Monday, March 12, 2007

Not for Everyone

Bruce Baugh is writing a supplement to Spirit of the Century focusing upon marginalized (due to race, religion, gender, or whatnot) pulp heroes in the 1920s.

Some people love the idea.

Some people are skeptical.

The usual suspect is spewing the usual vitriol.

Me? I'm curious and (cautiously) hopeful.

I like some of Bruce Baugh's stuff. When it was published, Adventure! was the cleanest version of the Storyteller system to date, and I thought it accomplished what it set out to do well. I've read some worrisome things about his version of Gamma World - and I haven't read it for myself. Having read what he had intended to do with it, though, I think his intentions were pretty cool.

This isn't about Bruce, though.

It is about the possible purposes of RPGs. Some people are of the unshakable opinion that a RPG should be a game... and nothing else. They point to the fact that the "G" stands for game. If it has other motives outside of the realm of those things typically associated with games, then those motives are invalid.

I think that is crap.

Roleplaying has been widely used as a tool in a variety of areas. It is powerful as an educational tool. It has been used therapeutically. I expect that the roleplaying game itself evolved from military simulations used for actual military planning.

To say that combining one of these goals with enjoyment within the context of a roleplaying game is inherently wrongheaded seems ignorant.

That's not to say that a person couldn't have a valid concern about any given instance of including one of these goals within a game. Personally, I don't understand what is objectionable about Bruce's project. Does the topic interest you? Would you like to gain some insight into what it would be like to be discriminated against and fight against that discrimination? If so, then you might be interested in the game. If this doesn't interest you, then don't buy the thing. No one is forcing you to do so.

In general, I think that the more of this stuff that's out there, the better. I'd like the RPG hobby and industry to be a bit wider, more innovated, and more socially accepted than it currently is. While I don't know that game supplements like this are the answer to that, I think that they are probably a necessary step.

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