Friday, February 17, 2012

Things we don't handle in RPGs (usuallly)

In the past (and in the present, and I'm sure, in the future), there have been many discussions on realism / plausibility in RPG systems.

Which is fine -- we do shoot for some kind of internal consistency and some kind of congruence to the reality we're trying to emulate (real world physics, TV physics, movie physics, fiction physics).

There are some things that we don't tackle because, really, part of the game is an escape from reality. You can talk about how (like other media) RPG holds up a mirror to our reality, helps us realize truths, and so on and so forth, but you can't get away from the fact that we're selective about what truths we try to tackle. For example:
  • how often do your PCs have to answer the call of nature?
  • how often do they suffer from colds or the flu?
  • how often do they catch an unforeseen mundane disease and die from it?
  • how often do PCs deal with things like cancer, heart problems, gout, and so on -- unless they get points from it in a point-buy system?
RPGs are a selective reality, and I'm comfortable ignoring certain things from 'real life' because -- the dignity and wonder of the human condition aside -- sometimes it can be a real drag.


  1. In the book THINGS WE THINK ABOUT GAMES (which is excellent by the way) one of the "things" is that "the characters are always wearing pants", which is to say that even if you never talk about pants, its assumed everyone is wearing pants (until they say they are not...)

    Some things just need not be addressed while gaming.

    1. Haven't heard of that book -- will look it up. thanks!

  2. I'm with you. Those thing don't fit the theatrical nature of the game. Although it's surprising how soon games like D&D introduced rules for disease. I can just picture it: "You killed the dragon, but you die of cholera after drinking out of your canteen."

  3. Boring things happen of camera.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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