Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Its all about the setting, son

For me the draw of roleplaying was the settings. Fantastic worlds to be in and explore. When I was younger my friends and I would recreate things seen on TV or in the movies. Or make up our own stuff. Being the 70's, WWII was still recent enough to be one of our favourite settings. I would become a grizzled pot bellied American Sargent chomping on a stale cigar and toting a Thomson sub-machine gun. This was roleplaying at its original best. We didn't quibble over details. As long as it fit the background it was in. My Sargent carried the Thomson because thats what they used. It wasn't about bonuses or penalties. Or range modifiers. It was about fitting in not standing out.
Nowadays the tabletop substitutes for the playground for me. But the same rule applies. If it fits the background then its worthy. The setting is important for me when I play an RPG. I would never allow a character named Bob. I've met a few players whose response was "Whats it matter" or "Who cares" about the name thing. They are usually only interested in what their characters have not who they are. I proposed once for a game that I the DM would name their characters. After all did you chose your own name? That didn't go over to well. I realized that the players are part of the creation process for the world you are developing. The players are creators also and that should be respected. I will try to compromise with allowing players to choose from a list of names appropriate to the background. For a game I'm planning a somewhat medieval background and I will use the Treasury of Archaic Names from RPG Realms. Names are just one aspect of the environment that can be used to create a rich fantasy. And Bodil the Barbarian sounds better than Bob.

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