Sunday, February 4, 2018


Look Ma!  I've "mastered" DMing.

Funny what you find.  I stumbled across this passage from the Wandering Gamist in early 2016:

"More importantly, I'm pretty well done with fantasy, RPGs, and related. The more nonfiction I read, the paler it all seems; our worlds are shallow and simplistic, our characters likewise. Even if they weren't, what's the point? To pretend to heroism or godhood has lost its appeal to me; better to strive for true abilities in this beautiful, chaotic, universe in which we find ourselves. I understand the necessity of the underlying social ritual, the weekly gathering, but the overt pretext, of The Game, is growing increasingly empty. I've picked up a couple of useful things in my several-thousand-hours of gaming and thinking about gaming over the last decade (exploiting systems, intuition for probability, memorizing rulebooks, historical trivia), but is it really worth putting in another couple of thousand hours to master DMing? I look at Alexis of Tao of D&D, who has made that investment, and I have to conclude that it doesn't seem sensible to me. There are so many other useful, interesting things I could be learning with that time. Opportunity's cousin, Opportunity Cost, also comes a-knocking on occasion."

I've had so many mental breakdowns on this blog, it's nice to be the centerpiece in someone else's breakdown.

The Wandering Gamist's blog still runs.  It has published 88 posts since the one quoted above; and it still talks about RPGs. Mostly ACKS.

But I think the post above has terrific merit as a demonstration of just one thing: the pervasive belief that the game of D&D is, fundamentally, trivial.  I think that's a belief that most of the gaming community has.  I believe that they try to cover that belief up by constantly, dogmatically, like monks in abbey cells, chanting with Gregorian fervor that the game is fun ... fun ... fun ... fun ... hoping that in that word will be a justification for spending their lives pursuing a game that they feel certain is useless to pursue.


JB said...

Have you ever noticed how many people pursue sports non-professionally, even after they’ve passed their prime? And sports are, generally, detrimental to one’s health, as they rarely exercise the body holistically (especially asymmetrical sports like golf or tennis), while putting wear and tear on one’s various joints and soft tissue. Yet few people would question their own (or others’) desire and willingness to participate in such pursuits.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yes, it's true. I doubt very much that were I reading a series of blogs about golf or fishing, it would be full of people talking about quitting the game or the activity, to pursue a more meaningful investment.

Hell, my father easily spent a two-three hundred hours a YEAR fishing ... and had since he was a small boy, when he would walk anywhere from one to five miles to fish in a prairie river. Not once did he ever question the validity of that occupation ~ and yet what did that accomplish? What did he have to show for it afterwards? He would have looked querulously at such a question ~ what the hell does enjoying oneself have to do with accomplishing something?

Perhaps it wasn't your point, JB, but it makes me think about skiiers in this city who, in the winter, take off Friday afternoon, from work, and come back late Sunday night, so they can spend every minute on the slopes. That's 20+ hours a weekend! In five months, it's more than 400 hours ... and they certainly don't see skiing as trivial. It is a religion for them. Yet D&D players lament the six or seven hours it costs them each week, in preparation and time to play on a Saturday night.

I don't understand them.

JB said...

It was exactly my point.
: )