Two Types Of Dicks

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I love me some roleplaying, but there’s two types of jerks in RPGs that summarize why the world is so fucked up.  Satisfy one, you encourage the other.
See, in roleplaying, the DM plays the guy who adjucates reality: you tell him what you want to do, and he decides what happens.  And in a perfect world, you wouldn’t need rules: you’d have a DM who rewards cleverness and good strategy, and punishes the mundane and badly thought-out. Maybe throw in a few dice rolls to keep things interesting, and bam!  Perfect game.
Unfortunately, there are both DMs and players who are divorced from reality.  So fights start something like this:
PLAYER: “I fling my knife into the demon’s eye, killing it instantly!”
DM: “The demon is twenty feet high, and your knife is plain lead.  It wouldn’t kill it in one shot.”
PLAYER: “What?  An eye-shot is invariably fatal!  Read your Tolkien!  What kind of a crappy DM are you?  You just gypped me, man!”
…or maybe the DM is the sort of jerk who completely neutralizes a well thought-out infiltration plan just because he’s pissy you circumvented the big fight he had planned.  Doesn’t matter.  One side’s being unfair.  And what happens is there’s a big old fight over what should happen, where both sides are convinced that they’re right, and after a while people get tired of arguing over this.
So they create rules to standardize things.  A dagger now always does 1d6 damage, triple damage if it’s a called shot to the eye, and for demons you need magical weapons to hit.  But in creating rules, you bring on this guy:
PLAYER: “So my character is an ocular ninja.  If you notice, I’ve taken every advantage that allows a stacked bonus for called shots, so now my character not only does triple damage with every hit, but he actually has a +2 to every roll.”
Next thing you know, thanks to Rules Lawyer boy, you’re in an arms race – the DM has to either develop ridiculously overpowered monsters to keep up with this ridiculously overpowered character, leaving the “normal” characters in the dust, or everyone else starts lawyering and the game becomes more about loopholes than gaming.
Such is the world.  If you leave things open for interpretation, some greedy asshole will grab everything he can get, thinking it’s her due.  And when you devise rules to cut down on arguments over fairness, some other asshole will sift through the rules to find the loophole.
This is why you can’t win.

2 Comments

  1. Casey
    Aug 22, 2012

    A rare swing and miss. I know it’s a continuation of your post from yesterday. You describe three flavors of dicks: rules lawyer dick, unimaginative em dick, and whining agianst reasonable Dm dick.
    You sum up with “you can’t win.”. Of course you can. Dont be a dick and don’t play with dicks.

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 22, 2012

      In the real world, you don’t get to choose who you play with. This is why gaming is superior.

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