Showing posts with label rpgs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rpgs. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What Everyone* Is Getting Wrong about "Consent in Gaming"

This past week Monte Cook Games released their Consent in Gaming free PDF.
And...as expected there is a lot of whining and complaining from the expected crowd.  Lots. Like somehow this is a personal affront to them.

Now I say Everyone* up there, but really most comments I have read get what this guide is trying to do and be.  So the vast majority get it.  I have tried to spend the last week or so reading everything I can that has been posted online.  I certainly have not read everything, but I am pretty happy with the sampling I have read.

AND nothing in this is new. I talked about social contracts back in 2015. They have been going on for longer than that.  This is just one type of codified social contract / social agreement.

On Wikipedia, we have something called "Assume Good Faith."   The same needs to be used when using this.  Assume the player on the other side of the table is presenting their concerns in good faith.  If something bothers them then it bothers them. 

At the risk of these being straw-man arguments, I do want to address the most common types of comments I have seen online (FB, Twitter, YouTube).  By lumping them together I do make my own error of over-generalization, but I have already spent a lot of time on this post (I started it last week) and more time and text will not make my points any clearer.

But I am Only Gaming With People I Really know.
Great!.  Guess what, you probably don't need this. You likely don't.  You have self-selected yourself out.   Don't worry about downloading it.

But what about...
Whataboutism is a weak argument all the time. 
Sure ANY rule in ANY book from ANY game can have a "What about..." This is not a reasonable argument.  Sure though maybe some hypothetical reasons could come up, but isn't that what this document is supposed to help with? 

But...
I have SO many reasons why people will use this to "fuck with a game" but guess what? That can happen with ANYTHING.  Your ability to pull a hypothetical situation out of your ass is not an argument against this.

Ok. But What About *MY* Fun?
Again, if you can't give an example without starting it with "What About" don't even try.
Also, why is YOUR fun greater than everyone's total fun? OR what is your fun greater than someone else's personal pain?

This is SJW Virtue Signalling!
Since when does not being an asshole mean you are an SJW? Besides calling someone an SJW and expecting it somehow mean an insult is signaling to your own in-crowd and like-minded people.

This is some sort of Millenial Bullshit!
The authors, Sean K. Reynolds and Shanna Germaine, are in their mid to late 40s.  Monte Cook, of Monte Cook games who publishes this, is also in his mid to late 40s.   All have several decades of game design and development with some of the biggest publishers in the world and the awards to match.  They are all solidly Generation-X.

This is Censorship!
Far from it. This actually frees you to do the things you and your players agree with.

But What About Horror movies/TV Shows?
Yeah, and those things have warnings and people self-select themselves out of them.  I love horror movies, my wife hates them. I don't take her to see them no matter how much we love each other. Nor do I expose her to them without warning her. She doesn't "stop the movie" because she scared, she just doesn't go. 
This document helps people make those choices.

What the %@&! are "Sensitivity Readers"?
I took that as basically "Educational Consultants." Both seem qualified to that. Darcy Ross is getting her (or has) Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (something I don't see on the CVs of the critics) and I don't know much about Jessica Meier save that she works in RPGS and has a black belt in taekwondo. 

It's *My* Game.
No. It isn't. It stopped being *your* game the second other people sat at the table.  If you want a situation where characters go through your made-up world with no agency consider becoming a novelist instead.

This is Maoist/Communist/Socialist!
Hmm. So I guess these people never actually studied those things in school.

We have always handled this on our own.
Great. If your track record is objectively, rather than subjectively, good.  If not then this is just another tool to help.

But Psychological Studies Say...
Ah, more whataboutism.   Ok I have read those studies. I have WRITTEN those studies. They are good, BUT please keep in mind WHO were the subjects back then.  Those subjects would not be the ones this document is aimed at. 

That Form
So the fuck what?  I recall starting a game back in college in the late 80s where I went over the potential issues in the game (AD&D Ravenloft) that included murder, the threat of sexual violence and implied child murder (I mean where do you think I used my Utburds?).  You know what people had the most issue with? The child murders of course.


I am reminded of one of my more intense and adult WitchCraft RPG games, my Vacation in Vancouver game. This game dealt with themes of sex, bdsm, sexual slavery, actual fucking evil (demons) and death.  Would this document have helped this game?  Maybe.  I can say this with 100% certainty; this Consent in Gaming document would not have had much change to my game.  We all had talked beforehand about what was and what was not allowed in the game.  I was pretty upfront about the content and the people signing on agreed to this.  There were some intense moments AND at the time I was coming off a long bout of very deep depression, so lots of things bothered me then.
There were things the players did not want.  For example one wanted more BDSM, another player though had issues with this due to her personal history.  Oh she was fine with other violence, but not this.  What did I do?  Did  I kick the player out?

No. Because I am a fucking adult. I worked around it.

I had to get MORE creative, not less creative.
There were a couple times when the game was paused when things got fairly intense.  We then went back to figure out where to take it next.  Well, that was EASY REALLY.  We moved the timeline a few hours ahead past the situation.  That worked FOR US. The same thing may or may or not have worked for other groups.  That is where this document would have worked in those groups. 

Don't tell me it will damage games.  Maybe it will damage YOUR game.  Maybe YOU need to become more creative.


When my kids run games in my house my wife and I cook for them. (yeah full diners each session)
We DON'T make anything with peanuts in it.  Why?  One of the players has a peanut allergy, a pretty bad one.  Do we tell them (that is their pronoun, go suck it if you don't like it) "sorry, you will have nothing to eat for the next four hours!" or "you self-selected into this game now eat the peanut chicken or you can leave!"

No. Because we are not dicks.  We make something else. We do something else.

This is the same thing. Why is that so hard to get?


So here is a bit of advice to the crowd that is so quick to dish out the exact same advice.
If you don't like it or don't want to use it, then don't.
It's really that damn simple.  I have never seen sadly I have seen way too much immature overreacting about this.

It's not going to retroactively change your games. It won't do a damn thing to the 40+-year-old game you run with your buddies.  Nothing.

So be the intelligent player/gamer you say you are.  If you don't want this, then don't use it.

But those that want to use should have access to it. 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Plenty

Today's topic is Plenty.

We live in a new Golden Age of Plenty in RPGS.


I was thinking about what is commonly thought of as the Golden Age; the Early 80s.  Sure there was a lot going on and everything was bright and new and the vistas seemed endless.

But I also remember a time when finding some books was difficult and unless you were in the know then you not only didn't have access to the books, you didn't even know they existed.   Plus lots of news of new games, books or whatever was regional.

I lived near the pipeline between Chicago and Carbondale (two places I would later live in) that had a steady stream of material partially thanks due to Tim Kask and his connections at Southern Illinois University (SIU, go Salukis!).  So I came to later learn that even though I lived in a highly religious small town, we had some good access to D&D products.  With Mayfair in the Chicago burbs and the University of Illinois all the North, things were not too bad.

BUT there was still a lot of stuff I never saw.  I understand there was a vibrant scene in California and other places that produced completely different material.  Material that the local took for granted.

Today.  Today things are different. We have the Internet and easy access to several thousands of books of gaming material.

Blogs and boards produce a Dragon's magazine worth of material every week, if not every day.
Sure some of you might claim there is a lot of noise and useless information.  Well, guess what? That has always been true.

There are so many good games out now.  Yesterday I talked about One game, but today I am talking about all of them.  We don't have to choose one game for forever and forever.

It's a Golden Age and we should enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Your Time is Gonna Come: More Character Life (and Death) Span Development

Working on a project (more on that in a couple of days) and I came across my original post on Character Life Span Development.

The idea is that I would run a game, or rather a mega-game where the different parts of a character's life would be handled by different games.   My game choices have changed since that first post, but the ideas have not.

My witch Larina at various ages
For Pre-Teen and Teen, I want to use Dark Places & Demogorgons.  I have spilled a lot of virtual ink on DP&D, so you can read all of that here.  I also happen to think it is a great game and really grabs what I want to do.  The question remains is how well will it mix with something like Little Fears for the ages before?

I still want Unisystem for adult years and maybe one of the Worlds of Darkness games for later adulthood.  But it is the afterlife that has me interested now.  Or maybe even the before life.

Elizabeth Chaipraditkul writes a good game.  Her writing and style is quite evocative and I can't help be pulled into her games.  Her latest, Afterlife: Wandering Souls is in it's last few days of Kickstarter and it looks like it will be great.

She does have a Quick Start of it out now, and it is giving me ideas.  Actually, it is making me want to use it in many of my games

How about this.  I am going to have my group (hypothetical at this point since all my groups are really busy with our current games) make some basic character concepts that will work in any age or game.  Well, any age or game that magic is real. 

Run them through a D&D adventure where everyone dies. Pick up the next game with Afterlife: Wandering Souls.  These would be the now dead characters that no longer remember who they were.

Play through a couple of games of Afterlife till they are reincarnated into the next games.

So maybe my Life-Death-Rebirth character development can be something like this:

D&D ­čá║ After Life ­čá║ Little Fears ­čá║ Dark Places & Demogorgons ­čá║ Unisystem/WitchCraft ­čá║ Mage ­čá║ Kult

Seven games, figure two "Adventrures" per game, for 14 games. 

I think the lynchpin of this will be whatever the characters (and the players) discover about themselves in Afterlife. The logical endpoint then for me at least is Kult.

I could also do a "Past Lives" or "Alternate Lives" development with very different kinds of worlds too. Maybe something like Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion.
I did something like this back in 2010 when I was running parallel Pathfinder and D&D 4 games with the same characters.   If that is the case I would want to throw in some Ghosts of Albion, Call of Cthulhu and maybe even some Exalted.

I have already done this with many characters including Willow and Tara. It would take a lot of prep and planning and players willing to work out some details ahead of time, but it could be very rewarding. 

Of course, this idea is ambitious, so I might try out little pieces of it in other games and see how it works.   I have used Basic D&D as a "flashback" for one of my D&D 5 games, so I know the idea has merit.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 30

Day 30: If you were in charge of the TTRPG Industry what would you change?

Ok.

First off I think it is a misconception that there is a single RPG industry.  There are many.  The OSR crowd doesn't follow the Storygamers.  The DIY and Indie gamers try to avoid the big publishers and everyone is off doing their own thing.

This doesn't even take in consideration the related markets and products like Actual Play podcast/videos or even something as simple as selling dice.

I don't think I would change it, to be honest.

There are things I would like though.

More Market Data
Seriously how have we gone this long and not even know who we are selling too?  I know companies have their own, but a lot of it is still guesswork.

People Need to Be Better to Each Other
Look we are all here to have fun really.  So let people have fun.  Don't like their game? Fine. Don't play it.  But maybe you are missing out on something.  That guy over there is being a dick?  Ok, call him on it.  Find ways to get him to stop. 

Look not everyone is going to like everything and RPGs have boomed since 1974.  The average player...doesn't exist.  There are so many people in this hobby with so many different points of view.  I think this 30 Day Challenge has shown that.

I think I would like to have more Cons closer to me.  Yeah I know I am spoiled, but still, you asked and I answered.

I hope you all had as much fun as me with this!
Thank you Kira Magrann for getting this going.

Monday, April 29, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 29

Day 29: Exciting 2019 RPG Trends?

Ha! I'll be the last to know!

Honestly, I got nothin'.

My to be reviewed pile is about 2000 items deep (that is not a joke or hyperbole).

I am just not writing stuff for the "new" D&D 5 and it is already 5 years old.

So yeah, I don't keep up with the trends really.

Go back to day 21 and see what I said there.  True here too. I just don't have the time in the day to do it all.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 28

Day 28: What Tools Help You Create?

I have to say my best tool has been my Chromebook.

I love that little computer.  Lightweight, fast, connected to Google including docs.
It has been great.

I spent YEARS messing around with computers. Everything from my 16k 800 khz Tandy Color Computer, to bleeding edge desktops, Linux boxes, mainframes, minicomputers and nearly everything in between.

This has been the best thing for me.  I can focus on my writing and every bit of research material is at my fingertips.  I love it!

Plus if I am on my work laptop, my home PC, or even my phone, I can still get to all my stuff. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 23

Day 23: Mentoring/Being Mentored By?

I suppose you could say I am mentoring my sons.  They have both been playing a very long time and now they have the bug to write their own material too.

I have always told them that if there is something they want and they can't find it then maybe they need to make it themselves.

My oldest son writes about dragons and my youngest has created a Bitcoin farm in his room.  He took my advice right to heart.

Now if you are new here and ask "what about your daughters?" Well. sadly I don't have any.  But they would be getting the same advice from me.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 21

Day 21: What external factors do you struggle with to create?

Another easy one.

Time.

There is not enough time in my day to work full time, be a husband and father and then still find time to write.

I spend my day job writing. I spend blog time writing.  Then to sit in front of a computer and do more?

Sometimes it is hard.  Often times it is hard.

Friday, April 19, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 19

Day 19: Favorite Themes to Explore

When I write games it is magic and the nature of belief.

My favorite characters tend to be clerics, paladins, and witches.  All characters that are defined by their relationship to divine forces.

Maybe it has something to do with me being an atheist in real life. I don't know.  I suspect it is.

I just find them rather interesting.



Thursday, April 18, 2019

April TTRPG Maker, Day 18

Day 18: What are some underlying messages in your work?

Witches are cool. Haunted houses are awful places in my world.

I suppose the underlying message I want to convey is that as long as everyone is having fun (and no one feels hurt or left out) then it's all good fun.

There is no wrong way to play.

Also, let people enjoy the things they love.

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