December 5th, 2008



I remember reading in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicron, one of the characters thinks back to his early days of playing low-tech fantasy RPGs. He and his college buddies, being logical folk, considered just how many calories it'd take for adventuring in a low tech world. They then started crunching the numbers to see which activity (hunting/fishing/farming/harvesting/gathering/etc) yielded the best calorie per hour output. The character in the book then has the thought that he and his friends aren't playing the game. Sure, they're doing a diverting mental excersize, but they aren't gaming adventuring in a low-tech setting, because they figured out that the calorie requirements of doing so would be implausible given the available food sources of the average low-tech adventurer.

I wonder if ol' Neal was being more than a bit autobigraphical.

I bring this up because I'm of the school of thought that unless the game is about foraging for food in the woods, then the game isn't about foraging for food in the woods. If the game is about superspys for example, then it is about superspies and it isn't about deviants into the plausibility of the true handling of a sportscar on ice. It doesn't matter that if a cold hard look at the the physics reveals that at 75 mph on 2" thick ice the T rated 16 inch tires on a rear-wheel drive Maserati coupe have no chance of holding grip whatsoever; so that the only "logical" outcome is a car crash, not a chase scene. It does matter that in a superspy game, car chases on ice in super sports cars is what the game is about.

I say never, ever, let minutia get in the way of playing the game. Unless the game is The Minutia, it isn't the minutia. I for one think we, as roleplayers spend too much time on the minutia, and not the game.

This is an editorial - that is a statement of opinion.