Pax Draconis

Well I think this all depends entirely on the gamers, thier past gaming experience, and what they have done with the hobby. So in short, yeah possibly. The problem with this question is that it is huge. I think it goes back into the evolution of the mainstream RPG's and the way they are desighned and played. I suppose I will use D&D as an example but only because it is a handy yardstick. We are going back in time to second edition. We are going to use the fighter charecter class. Back in the early days of second edition you were happy with your pigsticker+2. You swung around your pig sticker things died, and life was good. We fast foward a little bit in time to when thouse ultimate fighter handbooks started to come out. They had charecter kits in them. Charecter kits added all sorts of things for the fighter to do with his pig sticker. Still all in all he was still just a guy who could swing that sword around only with options. Things remained like this for our fighter for a long long time. Then one day 3rd eddition came out. All the sudden the fighter wasn't just a man with a pig sticker anymore. He had feats. He could cleave people in half, deflect arrows, disarm foes, and whatever else feats do. On top of that there were prestige classes that allow your man with a pig sticker to do all sorts of things. The amount of cool stuff a fighter could do was roughly tripled. He went from a man who just rolled to hit, to someone who had options. Lots of options that are all covered by the core rules...his options grow with just about every supliment. D&D is the flagship of our hobby, it is the way a vast majority of people are introduced to it, and just about everyone has had some sort of expereince with the game. Now when we look at the extrodinarly rough time line I just layed out for the warrior we see a gradual increase in power over time with a gigantic spike for third edition. Then the gradual increase returns. With the exeption of the lowly bard the fighter is one of the most ignored charecter classes when it comes to source material. After all the fighter has his pigsticker and his high attack roll what more did he need? 3rd Eddition answered this question by making it so that the fighter could do all sorts of uber cool pretty things. Here comes the point. This increase in power for the fighter has happened to every charecter class over time. Even the bard. With the feat/prestige class systems in place charecters are now able to do an impressive amount of damage. Rangers can do things that I'm sure my game master wished were not possible, and wizards have maximised fireball. This isn't to cricise the 3rd eddition of D&D. I mean thier idea worked, people love the amount of carnage that they can kick out. Gamemasters are capable of keeping up with variouse tools at thier disposal and most people go home happyish. So I provided a lengthy example, now it is time for the hard part. Why the feck dose all that matter. Well because AD&D is all about being a group of brave heros who are out to save the world. You play brave and powerful fighters who wave thier pigstickers, wizards who can warp the very fabric of reality, moe the cleric who keeps everyone alive, and a dead bard. Together you roam the wurld smiting evil, saveing towns, killing wumpuses, and doing the hero thing. That is what it originaly set out to do, it is what it still dose. Now an important thing to realize about the life of a hero is that thier lives are exciting. I mean in most fantasy worlds there are pleasent farm people who have never seen an orc, or raised a sword in anger...while over the mountain range the pcs are out eliminating an underground eco system. Playing the life of that farmer would would be kinda like playing the sims. Only pencil and paper style. So you would think the shark would be enough right? I mean sharks are scary and stuff. Somewhere back in our minds we remeber Tharg the warrior, a shark was nothing to him, it was nothing to Edbert the Dwarven Rigger, Quizbit the Jedi, 6 the BESM vampire hunter, anything in the rifts universe, or any of the other main gateways that we use into the hobby. We played heroic charecters who did heroic things, sharks meant nothing. We sit there watching Jaws and we thouse pansys if Tharg were around the problem would be solved right quick. Now when you stick a laser on that shark's head all the sudden Tharg ain't so great anymore. The same transphers over when we look at modern rpgs. Driving around in the desert filling up our cars with gas is boring. NOw if we are running away from land sharks with lasers on thier heads, and their is a dead body in the trunk all the sudden it is worthy of an RPG charecter. I didn't call off a date to play moe's average life, I wanna kill a dragon damnit. In theory. Somewhere it starts to break down. The genra of going forth and killing the whumpus is quickly beoming used up. I mean the dungeon crawl is something that heardly ever happens anymore, people are brantching out into diffrent styles of D&D play and people are more than ever resiting the traditional GM plot lines. The most recent AD&D game I was involved in fell apart because no one wanted to do the story. He was honestly confused when no one wanted to go fowards to kill the god of chaos or some such nonsense. He was postivily enraged when no one felt like going into the dungeon, and he flat out refused to let us hire someone else to do the job for us. In general the group was extreamly well roleplayed, the problem was that our group never really functioned as a cohesive whole. We all had fun, we were just being ram rodded into this exceptionaly lame story that no one wanted to do. A couple of the charecters had the benifit of min-maxing so we could handle just about anything that wandered our way. Most of the players were first time roleplayers, not hard core narrativists or people that had even experienced better. They just knew a contrived plot when they saw one that they were sucked in with promisses of being able to do thier own thing. When you see new players not even bothering with the traditional modle I started to realize that things are starting to change for our hobby. Right now we are ramming lasers on the heads of our sharkes because if at first something dosn't work make it bigger and scaryer. The example that spawned topic actualy works here. YOu were trying to give someone a suggestion as to how to write better. Instead, someone can back ignoring the meat of your example and just threw a dead body in the trunk. It is more of a stuggle to maintain the status quo then because we were jaded. We are in the phase if something is broke make it bigger. I think I'll let that be my conclusion. THe hobby is in a state of transition. The players are restless, fewer of us are satisfied crawling though a dungeon with our +2 pigstickers to kill the Baddie of the week. They want more. I feel better now. I've been inflicting random games that are fun but diffrent on my poor players. NOw they have asked me to run a traditional fantasy game, because they think I'll make it fun again. I've been randomly worried about this...I don't think I've answered your question but at least I feel better now. Now a word from my alter ego. While I was typing this up I was thinking about the movie Jaws. I didn't like that movie, I had to see it three times before I made it though without falling asleep. I honestly couldn't understand why people found it to be so utterly terrifying. I mean I was hardly even entertaining for me, and I like horror movies. So I was thinking about your laser example and smiling to myself because it is funny as hell and I realized that they did. They put a laser on the shark's head. It was called Deep Blue Sea, you remeber that movie? It came out awhile about had some famouse rapper in it. Basicly it was people trapped in a sceintifc underwater research faculty with super intelegent, super sharks. In short it was people vs the uber jaws. The crowning moment of that movie is when Sam Jackson got eaten. Funnyest death I have ever seen in movie. So considering that recently we really have put a laser on the sharks head perhaps our need for complexity is a reflection of our society. Maybe we are running out of storys to tell and ways to tell them so we stick something in the sharks head a call it new. Perhaps it is combonation of the two, extrenal pressures to have bigger and better things, and a revolution of our hobby from the inside out. Either way I think the only way this question is getting an answer will be through time. However, I think that time is near.
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