Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh, Yes, So Hard!

Am I to seriously believe there are people in the world who think it is a "challenge" to roleplay a particular class, having 'just' chosen it from the die roll?

My previous post was a suggestion that it would save the campaign TIME by knowing what you were going to play in advance ... and yet I received comments that described choosing a class "totally random and challenging myself to roleplay whatever I came up with."


Perhaps it is because I've been a DM.  Perhaps its because I've been playing for quite some time.  Somehow, having played princesses, dragons, small insects, dryads, brownies, heavenly beings, giants, treants, troglodytes, insane scientists, criminal masterminds, prostitutes and a wide range of classes and characters as NPCs, I don't find it that much of a "challenge" to be only a fighter or an illusionist or an assassin.  In fact, the very idea that roleplaying a particular 'class' is a "challenge" baffles the very shit out of me.

Now, please to let the gentle reader TAKE NOTE ... I am specifying, "class" ... writing it in boldface, with quotes and underlined, in the hopes that the ordinary skimming reader will pick it up.  ROLEPLAYING in general, YES, I take that as difficult, hard, subject to great amounts of mastery, with people making an effort.  No argument from me.

But fighter vs. druid?  Cleric vs. thief?  Really?

I guess that part of my incredulity is the thought that in someway, a class run in a particular way by a particular player character could be done "wrong."  I mean, I've written posts about how classes define people in the game, but I meant NPC's ... not players!  Players, I assume, will act in accordance with whatever beliefs they will.  I have harped on medieval life and how people used to think back then, but this is by and large directed at DMs to help them to flesh out their world.

This has to be some fucked up perception that's arisen from the use of alignment.  "Honest, Alexis, it's really freakin' HARD to run a neutral Druid!  You have no idea what a blue-bloody bitch chaotic good can be!"  And other similar happy horseshit.

Sometimes I wonder if you people actually know when you're shitting on a toilet and when you're doing it in front of the computer.  I can't begin to guess what kind of headspace one has to adopt in order to think that "making lemonade" out of six random scores is something you pat yourself on the back for, in order to give yourself a feeling of accomplishment.  This is a kindergarten accomplishment, kiddies.  Yes, you've smooshed clay into a flat shape vaguely similar to an ashtray!  GOOD for you, Jimmy.  Here's a star.

It's fucking sad, that's what it is.  It's just sad that people are so bloody weak that playing a set of different, limited classes is a 'challenge' to them.  I tell you, if there were only 18 very poorly identified fictional characters in the world for actors to perform, there wouldn't be any of them talking about what a great challenge it was to play #11.  Actors step in and play THOUSANDS of different characters ... and it takes a really unique one to be a "challenge."

Oh, oh, oh, acting isn't a fair comparison?  Okay.  Can anyone think of any craft, from fixing cars and photography through mountaineering and dance where there are only 18 forms of anything?  Hm?  Anyone?

I had a really, really nasty ending for this post, but I guess I should be charitable.  Listen, just go play more, okay?  You really need the practice.


Ozymandias said...

I applaud you, sir. Well said indeed.

Insanodag said...

There are no words to this post. Except, maybe, swearwords. There is a qualitative difference between running a bunch of different NPCs and committing to playing a character for an entire campaign. To play with a DM not realising this simple fact is frustrating.

Alexis said...

Backed off on my first comment, which was mean and spiteful. Must be the weather.

What I can't figure out, Insanodag, is HOW does the "CLASS" make that harder. I confessed to the roleplaying being difficult ... but is there just so much different information about another class that just makes it hard?

We're not talking about the difference between working on foreign cars versus domestic here. It's not like making the leap from brewing beer to fermenting wine. The information is written out for you in short, handy notes--it just isn't that HARD to adopt the new abilities.

Arduin said...

Meh. I'm not certain this deserved so -much- spite, but it is pretty stupid.

"Oh, man, it was so hard to be that Cleric. With his dark, troubled past. While trying to justify his mystic powers from ARMOK, GOD OF BLOOD, it was just SO much extra effort trying to reconcile his feelings about his father, versus his feelings about ARMOK, GOD OF BLOOD. Really kept me up at night, after I tallied XP."

"Oh, man, it was so hard to be that Fighter. With his light, fluffy past. His perfectly pleasant homelife made it just that much harder for me to believe he'd leave home on a murder-frenzy for profit. Really distracted me during finals, while I bought equipment instead of studying."

This isn't rocket science. You're playing some mystical motherfucker with some variant on your personality stapled to it. Unless you're prepared to spend three months method acting your psychotic murder-wizard, I can't say this is remotely difficult.

DMing can be considered marginally harder, if only because most players can't be bothered to remember more than two pieces of information at a time if it's not pinned to their shirts, and the DM has enough to deal with trying to manipulate everyone emotionally into having a good/scary/frustrating/cathartic time.

Keep names to two syllables or less, and when in doubt, have one of them steal something. Players ALWAYS remember people who fuck with their stuff.

What I'd be much more interested in is hearing more about player psychologies. I want to hear how to push the damn mental buttons to convince people to do the things they should be doing anyway. Work out the not-always-obvious differences between how male/female players approach problems, and therefore how to present challenges with equal possibility of solution by either approach.

If we're going to point out how fucking dumb some people are (and they are), I would love to have something to spur discussion.

Alexis said...

Emotionally, it has always helped to smack the pony. There's a deep, unrelenting disappointment I feel that everyone in the world did not read, struggle with intellectual ideas, strive to create some form of artwork, learn to debate the fundamentals of politics, science and philosophy and make a real effort to be a more knowledgeable person every damn day.

Instead, they all seem to want to drink, act like stupidity is a virtue and preen themselves on their ignorance.

This villainous habit has meant that it is stupendously difficult to have a real, meaningful conversation - and the difficulty has made me cruelly resentful of the balance of human population.

Once in awhile, I am driven to redress this resentment, foaming at the mouth and screaming my belief that the world would be a much better place if all the dumb fuckwits would just get the fuck out of the way and let things get better.

It clears my mind. Then I can think clearly again, and write the kind of stuff that you like, Arduin.

Arduin said...

No no, I agree. Wrath is good for the brain. Reminds you why it is you came to the conclusions you did.

I haven't the slightest sympathy for Insano in this instance. "a qualitative difference"? Are you kidding me, sir? You're creating a pawn. A pawn with a story, yes, but nevertheless a pawn. Stop romanticizing it and get on with making it GOOD.

I was just hoping to speed this process of noting PROBLEM=THIS FUCKERY into something fascinating and enlightening and less head smashingly frustrating for all parties.

It is a vain hope, as Mitchell's guest appearance on this blog attested. You can't conjure understanding at people, and they will willfully ignore even obviously positive things in favor of an irrational belief.

Nevertheless. I do apologize, and with actual sincerity, for venting a frustration with fruitless conflict elsewhere at your comment section.

Carry on the fight, as ever it must be carried.

TooSecretive said...

Oh, I know that feeling. Good post. I'd really like to play with you sometime.