Joseph Bloch over at Greyhawk Grognard had an interesting post on Sunday, even it was really just at its core explaining some of his preferences as a gamer. I’m going to go ahead and make some declarations of my own, many riffing off of his, some not:
I definitely think there’s often a disconnect, where people see games in terms of technology. New isn’t necessarily better. Of course, neither is old, but there isn’t some inevitable march of RPG progress.
As far as Elves, I’m not a fan of them as player characters. I like them with a little bit of arrogance, removed from the worries and wear of a short human life. I will admit, about 50% of my gnomes are in the “let’s blow stuff up” category. Dwarves are awesome, and need not be modified in any meaningful way from their Tolkienesque form. Halfling are ideally a bit more round about the middle, fond of pipeweed, second breakfasts, and a distinct lack of rough travel.
I don’t mind players adding meaningful bits to my world, but stay out from behind my screen. You don’t narrate that a sword appears or the dragon falls over dead. That’s my job.
I’m not even super-fond of half-elves and half-orcs, let alone dragonborn. If a class has a “-singer”, "-weaver", or “-dancer” suffix, that’s probably a bad sign. If you need a) more than 3 total words or b) generally any compound words at all to describe your race/class, I probably don’t like it.
Special class abilities, skills, and feats can be fun perks, in moderation. I hate min/maxing, which an excess of any of those three former items may encourage.
I really, really love random tables and charts, especially when they’re optional.
I have never had an “evil character campaign” end well.
The pdf revolution has been great! There are still times I want a printout or hard copy, though. New Book Smell is aces.
Laptops are a-ok at my table, but they’ve also been a distraction at times, just like smartphones. Groups need to be respectful of that sort of thing if they’re going to use them.
I am a proud member of the Order of the d30. I also love Zocchi dice, but things like a d24 are fun novelties, and not much else. I want to ensure the core dice for any game are at least reasonably accessible to players.
Ever since I became a parent roughly 6 years ago, I can’t stand any setting or adventure that sees children injured or harmed in any way. I hate seeing it, I hate reading about it, and I hate it as a plot hook.
I think the style of Dungeonpunk sucks. If you have that many buckles and spikes on your armor, it will take you 37 hours to get dressed, and you will likely impale yourself in the process.
I am almost exactly as old as Keep on the Borderlands. There are still no modules that come close to helping you learn how to be a sandbox GM quite like that one.
I am a really horrible Game Master when it comes to horror gaming. I can do sci-fi, fantasy, supers, but I suck when it comes to horror.
I mean this in the nicest way possible: I don’t care if an RPG uses “he”, “she”, “him or her”, or “it” as a pronoun throughout their examples. Whatever gets your point across. If certain pronouns in your examples help you deal with your white male guilt, go for it.
On that topic, men and women are treated the same at my table. I don’t see a need for any special treatment for either, but you’d better not act like a creep, no matter what your gender is.
I almost never use alignment. It’s problematic and easily gamed by players. Rather, you are how you act.
Yeah, gore….not really my thing in illustrations or art. It’s a style, but not one that’s at the top of my list. I like too much Goya not to have some appreciation for horror art, but I’m not a fan of too much of it in my gaming.
I’m a Christian and a gamer, who holds generally small-government political principles. Yes, I’m a pretty terrible Christian sometimes, and I’m probably an even worse libertarian. I don’t mention either on this site or online much, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy seeing my ideals, moral code, and God mocked. Yeah, you’re free to do it, but it’s irritating, especially when I’m just trying to discuss gaming, and one of the reasons I probably don’t post some places as much as I used to. I’m not about to start linking to in-depth National Review articles I find interesting or discuss my religious convictions here, because that’s not what this site is about. It won’t come up again, because I know it’s pretty irritating to jump online for RPG chat and see a bunch of other unrelated stuff thrown into the mix, but I felt like I needed to at least get that out there.
There are times when I look at what people are raving about on RPGnet or elsewhere, and I really think the hobby has passed me by somewhat. I look at where I was 4-5 years ago, and I don’t have that sense of commonality anymore. Then I tell myself to suck it up, quit being emo, and I go play with my kids for a while.