- About Time”>About Time
- Encounters, My Take”>Encounters, My Take
- An Encounter”>An Encounter
- On Alignment”>On Alignment
- Basic Magick in Dangerous Journeys”>Basic Magick in Dangerous Journeys
- Alternatives to Combat”>Alternatives to Combat
- Getting the Player to Participate”>Getting the Player to Participate
- The Ancient Dead and Ancient Knowledge”>The Ancient Dead and Ancient Knowledge
- Do Science and Magic Have to Conflict?”>Do Science and Magic Have to Conflict?
- How to End Your World”>How to End Your World
- Consequences in RPGs”>Consequences in RPGs
- This is Easy?”>This is Easy?
- Why Costs are so High”>Why Costs are so High
- Time to Rumble!”>Time to Rumble!
- RPGs as Games
To be honest with you, RPGs do have a lot to do with games. For one, they have rules which determine what the player can or can’t do in the course of play. For another, they do have a playing field and what could be called playing pieces. But then there are differences.
The rules, for example, cover more than the limited scope of the typical game. An RPG typically covers more territory than a regular game, and so needs to handle more. In a sense the rules of a game are written to handle the world of the game. Think of them as the operating system. The rules of an RPG are also written to handle the world of the RPG, but that world is most often much greater than that of a game. More can happen, more will happen, and so what can and will happen must be dealt with.
The playing field is another matter, for in the typical RPG the playing field is most often a world. The immediate field of play could be just a small room, but there will be a greater playing field beyond it which the players are free to enter as they wish. This means a greater complexity than can be found in a game, which can mess things up.
Where the playing pieces are concerned here is where we get into some actual complications. In a game a playing piece is just a, playing piece. It can be nothing more than an abstract representation of one side of the game, and may be among a number of such representations belonging to a particular side.
In contrast in the RPG each playing piece really represents a person; an actual — if imaginary — person. On one level he doesn’t really exist, but within his make believe world he most effectively does. He has a life. He was born, he will die. He has family, friends, rivals, enemies. He may have a family of his own, or maybe just lovers. He will be known and among those who know him he will have a reputation. To be honest with you, he can’t be just a playing piece, for in a role playing guide the role he plays shall always be much greater than the restricted role of a game piece.
Yes, there is much of a game to most any RPG. That said, there is also more that says that an RPG can’t be a game as we understand games. It is more than that.
It’s not a case of it could be more than that, it’s a case of it is more than that. The limitations found in a game just aren’t there and can’t be there; RPGs are just simply too great to ever be limited as a game is.
Games are as they are, RPGs are as they are. Both do have elements in common, but they can’t have everthing in common. Don’t worry about keeping things fair and balanced, but focus instead on keeping your players engaged. They come back for more you — GM and player alike — have won.