There are so many games, settings, adventure hooks, character options, and other elements to play around with in some games, let alone within the entirety of the hobby, that it can become overwhelming. We get bogged down in the details and lose site of the bigger picture. As we wander through the forest of ideas, we forget why many of us got into tabletop roleplaying in the first place.
While it’s an imperfect metaphor, I think it does reflect my own personal preferences. I like the toolkit approach to systems. Give me rules on how to make things, rather than volumes upon volumes of books filled with ready-made things. Keep the mechanics simple and easy to grasp, yet flexible and adaptable. Don’t make me wander through pages upon pages of rules to figure out how one specific thing works.
Tabletop roleplaying is what happens at the table. It’s the interaction between the players. Systems and guidelines and rules exist to facilitate that. Lists and settings and sourcebooks should be there to spark creativity and imagination, not replace it. When we get lost in the forest of ideas (see, I got back to it) we’ve lost the path. I think we forget where we’re going, and why we’re going there, because we’ve forgotten about our own agency and the relationships we have with other players and put our focus on all of the stuff we’ve collected.
#RPGaDay2020 – Forest
RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.