Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Roleplaying and Reality

I do a lot of roleplaying (pen and paper) and sometimes I'm bugged by the disregard for common sense and reality. That may sound a bit weird since roleplaying after all serves the purpose of saying goodbye to reality at least for a while, but still. Especially when it comes to RPG systems that are designed to take place in a realistic world, like Vampire or Cthulhu.
So I very much enjoyed the essay "On Thud and Blunder" by Poul Anderson. He takes up a lot of things that I tend to groan about and suggests better, more realistic solutions. While he's writing more for fantasy writers, everything in there goes for rolelpaying as well. I don't need to observe every rule of reality, especially when it would destroy a greats scene, but sometimes it would make things a lot more fun. More complicated, true, but more fun.

My favourite part is the one about horses. It looks so easy in movies, doesn't it? And people always say "My character has that huge, black stallion and he obeys every word" Yeah, right. I'm not much of a horseman, but even I know that stallions are not what you would call reliable or easy to control. And let me tell you, mules rock. If you want to travel far, over rough terrain and with heavy luggage, go for a mule. Forget the horse. There may be an advantage in speed (although depending on the parents, there are fast mules), but that's about it.

But I still like the totally unrealistic badass shotguns that the Cthulhu RPG has. It's hard enough to stay alive in that system, let alone sane. Okay, shotguns won't help with staying sane, but at least you can blast away the things that made you cazy.

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