Jul 28, 2008

One word contest...Why do you game?

If you are here reading my pontifical postings, you are either a lost glutton for punishment, or a gamer. Hopefully the second, right? So, assuming you are a gamer, you obviously do it for a reason...what is the reason? Better yet,

Can you break it down into one word?

DM's - Why? Why do all of the homework - kid yourself not, for it IS homework. Enjoying it is no excuse ; ) Why put up with flaky gamers, drama, rules lawyers, and all the other stereotypical crap? We won't go into the mint you spent on your supplies, if it's anything like mine, you could always sell it for the down payment on a hummer.

There is a personal enrichment in DMing that is elusive to say the least. Is it the narration? Does it tickle the storytelling bone left over from the caveman days? Is it a power trip? Do we just enjoy seeing a long plan come together?

My personal motivations: I am a natural storyteller. My group refers to me as "the Pontificator" whose razor sharp prose has come back from the future to...wait, wrong story. See, told ya so! As I said, I love to tell stories. Stories with their own self narrating characters is just a natural destination. I enjoy it all unfolding, from the fear on a players face during a certain death encounter, to the players whooping and celebrating when it all goes right. It is a sense of...not quite community, but close.

On reflection, a part of it is also the shared experience. The ego punch you get when 6 people decide that they would rather go to your house and eat crap food in uncomfortable chairs just to hear you tell your story. It is a good feeling to have in this busy day and age when you can have relationships like that. For just a few precious hours, we can get beyond the petty things that conspire to tear us down, and just hang out - laugh, yell, and even sometimes cry, with friends. In a word, FULFILLMENT.

Players - What motivates you to spend a goodly chunk of your precious free time sitting at a table eating crap? Trusting someone (usually) not of your blood with your part in an elaborate fairy tale? Why do you endure the geek label, and stigma that still seems to follow D&D players even to this day? Why do you put up with:

http://thingsihate.org/article/123/the_worst_dungeon_master_ever_part_one

My personal motivations: Life sucks. Sure there are plenty of awesome fleeting moments, bit it seems that it usually comes down to the old wake up, go to work, be bored/miserable/unappreciated, go home, be tired, kill time, go to bed - repeat. Do it long enough, and you can take a couple of days off, then back to the grind. Is this all there is? Living in a world that tells you that you can be anything, you get used to disappointment. Escapism is why I play. It's like pretend, only for grownups. I get to imagine, just for a few precious moments at a time, that nothing else matters. For crying out loud, a honest to god king needs MY help! I get to save people and save the world! What's not to like?

In a world where it is SO easy to be lost in the faceless masses, escaping into the realm of Heroic fantasy is a no-brainer. I honestly believe if folks would just stop criticising D&D and PLAY it, WotC would be a fortune 500 company. Who cares if the stories are endlessly regurgitated? How many times have you watched the Lord of the Rings? And that was a static film production! With D&D, I can BE frodo, and make all the big calls myself. Live, die, it's MY choices. So for me, this is a cross of ESCAPISM and EMPOWERMENT.

So...I guess that makes me either an EMPOWERED ESCAPIST, no other combo rolls off the tongue. What are you?

5 comments:

Ravyn said...

IMMERSION.

Okay, sort of. There are a few other factors. And I imagine Showing Off might be just as accurate. But when all's said and done, what I'm looking for is a chance to spend a little while in a living world that isn't this one, whether I'm providing it or just interacting with it, and helping to make it complete.

Donny_the_Dm said...

Well said, and a good point as well. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and charity work, or the "big project" at work just aren't it for most of us.

Now saving a princess from a dread necromancer? That's the sauce eh? Immersion in something better than our day to day is definitely a good reason to game, among many others.

Thanks for stopping by!

Doug Hagler said...

Actually...I agree with Ravyn. That's what I'm after, as a DM/GM/Etc or a player.

I was going to say, with my tongue firmly in cheek, "Climax". Speaking of dramatic climax of course.

Donny_the_Dm said...

The common thread being "the story". I agree. after all, there is no wrong answer in any way. It just goes to show that we all bring and take a little something different to "our" game as a unique experience.

That's why D&D will never be replaced by MMORPG's. While they are convenient, they are also very cookie cutter in the sense that there is little real immersion...you just can't code immersion!

Thanks coming by! I'm really enjoying this, and think chatty may have created a monster! Now that I have an audience, I'll never shut up!

Graham|ve4grm said...

One word?

Because.

One different word?

Quaburbaflurp!