Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Community Trend of Willful Stupidity Hurts the Game

One thing I noticed when discussing RIFTS with others, online and in-person, was the distressing tendency to avoid anything that would make the game as-published (especially setting material) unusable right out of the box (as it were)- to not question or analyze either the rules of the setting as presented at all, but take it as-given and go no matter how ridiculous or unworkable it may be.

There is no kind way to put it: this is the thinking of a child barely able to reason at all. It's a combination of naivety and willful ignorance that appalls me. It assumes that things "just work" with tabletop RPGs, when they rarely do, and eschews the need to engage with the game to get the result out of it that you want. I also find the appalling gaps in the knowledge of others, often willfully so, contributes to this problem; a lack of education on what religion is, how it works, and why it is not the same as faith or belief in one or more gods is ably demonstrated in the game's treatment of gods and demons. (The comic book trappings betray Siembieda's background in the comic book world of his youth.) Ignorance of how physics works (ballistics and energy), how injury and medicine work, how militaries work, etc. run rampant throughout the game's corpus and too many follow that lead in a blind-leading-the-blind that is now inexcusable.

You're reading this. You have Internet access. Rectifying gaps in useful knowledge is now easier than has ever been before! Failing to make the most of this opportunity, and then using that knowledge to fix fundamental load-bearing pillars of one's mechanics and setting premises, is a grave error that demonstrates the terrible quality of character for far too many people. It's neither tedious (you can break it up into chunks you can digest over a coffee break), nor difficult (arrange chunks in an easy-to-hard progression) to do this about anything. YouTube alone is so great a treasure that I cannot comprehend the refusal to make the most of this resource.

While I can, and do, put some effort into fixing what's broken here I am unable to be as Atlas and shoulder this alone. I expect you people to do likewise, to expand your knowledge, in order to make this game as good as it could be had it been made by a sufficiently knowledgeable individual.

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