How do I explain gently and tenderly that you, my not so gentle reader, are not your character? How do I convey the proposition that when writing, I expect to be read by corporeal entities and not by fictional, abstract manifestations of those coporeal minds? How shall I make it clear that the use of the second person pronoun, i.e., "You," was implied to mean the individual whose corporeal eyes might chance to glance upon the screen and make sense of the words being used?
The above, hoity toity as it sounds, has been a carefully wrought collection of nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on, meant to convey an accurate message. The hope would be that through the use of large, specifically assigned words from the English language, they might be less misunderstanding. A vain hope, I'll grant...but being accused of vanity would be the least of recent accusations.
You, the poor, wounded reader who has come to this page and felt much maligned, are the reader of this text. And you, poor reader, are not a hero.
I have presumed that those who play the game are inclined to diligently keep track of their experience points, their gold, their equipment, their hit points and such as scores indicating their success. I presume they do that because, factually, the game involves the keeping of various scores. I was not aware there was a game out there that did not include the keeping of these scores. Whatever activities one's character might be involved in, I felt certain that YOU, the individual who was not the character, felt it was more important to be seventh level than sixth.
Apparently I have been wrong in that. And yet, I wonder...for none of the modules that I have ever seen, with or without their insistence on the behavior of characters as heroes, have lacked treasure or experience.
But I digress.
No, poor reader, I stand by what I've said. You're not a hero. However much you may choose to identify with your characters actions, you are not the great fighter of evil you pretend to be. Let me reemphasize that last: "PRETEND to be." I understand that many of you are proud of your magnificent accomplishments, the villages you've lifted from the clutches of powerful overlords, the damsels you've preserved from fates worse than death, the selfless and sacrificing actions you've taken...but dear, suffering reader, none of these things have actually happened. I know. I hate to be the first to tell you.
The social disease I spoke of referred to the contemptuous manner in which many of the pundits proporting to prop up this game insist that we all, whatever our predilictions, MUST be heroes, even though clearly that is quite impossible, as actual corporeal heroes would likely not be playing this game. I must note that none of those who answered my vicious, hurtful accusations in any manner rose to say, "I have helped actual people in their actual lives." Rather, the cry was replete with those who demanded recognition for their suppositional persona--those whom they pretend to be.
I shall try again, more briefly. I stated most clearly that I do not tell my players what to do. My players often choose not to have their characters act as heroes. My players sometimes DO have their characters act as heroes. Most of all, however, my players are preoccupied with the success of their characters in GAME terms...that is, the accumulation of wealth and power. They may choose to make believe their characters as friendly, and they may choose to make believe their characters as murderous bastards. They are FREE to make that choice, as I am a referee, and not a moral judge.
When their characters have behaved as murderous bastards--and once, yes, they did slaughter every individual within a village in order to be SURE the matter would be closed (it was not)--they have never identified themselves, their corporeal selves, as murderers. I'm quite confident that they do not think of themselves as heroes, either...unlike many of you, persecuted souls that you are.
Then there is the final, throwaway line, in reference to pillaging. I grant, a loaded word. Meant, in this context, to be a "grabber," the sort of thing that leaves the reader in the end with something to reflect upon. To pillage, to take as booty, to loot, especially as an act of war.
Perhaps I HAVE led a sheltered life. But for the life of me, I cannot recall a single instance when I have supplied a location with a large chest in which it was not opened. I cannot recall any instance where the glowing, devastating sword in an enemy's hand was not wrested from the body's cold, dead fingers once the enemy was dead. I have no experience with players, informed that a given mine is replete with gold and "hardly defended", who did not immediately make plans to loot said gold...and in looting, to fully intend to have their characters wage unremitting and absolute war against the rightful possessors of same.
I am sorry that so many have been dearly hurt by what I have said. I am sorry that so many who pretend to be heroes have turned that into pretense, fully judging themselves to be better human beings by virtue of what they have pretended to accomplish. I offer no excuses for my behavior in this regard. I addressed readers and expected comprehension. I am clearly at fault.