Friday, 9 March 2012

It's all about passion.

Looking down my blog list this morning, I came across this interesting question from Charlie Warren, over at The Semi-Retired Gamer.

What follows isn't really an answer to his question, it's more of an early morning rumination on RPGs, why they appeal to me and what they attempt to do.  There is the slight proviso that  this has relevance to me as I'm attempting to add another setting to the towering heap in the form of Mikelmerck.  Let's leave the slowness of that process out of the equation for now.

RPGs are about drama and interactivity.  Communal story-telling, in short.  In order to tell a communal story, you need a shared world for that story to happen in - which is why there is such a plethora of game settings.

In the case of Mikelmerck, I don't yet have to make any really hard decisions about how much information is too much.  It's still evolving.  I am simply finding bits of intriguing story and putting them out there without much of an attempt to impose a system on them.  Looking at the work so far, what I have for the most part is a series of adventure seeds.  These are places players might go, people they might meet, events they might encounter and creatures they may run across.  Any of them could lead to a story.

If I was in a position to GM such a game, that might well be all I'd want.  I respond to story rather than system.  In fact I usually ignore system in favour of whether or not I like the setting.  It was designed for Runequest rather than 4e?  So what.  If it has images I like, people and places I want to visit, something I can feel passionate about, I'll use it.

Heading back to the original question, I'm slightly surprised to find that I don't need or even want that much information as a player or a GM.  What I do want is passion.  Information is just mechanics.  Mechanics can be got.  Imagination, passion and desire to be part of a world is something else. 

That's what I want.  There's a lot of it out there.


  1. Thanks for the shout out in your blog! I appreciate it. I like your expanded answer here and it makes a lot of sense. I find myself in a situation similar to you. I believe the hook that draws your character into the story is much more important that all the different kinds of trees in the campaign world. I desire a lot less mechanics the older I get so your answer is great to me.

    1. You're welcome.

      I surprised myself by how little I really seem to want when I came to think about it.

    2. I agree. There are some times that I am tempted to go into greater detail but at a certain point it quits being a game and starts resembling work.