There are thousands of possible scenes that are iconic from the 1960s. A film-maker makes a choice not from what's available, but by having a message to give and then finding the scene that fits that message. That is what's meant when we say, the medium is the message. All the possible choices are "true." All the possible choices are "real." But we don't show all the possible choices. We only show what we want the viewer to see.
What is it that makes this scene impressive? Is it the soldiers ... or the girl with the flower?
I was asked the question in relation to this recent post, haven't I ever had a player say, "well met" during a game. Haven't I ever had a player ask me what a saving throw was. Haven't I ever had players complain about paperwork in a D&D campaign?
This isn't really the point. As this video explains, it isn't about what an actual player might say at a particular game table ... it is that James Gifford chose to highlight these particular remarks, from thousands of possible remarks, because he felt that these, and not other possible remarks, were the most iconic or importantly relevant things that we should expect a new gamer to say.
Gifford's choice to have one of his fictional characters say, "well met" is, to use Ozymandias' words, "cringe-worthy." It is what we call, "a cliche." An awful, terrible, face-palming cliche. Cliches don't inform, they distract. They suggest very strongly that the presenter does not know what the hell he is talking about.
Gifford's choice to have one of the players ask, "What are saving throws," is cringe-worthy. It is an obvious and very lazy attempt to indicate the players are inexperienced. But surely we can find more confusing and obscure things related to the game than saving throws. The players have just finished making up their characters; wouldn't a question like, "What's the difference between wisdom and intelligence," be more relevant to a new player, or "How does charisma work?" Charisma is a peculiar touch-point for most new players because while the other five abilities seem straightforward in terms of how they define a person, charisma is vague. Most people habitually define their personalities by their intelligence; for a noob, charisma is an intelligent, very common question, with a complex, difficult answer if you're speaking to someone who isn't game experienced.
Gifford's choice to have one of the players use the phrase, "Is this homework, the game," is cringe-worthy. First of all its a commonly used snarky joke used by experienced players, not noobs. Secondly, I have NEVER had a new player complain, ever, that making a new character was boring. For noobs, it is all amazingly fresh and new: there are dozens of things to learn, to explain, there a difficult decisions to make that are only difficult for noobs, there is a lot of confusion ... but it is excited, anxious confusion, a sort of "Wow, this is really deep and complex, I hope I can handle it."
Depicting a noob complaining that it is too much like homework suggests to me that Gifford has only ever started one group of noob players in his entire experience ... and that he has mixed up that experience with the sort of snarky crap he gets from gamesmanship complainers who arrive in his game sick to death of his patronizing, contemptuous, "I'm the DM and I will let you know shit when I'm ready" gaming style.
To be sure, I don't think in nearly 40 years of playing D&D (Sept. 6 this year) that I have ever started a group of ONLY new players. I have had as many as three new players at once, but there are always old guard around to help me explain details, like what's a saving throw, for the noobs. The old guard always outnumbers the new. The old guard serves as the template, so that as the game progresses, the new players watch and listen how the game is played, then begin to emulate the gaming style and responses they witness.
The internet loves this idea of total noobs being introduced to the game. I know a lot of new players had their first experience when they and a bunch of their friends bought the game without knowing how to play, then had to figure it out from scratch. But I learned from a game where everyone knew how to play except me; and had others follow me into those same games. When I began DMing, it was with others who knew how to play ... and through the years I taught others how to play by a simple apprentice-like system.
It would make a lot more sense to depict a DM and four experienced players bringing one player onboard ... but then, every game table I see depicted online seems to be a collection of abusive, snarky assholes. Again, TOTALLY different from most of the games I have ever been a part of, and certainly different from my own game.
Comics like Gifford's, and indeed the 5th Edition Players Handbook, seem to foster an atmosphere which supports the greatest amount of fabricated, unjustified drama for the least amount of effort ... and I think that is a damaging agenda. It's all about describing the amazing, fantastic things that might happen and totally failing to understand that even the smallest, nitpickiest little details can be thrilling moments for a given player. I've had players get excited because they found pomegranates were listed on my equipment table. Players in my game will remember the humblest incidents or finds. A Roman helmet half-buried on the side of a road. A little girl handing one of the players a flower. The moment an appreciated NPC bid the party farewell. Game events don't have to be Huge and Impressive. Most times, the players are just glad to be there.
The heavy-handedness of Gifford's comic reflects a clumsy disregard for detail and resonance that I continuously see overlooked and unappreciated by those who want to set themselves up as voices for describing game play. Pumping up your chest and speaking in a deep voice doesn't make you impressive.
It makes you look like a pompous schnook.