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Gaming as a Metaphor for Life

Gaming is a metaphor for my life; in gaming, I seek the things that fate or my own incompetence have denied me in Real Life(tm).

My least favorite thing in a game is to be useless or redundant. I'm a ham and a spotlight hog, and I want to be sure that I get a chance to make a contribution to the proceedings. My second-least favorite thing would be a game that's composed entirely of out-of-game talk and pointless combats. Those games, I leave.

At the same time, I do have some rudimentary social skills, and I also want the party to work well as a team so that we can succeed at whatever the goal of the scenario is. Unless I'm in one of my bratty moods, I actively try to make sure that everyone gets their shot. When I'm not being totally self-absorbed, a sin I am frequently guilty of.

My biggest frustration in my Real Life(tm) is that I really haven't had much of an impact on the world. Like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life", I know I've touched some lives, but nothing I've done will make an ounce of difference in 10 years, much less when I'm dead. So... that leaves gaming as my venue to be a hero, to be somebody who makes a difference. True, it still won't make a jot of difference in a month, much less 10 years, but in the imaginary world of the game, I *did* make a difference, and that's enough for me.

Usually I deal with the redundancy problem by having multiple characters (so I can fill whatever hole is in the party), or by making particularly creative use of the skills/abilities my character has. It *frustrates* me, though, to be incompetent. It might be that I'm playing a much lower-level character (or just not as min-maxed and optimized) than the rest of the party, or it might just be that the dice are hating me that night, and I can't seem to *do* anything.

I'll add that to my list -- I dislike games and systems where the dice have a huge impact. There's nothing that spoils an evening of gaming like a run of critically bad dice rolls. I understand and respect the random factor, but in the final estimation I'd rather have the story unfold *in spite* of bad dice than have the whole thing fall into the crapper just because the dice were cold.

Some of that is on the GM, I suppose. It's a line we walk when we run -- the players deserve the respect of being able to shape the story and the world, but, on the other hand, it just sucks to have everything go south because of bad rolls from the NPCs. I've tried to learn to be flexible within my framework. On the one hand, some things *have* to happen, sometimes to the benefit of the characters, sometimes to their detriment. On the other hand, it's no fun to play a puppet in someone's novel.

Jae's #1 rule of GMing is: If you don't want them to screw it up, don't let them roll the dice!

As a player, I like the concept of "hero points", "Force points", and "action dice". I like having something I can pull out of my back pocket when I absolutely, positively have to make that ultimate heroic effort and the stupid dice are being uncooperative. I love being able to swashbuckle, to throw myself between the innocent and harm, to make that ultimate effort and save the day.

Hmmm... I wonder if I could get Hero Points for Real Life(tm)? It sure would help.

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