Wednesday, November 1, 2017


The Point of Insanity today released another podcast in which I am a participant, along with a regular reader of this blog.  Carl and I chat with Scott and Chad on "Want to Hear Something Interesting?"  The podcast just went up this morning.

I enjoyed this more, I think, than the one back in August.  Hope you'll take the time to listen and make a comment or two here.


Fuzzy Skinner said...

Interesting show, all around. My compliments to all of the participants.

Regarding your explanation of the problems with streamlined rules sets: I get that the rules have to support as many choices as possible, and more rules (intelligently built) allow for more choices. The only reason I prefer more "light" rules sets is because they make for a simpler base on which to build. True, the rules in the book are never complete; but if I accept that I'll be using an incomplete rules set, I'd much prefer a set that's easier for me (and my players) to grasp the basics of.

I will admit that familiarity reduces this need, and someone who's been running, say, Rolemaster for twenty-odd years may be able to run just as responsively and efficiently as someone who's been running Tunnels & Trolls for the same length of time. Today, I would probably be running Pathfinder with good results had I not discovered older versions of D&D. But even then, I realized that the rules didn't just get more complicated as the game progressed; they started out pretty damned complicated.

Complexity isn't inherently bad, but it's an obstacle for new players, as some - even very intelligent, creative folks - are put off by having to fill out long lists of calculations before setting off on a single adventure. True, running a town or a barony is extremely complicated, but most players won't want to pursue advanced stuff until they've got the basics down. Every game has a learning curve, but the ones I tend to avoid have less of a curve and more of a yards-high plateau.

Regarding electronics: I do think that electronic means of accessing rules are excellent for designing and reference, but part of the appeal of tabletop RPGs for me is getting away from the screens that surround me throughout the week (partly due to headaches from using them). The other issue is that, for several of my players, laptops/tablets are financially not an option, and - especially for those living way out in the back-country - the Internet is less reliable than in the city. That said, I have begun keeping track of much of my game information on Web pages, though my hoped-for end result is a hard copy; as great as computers are for writing and copy-editing, I much prefer physical books for reading.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Fuzzy. As kindly as possible, and while I recognize that you've set out to make a cogent list of arguments, let me just say that this all sounds like excuses to me.