And so is Barkley.
We were hoping for more interest in the last two posts, though I reread them and they are not quite up to my usual caliber of faire. The ideas are too disorganized and while they tell you what I've played they don't always give a good sense of why I played them. I may need to rethink my approach.
I haven't actually played anything since my Supernova Brown one-shot and that was the first time I'd played in weeks. Its hard for me to focus my thoughts when they clutter up the small space inside my skull. If I don't periodically clear them out and use them, the mess in there depresses me. Tonight on Mind Hoarders...
Anyway, then came two posts on other sites that activated my usually well buried nerd-miff-o-meter (Nerd Miff. Not Nerd Rage. I rarely rage about anything).
From Zak S. and PDADWPS...
-I think D&D works like this: the rules, setting, and DM are relatively serious (or at least intense) so you--the player--don't have to be. You can be drunk and play the goofiest half-troll half-gnome bard in the world and the game will keep chugging along and being a game full of twists and challenges and unexpected delights for all (including the drunk gnome) because it's pre-loaded with serious business. Unless pretty much everyone playing S/Lay With Me is earnest about playing S/Lay With Me, the game will crumble. If they're not, they might still have fun, but it doesn't seem like a lot more fun than if the same funny people were just riding around in a car bullshitting about what the next Conan movie would be like if they got to direct it.
I don't know if I agree. I don't know if I disagree either since sometimes Zak and I don't always speak the same language.
If I'm seriously into the game as GM and the players are not, it takes me out of it. That is, if I work for weeks to create a cool setting, interesting NPCs, good looking art and maps and a kickin' adventure and you the player aren't going to invest as much into it as I did, why the hell did I bother?
Jeff Rients responded with...
I agree with this assessment. As long as the DM is taking the game seriously the players can fart around in several different ways and you still have a game of D&D. N.B. Taking the game seriously is not the same as being a humorless prick. That's taking yourself seriously, which is not helpful.
OK, I agree with the last sentence but the rest...really? If you're farting around, I am going to want to fart around too. I'd probably say (and I have said), "Guys...if you're not in the mood for this we can scrap it and play Toon or Land of Og or something." I mean if the players are gonna be piss drunk when playing, how come I have to be sober?* No fair. No way Jose'.
When I am describing the twisted visage of a Huwawa, a creature I took the time to research from multiple sources and illustrate, and I ask one of the player's his character's name as the beast is attacking him, I don't want to have this conversation...
GM (Me): "As the Huwawa lunges toward...um...Stan what's your character's name again?"
Stan: "Oh I still didn't name him."
GM (Me): "Really? We've been playing for hours. No ideas?"
Stan: "Whatever...um...Stan Dirtypants."
GM (Me): "Really? Stan Dirtypants?"
Stan: (Laughs) :Yeah. Whatever. It doesn't matter."
Its at that point I want to go home and watch a movie or read some comics.
All I'm saying is I think everyone involved in a game needs to put roughly the same amount of mental investment in it or it just doesn't jive for me. I feed off the actions, reactions and vibes (for lack of a better term) I get from my players. If they are not 'into it' there is no way in hell I'll keep my enthusiasm. Its like the coach of a sports team saying he's ready to do his best and the players are like, "Sure. Uh huh. Pass me another beer before I throw that ball thing."
Now obviously that doesn't mean you gotta be serious the whole time. It doesn't mean we don't joke and make side comments and have wacky things happen.
James from Grognardia had this motto for the Dungeons & Dragons old school quoted from Stefan Poag of Aldedoran who got it from a Dragonsfoot poster named Evreaux...whew...
"We don't explore characters, we explore dungeons."
Right. Agreed. Ya'know how its usually really boring to hear about someone else's character? IMHO, this is why.
This is why I don't consider myself old school. I want the characters to be cool, not just the holes in the ground they visit. After all, you usually visit each dungeon only a few times but you have your character for many adventures and through many dungeons. If that character is the same person at 12th level that they were at 1st I'm never gonna remember them. They'll just be another set of stats in an endless line of sets of stats. I guess they're still fun to play but its not my bag.
*That's just an analogy. I don't get drunk. For one thing I hardly ever drink, never anything other than beer and it takes a number of beers to have any effect. That effect is sleepiness. I have no idea what drunk is like.