#RPGaDay2021 – Day 4 – Weapon

Today is Wednesday and it whirls us off to a well-spring of wonderment as we work with the prime word for Day 4 of #RPGaDay2021: Weapon! No random rolls today, straight-up fiat rules the day.

Day 4

LISTEN to the Casting Shadows Podcast instead.


Roleplaying games long ago moved away from an expected focus on combat as the primary activity. Where once one could reasonably expect any given RPG title to have more than a passing relationship with violence, now the reasonable thing to do is inquire what a game is about. For all of that… “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.“

If we accept the premise that at their core roleplaying games are about making decisions, or more specifically about players making decisions in the context of a fictional construct, then from a certain point of view, while the explicit violence may now be optional, there is a certain pull like that of gravity in prompting players with conflict, with fear and loss, with risk and reward, or at least with strong motivations to effect change. Where we find conflict, we find the use of tools to seek to produce an end to that conflict. In other words, we find weapons.

We have the capacity and desire to achieve escape velocity from this, but when given our head, it seems we prefer to remain in orbit around it.

Without the capacity for effective force, one must resort to desperate violence, corruption, and/or surrender.

Growing up with gaming, I have considered the notion that the best weapon is the one that you do not have to use. I have pondered the prospect of speaking softly while being loaded for bear. I have even wandered while wondering about the self being the only weapon one would want to wield. All of these contemplations have commenced and concluded with one thing in common: there is always a weapon. The totally innocuous Imperial Battle Station of spherical fame and short operational life carried a weapon and woefully unwarned Alderaan – though it fired no perceptible shot – unleashed force so devastating it wiped the Galaxy clean of the soul-crushing villainy of the Empire. Perhaps that empire put too much faith in technological terrors and not enough in twins raised separately in foster homes.

In Our Play

If you watch this recap of one part of a three-year campaign – I ask you, what were the real weapons against the Empire?

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