I wasn't going to post anything this week since most of my potential readers will be gone and at GenCon. In fact, I had some articles posted for this week but pulled them to post later. However, Greyhawkgrognard posted a fun article about his preferences. This was followed by RPGBlogII doing much the same. I thought it would be interesting to join the fun. Bear in mind these are slapdash opinions of my own on a variety of topics on RPGs. Take them with a grain of salt.
New is new. New is ideas that I might, just maybe, be able to use at my table. New is not necessarily better but sometimes it is. So, I will not dismiss “new” simply because it is new, and I will not like “new” simply because it is new.
I like the Tolkien elves. Real mythological elves are obnoxious little twerps. I like the imperious elf model. I like the Tolkien dwarf and halfling. As for gnomes…for many many, many years I would disallow them at my table. If a player insisted, I would kill them off at the first game. However, in my doddering old age, I have mellowed and allow them.
It’s my story, my world and my campaign. If you as a player want to create your own world do it yourself and stop trying to muck around with mine. You can change my world with your character’s actions but not through some arbitrary rule addition that makes you a mini-GM in my world.
Bring it! You want to play a half-teifling/half-unicorn multi-classed into Barbarian/Bloodmage/Astral Walker, you go right ahead. Go ahead and cherry pick the best feats/skills/powers. I don’t care what perks you think will make you uber beyond the GM’s ability to confound you...you are wrong. A good GM can challenge anything you bring to the table and I am good enough to do just that. I am not scared of your character.
On that note, as both a player and GM, I prefer lots and lots of options. I love to min/max and I encourage my players to do the same. I love to explore a game’s system. I love to add to my world all the things a system adds to its game over time. How do Bloodmages fit into my world? It’s fun and exciting to try to figure that out…and then spring it on my players.
Role-playing over charts and tables when it comes to character play. It’s your character, run him as you please without arbitrary tables to control how you play. Same goes for alignment. Alignments are a role-playing straightjacket. You can play your character anyway you want; all I ask/demand is that you do it consistently.
PDFs blow. Give me a dead tree! I prefer something I can hold in my hand. I can find the right page number in a book faster than you can following your pdf bookmark. Yes, I could get Stars Without Number for free, but instead I spent $24 to get the hardcover. Of course, pdfs are nice if I want to print out a specific page, but at the table I want a real book.
Laptops/cell phones etc. I do not use them at the table. I do not disallow them but really, why do you need one? Usually it is to check your email or do some web surfing when it’s not your turn.
I really want to run my “evil-but not evil” campaign. Maybe someday. I will never run a pure evil campaign since they always end in a couple of sessions when one character betrays the rest of the party and on the way hurts his fellow players. On this topic, I allow for inter-party conflict as long as it doesn’t degenerate into combat. And no, you can not make an elf-hating dwarf if someone in the party is playing an elf.
I despise the d30 and any die outside of the “Holy 6” (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20). Other dice are gimmicks and a waste of my time. It is just as easy to make a chart that uses one of the Holy 6 as it is to make a chart that uses something outside of them.
I also can not run a horror game. I can not build the tension required. Also a horror game is not about how long your character can last until he dies. Games where your character is doomed to die, no matter what he does, is lame.
He She It. I tend to default to He but make an effort to include She on occasion. But really, don’t try and force me into a certain speech/writing pattern to avoid sexism. To do so is also a form of sexism. I will do it in a way that feels comfortable and no other way.
Related to the above, fun over realism. Yes, realism means women in medieval time periods have to stay at home being pregnant, barefoot and never get to use a weapon or armor unless they are an aberration and looked upon as a freak. That is not fun for my players so in this case, fun wins.
Use the right words. The person who runs the game is the DM which is short for Dungeon Master. I will even let slide GM for Game Master. However, the DM is not a Referee or Judge or Narrator. He is the DM. Also, they are demons and devils, not tanar'ri or baatezu.
Artwork is made to enhance the game. Gore for the sake of gore and to elicit a gut reaction is dumb. Gore to showcase the effectiveness of the monster is ok. However, the best artwork is that which I can make a copy of and show my players when they reach that scene.