Monday, April 5, 2021

More Roguish Musings

 Still thinking about thieves a lot - mostly because I play one in my weekly B/X game.  

A few months back, there was a healthy conversation going on in the podosphere about how gameplay should be, when done 'right'.  The idea was that players should spend more time describing characters' actions and less time rolling dice.

So, "I enter the room and look around for anything special.  Do I see anything? Want me to roll perception?" is bad, and "I carefully check behind the bookcase and under the table.  Then I look for discoloured stones on the floor and in the wall" is good.    

Listening to these thoughts, I wholeheartedly agreed.  But then.... I played an actual game and, you know, that kind of description - especially for a thief who is likely to listen at doors, check for traps at least sometimes, and generally do their job - gets very repetitive.  Worse, it gets to be tiresome for the other players.  When you sense that the other players are patiently waiting for you, naturally, you figure out what is causing the frustration and stop.  I found that my character started to act less like himself, and not more, when I zoomed the camera in too much.  Interesting, huh?  

These days, gameplay wins over detail.  I occasionally add details for flavor, but I often don't.  If you're in a dungeon crawl, there's really no other good way.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I've found this to be true for my solo play. I make the most concise notes I can to keep the flow of gameplay churning along at a rapid pace. And this is mainly because as a newbie solo RPGer (I started 2 years ago), I couldn't make enough progress before burning out to feel like I had a successful campaign.
    Of course, a system like Ironsworn/Starforged kind of has low detail built in (Supply stat and a Check Your Gear move instead of an inventory, for example), but I STILL almost burned out on my first campaign due to writing too many details as I played.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Corey. Personally, I have yet to play Ironsworn, but I've watched and listened to enough of other peoples' games to really appreciate what a well made system it is. Me Myself & Die (Youtube) and Errant Adventures (podcast) both do a great job (the latter uses Starforged).