Monday, September 2, 2013

"You're Doing it Wrong!"

Art by Tyler Walpole
A few weeks ago at Gen Con, Paizo announced what the 2014 adventure paths would be. The first will be called "Mummy's Mask" and will be set in the land of Osirion, the Egyptian-themed kingdom of Golarion. The second adventure path will be "Iron Gods" and will be set in the region of Numeria, a savage land where an enormous spaceship crashed years ago and is inhabited by robotic terrors and barbarians wielding alien technology. 

Both adventure paths represent a departure from the "traditional" fantasy milieu, and I'm perfectly fine with that. Like most, I have my own ideas about what does and does not belong in a fantasy game or setting. Some, like me, like having the occasional piece of advanced technology (whether it be something as simple as musket or pistol, or a piece of alien technology scavenged from a crashed spaceship) or fantasy element derived from a non-European source such as Asia or Africa. 

However, there are some who would rather have their wisdom teeth pulled for a second time than have those elements show up in one of their games. While most see that as an opinion and leave it at that, a small group are rather vocal about their disdain. They see anything that doesn't match their personal perception of fantasy as inherently wrong and will insult you for wanting those elements and "ruining" the game. 

Sadly, these people seem to forget the entire point of the game: to have fun. The only ways you can "do it wrong" is to A) not have fun playing the game, or B) purposefully cause someone else to not have fun playing the game. If you find the concept of adventurers in a fantasy setting finding and exploring a crashed spaceship interesting and want to include that in your game, you have every right to. As long as you and your players have fun doing it, you are doing it right. However, if you hate the idea and would never have that happen in your game, that's perfectly fine as long as you remember that is your opinion and not the one true way to play the game.  

For example, I'm not really a big fan of high fantasy settings. I prefer my settings to fall somewhere in the middle of the Low Fantasy and High Fantasy access and I would have trouble running a truly high fantasy game. However, I know some people love that degree of fantasy in there games and I have no problem with that. As long as they have fun playing in that world and are not trying to force it onto me because they want to show me the "right way" to play the game, I will not deride them for their tastes and would never say they are "doing it wrong." If I did, I would be a dick, and I don't want to be that.