! Check out his stuff !

2 comments:

Jenni said...

I hope that when you do LARPers, you mention the redonkulousity of roleplaying committee based scenarios.

"Tonight I will play a representative of a big imaginary corporation. My goals are to get people to give me imaginary money and much politicking shall ensue! Someone will take minutes! I shall object if someone tries to disagree with me! Aaah the fun of it all."

/rant.

Seraph said...

That will be just ONE of the things I mention about LARPers. I do agree that's gotta be one of the most stupid things I ever heard though - "Let's play a game based around one of the most pointless and tedious aspects of the working world ! Oh - but we're going to be dressed as SCI-FI guys ! Arn't we freaking AWESOME !?"

What the hell next ? "Radiation Sickness - the LARP" ? Lie there and pretend to be coughing up blood, twitching every now and then while moaning piteously ?

... Actually, I just remembered reading about Civil War re-enacters ( close relavtives of LARPing pretty much ) who pretty much do that. Except it's more "Minie ball in the gut/throat/crotch - the LARP". Wow. I can see the freaking attraction !

Weirdos.

I shall have to consult with you for more dirt on the LARPing scene. :)