On Why Bother

So, anyone that updates a blog regularly is a writer. Regular updates to a blog equate in word count to a novel or two a year. So what is it that makes us bother?

I mean, if one were going to write for money, then there are plenty of more popular topics a writer could write on and possibly get enough views to use advertising, or even get a job for a major 'magazine style' website. So why write about D&D?

I mean, I am going to be releasing some things for pay this year, in a way that allows reader to give back. These are things I do anyway -- it's no path to riches. The real question is 'why am I doing these things anyway?'

What I am about to say, makes me sound like a mad man.
I have no qualms about this, because we are all mad men here.
If you were not, you would not have come here.

Old school style role playing* is a shamanistic pursuit. The realms we describe -- all possible conceivable realms really -- actually exist. In the real sense that they are a real place where real people live and breath.

We can view these realms as if through a glass darkly. If we gather in a group and collect our ritual objects, then engage in our formal structure of play while remaining free of intent to influence the events based on our pre-conceptions, then the fog clears. Our ritual, our dice, act as augers to view other realms. Through this process we gain strength, wisdom, and join with the universal spirit of life. Our lives are enriched. We become connected to universal myth.
So that's pretty much the reason why I do this instead of something else.

*Modern 'story' games auger nothing, but provide ritual catharsis of group creation. There are many types of things that fulfill these sense of community, sports, competitive games, art, activities that allow you to engage in 'flow'. Many things serve this purpose.

4 comments:

  1. I've written about this on my blog as well. I believe we blog because gamers are often people for whom gaming was/is a bit of solace. A safe harbor where imagination can soar and remove us temporarily from the pressures of life. They are those who appreciate the ancient tradition of storytelling. Or they just get a kick out of slaying and reaping kingly reward. Whatever the case may be, blogging allows our eclectic group of hobbyists to share thoughts, read other people's perspectives, seek advice, commiserate, celebrate, find kindred spirits, etcetera. It's all a testament to the fact that this is not just a game!

    I really like your "roleplaying as shamanistic pursuit" approach! Thanks!

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  2. i agree, and i think all the best DMs of the world are shamen. i think blogs are pretty much the province of invested DMs, and basically serve the purpose of showing off to other invested DMs / mutually inspiring one another. at least, that's what my blog is for - it's too disorganized and full of spoilers for my players to read

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  3. Your post hits on something pretty big. If we are going to engage each other with open minds to observe, create, and act in another world that is actively evolving as our experiences in them evolve, we need a safe place to do this. Our craft involves more than communal story telling, because the outcomes are decided often by fate and by the predetermined strengths of our characters. If someone from the "outside" tries to come in to our largely protected world and experiences people may clam up. Which can probably explain why some gamers get so upset when our medium expands to a larger audience, they feel that "their" thing has been taken away from them and given to the masses, it's no longer sacred. I personally do not have a problem with games expanding to a larger audience and think that anyone should be able to sit down and enjoy sharing in our worlds. But I suppose that's up to interpretation.

    Again I love reading what you write! Keep posting! Keep thinking! Keep contributing to the larger discussion on gaming philosophy.

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  4. Nicely stated. Thanks for sharing!

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