I have made more than one post speaking to my old nerdy habit of playing tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs), as well as posts regarding my thoughts about designing them. As to the latter, I find myself taking a fair bit of inspiration from Rich Burlew’s The New World series, hosted on Giant in the Playground; I’ve discussed the series elsewhere, as well. In that spirit, then, and working from materials I’ve posted in other places, I offer what appears below.
Having noted before that my attempts to develop an RPG worked from sixes, and knowing that one of the things that people tend to do is try to explain the machinations of their observable universe in terms they can understand–usually gods and the like until observational technology allows for other ideas to take firmer hold–it makes sense to me that any RPG milieu in which I might work would offer religious ideas. And since RPGs admit of things that do not necessarily occur in the “real” world, those religious ideas might even have some in-milieu truth to them. That said, I am not necessarily convinced by religious ideologies, myself, and even if I might compose what I call a series of hymns in another webspace, it is not as an act of worship that I do it.
The idea of an anti-worship, though, of a religion that abjures the influence of the gods, is an interesting one. (I admit to being inspired in part by an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well.) If I follow that idea, then, and the earlier materials I’d glossed, then I would seem to need six gods to steer away from whatever people I might focus upon for the RPG milieu. The Stupid God is one against which I have inveighed at length already in what may someday be a collection of verse I would release for publication. (It might be nice to earn a bit of money in such a way.) Such a god, one that revels in and promulgates folly, would seem to be one to abjure, one to send away from the self and towards opposition. The Angry God, which I have also mentioned in other writing I’ve done, would seem to be another; there are certainly things about which to be angry, and there are benefits to being angry at times, but I’ve had a lot of anger in me for far longer than ought to have been the case, and I have not benefited from it.
Those are only two, though, and I do not know that both should be shunned as such; I have no reservations about condemning the Stupid God, for reasons I hope would be obvious, but, again, there are times anger is merited, and the god of such a thing would be useful to have on hand at such times. What to do with the others is not yet clear to me, but it is good to have some idea of how to proceed, of what slots to fill–and there is always room for things to change and grow.
May the Stupid God not claim too much of that room!
One thought on “Yet Another Rumination on Roleplaying Game Design”
[…] a secret of the fact that I play tabletop roleplaying games–witness this, this, this, and this for some general examples. Nor yet have I made a secret that much of my involvement in roleplaying […]