Discussion about the definition of an RPG.

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We have designed a new RPG. We did this for many reasons including wanting to start a business that we would enjoy. However, there seems to be an issue in the blog sphere as to what we created. I am old enough to have kids in college and I did start playing role-playing games when AD&D first came out. I have played Boothill, Traveller, Champions, V&V, etc., etc. etc. I am not into the new RPGs that seem to be based around anime and comic books, but I am not against them either.
When asked to describe our new game, I went into detail about how we are using a d100 based system and about the mechanics of it. I described how the magic and technology can work together and that the system is a more realistic approach than others without getting into the mire of too much detail. I explained the advancement process and how characters can grow and advance. The next thing I know I am being attacked for creating another ‘fantasy heartbreaker’ and being asked to explain the game not the system.
Apparently I don’t live on the RPG forums enough, or I am not young enough to understand what a ‘new game’ is. I had to go back and forth a lot with a few of the bloggers to understand that they wanted a new setting, a new story, new characters….. This confuses me.
I started playing RPGs because the systems gave methods to NOT follow fixed paths. I could choose to go anywhere or do anything. I knew a person that refereed a group where he had them locked in a dungeon at the end of the adventure and the secret door out of the cell led to the treasure room. The party used the old bones and other debris to work their way into the open cell next to them, thus missing out on the treasure at the end. It’s the players that must make the story, the referee makes the environment and adapts to them. With both playing off the others imagination a new world, story, adventure can be created during play. This is what an RPG is to me.
Looking at the current players at stores and other groupings around everything seems to be designed for the 2 second attention span crowd. The new D&D 5, Pathfinder and others all seem to be designed to allow someone to come in, play for 2-4 hours, then leave. They have fixed paths that they can choose from that their characters are trying to attain, but they do not need to stick with a party or campaign to accomplish this. It has taken me days to explain to new players what they can accomplish in my game, and once they understand it, they love it, but I am having a hard time understanding why they don’t see this.
Our new game is really a new game, not a new story to be played within an existing system or a modified version of an existing system. We are also making stories/adventures for people that don’t want to take the time to make their own, but the game is just the game. I think with special effects, realistic computer games and MMOs, the definition of RPG has morphed, but not in a good way. An RPG is meant to give the imagination a tool to expand, not narrow its focus. It is like people want to believe they are imaginative and unique by following some cool ‘clique’, but they have lost the real reason. I don’t seem to understand what the current definition is of an RPG, so if anyone wants to explain this new outlook to me, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Posted by The Admin (Questions: 2, Answers: 4)
Asked on November 17, 2015 10:02 am
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