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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    smile TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    When designing Suzerain we try to make sure that players have a true feeling of hope and that they can each make a difference. Obviously with 2020 going the way it has/is, Iíve been wondering - Do you play TTRPGs to escape reality or to address issues within it? Or both?

    With our upcoming Kickstarter for our new book (more info here) and just being TTRPG fans, this is a big thing for us to understand. After all, how can you design something for players if you never ask them what they want! :D



    (Picture is Baron Wolfhaven left and his player Howard right, as part of the Legends Awaken initiative!)
    Last edited by C-Moon; 2020-09-08 at 02:37 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    Without reality please.
    As one shots at cons, games that deal head on with social issues can be amazing, but for long term consistent play not so much.
    I watch a lot of murder mysteries, it's probably my favorite type of TV program, but I definitely have to monitor my wife's mental health when watching them. Too much stress IRL and I have to take a few weeks off of whodunits and go find lighter fare for us to watch together.
    A little dose of reality in the background can be fine, but I prefer my games to be safe havens for my players, so they don't feel the need to avoid them when times are rough IRL.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    I dig the catharsis that a realistic campaign can provide. My 'happy' place is somewhere in a nest of terrible outcomes, think grimdark. So being able to play some fantasy game that's rooted in unpleasant topics and frosted with gore and grime, its just a wonderful night out. In a way I guess I can compare it to, 'at least things aren't this bad.' as my character gets shanked by a shard of iron dredged in the festering flesh of a ghoul.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Friv's Avatar

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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    My short and unhelpful answer is "yes."

    My longer and maybe slightly more helpful answer is that what sort of gaming I want depends on my mood, my life, and what's been going on recently. I'm very excited waiting for Voidheart Symphony to come out, and that's a game about trying to build a work-life balance between crushing middle-class or lower-class jobs on the edges of society and walking into the minds of the worst elements of the world to punch them in their souls. It deals with real things, but in a very stylized way. Similarly, when we did our Rhapsody of Blood campaign, we ended up with enough historical political content that I doubt I could discuss it in depth on this board.

    On the other hand, we're just starting a Dungeon World campaign that's going to be in a gonzo cosmic fantasy setting, and there will not be a hint of reality taking place. It's a "take a break from your troubles" campaign.
    If you like my thoughts, you'll love my writing. Visit me at www.mishahandman.com.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    Both. Which is to say that when games touch on real world issues I'd prefer they do so in a less realistic manner. Even if the issue itself is realistic there should be something around it that the PCs can change.

    It's part of why I like Unknown Armies so much, the magick system is the dangers of obsession and potentially radicalisation through an unrealisatic lens, the 'safer' variety involves conforming to what people expect of an archetype while the other major variety inherently disconnects you from society. That's not getting into published scenarios which build off real world problems, to the point of an early adventure now being problematic.

    A side effect of this is a like for lower powered games ideally topping off at around the pulp level (not that I don't like playing superheroes, but as more of a break). The PCs in my games tend to be unique in become movers and shakers via direct actions (in the right time and place) instead of holding political power.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    Personally, as an escape from reality.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    For myself, I can happily do either. Some of my fellow players have at times used it to process their own life events, some have used it to discuss real world issues. But mostly, in my experience, reality takes a back seat
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: TTRPGs - With or Without Reality?

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Moon View Post
    Do you play TTRPGs to escape reality or to address issues within it? Or both?
    Both. And in practice, I don't see how you can escape a game being both. Yes, I'm playing at pretending to be somebody else, in a world unlike our own. I'm not really a wizard, musketeer, starship marine, or other adventurer, but ...

    In our current game, we are out to save the town's children. We are saving them from an evil fairy who wants their souls, not from ill treatment or poverty, but my character believes in the mission because I believe in saving kids.

    In our most recent game, we were trying to get home, which will require getting different races to accept each other and work together. The races are squirrel-folk, ant-folk, and kobolds, but its real-world analog is obvious.

    In the game before that, we were trying to save an ever-darkening world from destruction. It was dimension-skipping magic crystals, not a coronavirus, but there is still some reality to it.

    And in a game before that, my character became the Earl of Devon, and started trying to improve the economy of the county, for the benefit of the people (and to get rich himself).

    In fact, I will go further: you cannot design a game that completely escapes reality. It can't be done.

    I don't wander through the wilderness looking for adventure, but I spent two summers teaching Scouts how to survive in the wilderness as a Philmont Ranger.

    I have never studied magic, but I have researched how to send messages over far distances as a telecommunications engineer.

    I've never saved a princess from dragonfire, but I have helped carry somebody on crutches down a flight of stairs out of a burning building.

    Closer to home, I've never been on an adventuring party, but I've been on teams that work together to achieve their goal, from school learning teams to a baseball team to teams at work.

    As long as characters attack with swords, carry things in packs, and wear shirts, there is a basic level of physical reality.

    And as long as they work together to help people, or even just to get rich and powerful, there is a basic level of social reality.

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