I’m having a pretty involved conversation over at TheRPGSite, which has been very interesting. It started as a thread about the Indie RPG Awards, and I registered and waded in when they started talking about Grey Ranks. I offered to answer questions and correct any misapprehensions and a number of thoughtful people took me up on it. They are asking some challenging questions and it’s been very good for me to formulate cogent answers. It’s making me realize how insular my gaming/Internet world is – why haven’t I been asked these questions before now? We need better critical faculties and mechanisms as a community.

We’re also talking a bit about the Indie RPG Awards and how to make them better, which is strictly awesome.

Of course, this truly productive conversation is occasionally interrupted by some lunatic screaming “SHITCOCK!” in my ear, which baffles me, but that’s the noise in a lot of good signal.

Grey Ranks at TheRPGSite
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7 thoughts on “Grey Ranks at TheRPGSite

  • August 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Hey, Jason –

    I browsed through the thread, but I’m not really sure what productive questions you’re referring to. What are you taking away from the thread?

    (The main criticism I’m seeing is that RPGs can’t show you what it’s like to actually live through a real-life war/holocaust/other atrocity. Same thing can be said about movies and books, fiction or non-fiction).

  • August 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Every time someone challenges me to defend a choice I made, that’s useful to me, because nobody has ever challenged my choices. Every time someone asks me to explain how something like shared narration works, that’s useful to me – because the people I hang out with tend to know that and assume everybody else does, too. So if you look and see me explaining stuff as clearly as possible, the act of explaining it is something that, in some cases, I have never been asked to do. It’s just really good for me.

  • August 24, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Right, I see what you mean.

    The problem I sometimes have with discussions where someone has to defend their choices, is that those discussions aren’t always based on real issues. “Someone will get offended by your game!”, for example, doesn’t mean anyone is actually offended by it. “This type of narration looks like it won’t work” doesn’t mean anyone has actually tried it and found it unworkable. Etc. So sometimes we end up defending ourselves against fictional problems.

  • August 24, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Oh, I totally agree, and I tried really hard to just answer questions. Eventually all the honest questions dried up, I think. Late in the thread the RPGPUndit guy asked “How is this not emo tourism?”, which was rhetorical. But I answered it anyway, because articulating that was a good exercise for me.

    The thread also spawned other threads there on GMless play, which I am contributing to, and a thread about Medical Hospital. I feel more like a regular participant in these and that’s a much more comfortable role. In one of the GMless play threads some guy is talking about his solo Traveller play and it’s really fascinating.

  • September 5, 2008 at 12:00 am

    I read that thread, too, and when you showed up I thought, OMG, Jason’s got a little masochist in him! You are a brave soul. Kudos to you for keeping your end of the “conversation” civil and mature.

    And thanks for saying such kind things about SAJ in that thread, and the more recent one.

    Hey look! I just got called a c*nt! Someone’s holding a grudge.

  • September 5, 2008 at 6:44 am

    No problem, Julia. It’s not such a bad place if you weed out the “I hate you, and no matter what you say I still hate you, and I have a strong opinion about your game which I know nothing about” people. That’s unintentional comedy gold as long as you don’t take the bait.

  • September 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I’m sure they are real gems of the internet, and I’m really going to miss out on the experience of being a member. For now, not taking the bait means I don’t sign up for an account. I can handle the hating stuff for the sake of hating stuff. The whole name calling kinda kills the fun for me. I made a promise to myself never to engage with people who call me hateful names even on the internet, and it’s really working for me. I’ll stick to politics.

    Actually, I was really impressed that you were able to get to listen to you, they were able to step away from the herd, and make up their own minds about your game.

    Really, someone should make a sitcom about that place.

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