Friday, July 22, 2011

RPG BLOG CARNIVAL - What Makes a Roleplaying Game Bad Ass?

What's this thing called the RPG blog carnival, you might ask?

Well, according to the fellows over at Nevermet Press:

"Blogger carnivals are a way for a group of bloggers to all simultaneously write about the same topic. They are a great way to build community and dialogue across many different blogs at once. This benefits fans/readers of those blogs because they have the opportunity to explore lots of different viewpoints in a short period of time. It also benefits the bloggers because they get new readers to stop by and (from a technical point of view) it helps with SEO. Everyone wins."

This month's carnival topic is What Makes a Roleplaying Game Bad Ass?

Without further ado, here are my thoughts.

I have been playing role playing games since I was in high school, reading role playing games since I was in middle school, and playing at make-believe superheroes, etc. since I could talk and walk.

I'll never forget the first time that I discovered this thing called "Dungeons and Dragons" by stumbling onto one of the old red boxed sets at a bookstore at the mall, followed by procuring a single-player adventure supplement where the consequences of the character's choices were revealed by swabbing a special marker across fields in the book that were printed in "invisible" ink. Here was a system for fantastic games of make-believe that took the arbitrariness of "Bang, you're dead! No, you missed!" out of the equation, I marveled! Unfortunately, it wouldn't be until a few more years that I found the right friends to actually play D&D with, as opposed to just collecting the books and having adventures in my head all by myself.

When my friends and I decided to take a stab at playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in lieu of the various Nintendo games that we'd collectively accumulated, it was based upon their leap of faith on my assurance that this pencil-and-paper game of make-believe could be just as entertaining, if not moreso, than the diet of 8 bit video games that we had been consuming together.

One flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants Dungeon Mastered by me adventure later, and the rest, as they say, was history. We were hooked, and had caught the RPG bug hard core. Nevermind that our mastery and recall of the rules hadn't been perfect, or that the story arc I wove wasn't as sophisticated and detailed as a George R R Martin epic fantasy series. No, what mattered was that we had fun learning the rules together as we went along, and that we threw any self-conscious trepidation of playing pencil-and-paper make-believe to the wind and immersed ourselves in telling a shared improvisational story together.

Sure, playing AD&D broadened our appreciation and knowledge of literature and history (well, of the European medieval period, anyway), inculcated within us an appreciation for the dramatic arts, and sharpened our ability to give witty repartee - but these were all happy side effects of evenings spent together engaging in an ages old human pastime: myth making.

And that is what makes a roleplaying game bad ass. Good friends coming together to make myths. Whether the system/setting was AD&D, DCU Superheroes, Star Wars, or the World of Darkness - it was always the play that was the thing. So long as the rules and setting inspired and enagaged us, our role playing games were bad ass.

1 comment:

  1. Nice arguments here got me quite thinking for a while. As a player of these games I'm quite oblivious to these facts. Good food for the thought. wow accounts for sale