Saturday, April 18, 2009

a pet peeve

Gamer1: One reason I don't play [HERO System/Rolemaster/3e/whatever] is because character generation takes too effin' long.

Gamer2: It only takes me about ten minutes to whip up a new character.

The first gamer is probably misdiagnosing the problem. I've done that before. I think people will put up with longer chargen time if the process is engaging. "Here pick 14 items off of our lame list of poorly conceived skills" is not a method that gets people interested. Generally if asked I'll tell you I like super-short chargen, but in fact I'll roll lifepath style random charts (Traveller, the R. Talsorian systems, etc) for as long as it takes just to find out what kind of weirdo I'll end up with. "I get bored and/or confused making characters for system X" would be a better way to phrase the problem.

Gamer2, whether he realizes it or not, is being a pain in the ass. Reporting how quickly he can make a character does absolutely nothing to solve Gamer1's poorly-worded problem. And it's easy for Gamer1 to see the statement as a veiled denigration of his or her intelligence. "Oh, so I must be some sort of idiot because I take six times as long to make a character." If Gamer2 wants to add something useful to the conversation, he should consider asking where Gamer1 is getting bogged down and/or offer some helpful tips for shortening the process.

Just my 2 cents on an all-too-common situation.