Monday, June 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

Anyways, I think you're right about D&D. D&D is primal fetishism. It makes relics out of old character sheets and totems out of a stack of hardback rulebooks. The dungeon crawl itself is a ritual with no obligation to make sense beyond the circle of participants. In that sense, it's a lot like a cave painting of some ancient hunt. It's a convergence of random events in a controlled setting that forms the basis of a heroic tale in the minds of the participants. Powerful and primitive social magic that can't be reliably explained but only experienced. And IMO, a much more 'real' experience than the forced plot you see in most 'storyteller' games.

-from Kellri (emphasis mine)


  1. that was wonderful.

  2. Amen. It's all been said a thousand times before, but not always so succinctly and with such simple beauty.

    And it never hurts, anyway, to say it a thousand times again ... (because that's a comforting sort of ritual, too ...) :)

  3. Agreed. That quote surmises the power of RPGs on a good day.

    Bad or 'ok' sessions serves as a sort of karmic counterpoint that makes good sessions fantastic and great sessions memorable.

  4. Oh man...

    I'm not going to necessarily disagree with it (at least on an objective level), but I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Once you start drawing religious parallels to gaming (not that it hasn't been done already), things just get weird.

    I guess I'll take my gaming with a side of secular/agnostic skepticism, and leave the bibl...ahem, rulebook-thumping to others.

  5. I'm just curious about which 'storyteller' games are yielding these forced plots. If that's aimed at the actual Storyteller line, a lot of those that I've tangentially encountered are a lot like, well, Vampire Myspace -- lots of people being social with each other with little to no actual motivation.

    I mean, my games all have some loose degree of plot, but I don't think my "Setite religious fanatics in service to the one true vampire god" game is at all representative of the run-of-the-mill old World of Darkness game. :)

    Or, put another way, I think a lot of games end up being this kind of "we do it because we do it" kind of thing, independent of system. Thus the joke about how players can completely derail things if they have their characters suddenly wake up and say "Wait, why are we (exploring this dungeon|attending this session of the local Camarilla|raiding this corporate laboratory|fighting these robot hordes)?"

    I mean, back when we played Shadowrun, it took us a while to figure out that we were spending more money on ammunition in some published adventures than we were being offered for the jobs. Not really good career criminals, there.

  6. Anonymous11:31 AM

    badelaire, you can drop the religious wording and still walk away with something important. Part of it is that criticisms that the dungeon crawl (or any other part of rpg play) is unrealistic in some way are misdirected. The dungeon may or may not have an ecology that is analagous to the real world - it doesn't matter as it has it's own logic.

    No serious chess enthusiast would argue that chess is a realistic simulation of warfare. Yet chess can be enjoyed on its own basis. The same holds for rpg tropes.

    In short, dungeon crawling can be an absorbing group experience without the need for connection to something outside of itself to justify it.


  7. Quote: Can I get another Amen?

    Hah, awesome. Keep up the proselytizing guys, and you can some day compete with these winners:

    The Jedi Church

  8. Quote: badelaire, you can drop the religious wording and still walk away with something important.

    Then please, please do so. There are enough unhealthy religious parallels associated with the "cult of gaming" that we don't need to encourage them.

    I like dungeon-crawling just fine. I agree that it's something that doesn't need to make sense, it just "is" and can be a wonderful, shared communal experience.

    Just ditch the pseudo-religious trappings already. It's tiresome, it's kind of insulting, and all it does is reinforce factionalism and finger-pointing.

  9. Anonymous2:25 PM

    Best dungeon crawl I was ever in ended up with our party engaging in what the DM revelaed as a game of freeze tag with the monsters. We didn't get the loot, but it was a lot of weird, brain-teasing, fun.