Paradigm Lost

This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Understanding RPGs

One thing so many of us have trouble with is change. Any sort of change, but in this particular instance what I’m talking about is a paradigm shift. Basically that is a change in how something is viewed and how it is dealt with. The Civil Rights movement in the 50s and 60s lead to a paradigm shift. Einstein’s General Relativity lead to another. What I’m talking about here is a shift in the paradigm of how RPGs are handled, from game to guide. For there is a fundamental difference between the two and how you handle one is not how you handle the other. But shifting from one to another can get some people rather verklempt –look it up.

I can’t think of any paradigm shift that didn’t get some people upset, but when we got used to it the new viewpoint just became part of our lives. And this paradigm shift of mine is based on my observations which can be verified by your observations so long as you are honest. It’s a matter of your letting them be valid, instead of trying to keep things the old way.

I’m talking here about liberation, much as our acceptance of black people as human beings meant we no longer hand to spend all that time fussing about keeping them oppressed. Accepting RPGs as guides means no longer having to run them as games, when that is pretty much a forlorn effort. No more “broken rules”, that’s just the way life is. No more “nerfing”, that’s just the way life is. Getting hit by a freight train at just 5 mph can kill, that’s just the way life is.

So no more asking a set of rules to keep your character from getting killed when you make a dumb move. No more telling your guide about some obscure mechanic in some obscure supplement. Actions have consequences and you had better get used to it.

So guide not game, that’s what I’m working towards and I’m going to see this revolution through.

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