Monday, September 12, 2016

No One Is Accusing You Of Having "Wrong Bad Fun"

The Internet is chock full of advice when it comes to roleplaying games. Whether you're looking for rules combinations, character conversions, guides, clarifications, or just suggestions for creating atmosphere, or getting into character, you can find it out there. Regardless of the system you're playing, or the kind of tone you're going for, you're bound to find at least a few bloggers, vloggers, and industry voices you agree with. You're also likely to find several you disagree with. It is, in fact, likely for you to find a lot of people you disagree rather strongly with. Which is why, this Monday, I'd like to remind everyone out there of the silent mantra when it comes to reading RPG blogs, watching channels, reading articles, or just talking in forums and on social media.

Now, repeat after the Goat of Silliness...
The mantra goes something like this. "If I don't agree with this content, then clearly it's not meant for me, or my game."

That's it. Just a simple, silent sentiment that we should always tack to any article we disagree with when it comes to gaming.

RPGs Are Not A Zero Sum Game

I bring this up because I spend a lot of time online talking about RPGs. Whether I'm promoting my own blog posts, or those of a fellow creator, or just answering questions or joining discussions, I spend several hours a day up to my elbows talking about my favorite games. And, as anyone who spends time on social media knows, there are bound to be disagreements. Sometimes it's over a rules interpretation, and other times it's over whether or not a certain class is bound to certain styles of play. Sometimes it's just asking if something is technically possible, according to the game rules.

Now, I'm going to make the following statements from the calmest portion of my soap box that I have. Suggesting a certain way to play is not demanding that everyone play that way. Pointing out that a rule works a certain way in the game does not preclude your table from altering that rule when you play the game.

Unless someone specifically says, "this is the only way to play this aspect of the game, and if you do it differently, then you're doing it wrong," then no one is "calling you out" for having "wrong, bad fun."

Play how you want, you mad bastards.
However, if you feel the need to demand that someone else stop telling you how to play the game, and you want to sling a comment about how the, "fun police," have found your thread, take a moment, and repeat the silent mantra to yourself. Then, if you feel so compelled, re-read the thing that upset you, and ask if it is, in fact, demanding that all players play the game in a single way. If it isn't, and is simply pointing out the language of a rule, making a suggestion on how a given class could be run, or stating that at this particular person's table, X, Y, or Z are the order of the day, then scroll on along.

So What's Your Point?

What's the point of this post? To get my fellow gamers, and members of the community, to stop using the accusation of someone calling you out for, "wrong, bad fun," the same way that people with unpopular views will scream about their, "freedom of speech," or about how everyone's so, "politically correct," when the criticism starts rolling their way. Someone telling you that your interpretation of the rules is directly against the game's errata, and thus that you have house-ruled things to be different, is not an attack on you. That's just a statement. Someone pointing out that barbarians can be from big cities, or that wizards don't have to go to universities, isn't accusing you of playing the game incorrectly. They're just pointing out that there are other ways to do things.

You like the way you're doing them? Beautiful! Shine on, and happy trails. But if you're going to get involved in discussions, talk about the issue at hand. Don't just raise a criticism shield and claim someone's trying to censor your fun.

Well, that's all for this week's Moon Pope Monday post. Hopefully you enjoyed what I had to say, and even if you didn't enjoy it, that you still found something worth taking away from this particular post. If you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, then just stop by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to toss a few bills in my jar. No pledge is too low, and if you pledge at least $1 a month I have a free book with your name on it! Well, my name is on it, but you get the picture. Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter yet, what's the hold-up?

1 comment:

  1. What I have noticed though is the different approach or attitude is quite easily split between those older gamers who started in the 80's or 90's and those more recent who started in the last 15 years (I've noticed since the advent of 3rd ed D&D). The older gamers, myself included, are more likely to be story over mechanics and are less likely to be over-optimizers. The new generation seem to have more of a sense of entitlement in their gaming, and are far more likely to use the system to make the uber-optimized characters that break the game. Part of that comes from the MMO argument that says you need to be the best you can be to beat the game, and they bring that to the gaming table. That to me is where a lot of the "you're playing wrong" arguments come from on both sides. I very rarely see both sorts of players happy together on the same table.