thread: 2006-01-24 : Still More Character Ownership

On 2006-01-24, Vaxalon wrote:

Would it BE meaningful participation?

Exactly!  It wouldn’t be meaningful participation unless it had some authority.

Do you guys play sports?  Team sports, I mean?  Competitively?

I don’t.  Can’t stand them.  I like a ‘friendly’ game where noone keeps score, just for the exercise and cameraderie but as soon as there’s a winner and loser I lose interest.

You know why?  Because in the drive to ‘win’ the best players marginalize the worst.

I’m lousy at softball.  I can’t hit, I can’t catch, I can’t run, and I can’t throw.  What happens when I join a game that has ANY kind of competition to it?  Right field.  Every time.  Because if I were pitcher, or catcher, or first baseman, I’d be spoiling everyone else’s fun with my incompetence.

I *hate* that.

I’m pretty good at volleyball, just because of my height, when in any informal context.  I used to love playing in that context until I realized that the people who faced me across the net, the people who were likely to get a faceful of volleyball next time I spiked it, didn’t have a lot of fun when I was opposite them.  Not everyone, certainly, but enough that it spoiled MY fun.  I could see the same jealousy, the same self-loathing that I felt when I was out in right field.

I hate that too, now, and I don’t play.

One of the reasons that I think roleplaying games are REALLY COOL, one of the things that makes them IMPORTANT to me, is that in a well run group, noone has to play right field unless they want to.  Noone is ever coerced into taking a lesser role.  Everyone can get their spotlight time.

Now is it fun and to be out of the spotlight sometimes?  Sure!  I TOTALLY AGREE with that statement.

Now is it fun and cool to not know when your spotlight time will come?  Sure!

Is it fun and cool always and in every case, to not know whether you’ll ever get that spotlight time?  No.  I’m the counterexample.  If that happened to me I’d feel cheated.  So yes, my personal tastes ARE relevant.

Now is it fun and cool for some people?  Sure.  No argument there.  But as soon as you make that into a universal statement rather than a specific one, I have to object.

Am I asking for a guarantee?  Yes.  I am.  And I don’t think it’s too much to ask.  I expect the spotlight to be offered to me at least some of the time.


This makes VB go "expecting me to give you that guarantee is, yes, too much to ask."
So I'm like, let's talk about how this can work, and you're like, it can't work for me, and I'm like, uh, okay, so now let's talk about how it CAN work, and you're like, it can't for me, and I'm like, uh okay already who cares, let's talk about how it CAN.
If you want out of the conversation, you know how; if you want the conversation to not happen, sorry, it's happening.

This makes BR go "Vax, man, there will always be games where you get to be the protagonist."
No one, NO ONE, wants them all to go away, forever, and never have that kind of game again. We're just looking for other options that can exist IN ADDITION to those games. So if they don't work for you, won't work for you, can't work for you -- that's cool. Just don't worry about them. They will not destroy your fun.

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