At the end of the day these are just games?

I received a comment on this post of mine some days ago.

I am grateful to receive critical comments together with positive ones. They make me grow.

I didn't intend to reply to that post, i had nothing to say but today i was half asleep on the couch and in this state words came to my mind (it happens often to me), so i awake, stood up and began to write down what i saw in my mind.


It's true, i don't take rpg "hobby" as a frivolous pastime, in fact i do not regard them as a mere game, much as i do not consider a fantastic novel just an entertaining account of facts (a mere chronicle or story).

The purpose of a fantasy novel is the immersion of the mind in the fictional setting described therein.
In fact, if the external world doesn't get erased (doesn't fade away) under the spell exerted by a fantasy novel, where is the puissance of the story which is told?

The aim of playing a fantasy rpg is even more ambitious and profound: not only the suspension of disbelief but the pursuit of voluntary illusion through the application of mathematical formulaes which are needed to make the illusion appear in front of us more vividly.

Originally, it seems to me that the fantasy rulebook has as its scope a titanic endeavour: to turn dreams into flesh.

If you are reading a Clark Ashton Smith story with the sole intent to experience half an hour in a dream-like state of mind, you are doing the right thing but at the same time you are missing the point.

We should at least read such a story with the same amount and degree of faith he had in his heart whilst he was writing it.

Also, there must have been at least fifteen minutes in the lifetime of J.R.R. Tolkien whereas he felt and perceived the characters he was describing were REAL; a supreme moment where he realized he was a mere instrument in the hands of those characters (and not vice-versa) and that they were commandingly persuade him to tell their chronicles.

To me, the only goal of a rulebook is this.
It must be a gate to another world. If the Grand Illusion does not obtain, i may well use that fantasy rpg but to no avail.

1 comment:

Keena Nightelf said...

It is interesting the way you draw the connection between RPGs and fiction. There are a number of other dynamics that can also be considered. For many people RPGs are not "just games" because they are a unique form of escape. Unlike novels where one can merely route for the characters' outcomes, in RPGs one makes the choices themselves, and so the characters develop over time. As the author of that blog post you responded to likes to name a series of things "more important" (to him, I suppose) than RPG-playing, I consider the interest in the hobby to be very helpful in giving one a chance to step outside of their day-to-day lives and live as someone else for a brief period of time and forget these "more important" (to him not me) things--the day religion and politics are more important than defeating evil and rescuing people from monsters will be a dark one indeed. And as to the subject he disliked about your individual opinions about certain games: all games are not the same. What I so dislike about the Dungeon Crawl Classic RPG (for example)is the fact that it's designed to prevent the players from becoming "attached" to their characters: in other words, disposable people. I'd never play that: it's as horrid as reading some wretched novel where the characters are so unimportant that one doesn't feel any attachment to them, and so if you read it, it is only for what happens instead of who these people are. Besides, if that guy doesn't like what you write, he doesn't have to read it. I unfollow blogs all the time because of the angle the writer is taking in something I don't like.

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