"Over the last few months I've been noticing an incredibly stupid trend developing where people are actively arguing that having fun isn't all that important in playing a game."
Damn. I sure hope I'm responsible for this.
Maybe I've been wrong about this whole thing. Maybe the reason why so many people write about RPGs being 'fun' is because none of them are having any. Perhaps their campaigns are so bereft of fun that a few words written by random people on a variety of web sites threatens to crush the last vestige of non-misery lingering around their gaming tables.
Frankly, as the loudest voice preaching that the game isn't about fun, my games seem to be full of happy, excited, laughing people, taking a ride on the tension and having a hell of a good time. That's because, as I wrote, fun is easy.
If you don't believe me, perform an experiment. Gather as many people as you can, bring plenty of food and drink, then take them all out to the park for a picnic. Period. That's it. Make no plans. Prepare no events. Do not give away prizes.
Magically, fun will happen.
If it doesn't, you clearly have not brought enough drink.
Every year, regardless of the temperature, there's a little suburb outside Calgary that puts up christmas lights, sells hot chocolate and prepares their little pond into a giant skating rink. That is the entirety of the preparations. Lights. Hot chocolate. Free skating. Every year, thousands show up. Even when it is 40 below. I have been there when it is that blistering cold, complete with a 20 mph windchill. Makes no difference. Everyone enjoys themselves - except, of course, for the few teenagers who will, in 30 years, drag along teenagers of their own. The only thing fun requires is willingness and freedom.
People who write posts about how the game should be fun can't possibly be having any. Otherwise, why the hell would they care? How the hell does it make a difference at their table? What is it, exactly, that bothers them? The danger that they'll have a player that shows up at their game, saying, "Is that all you did to prepare? This game is shit. I'm leaving."
That's the only reason I can suppose. Makes no sense, otherwise.
Now, I know why I preach, "Don't make fun your message." The reason is simple. The worst fucking picnics in the world are when some group of assholes come along and say, "Hey, you people all here drinking, eating and talking? We want you to have fun! Everyone wants to have fun! Let's play some games! Let's give away some prizes! Let's treat you free, willing people like fucking ten-year-olds!"
Fuck those people. Fuck them. We were all having fun until they showed up with their fucking control issues.
I preach, "Make tension your message. Make purpose your message. Make the game your message." In other words, build the fucking park. Build the benches to sit on and the gawddamn bridges and lay the fucking grass and fire those dumb motherfucking part-time workers who don't do their jobs. Because building a park is hard fucking work, it's labour, it's time spent sweating and getting dirty and being miserable until the job is done. And when the job is done, get the hell out. Go home. Put on some comfortable clothes, get your kids, then come back and enjoy the park.
Those people pissing and moaning and crying that the game should be about fun? They want you to have fun their way. Or they want you to go out into the street and find some place to play on your own, because fuck you, they're not building a fucking park for you to play in. "Go have fun you little pissants, don't expect me to do fuck all for you. I'm a fun person. I'm about people having fun. On their own. Without bothering me. You little fuckers."
Remember? Like your parents used to fucking tell you.
Jeez. I have GOT to stop listening to Lewis Black.