22 July 2018

The Right Way to Play

Recently JB at B/X Blackrazor wrote this,

"I've written in the past (more than once, I'm sure) that "there's more than one way to play D&D." But folks inferring some sort of non-judgmental, egalitarian declaration should note that I'm NOT saying there exists more than one RIGHT way to play D&D. Truth is, I secretly believe that many of the multiple ways in which folks run the game of D&D are wrong, some of them dead wrong."

And Alexis wrote some commentary on it, basically saying that the right way of play lies in the deconstruction and design of the game.

I completely agree with him; I have abandoned my previous efforts to make my own game system for precisely these reasons. I determined that the method in which I designed my game was faulty. My design philosophy has undergone a complete 180 in the past year. As Alexis says, how is what you are designing better? What is the purpose of this difference in design as opposed to all the other game designs that have already been made? I now think that it is paramount to understand your purpose and what exactly you want to accomplish  before even beginning to look at the design of a thing.

Relating to my post from the other day, this is the same problem with every map made for RPGs. Cartographers(if you dare call them that) just start drawing and make maps haphazardly without looking at the purpose of the map. Examine your purpose before laying pen to paper. This is why I'm finding it so hard to actually know how I want to change the maps I make for RPGs. What is the purpose of a map in an RPG? The answer is so varied and vague, that I am beginning to think one map will not be able to accommodate all that is needed. Maybe I should start making multiple maps of the same area for different uses? I really don't know.

Getting back to playing the game wrong, there is one big offense that I see throughout the hobby, among all age groups, in stores and among the games hosted at someone's home. The prevalence of dms or groups to tell others that they are full and aren't looking for new players. Not everyone does this, but in my experience a large majority of gamers behave like this. The idea that you can't dm a group larger than 5 players, or that someone can't join the campaign after the first session, or that they can't play with you because they're not your personal friend is completely wrong. In a hobby as small and niche as ours, it's a tragedy when someone doesn't have a chance to try a game and has a bad opinion of RPGs  because they weren't given the chance. So for those few, who actually read this blog, please just never turn away a prospective player!

1 comment:

  1. R. John Morrissey:
    Thanks for this. I do find that there is nothing wrong with turning players away, in context. New players should be given the chance to experience the game, and DMs should be open to giving those experiences. That said, my current players prefer an intimate setting where the more quiet players feel safer in making content. My group of 10 was also a disaster, leaving a bad taste in players, and mine, mouths. So, run games as needed but also as wanted.

    Lance Duncan:
    There's always a way to accommodate new players, you can start a second group, run an introductory one on one game with the new player, or convince someone in your group to be a gm and start their own game. I have seen too many situation where someone who has never played, or they might have limited experience and don't feel like imposing, sees a group playing and asks some questions and is clearly interested in playing but is either ignored by the group as a whole or flat out told by the DM that the 'table is full'.

    I know it can be hard to run large groups and sometimes you're playing with your friends, but I feel that if you can't have a new player jump in to your game in the middle of a session and make them feel welcome and show them a good time you are playing the game wrong. We should try to make our hobby as inclusive as possible.

    R. John Morrissey:
    Well, that is just it. I would start a second game. I would run special introductory games. I would even encourage my players to run their own games, which currently are the cases. With that said, there is no room in my game. I am not playing wrong.

    Lance Duncan:
    So if someone walks walks up to your table in the middle of a game and asks, "that looks fun, can I play?" your response will be, " No, there is no room in my game."

    R. John Morrissey:
    My game is in my house. Such a question would be unexpected and unusual. We wouldn't have "someone" walk up. If the situation did happen as noted, then it would likely be inappropriate to ask to play, as a stranger. I do step out of some more conservative circles when I say that such a person would be invited to watch. Then if interests persist, another situation would probably be offered, as noted above.

    Lance Duncan:
    +R. John Morrissey ok, so in your home game, if you have family members that have shown no interest in the past, but now wish to play, what would you do?

    BTW, I see the alternatives of offering a one on one game or starting a second group, etc. as valid when this interest is expressed in advance of a game when you have time to prepare for it.

    R. John Morrissey:
    It is possible that a family member that showed consistent interest, and did commit to at least 45 Saturdays a year, could get into my game. I would open the spot, especially if the FM got along with my other players. That said, I know my family members, and I don't think the interest exists, nor would they commit.