The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Saturday 8 February 2014

Who Really Supports RPGs Being Fun?

One of the frequent claims some critics of old-school RPGs try to make about old-school is that it doesn’t believe in fun; that old-schoolers want gamers to spend most of the time not having fun, because the OSR doesn’t want people to just make 20th level Warlords with Vorpal Swords.

Now, the notion of having to earn your fun is indeed retarded. Its certainly something I would never do; if there was a game where you had to put in 20 or more sessions of utterly boring drudgery in order to get one session of kick-ass awesomeness, I wouldn’t want to play it or run it.

Fortunately, that’s not what old school is about. Its about recognizing that fun is the process of Making Yourself, not the actual destination.

If someone were to make a computer game where you were already in god-mode, had all the power-weapons, completed all the quests already, and could easily slay anything in the game, it would be derided as the worst shit ever produced. Much moreso a game where you created a character who had already defeated all the great evils, got to strut around for 40mins with a sign that says “look at what a badass I am” and then skip to the end-credits.

So why is it that a certain group of tabletop RPG gamers seem to think that this would be the best way to run your RPG campaign?

Of the two (the old-schoolers and the power-gamers) the old-schoolers are by far the ones who are more in support of games being fun; unfortunately some people (including some old-schoolers!) have framed the debate wrong to make it look otherwise. But its old-school play that recognizes that being a level 20 world-killer is not actually very fun for very long; that the part that’s worth playing is the long, sometimes hard, but hopefully always fun (for the player) effort of GETTING to that point.


Currently Smoking: Stanwell Deluxe + Image Latakia

(originally posted December 16, 2012; on the old blog)


  1. I would say that ye old saying, "Easy comes, Easy Goes" sticks perfectly to the power-gamers, just as in MORPGs, you need to learn how the Char behaves in order to properly use it.

    Fun should be for the Players and DM :D

    Thanks for all the amazing sessions you prepare for us my dear friend :)

  2. Sorry, sounds like the old "wrong fun" argument. Once you start saying "my fun is better than your fun" you might as well be saying "chocolate is better than vanilla."

  3. Steve, I think we are talking about fun like laughing and going nuts, versus having and interesting technically perfect application of rules and dices.

    They are both awesome things, but one if fun fun and the other might be more like building a ship in a bottle. You like them both but one really makes you laugh.