Monday, May 12, 2014

Buy My Book

I got out of bed this morning.  I don't have to ask if anyone cares, because I know they do.  Not just my family and friends, who knows me, has shared a common history with me and would be seriously affected were I not to have risen.  Not just those with whom I've made a bond with here online.  I mean everyone, including those who don't know me, who are in fact strangers, who may never have left a comment or even 'liked' anything I've written.  They care.  It matters to them.

Why?  Because three or four times a week, when they're bored, and they have time, they know they can come to this blog and open it, and see an opinion here that isn't like the opinions they read elsewhere.  Because I choose to have an opinion, and because I have an ability to express.  Because I'm not afraid to express it.  Because I don't care if people like my opinion.

However, people like that I have opinions.  That is why they come here.

It isn't enough to have an opinion.  Opinions have no value.  This is something that all those who write 'IMHO' cannot understand.  An opinion is only a string of words thrown together is forms ranging from comprehensible to not, from interesting to not, from funny to not and so on.  Whatever the form, an opinion is air.  It is junk.  It is the pebble in the listener's shoes.

The only thing that makes an opinion meaningful is the willingness with which people defend it.  The opinions that have the most meaning are those for which people are prepared to fight for, kill for or die for.  Because we are humans, we understand that the more people fight for it, the more people kill for it and the more people that die for it, the more important that opinion is.  Nothing in the world ever changes until someone takes up arms to make the change happen, and people don't believe in the opinion that it has to change until you, or I, or anyone here listening, is ready to fight long and hard and loud and stubbornly for it, until they give the last full measure of their devotion.  Remember that the soldiers of Gettysburg did not only die for the union.  They were ready to kill for it, too.

If you are not prepared to fight for your opinion, then shut the fuck up.  You're only breathing air.  Do it silently.  With the opinion, you're just an annoyance.

I am extraordinarily conscious that people read this blog, and that they support me.  I am never without that knowledge at the fore of my consciousness.  These people support me because I have fought for the things I believe, even if I have not always been polite or considerate or reasonable.  Many of the readers here have slowly come around to thinking about what I've said because they do not believe that anyone could stage a fight this long and this hard without feeling passionate enough about it to know they're right.  They are coming around to believing that they may not be as right as they thought, because they know they wouldn't fight as hard for what they believe as I have been fighting for what I believe.  This is how the world turns.  This is how people are made to change their minds.  We work at them like water and wind and ice on stone.  Slowly, steadily, patiently, until they cracks in their resolve open and with that, their minds.

Here is an opinion that I am willing to fight for.  Role-playing is not about 'fun.'  Fun happens while we role-play.  That is a good thing.  We want to have fun.  But if you approach role-play with the thought in your head that you're going to create fun because that's what you want, what you will create is a whole lot of nothing.  'Fun' isn't a component.  It has no mass, no dimension, no orientation, no cause-and-effect mechanism, no structure, no defineable measure and no meaningful predictive format.  It can't be made, built, designed, installed, linked or downloaded.  It is a chemical reaction to an environment that is not, itself, 'fun.'  Until the average DM gets it into their head that the setting or constructed frame in which fun happens cannot be built to specifications that include 'fun' written anywhere on the plans, then the games that DMs run will be shit juxtaposed by shit with shit stuffed in shit built on a platform of shit.

And here's something that you've got to understand when I say that.  I am ready to go toe-to-toe with anyone, point for point, as long as I have to, to make you, the reader who can't get that truth into your narrow, stone-shaped cranium, get it.  Because you have to get it.  You have to change how you're doing things.  Because they way you're doing things now sucks.  And the fact that you don't think they do only shows how much shit your players are prepared to shovel on top of your ego in order to have someone, even someone that's shit at it, run their game so that for five minutes they can feel like they're playing a character.

They could be playing that character all session, every session, but they haven't got the nerve to risk losing your weak ass, full-of-shit DMing style, because they haven't anyone with which to replace you. So you're making it, right now, on being a really lousy version of the product in a scarcity-based economy.

You better hope my book about How to Run Role-playing games is lousy.  Because someone you run is going to read it and understand why they don't need you.

Only, I think you know it's not going to be lousy.  I think you know that.  And that really sucks for you, doesn't it?

The rest of these people here, however, are smiling right now.  Because they're looking forward to it. They have faith in me, but only for one reason.  Because I'm not nice.  I'm a fighter.  I'm a believer.

They like that.  And they like that I got out of bed this morning.


Anonymous said...

Chalk up another sale, Alexis.

Jeremiah Scott said...

I have grown to love your blog and I am disappointed on days when you don't post, or when the posts are superficial. I am sometimes put off by how "not nice" you have been. But I have come to respect you in spite of it. In fact, I have even recommended your blog to my wife (also a blogger). Even though she isn't a gamer in the least, she admires how you are able to perceive quickly what someone is "actually" trying to say and deal with that immediately, rather than having courtesy string it along into a much longer discussion. She has tried to take cues from you in dealing with the trolls that blogs seem to attract.

I eagerly anticipate your book, but I must admit it worries me as well. You have said before how this can't go one forever. I fear that, after your book, you might feel like you've said all that is needed. I hope I am wrong. Not to be melodramatic. Obviously I'd be fine if there was no more Tao of D&D. But I feel that I owe you a debt for rekindling in me (to the detriment, at times, of my other obligations) the same passion I had for gaming when I was younger, less cynical, and looked at the possibilities role-playing affords with wide eyes.

Count me as one who is glad you get out of bed.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Picture me grinning.

The blog will go on, book or no. There is a lot to say that won't be about how to run a game.

Dave Cesarano said...

Pardon my English but....