RPG Dictatorships Cont'd

I thought this podcast was really pertinent to the last post on how more rules have actually had a detrimental impact on RPGs, min 17:40 to 26:29, especially around min 24:30.


Fair warning:  There is quite a bit of poorly "bleeped" swearing.

One comment from this section bothered me a little as well: "You didn't know the rules well enough, or didn't know every aspect of it to not let yourself get into a trap".  

This is really the reason why I stopped playing 3rd Edition, more than anything else.  I may have mentioned before in an earlier post, but I was running a Pathfinder game over Skype a few years ago and we got into a combat situation with some Darkmantles that just became unfathomably complicated.  By the end of the session, I was so disgusted with the rules I never touched the game again.

When did RPG preparation go from world building to rules studying?  Seriously.  Who honestly has fun researching monster stat blocks for each unique ability and how those abilities affect your party's skill and feat lists before every game session?  RPGs should be about imagination, they should be about turning that awesome movie we saw into a game setting.  We should be building dungeons with the finest of detail, and fleshing out NPCs, treasure, and traps with all our energy.  That's what RPGs should be about.

But this requirement to know "every aspect" of the rules is offensive to me.  First, I doubt there is anyone who can claim that, considering all of the support books for modern games.  And second, I guarantee you, there is someone who will know it better.  Law is only as good as its lawyer.

And if the rebuttal is, "well just DM Fiat difficult situations", or "use common sense", then why play with such heavy handed rules in the first place if you'll throw them out for classic adjudication anyway?  Do you live by the rules or common sense?  Make up your mind.  If it's the latter, I say get rid of your fat book of rules and start building fantasy worlds, not fantasy court rooms.

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