Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Design Makes It Go

People read into things what they want to see.

The linked post was written more than a week ago, but I didn't stumble across it until last night.  Effectively, the fellow uses my blog - and me - as a foil for his own proclivities ... and frankly I don't mind.  That's how opinions are MEANT to be compared - mine to his, his to mine, his view on the game versus my view on the game.  Good for him.

I'm not represented accurately; I have no barnyard animal birthing tables, for instance.  But Andrej, aka James C., defends me on that count.  I think if there's anything I take umbrage at, its that the author deliberately avoids linking this blog while disparaging it.  Still, since he's disparaging things I wrote, in some cases, years ago, I take comfort in knowing I've had a long, nagging effect towards the back of his brain.

What is particular humorous is that I also received an email last night from a subscriber to my collection of pedantic campaign tools - and this I read mere minutes before reading Spawn of Endra's post.  Gary writes,

"I've used your Macroeconomics information to inform the setup of a 1st Edition game I've been running when time permits. I hadn't thought the players would notice much, which is all right with me; the players have their game and I have mine.

"I was surprised when the subject came up in another game I was playing in with one of my players: a question was asked of the DM regarding the value of giant eel meat, and how lucrative an ongoing trade for it and similar goods would be. The DM thinks about it and gives an off-the-cuff response (along with a die roll) for the value, and says he hadn't considered trade but would put some effort into it if we (the players) were interested. My player then says to the group that she can always tell when I am not running the game: there is no information for impromptu trade ventures at hand!

"I was not prepared for that, but it was very cool to discover that at least one of my players was cognizant of the work I'd put into setting up my game.  Her tone and the context of her ongoing conversation with the DM and other players indicated that she and my other players really appreciated the fact that I could pull that information out at a moment's notice, and they could make a decision as to whether they wanted to pursue the subject further."

As such, I cannot help taking Spawn's position for what it is - a resistance against possibility.  That's all.  I say on this blog, work hard on your world, design, design, design.  If you design, the rewards will make themselves evident.

Any call to work - whether it is physical or mental labor - will encounter RESISTANCE.  That's what work is, really ... overcoming constraints.  Spawn is fighting this battle out in his own head; there'd be no need to write about how wrong I am except that I'm not wrong.  I'm annoying and acerbic and intolerable but I'm not wrong.  I do not constantly redesign my game because I love design.  I redesign my game so that I will have the tools to RUN my game.  The more tools I have, the easier it is to run.  Note that:  Not HARDER, easier.  Designing and constructing a steam engine is hard, dirty, difficult work.  But once it's built, it makes everything run a hundred times smoother, a hundred times faster, a hundred times more productively.

Arguing that we already have a loom, and that its stupid to take the time to build a machine to run that loom when my own two hands do it ... well, that's a long held sentiment.  Not long held by anyone actually moving forward, but ... yes, long held.

I am sorry I am so acerbic.  Doubtlessly, I could be a kinder, more considerate, more sympathetic soul, with richer, sweeter words on the tips of my fingers.  Unfortunately, I am all boom and hiss, all grease and fire and boiling steam.  I'm a black factory of smoke and blaze and bloodied fingers, cut and shredded on rough, bloodless machinery.  I am the future, and I don't give a good goddamn for anyone who wants to stand in my way.

If you do, get ready to be run down.


Charles Taylor (Charles Angus) said...

"I'm a black factory of smoke and blaze and bloodied fingers, cut and shredded on rough, bloodless machinery. I am the future, and I don't give a good goddamn for anyone who wants to stand in my way.

If you do, get ready to be run down. "

And that's why you, and this blog, are bloody awesome. Keep it up!

Arduin said...

I read the entry, and if it weren't for the fact that I know exactly what post he was talking about (and getting literally every specific statement about it's contents wrong, but for the mention of the axle), I'd hardly have thought he was talking about you.

It's a non-argument. I think it is probably a sign of how our temperaments align that I can't help but see your detractors as people making non-arguments.

I've never had an issue making the game more in-depth. I've never had a player tell me the information provided was useless. I've not once had a player complain about having too much information.

Players crave anything useful. They are hungry for whatever will accomplish whatever is important to them, and providing any set of tools will encourage them to see problems through those tools.

You know, hammer holders seeking nails and so on. The argument for fewer tools is the argument of people who cannot conceive what a craftsman must do to make quality products.

Yes, you could make furniture with just a saw. But you can make better furniture with a saw, lathe, sander, jigsaw, hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, and level.

I see no need to apologize for using more than one tool.

Lukas said...

Indeed! There was an axle! But don't forget, he was correct about said axle breaking! After that... Well...