Sometimes the weird is bonkers. And sometimes it’s just incongruous. Like the backwards-handed cat demons of Dungeons & Dragons.
I wanted to write about NPCs, but so many people argued about whether RPGs were winnable and whether they needed goals that I had to explain to everyone why they are and they do. And then I had to explain why Fiasco isn’t an RPG.
Sometimes the weird is bonkers. And sometimes it’s just incongruous. Like the hippo-people of Spelljammer. Or as we like to call it, D&D in Spaaaaacccceee!
Just because someone wrote something, that doesn’t mean they know anything about it. Gygax is no more trustworthy about RPGs than anyone else. Especially when it comes to the importance of rules.
Magical psychic zombie-creating mushroom men? What if we told you the only crazy thing about that was the size of the mushroom men?
When is an NPC not an NPC? When it’s a villain. Because villains are more than mere NPCs. Because villains create plots. And I don’t mean evil schemes. I mean stories.
There’s a difference between a game’s mechanics and its metaphor. But that doesn’t mean the two are separate. Or even separable. But it does mean you can empower yourself to create one by understanding the other.
Should a GM get paid to run games? That’s the latest ridiculous internet argument I got to witness. But, believe it or not, it’s actually worth weighing in on. At least, I think it is. So here I go.