#RPGaDay 2017: Day 13

The thirteenth question for this year’s #RPGaDay is another tough one, I will wager. This time there was a little mercy though, as it falls on a Sunday. The question asks us to describe an experience with an RPG which changed how you played.

Over the years writing this blog, uploading to YouTube, and answering blog carnival and #RPGaDay questions before, I have touched on a number of experiences which changed how I perceive roleplaying games, and so changed how I play. I have talked about a significant rocket-cycle leap over the Grand Canyon in Top Secret/SI (watch the video), I have shared how I found my voice as a GM through Call of Cthulhu, and I have talked about all the major paradigm shifts which have come may way so far.

One different thing that I can share is discovering a game that I did not like. There had been systems that I had grown tired of. There had been games for which the system was fine, but the setting did nothing for me, but what I am talking about is finding a system to which I took a sudden and active dislike. The name of the system is not relevant. I am here to praise RPGs not bury a game.

After years of playing every game I could get my hands on and generally enjoying the experience, it was a surprise to find one which turned me off so strongly. Until then, I had not had that kind of response.

For me, games are for amusement, they are not a profession. Since my entry to the hobby  this has not changed. From the beginning I liked to know how to play and play well, but looking under the hood was not something I did. Something about this experience, however, made me want to know exactly how the system worked, and why the way it worked bothered me. To my delight, taking it apart, looking at the math and so on (an onerous effort for me, usually), was enjoyable. It was enjoyable because it answered my question, but it was also enjoyable in its own right. Not only that, once I had ascertained the gremlin under the hood of that particular game, I was able to see its spoor spattered across the running boards of other engines to varying degrees, which began to explain a lot about how those games had worked for me, and for the groups I was in.

Asking questions, checking bias, noting conflict and seeming incoherence, not relying on emotional response, and really digging in to learn a game are all behaviors which are regular rather than random in me now, and I owe them, and the additional satisfaction as a roleplayer they have brought me, to a sudden and severe dislike of a game that by all rights I should have loved.

Question 14: Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

 

 

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