Friday, June 06, 2008

Who Are You?

DDogwood waxes pithy on about the need for mechanics to define a character:

Would Gandalf and Saruman be too similar if they had the same game stats? How about Yoda and Darth Vader? I can't think of a single character in fiction who was memorable because of his or her skills or special abilities.

If killing orcs and taking treasure was all that old-school games were about, then why did they ever become so popular? When I was 8 years old and first started playing RPGs, I already had an inkling that the game was about how a particular character, or group of characters, would react in a particular situation.

You're not your character class. You're not how much gold you have looted from orcs. You're not the magic sword you carry. You're not the contents of your spellbook. You're not your fucking platemail. If your character is only unique thanks to the particular set of special rules on your character sheet, then maybe old-school RPGs are a bit more than you can handle.

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