It’s time for a random pile of bulls$&% from the brain of the Angry GM. Today’s steamer is about clock speeds, decision points, why D&D runs at two different speeds, and how the designers of RPGs really need to figure that s$&% out better. Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with Time Pools.
Let’s talk about the mythical distinction between players and characters. Players are characters. Characters are players. And once you accept that, it’s a lot easier to run a fun game. Warning: this gets ranty.
We play games because we don’t know how they are going to turn out. And games use several tricks to keep us from knowing the outcome. The problem is GMs only ever use one of those tricks. And it’s the worst one.
I can’t help how my brain works. I get distracted from solving problems by solving totally different problems. But before I invent more goddamned game mechanics, it’s worth questioning whether I should.
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.
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.
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.