Friday, May 29, 2020

A Manifesto

Recently, a game designer, publisher, blogger, and Ennie winner posted a Manifesto about how to play Dungeons & Dragons on Twitter.  Yes, Twitter. The Internet's equivalent of Mordor.

This Manifesto took a stand about how you should play DnD, used a terrible font, used profanity, railed against Wizards of the Coast and Paizo, used a terrible font, and revealed that game balance was a lie. The font is terrible, please trust me on this.

A discussion was had in a Facebook group and I posted my thoughts there. I don't think any arguments ensued though because Tim Knight hosts a great FB group and its members are very cool people.

But the Manifesto stuck with me. There have been times where I would have completely agreed with its author, but at the moment I almost completely disagree with the author but that could change tomorrow.

And that led me to think about my opinions of games and gaming as I've "matured". My maturity level changes by the hour. I'm not proud of that fact but I am honest enough to admit it.

In the early 90s I loved playing Champions, I wanted to love playing ADnD, and I was looking everywhere for the perfect game to play and run. I consumed games purely to learn their system. I'd run games purely to test them out and abandon them and my player's characters without a second thought.

In the Mid-90s I wanted to love the World of Darkness because I dug its system and I had an interest in horror and serious roleplaying. Or so I told myself. In fact, when I ran the WoD it was more like Shadowrun with Supernaturals as stand-ins for Supers.

At the turn of the century, I fell in love with John Wick as a game designer and his Legend of the Five Rings RPG helped my wife and I fall in love with each other. I would run games with up to 18 players to prove that I could and to impress her. Roleplaying was still very important and story mattered more than anything else.

Through the next decade, I found Story Games and bought games like John Wick's Thirty, Dark Pages, Spirit of the Century, and Sorcerer. Only a handful of my players could live up to my expectations as a Story Teller and I was obsessed with forming some kind of Invite-Only Uber Role Playing Group. I was a turd looking for drama and I found plenty of it.

In fact, I found so much drama that I stopped role-playing at all. Except that's not 100% true. I began to realize that being a Husband and a Dad was more important than role-playing and they damn well should be. I should have realized it sooner but I still needed to grow up.

Eventually, I found the OSR, started this blog, and came back. Except I don't have time for drama and this takes a backseat to everything else now. I won't lie, I'm pretty darn tired and I'm not yet 50. All I expect from my players is that we all be kind to each other. All that I want from a game is to blow off some steam, laugh like heck, and roll some dice. That's it. Will things change? I assume so, but that is where I'm at right now.

My point to all of this is to say that I could have written that Manifesto at any time between 1991 and yesterday and I might not even feel the same way about it an hour later. We change. And that means we are alive.

And in 2020 that might be the only thing we have left.

I hope to reach a point in the near future where my biggest concern is how people play DnD. I'd like that a whole lot. That would be a nice change of pace.


Tim Knight said...

Firstly, thank you for the kind words about the Facebook group and its members. I'm delighted that we can have a heated debate, as we did on this topic, without anyone being a dick.

Secondly, you ran games with 18 players to impress your future wife??? That is beyond cool! Isn't LoT5R a dice pool game? How did you find a table that could withstand that amount of dice???

Dyvers said...

I thought this post was really well done so I added a link to it in my BEST READS OF THE WEEK! You can check it out at this link if you want:

Brian I said...

Heh. I used to run L5R games of 20 - 26 or so, but granted, had a co-GM. :)

Cross Planes said...

@Tim, I love you I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters FB group and am so pleased you created it and invited me.
I did. My, now in-laws, have run the local comic/game shop since 1981 and I've shopped there and know my wife since I was 11. She got divorced and things worked out and I've now worked for them for 21 years. We were running the L5R game at the store and I was young and brave (foolish, really) and didn't think I could turn anyone away. Yes, it does use dice pools. I'm amazed people came back, but I ran 18 on more than one occiasion. For those that aren't aware here is the address for the FB group:

@Dyvers, Thank You. That is very kind and I deeply appreciate it. I rewrote this post 4 times before publishing it because it kept coming out as an indictment on the Manifesto and that wasn't my intent. I think, too often, on social media we present ourselves and black or white and that isn't how I've experience real life nor adulthood.

@Brian, that is STILL an ACHIEVEMENT and you are a brace GM indeed.

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