It always feels a bit presumptuous to sit here week after week and think that I have something to add to the discussion of RPGs, especially through the narrow focus of d20. Yet, as the Professor tells us, “The road goes ever on…”. As a whole the blog is about the journey and not the destination.

Becoming ‘good’ at RPGs certainly involves familiarity of the rules. However, rules mastery alone is nowhere near enough to be a good player or DM. Intelligences helps. Being well read and steeped the genre’s tropes are steps in the right direction too, but what one needs above all else is a quick wit and initiative.

Wit and initiative are necessary because no matter your play style, poor players and unprepared DMs leech momentum from the game. Awkward pauses while one or the other sifts through campaign notes, supplemental books, and character sheets takes everyone out of the game. Every time that you lose immersion, you have to re-kindle the scene in every mind’s eye. If you don’t think that that takes up valuable time or energy, consider how much time is spent at the beginning of each of your sessions re-capping!

This is,of course, just my take on it—and if you ask me about it next week, I may have different reasons who choosing those qualities.

I’ve been playing RPGs for a long time. I’ve played—am playing at the moment—every major edition of D&D and I have played several other RPG systems over the ages as well. With each new expereince I find that the rules one plays by are less important than the people you play with and what they bring to the game.

The willingness and capacity to improvise, filling in the potential silences, is a boon to everyone around the table. The benefit is exponential where these outbursts also engage others and draw them into the game.

For my own part, I employ these social skills somewhat awkwardly myself, but I am improving. I owe no small part of that to trying out new things as often as I am able. Role playing across different genres and rules-sets grants you a perspective on gaming that may be more difficult to acquire by playing the same game or genre again and again.


~ by Hunter Rose on February 12, 2012.

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