Sunday, 14 December 2014

Rule Breaking

I listen to a fair few RPG podcasts, and recently (well, actually for a while, but came to the fore recently) some particularly annoying issues bugged me. And now I'm going to annoy you with them! And, to be honest, this is largely because I get anal over the rules.

"This game isn't very good." Hey, guess what. I've played with that mechanic before, and perhaps you're PLAYING IT WRONG! Yeah, if you're applying the rules badly, there's a chance you'll have a bad experience. In many cases, I'd like to reach in, slap them, and then run them through a game properly. But it gets worse when they keep coming back to it. If you don't enjoy it, stop doing it, or get someone who actually knows what they are doing.

"Just roll me that." And then there are times when they claim to know the rules, and yet clearly don't and make it up. The mechanics are there for a reason, if you aren't going to bother getting them right, why bother using them at all? When you make up some of them, but use the proper mechanics otherwise, the game won't be balanced, so no wonder you're having a hard time telling a decent story. It becomes either too easy or too hard, so it's not an enjoyable experience. A cakewalk is not necessarily a good thing.

"We're gonna house rule a few things." Similar to above, but here's there is a deliberate choice to avoid using some of the rules. And it can get quite extensive. Which then leads to... why bother using them all? There are very few mechanics in games that are so tied to the narrative and/or atmosphere that you couldn't just use the setting with some other system. There are many hacks for a reason. I'm aware of at least three different cyberpunk rule sets, so it's not that hard. Again balance comes into it, but please, it's not that hard to pair a setting you like with a system you know and can use well.

There are many things that bug me and can make me stop listening (from audio quality to just the sound of someone's voice), and there are plenty of listening options out there, so this is just three things that can be addressed to make for a better show.



evildicemonkey said...

"And, to be honest, this is largely because I get anal over the rules."

You don't, you really don't.
Hmmmm. I wonder if it's the difference between when you're playing and when you're listening? Because you are not a rules lawyer when we play.

Jamas Enright said...

I do get rather picky. And compared to others, I am. And you haven't seen me play Pathfinder. ;)

Although I do also subscribe to the "roll and see if we need to care" school of "get on with it".