This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Being a system nerd has become a waste of time.


Through out this post I am speaking only about myself and my views. This is not directed at anyone in particular. Yes I recognze there are always exceptions to blanket statements. If  the reader finds the ideas put fourth below somehow offensive, I don’t necessarily care. Leave a comment, just remeber I'm never going to see it.

I'ts 2020.
There is a new generation of RPG players out there and they  have the buying power in the RPG industy. 
  • Ones that have absolutely no connection to the  war gaming history of the hobby. 
  • Players who really only want to see their  tiefling sorcerer steal a kiss from the barbarian the evening before setting off to face the big bad. 
  • Players who don't want a scribe, a mapper, or a caller.
  • Players who want to watch RPG's on youube and Twitch, the way we used to watch Conan and Krull.
  • ones who want to hear how the  light plays off the gems on the gypsie's hem. 
  • Players who don't mind if the game they’re watching is not a group of friends creating an emergent story. Rather a group of actors brought together via casting call, and running through a GM's vision of the game.
  • Players who don't particularity care "Miniatures move and fight using a ratio of either 1:20 (one miniature representing 20 troops) or 1:10 "

This is why D&D 5thE has done so well. It is not a system nerds game. It is a game tht allows players to make characters with clearly defined roles who progress quickly and can do epic things pretty much right out of the box.
Here’s the twist though, it's not about D&D it could have been any system. The system might as well be flip a coin, heads succeed tails fail. The  experience today is no longer about the games. It is about personality, story, and aesthetics. Mostly aesthetics.


Everyday there are more new fans and players and less second generation (started in the 80's) Players. So pack up any fancy system ideas and discussions about game theory. It mattered when I started. Then The Big model mattered, Then The OSR mattered (before it ate it’s self), narrative gaming always mattered. However, like all things do the RPG landscape has changed. What much of the next generation thinks of as RPG gaming and entertainment is an evolution of what I enjoyed about the RPG hobby. 

I’ll still enjoy trying to think of clever mechanics to emulate genre or generate a desired tone of play. I'll think about those things for my enjoyment, but I understand that it’s a compete waste of time. The RPG community at large has past me by. It belongs to the young, as it should. The idea of what makes an RPG experience has evolved.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

I have backed off plugging my RPG games on the internet. (Cancel This)


Any time I post it just might be my last post so...
I’m going to write a dead topic post, on a dead blog. If any actual humans read it thank you.


(TLDR)
*As the culture surounding RPG's seems to become much more apt to pick any content apart looking to be offended, I don't have the energy or time to make sure my own work wouldn't end up being"Canceled" So I'm going to remove myself from that fray.*

Cancel this:


So I have just been thinking about the RPG industry. Thoughts from the perspective of a way, way, never-ran outsider.

There was a point (Back in 2013.) When I wanted to be part o the R.P.G. community. I wanted to write games. I wanted to talk games with everyone I could. I wanted to talk game theory, design moving parts, and put my own spin on those concepts. I have always loved this stuff since the mid 80’s and just wanted to put my generally positive vibes out there. I honestly wanted to put my ideas out into the world. That’s not saying my ideas are special or even good, but I wanted to share.

That was 7 yeas ago. Times change.

Right now, The reader could not pay me enough to join in the RPG community, or to officially publish anything. This is not an attack on anyone or anything. It’s not the world, it’s my perspective of the world that brings me to this statement.

A couple weeks ago I watched Adam Kobel get destroyed on social media. Then I watched Roll 20 distance them selves from him. I watched a few Adam adjacent twitch shows end. I’m not an Adam K, supporter. I don’t know the guy. I don’t play Dungeon world. Have no skin in the game. The end result of that controversy, just like all the other ones before, it will mean nothing in my day to day or even my gaming life.

What did strike me is that Mr. Kobel from my limited exposure seemed like the guy the current climate would love. Runs tables with good representation, runs narrative heavy games, seemingly a supporter and ally to under represented communities in games. He checked all the boxes.

Then he done fucked up. He ran a scene that he thought was funny. It wasn’t. His players didn’t think it was funny. They hit the web with statements, and Adam is at least partially done. Canceled. History be damned. Is he a Bad person? I don’t know. I don’t know the guy. What I do know is from my limited exposure, everything he has done up to the point he ran an unsolicited-creepy-robot-toy-sex scene (yeah thats a decent description) didn't matter for shit.

So, the reader might ask again, what’s that have to do with you?
Nothing. I’m so far away from that level of popularity and exposure I can’t even smell it.

DA POINT:
The change is I don’t want to share ideas anymore. 
2013 me is dead and gone. The present climate killed that guy. The idea of slef publishing games not even on my radar anymore.

I know that if I put things out into the world, I will offend someone. 
On this blog I have dozens of posts about dozens of stupid things. I am sure in that pile of words someone could find a reason that I’m a bad person who disrespects some culture and has shown insensitivity to the plight of X or Y. It would not be true. In real life I’m a person who is deeply respectful even if I do have a vivid blue sense of humor.. no matter, the truth is irrelevant.

Worse I find my self stiffed by our current online culture.

Example 1:
I wrote AAIE in space. In that game there are space station add-ons which the players attract over time. One of them is “Space Brothel” which is defined as “a great place for players to gather rumors and potential jobs.”
If the reader only knew how I waffled on that, even put an end note in the game saying, “if you don’t like the idea of space prostitutes use sometime else.”
Forget that Star Trek had space prostitutes, forget that hundreds of pulp sci-fi novels (on which the game is heavily based) have included similar tropes. Forget real world history in which “brothels” have been around as long throughout history and that I see no reason why space travel would change that.

I was honestly worried If I left in that one element that someone would pick it apart and claim I support human trafficking or some other crazy idea. Now add to that the fact the game is built around random charts for all kinds of things and, holy crap the chances to offend some one go up exponentially!

I’m not afraid of feedback, or unable to defend my design choices. Still I have a real world Job, I can’t be bothered with that RPG community shit. I don’t even want to share that game anymore. I took it off lulu, it’s gone.

Example 2:
I recently started working on a “Fantasy, Western” Mash up game. I thought at first about doing a straight two fisted pulp western setting, but decided not to. (plus Aces and Eights has that shit locked down, buy that game.)

Why? I had no way of sensitively approaching Native American cultures.
Why? I have zero expertise with the subject. I don’t have any way of hiring anyone with any true knowledge to help me. Finally the actual subject matter the game would be based on (Pulp Westerns) did an absolute SHIT job of depicting Native American Cultures to begin with.
I know the moment I put pen to paper and start out on the subject… the project would be dead, Canceled.

I can only imagine my friend the reader is eager for me to get to the point.

The current culture surrounding RPG’s does not foster growth or creativity.

For me it has the exact opposite effect. When there is always a voice in my head saying how is this going to go over? Who will it offend? It makes me not want to share my ideas in a public space.

I’ll stick with my 20 year plus gaming group, whose limits and boundaries I know as well as I know my own. I’ll write games for them. I’ll talk about games with the one or two people I have gotten to know well from the net. I will not share my work widely. I don’t have the bandwidth to worry about it or defend it.

Is this a tragedy? No.
As stated above my work and my ideas are pedestrian and average at best.
However, is there some out there who sees the present RPG community climate in a similar fashion to the point of view expressed above? Is there another person who thinks the whole “Cancel Culture” thing is out of hand?

What if even one person out there has great, inspiring, ground breaking ideas, and just sits on them because they are worried about stepping on the wrong toes?

We’ll never know.
That’s the problem.

Thanks for readng.

Don't bother commmenting. NNow that G+is gone I'll probably never see it. If you do place comments in the  moldy shoe box bellow.

-Mark.