Required for Fun: Do We Need All That We Think We Do?
Yesterday, while talking about the future of gaming, the question was asked by Ravyn if all the technology I mentioned was really necessary. Obviously, the answer is “no, it’s not needed at all.” However, that got me to thinking, which is always a scary thing. What do we need to role play?
Role play is quite possibly the oldest form of play in our lives, if not in history. Early role playing games for many of us were the classics: Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & Indians, etc. Rules consistent of nothing. The arguement we all heard started with “Bang! You’re dead!” And was followed with the inevitable “No I’m not” response. The typically female equivelant was playing mother to their dolls (even then, girls were ahead of the curve! They played with miniatures while us boys were LARPing ;)). Even with the freeform nature of what we were doing, we loved it in spite of the arguments.
All we needed was a rain-free day, some friends, and plenty of time before the street lights came on. We might have props (toy gun for example), but we adapted well enough without it (fingers make good enough guns after all). Rule disputes were handled simply by letting it go. We could do anything we wanted to so long as the laws of physics were obeyed. After all, 8 year old kids tend to not defy gravity very often.
With the lack of crunch, we all enjoyed ourselves. It was the purest form of role play, and it planted the seed that lead many of us to take up role playing as a hobby. We didn’t need dice to tell us if we shot the bad guy, we just shot him. We needed need a DM to determine if we could do something, we just did it (or said we did it). We needed need to reference books to see what spells we could cast, we just cast them.
Amid all the edition wars, both on this blog and others (and I’m just as responsible as anyone else), I think we’ve lost sight of the simple fact that we play a game. Nothing else matters so long as we have fun and don’t ruin anyone else’s fun along the way. So long as we do that, we’ll be in good shape. Not just for today, but for ages to come.