Friday, January 18, 2019

Under Pressure

I was re-reading my unbelievably fantastic interview at the Age of Dusk blog (really, it's so scrumptious that some cultures would probably view it as high-art erotica) while also enjoying the commentary below - then something struck me...

What are the reasons for story-gaming over traditional roleplaying? 

  1. Lack of imagination - People just can't come up with anything creative because they don't have the imagination.  Hey, not everybody's wired that way.  But then why would they gravitate to RPGs at all?  So, I don't think it's lack of imagination.
  2. Pressure to perform - You're expected to come up with something good on-the-spot.  Roleplaying is a performance art.  And I'm not just talking about getting your character's voice right, but tactics, strategy, logistics, persuasion, and all the little details that go into playing an RPG.  We live in an age when the fear of failure is greater than the ambition to succeed.  There are no winners or losers, just the possibility of more PC pseudo-angst.  Here's your participation award.
  3. Laziness - Continually thinking of genre, character, and story appropriate things is difficult.  Wouldn't it just be easier if the rules or some play-book did the work for you?  Sure, it would.  But there goes one of the best parts of roleplaying - creating something tremendous from the humble micro-tools you start with, like profession, ability scores, name, equipment, personality, etc.  This will help without doing all the work for you!
  4. Bad GMs - Sure, there are a lot of piss-poor Game Masters out there.  Sad, but true.  Some GMs are sadistic bastards or failed novelists or egotistical attention hogs.  A few RPG designers try to actively counteract bad GMing by coming up with rules that strip GMs of their power and players their opportunity.
  5. Ignorance - If story-games are all you know, then maybe you're not aware of traditional RPGs.  Perhaps you've never experienced the creative freedom that comes from having a character in a fairly open, lawless sandbox without training wheels, railroad tracks, or "special moves" that hold your hand all the way to the finish line.  I'm talking about RPG sessions where virtually anything is possible!

If I had to pick just one of the five, I'd probably blame story-games on the pressure to perform.  Almost everyone gets some form of performance anxiety (even if it's extraordinarily mild or productive eustress that catapults you to new heights).  

Even though I routinely GM like a fucking boss, I still get nervous occasionally.  But I don't let nerves or anxiety stop me from enjoying an awesome game with both friends and strangers.  I simply do my best, knowing full well that every so often I will fail.  The failure doesn't bother me as much as not living up to my potential.  

Hope you got something out of this... oh yeah and Cha'alt has about 16 days left to fund! Those hardcovers are going fast.  Don't miss out!!!  ;)


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