This post is part of the series Philosophy
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You get right down to it, no RPG can really be treated as a wargame. But we insist on it because mass slaughter is fun and doesn’t really require much thought.
I suspect Gary designed the system to make blithely going into combat a bitch, and that in order to discourage thoughtless rampaging. Of course, when you get right down to it, how the players handle matters depends a lot on how the guide handles them. He lets them run riot, then riot is how they’re going to run.
You get right down to it, running and playing in an RPG is a performance. You’re playing roles and when you play roles you really need to interact with the people you meet. Unfortunately in my society we tend to ignore and avoid interaction, and to interact with others is a skill that needs to be practiced.
But in most RPGs that I have seen it is the fighting that’s made simple, mostly as a way to keep the players’ attention and to keep them calm and collected. And the guide plays a big role in this, for all too often he finds it hard to interact with others.
In Dangerous Journeys™ I suspect Gygax made fighting a bitch to handle as a way to discourage it. Then in his own sessions—I played in one—he focused on his presentation and his performance. He gave you alternatives to bashing. I’m not Gary so I can’t do it even close to how he did, but I can come close enough for government work.
So I’m keeping the combat system, and advising all you out there planning on running a session or two to follow my advice.
Engage your players, get them involved. Just as important, play your roles. Make your personae interesting. Mrs. Grumvell is not just a source of information, she is a person. A person with a personality. And a life. And family and neighbors. A player kills her for her small stash of pennies, those friends and neighbors will go after his Persona. Being a fugitive gets to be a tiresome bitch.
And use the roles you play to draw your players further into the world you present.
And most importantly let your world be interesting. That Gr’Th—a possible species for Abyss—may be a disquieting soul, but it may still be the party’s only lead to the last known location of the Veils of the Frog. Just remember that your sessions don’t all have to be about killing things and taking their stuff.
So yes, combat in Dangerous Journeys™ can be a bitch, but use that fact to encourage your pursuing other courses of action, and you encouraging your players.
Continue reading this series:
A Sad Fact