Dungeons & Definitions, Part I

John Wick penned a controversial article, “Chess is not an RPG,” purporting to define role-playing games, which is only slightly easier than rhyming with “orange,” if the blogosphere’s reaction is any indication. He says that having a working definition helps Game Masters focus on the right elements of play. Here I agree, though I think it’s really more important for game designers than GMs. Either way, to help GMs, Mr. Wick defines role-playing games as games “in which the players are rewarded for making choices that are consistent with the character’s motivations or further the plot of the story.” From this he concludes that the focus many games and players have on elements of balance is misplaced, since weapon tables, for instance, have little to do with character motivations or story and don’t advance those elements of the experience. On both counts, I respectfully disagree. Continue reading