Monday, 3 August 2020
Don't Hate the System, Love the Players
The regular Ryuutama game continues. I very much enjoy running it, and I think the campaign has hit a nice groove. This is despite the system's many flaws. In fact I'd go so far as to say that the system's deficiencies, as is pretty much always the case, can be accepted and ignored as long as everybody is into the campaign.
This reminds me me of my old adage that I have just thought up: if you get on well with the other players and you are on the same wavelength, the system doesn't matter. If you don't get on well with the other players and are not on the same wavelength, then why are you gaming with them?
Either way you cut it, system is overrated.
This reminds me of de Jasay's old point that if politicians abide by sensible norms of conduct you don't really need a constitution, and if they don't then a constitution won't help restrain them. This is not quite true in games (what Nassim Taleb pompously calls "the ludic domain"), where rules are generally an effective constraint on action. But RPGs are an exception within the exception; they aren't about winning or losing in the strict sense (winning means everybody is happy to play again next week), so the original point has force. If people are on board with the campaign, you don't really need to abide by the rules or pay too much attention to the system. If people aren't, the rules won't help.
The exception within the exception within the exception is circumstances in which figuring out the intricacies of the system itself is part of the fun. I'm thinking here of games like D&D 3rd edition, GURPS, and the like. In those cases, system clearly matters; but I suspect the only people who get into those systems in the first place are the groups who enjoy that sort of game. By definition, then, people who play them consistently are already "on board" with the system, and the point becomes moot.
Posted by noisms at 21:47