Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Fun of Failure

One of the odd things about me is that I'm not a big fan of one-shot rpg gaming. I really like the process of world-exploration and character development and camaraderie that's pretty much absent in one shots. That said, I've seen a lot of one shots run and I realized that there's another main reason why I prefer campaign play.

One of the most fun things for me when rpging is failure.

Most one shots, especially those of modern systems, are designed cinematographically with a narrative in mind. The influence of the visual arts upon modern rpging is very heavy and when people role-play game in one-shots they tend to view themselves as if they were part of a TV show or a movie or a comic, IMO. Even the design terminology reflects the visual influence, with scenes being crafted by the designer. In movies or tv shows or comics there's not really a chance of failure. The protagonist will win, typically after 2 or more minor setbacks and 1 serious setback. One-shots are usually designed with the same narrative immunity that protagonists have in a TV show or a movie. Things might get hairy for a while, but everyone will get out alive.

I like death and failure. I don't like when they happen (normally), but I like that they're a real possibility. It makes the game more fun for me. When gaming, I don't have much interest in finding out how we win - I want to find out if we win

Humorously enough, I don't like TV shows, movies, or comics where the heroes die. They're usually chock full of banal philosophical issues and people just being dicks to each other because they're stupid, hateful, and weak. I have no interest in drama anymore.

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