I read various folks journals now and then about the Role Playing Games that they form and play.

And I don’t believe most of them.

They have all this sweeping world-building, deep story lines and character development. They create races, and planets, and plots with subplots. I’ve never really had a game go that way.

I do believe posts like Ursula Vernon’s recent experience with a revolutionary gingerbread man army.

If I were to try and characterize how most RPGs have gone for me, especially the ones I consider the good ones, it would be something like this:

Put the Scooby-Doo gang, the Three Stooges, and one scoiopath al-la Jack The Ripper or Ted Bundy together in a group. Armor them with fantastically deadly weapons and magic that is uncontrollable. Give the players dice that only roll “critical failure” or “critical success.”

Antics ensue. You can only imagine what happens that while the DM is trying to lay groundwork plot with a key NPC when our magic user accidentally hits a “critical success” on trying to make a fireball appear like a fake fart from behind the NPC.

It’s not a good RPG unless every at the table is laughing so hard they can’t see.

5 Responses to “RPG’ing”

  1. tango says:

    In my experience, the nature of the game varies greatly with the group. Rampant humor and antics can be a riot, but I prefer more serious games.

    Alas, near me there are 3 GMs I can easily get involved with (myself being 1) – 2 (including me) are tired of GMing and the third has a closed game right now.

  2. joshuwain says:

    Heh. Trust me: it can go both ways but, really, mine tend to be vast world-building exercises in High Fantasy…

  3. sorien says:


    My writeups for the Sunday Gaming Group. What I put down is pretty much what happens, as I’m taking notes as we go. 🙂 The Buffy Horror Campaign grew out of my old Horror Game, which itself ran 7(!) years. The Traveller game is mostly the published background but with original storylines, and the 7th Sea game… Well, it just started but it’s a LOT of fun. The Werewolf game we used to play til the GM left the group was ALSO massively heavy on the RP.

    I hate killkillkill games and Monty Haul. I LOVE role play and adventure.

  4. krin_o_o_ says:

    I personally like a game system with nice solid rules that return predictable results with-in a certain range of values given a standard deviation.

    But most GM’s I’ve played with find that level of structure too confining.

    I really dont care if the results of an action are all that “realistic” but I do want the rules to apply and be clearly laid out and followed as, well.. as the rules not be the exceptions.

    I know many “free thinkers” hate it but I -love- the original (pre-v4) Champions for that reason. You could -BUILD- stuff you wanted and the rules were there to tell you how it worked.

    A few years after Champions was out and about the backlash game system became popular. “The StoryTeller System” (Aka Vampire, WW, etc).

    It basically decried that means, averages, standard deviations, bell curves and anything else like that was BORING and that rules were just so much garbage that got in the way of the GM trying to tell the “GM’s STORY”. Player participation was somewhat optional, since the StoryTeller telling the story was all that mattered. The damn rule books were 50% garbage throw away pulp store ‘visionette’ stories that were not even reproducable in the rules system that surrounded them.

    Those are the two extremes I guess.

    One end, a player driven system based on rules where the GM sets the state and the players are responsible for things such as their own actions and the progression of the story.

    The other end, the GM is responsible for everything. Even deciding when the players actually get to do anything meaningful to the GM’s desired outcome.

    I suspect a sociology major could do a really great thesis up on Conservative Rules Based verses Liberal Artistics Based Role Playing systems.

    Something like “Champions are from Mars, Vampires are from Venus”.

    – krin

  5. toob says:

    I have to agree… I’d probably lose interest in a group that couldn’t actually roleplay, get into the experience and really get involved in what was going on.

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