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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playing by the Rules

What if you could boil an RPG down to just a few rules, 6 to 9?  It makes me wonder if you could not boil it down even more.  What if the players only needed 3 of those rules?  The GM, 6 (including what the players knew)?

I don't hate rules.  There is something freaking sweet about reading a set of slick, masterly written mechanics.  Gives me a bit of geek-boner to think about some of those that really scratched my math itch.  Earthdawn anyone?  Not the smoothest, but damn that dice spread.  Nothing beats a bucket of dice hitting the table when you greatly outclass an opponent.  But rules- I don't think I have ever really played by the rules.  Not religiously anyway.  Some, which you can read as a lot, just got in the way of whatever I really liked about a game.  I wonder if anyone has ever looked at some of the systems that have come and gone and figured out, what rules did you really need to play this?

Old D&D, we played that thing so freaking loose.  Especially 2nd Edition.  I hated looking up rules in some of those books.  The way I game mastered those games was totally based on what made sense at the time.  Someone at the table was always nice enough to make a note of "how I did it last time."  That notebook was the rules lawyers revenge.  "Not gonna do it right?  Gonna make you at least be consistent you dick!"

No one ever complained.  Sometimes I look back on those days and realize all we used to need were each other, a table, some dice, and a way to judge our characters capabilities.  Learning a game was like learning a language to get by in the new city we were living in, but we just wanted enough to get directions to the crapper and how to curse.

Maybe we just need enough rules to keep everyone from getting in that old argument:  "I shot you."
"No you didn't.  I am wearing armor."
"I was using an armor eating lazer."
"I got lazer proof armor."
"No!"
"Yes!"
"This is armor piercing- armor eating lazer shots."
"That is ridiculous- What were you aiming at?  I am invisible."
"...touche"

Just enough.  
             

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