Saturday I ran my first Google Plus hangout game, set in Fantasy F*ucking Italy. The setting, more specifically, is Milan in May 1491 and the game system is Adventure Fantasy Game. Fun was had, liberties were taken and Saturday we are going to play again.
But I’m not going to write about the setting, or the game, or the period. I’m going to write about the Game Police.
The Game Police stops you from having fun your way. Because your way is not proper. Because you’re not allowed to walk off the path. Because our pasts are full of shipwrecked campaigns and bad games, and surely these suck sewage. And the Game Police knows what’s good for you and wants to protect you.
The Game Police first weapon is Nagging. It might be from people on your social network of choice, on RPG.net, your friends. It might even be your inner self-criticizing voice. Nagging mostly consists of reminding you that you are not doing justice to the material or the rules by not being 100% accurate in preparation or execution. If you’re not accurate you’re engaging in some kind of lame, distorted version of the proper setting or game. The Game Police frowns on that.
The Game Police second weapon is Fear. Fear that you might fuck up and it’s gonna be your fault if it’s horrible. The problems might happen now or later if you’re not conservative. Fear stops characters from messing with your setting, stops you from exploring and stretching its boundaries, stops everybody from being daring with toys. Because you might ruin everybody’s game now and in the future forever.
Nagging and Fear are terrible weapons, and the Game Police knows it. They keep you away from fun by threatening you with terrible consequences, stopping you and your group from hopping off the steep Cliff of Failed Campaigns and the Crevice of BadWrongFun. Keeping you safe. Nagging delays you, forcing to prepare so much that it’s not feasible and making gameplay clumsier in playing rules as written. Fear stops you from being daring with your material, your setup and with in-game consequences.
It’s for your own good, really. Truth is the Game Police also stop you from being utterly & freakin’ awesome.
Ignore the Game Police: nobody ever reached the summit of Mount Awesome without risking anything.
The best way to the top of Mount Awesome is a magical trebuchet.