The RPG Blog Carnival topic for September is established settings. This is coming in just under the wire because–in addition to being busy–I had to sort out my many, and sometimes contradictory, thoughts on the topic. So here you’ll get a broad overview of why I think people love RPGs using established settings, and why I think they’re usually a bad idea–and how to better get what you really want when you play in an established setting.
My next couple blog posts will look at some other setting-related topics, including my experiences with published RPGs using pre-existing settings, and why the setting of Four Colors al Fresco is the way it is.
GM was sick last night so we decided to play a game of Fiasco. This is only the second time for 3 of us (on 2 separate previous occasions), and was new for the other two. We used the …in a Southern Town playset, and it was great fun!
BTW, just to preempt a lot of potential replies: I know all about GNS and the Big Model.
Or, at least, I understand them as well as is possible from the essays on the Forge, given that they are the starting point, rather than the end point, of the development of that theory.
And I understand the Threefold model quite thoroughly.
I didn’t use the terminology, or reference either theory more than I did, in my previous two posts not because I don’t think they’re relevant, or because I’m not aware of them, but because I was trying to explain my point without relying on a framework that my readers might not be familiar with. I wanted to make my point as self-contained as possible.
Here’s another way to say what I tried to say yesterday.
Something I run into a lot when trying to explain Four Colors al Fresco–and, to a lesser degree, Dread, too–is that it has a different underlying philosophy than most other RPGs. It is not a “traditional” RPG, where the underlying philosophy of the rules is to judge character capabilities. It is not a “story game”, where the underlying philosophy of the rules is to craft a meaningful story. It is a third way.
It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.
Todd Akin said two awful things about rape & pregnancy, and people are so busy focusing on the one he has retracted that they’re totally glossing over the one he–and the rest of the GOP–hasn’t.
Look, it’s appalling that someone sitting on the Congress’s science committee ever fell for the notion that biology has special intrusion countermeasures against rape-sperm–especially given how easy it is to find out that a fair number of women get pregnant from rape every year.
I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize.…The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy.
But he apologized and retracted half of his statement. If we can’t let people change and learn, they never will. Sure, it might not be genuine, but how about the benefit of the doubt?
No, what people should be focusing on is the second part of Congressperson Akin’s statement, which he has not retracted, and which none of the rest of the GOP has said anything about. He is still asserting that abortion should be illegal, with no exceptions. If there were truth to the notion that no pregnancies arose from rape, then maybe it would be reasonable to not have exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape. But since he has acknowledged that rape can result in pregnancy, he is now saying that women do get pregnant from being raped, and that doesn’t matter.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to think of a better way to explain the interaction of the various mechanics in Four Colors al Fresco, and I had an epiphany: they are almost-pure examples of karma, drama, and fate, something that is relatively rare in RPGs–and that might be why so many people get hung up on them.