Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Comfort Zone

So last week I wrote a post which covered several subjects.  I posted a song of the week, discussed anime night at Oakland University during the nineties, and I made an honest assessment regarding the state of PBEMs today.  I attempted to post it on the RPG Posting Sanctuary.

Hours later I was booted from the Sanctuary by the moderator.

Reading my post, I suppose I could see how it could offend some people.  I suppose the moderator felt he should play it safe and not allow the post to go out.  And being the article's author I would have disagreed with that but I can see how a moderator has to do their job, how they would have to make a judgement call.

But booting me from the list entirely?  And not even bothering to explain why?  That shows a considerable lack of class.

I still stand by my opinion.  I look at the PBEM landscape and I see a dearth of creativity on the part of game masters/moderators.  A majority of my peers run games lacking originality, instead going for safe settings like Harry Potter games, DC or Marvel games (especially X-Men, both comic and movie-verse) and games based on whatever movie is popular that month.  And I would not object to those settings so much if so many of them did not insist on canon characters.

I understand that GMs/moderators want to run popular games, and part of the way to do that is to run games people actually want to play.  So it is only natural that they choose subject matter that is well known and popular.  So you want to run a Potterverse game?  Fine.  Then give it an exciting twist.  Run it during a period after the movies, with original characters.  Have a new set of villains.  Or run the game during one of the world wars and show the shadow war between wizards during the global conflict.  What about a Victorian era Potterverse game?  That is why I do not include Star Trek games to my rant; some of them can truly suck but at least ST captains are running ships crewed by original characters rather than trying to get people to play Guinan or Neelix.

That is not to say most Star Trek games have other problems entirely, however.  Problems I have addressed in the past.

I feel very strongly about this hobby I indulge in, that is why I put so much effort into providing my players the best game possible, why I bother to write a blog focusing on how people might be better GMs.  And if sometimes I might offend, if sometimes I rub someone the wrong way then so be it.  People have to stop being afraid of potentially offending others and instead people need to grow a thicker skin and roll with the criticism, perhaps even learn from it.

Over the next few weeks I will be submitting articles about potential games GMs/moderators could play, alternatives to the normal, boring fare I have seen crop up over the years.  Hopefully some of my peers as well as some aspiring GMs will be inspired to step outside the comfort zone and take a chance.

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