Ugh, moral nausea seeping into my hobby-thoughts

Shipyard Locked

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
1,703
Reaction score
2,631


Can't sleep, but I have to work tomorrow somehow. Ugh.
I'm sure you can guess why.
Sick and tired of the real world, the real people and their nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.

Then I go and run adventures in supposed fantasy worlds full of fake people with nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.
Doesn't matter if it's an elf or a dwarf or an orc or whatever. It's still just people, in flimsy makeup, murdering and getting murdered. A race to oblivion.

How's that for escapism?

Sure, somebody throws out a justification for it at some point, compares it to some real-world situation. They're trying to keep it all fun, but it still feels sordid at times like this.

I'm supposed to prepare a sandbox for later this year. I haven't been able to emotionally commit to any creative direction for it and I think I'm figuring out one reason why. Maybe I'm sick of human and practically human cultures and antagonists. Maybe I don't want to inhabit their self-righteous vileness this year. But it's kind of hard to populate a region without the populace, warts and all.

I'm not quitting my life hobby or anything, it's just all so frustrating, nauseating. Maybe I shouldn't be writing this late and this sleep deprived, but I'm hoping it will exorcise the demons of my battered moral compass long enough for me to get some shut eye.
 

opaopajr

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
1,464
Reaction score
1,812
In Nomine reminds one that Heaven is a difficult place to find the typical fodder for adventure because, well, it's Heaven. :angel: However danger, malice, and lies bubble up everywhere in Hell. :devil: Foibles and their friction is grist for the mill.

Sometimes what we see as excitement speaks more about us than we are willing to admit. :shade::coffee: We miss the thrill. We play to old pleasure zones.

Wanna know why I keep "joking" about roleplaying milkmaids trying to find the best engagement? Because it can be just as compelling and engaging as any fantasy, and yet... :wink: Where do we typically find our next vicarious thrill?

Try "Golden Afternoon Stories" or another 'feel good' RPG, or at least an analogous premise. It is easy to get soul sick if you only explore the dismal slices of imagination. And yet be forgiving if you & your table later find "how you'd like kind and adoring? ... pretty boring." (Courtesy of Adam Ant's "Desperate But Not Serious.")

The word 'adventure' is as broad as our desires and imagination. :thumbsup:
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
4,922
Reaction score
8,721

EmperorNorton

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
5,309
I have a copy of the Ryuutama rulebook. Maybe I should do a let's read.
I have the limited edition book with the really nice green faux leather with gold foil cover and it is gorgeous. Also just a really neat game from a design and lore standpoint.
 

PolarBlues

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
873
Reaction score
1,571
Superhero games are great because, though there is tons of violence, it is always for a just cause and rarely lethal. You basically get to have your cake and eat it. That is, unless you have a spoil sport GM that likes to focus on collateral damage and real consequences of unaccounted for power and generally takes pleasure in telling young children that there is no Santa Claus.
 

Atelerix

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2018
Messages
301
Reaction score
592
If you can, pick up a copy of the 1st Edition Ghostbusters RPG. Most characters don't even have combat stats, nobody dies (unless they're already dead) and the emphasis is on playing smart and funny.

I don't think this is a spoiler after 35 years, but correct me if I'm wrong...

The sample adventure concerns a car that has been possessed by an ancient dog god. Shooting your proton packs at it doesn't do anything, so what are you going to do with a giant metal dog rampaging around town?
 

Atelerix

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2018
Messages
301
Reaction score
592
I think a lot of genres can work without violence, and replace it with other kinds of danger.

Look at Pixar films like Toy Story - racing to get home in the traffic, there are "monsters" but they turn out to be sad and lonely rather than scary. Or trying to hide a cute "monster" in Monsters Inc.

Make the environment hostile but negotiable. A blizzard or a river crossing can be a challenge that involves multiple decisions and consequences. Explore to learn what is out there. Meet the locals, negotiate with them, trade, learn their culture. I know how that ends up in the real world, but Trollpak for Runequest 2nd ed (Into the Troll Realms for 3rd) has some great scenarios for meeting an alien culture, trading with them and trying not to die during drinking games.

Radically depopulate post-apoc games (including fantasy like Forbidden Lands) and make it a game of exploration, rebuilding, harnessing the secrets of the past. Make NPCs cautious, but capable of learning and helping. You can have character conflict, or sabotage and punishment, without murder.

A quest to tame your dragon, like in the Avatar movie. Or the path to bonding with the world-spirit is only through kindness and acceptance.

The characters are washed up on a desert island with a penknife and one pair of underpants between them. How will they survive? What else is on the island? Or an alien moon, or a spaceship leaking oxygen (and a solar flare is coming, the shields are down and the captain has gone mad, of course).

A zombie game set in Britain would have far fewer guns than many other countries. You might have castles to live in but you still need to be smart to survive and prosper.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,291
Reaction score
4,117
One of the reasons I like fantasy and sci fi is the potential, at least, to tell very black and white stories. The current trend in the genre is for a lot of grey, but that doesn't have to be the way its run. Maybe running something where the PCs are very much on the side of the angels might be a soothing balm.
 

RunningLaser

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Messages
200
Reaction score
370
There's definitely some shitty things going on in the world- hang in there. The one constant is that things change, so this too shall pass.

One of the reasons I like fantasy and sci fi is the potential, at least, to tell very black and white stories. The current trend in the genre is for a lot of grey, but that doesn't have to be the way its run. Maybe running something where the PCs are very much on the side of the angels might be a soothing balm.
I'm a huge fan of black and white good vs evil stuff. Seems very out of fashion these days.
 

BedrockBrendan

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
520
Reaction score
1,098


Can't sleep, but I have to work tomorrow somehow. Ugh.
I'm sure you can guess why.
Sick and tired of the real world, the real people and their nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.

Then I go and run adventures in supposed fantasy worlds full of fake people with nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.
Doesn't matter if it's an elf or a dwarf or an orc or whatever. It's still just people, in flimsy makeup, murdering and getting murdered. A race to oblivion.

How's that for escapism?

Sure, somebody throws out a justification for it at some point, compares it to some real-world situation. They're trying to keep it all fun, but it still feels sordid at times like this.

I'm supposed to prepare a sandbox for later this year. I haven't been able to emotionally commit to any creative direction for it and I think I'm figuring out one reason why. Maybe I'm sick of human and practically human cultures and antagonists. Maybe I don't want to inhabit their self-righteous vileness this year. But it's kind of hard to populate a region without the populace, warts and all.

I'm not quitting my life hobby or anything, it's just all so frustrating, nauseating. Maybe I shouldn't be writing this late and this sleep deprived, but I'm hoping it will exorcise the demons of my battered moral compass long enough for me to get some shut eye.
Maybe you could use some more light-hearted RPG material. Also you just might not be in the mood. I've had times when life got too serious and I just couldn't get into running a game. And that is totally fine. My suggestion, if you feel like you need to game, but what you are doing is only adding displeasure because of present day events, try experimenting with different games, styles of play and RPG-adjacent stuff to see if that shakes it. Like maybe give a bear and pretzels game like the original OG a try, or just try a more zany or cartoonish genre of play (tales from the floating vagabond or Toon).
 

Raleel

Not actually a Mythras sales bot
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
3,249
Reaction score
6,082
One of the reasons I like fantasy and sci fi is the potential, at least, to tell very black and white stories. The current trend in the genre is for a lot of grey, but that doesn't have to be the way its run. Maybe running something where the PCs are very much on the side of the angels might be a soothing balm.
Mythr... oh wait.

I'm with you on this. I ran a campaign early last year because it was explicitly the good guys game. I even called it that. It was very Dragonlance-style, giant horde of not-morally-ambiguous-at-all invaders you couldn't directly confront.

I love some moral ambiguity, but it's not always the time for that.

The one constant is that things change, so this too shall pass.
 

Attachments

Baulderstone

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
6,262
Reaction score
15,677
Maybe you could use some more light-hearted RPG material. Also you just might not be in the mood. I've had times when life got too serious and I just couldn't get into running a game. And that is totally fine. My suggestion, if you feel like you need to game, but what you are doing is only adding displeasure because of present day events, try experimenting with different games, styles of play and RPG-adjacent stuff to see if that shakes it. Like maybe give a bear and pretzels game like the original OG a try, or just try a more zany or cartoonish genre of play (tales from the floating vagabond or Toon).
Along this line, I'd also recommend Ghostbusters. It's long out of print, but its not hard to find a PDF online.

Maybe Tales from the Loop would work too. It's in the Kids Investigate Strange Happenings genre.

If you want to stay a little more serious, you can always go in the direction of a Man vs. Nature conflict. Maybe a sci-fi adventure where exploring a new planet is the challenge. Maybe you could go with a scenario about rescuing people from a dangerous situation not caused by humans.

In any case, there's nothing wrong with taking a break from gaming while you build back your mental resilience. Feeling guilty about not wanting to run anything just creates another layer stress that only makes it harder to get back to it.
 

Raleel

Not actually a Mythras sales bot
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
3,249
Reaction score
6,082

Baulderstone

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
6,262
Reaction score
15,677
that... that is a remarkably good idea. an S&S twist on it, where the smoking mirrors are the ladders here, I would guess

TIL Chutes and Ladders is actually https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakes_and_ladders and is a very old board game. Very very old.
While I was mainly making the joke based on Snakes and Ladders, I also like the fictional idea that Mythras has roots in a boardgame called Serpent Men and Smoking Mirrors because it sounds like White Bear and Red Moon, the board game forerunner of Runequest.
 

Tulpa Girl

Not a mod, not your momma.
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
2,325
Reaction score
7,362
While I was mainly making the joke based on Snakes and Ladders, I also like the fictional idea that Mythras has roots in a boardgame called Serpent Men and Smoking Mirrors because it sounds like White Bear and Red Moon, the board game forerunner of Runequest.
The fact that you can't buy a copy of SM&SM anywhere just goes to show that they don't want you to know to real truth behind Mythras.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
4,185
Reaction score
7,531


Can't sleep, but I have to work tomorrow somehow. Ugh.
I'm sure you can guess why.
Sick and tired of the real world, the real people and their nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.

Then I go and run adventures in supposed fantasy worlds full of fake people with nasty little cultures doing horrid things to each other.
Doesn't matter if it's an elf or a dwarf or an orc or whatever. It's still just people, in flimsy makeup, murdering and getting murdered. A race to oblivion.

How's that for escapism?

Sure, somebody throws out a justification for it at some point, compares it to some real-world situation. They're trying to keep it all fun, but it still feels sordid at times like this.

I'm supposed to prepare a sandbox for later this year. I haven't been able to emotionally commit to any creative direction for it and I think I'm figuring out one reason why. Maybe I'm sick of human and practically human cultures and antagonists. Maybe I don't want to inhabit their self-righteous vileness this year. But it's kind of hard to populate a region without the populace, warts and all.

I'm not quitting my life hobby or anything, it's just all so frustrating, nauseating. Maybe I shouldn't be writing this late and this sleep deprived, but I'm hoping it will exorcise the demons of my battered moral compass long enough for me to get some shut eye.
That’s the problem with Moral Relativism. Supposedly it’s interesting, but I find it mind-shittingly banal, especially as opposing groups of nutjobs make rioting an everyday occurrence in the real world.

Evil doesn’t have to be little e ordinary selfish Neutral-Fuck human evil. Good doesn’t have to be Lawful Stupid, “Aw shucks, Ma’am” naive, or corrupt hypocrites like we get to deal with.

It’s Fantasy. Make some Lawful/Good guys and start cleaning shit up. Do what Captain America would do.
 

David Johansen

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
2,442
Reaction score
3,417
So, there's a lot that can be discussed on the ethics of entertainment. For myself, I dislike the representation of consequence free violence. In my thinking, GI Joe is far more reprehensible than Saving Private Ryan. In roleplaying games I hate asymmetrical mechanics that shield the PCs from consequences. They should have to consider the risks and make good choices.

I put a lot of work into representing non-combat activities in Galaxies In Shadow because I believe you need tools in the tool box if you want to do something different. OD&D is fine if all you really care about is gathering forces and fighting battles but if you want crafting or entertainment careers it's all GM fiat. I also support social mechanics as putting the tools on the character sheet encourages alternate approaches. When the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

There is also the question of rewards. Again, if the only guaranteed means of advancement is slaughtering everyone you meet, that's the kind of game you'll get. I lean towards story rewards for story goals as a principle. But for some people, getting experience points for gaining the king's trust is what it takes to motivate them to gain the king's trust. This can be as simple as rewarding social interactions at the same rate as combat encounters. That is to say, if you tickle the dragon's tummy and it gives you a ruby you get the same experience as if you'd killed it. Otherwise there's no reason to do otherwise.

Another side of it is consequences for anti-social behavior. The stick to the carrot as it were. I had some player characters murder a whole bar full of people because the guy who was holding their money went to the outhouse and they couldn't find him. I've had some VERY anti-social players in my store. They were unhappy to learn that nobody in the town would sell them anything or work for them and the wizard guild blackballed the wizard PC and put out a reward for their head on a pike. I don't know what they expected. I very much believe in running a living world, not a rape and murder theme park.

But in the end, it's much the same as the question of whether you should read a book or watch a movie. Is it informative or opening you to new ideas? Are you gaining increased understanding of other people's situation? Is it worthwhile or just exploitative? I guess that's one place I just really fail to connect with a lot of gamers. I've always felt that the worth of rpgs is that you get to control the content. If the content isn't what you are looking for, you need to look in the mirror because you can't blame Hollywood this time.
 

Charlie D

Man on the Silver Mountain
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
1,548
Reaction score
2,426
That's why my interest in Soulbound has increased. While the game has lots of violence the bad guys are evil gods and Chaos. The PCs are the good guys fighting for all the human and human adjacent peoples. Good versus evil seems like a refreshing take on things currently especially with the evil being supernatural fantasy stuff.
 

zcthu3

Active Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
30
Reaction score
53
That's why my interest in Soulbound has increased. While the game has lots of violence the bad guys are evil gods and Chaos. The PCs are the good guys fighting for all the human and human adjacent peoples. Good versus evil seems like a refreshing take on things currently especially with the evil being supernatural fantasy stuff.
While I agree that the bad guys are evil gods (undead) and chaos, the ‘good’ guys aren’t (necessarily) good - as an example blood cultist followers of Khaine, god of murder, are explicitly part of the alliance opposing Chaos and Nagash. It’s more Order vs Chaos (and Nagash) then Good vs Evil. Having said that, the setting is more hopeful in that Team Order is making headway.
 

Endless Flight

Swo Master
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
7,605
Reaction score
16,769
For myself, I dislike the representation of consequence free violence. In my thinking, GI Joe is far more reprehensible than Saving Private Ryan.
I can’t say I agree. You are a lot more likely to see the atrocities of war (mass civilian casualties among other things) in a WWII setting. G.I.Joe (and even Cobra) members were going around indiscriminately killing people.
 

Ladybird

TRAHR
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
2,895
Reaction score
6,323
That's why my interest in Soulbound has increased. While the game has lots of violence the bad guys are evil gods and Chaos. The PCs are the good guys fighting for all the human and human adjacent peoples. Good versus evil seems like a refreshing take on things currently especially with the evil being supernatural fantasy stuff.
Yeah. I'm liking superhero games right now, because there's a clear bad guy you can punch until everything is okay again.

It's a bad time. Everybody is low on spoons, and reassessing what's actually important to them; there's no shame in saying you just can't cope or that you need to change your priorities.
 

RunningLaser

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Messages
200
Reaction score
370
@Shipyard Locked have you ever tried Heroquest/Questworlds? Not the boardgames, but the highly narrative rpg from Moon Design and now Chaosium. There's a link here for the pdf of QuestWorlds. I bring it up because in HQ/QW you can really play any kind of narrative story you like- all of your abilities are created by writing down what your character does to solve a problem, so you can use it for non combat focused role playing. It's probably best for that by default.
 

zarion

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
255
Reaction score
509
Want to feel better? Want to see what kind of happiness and love and all the fuzzy goodness that can exist in human society?

Watch Hallmark movies!!!

My mom went on a crazy Hallmark movie watching spree over the holidays. I realize that most of them are very predictable, and there is a lot of cheese in them. I'll tell you what though, especially the newer ones, are extremely touching. They have a lot of heartfelt moments, and more humor than I figured they would. Frankly, I enjoyed more of them than I thought I would. Maybe it's just the fact that I am getting older, but I found several of them quite enjoyable.

DAMMIT!!! Why did you make me admit that!?!?!

Anyway. If you want a good laugh and want to be reminded of the good in humans. Watch some Hallmark movies. They are a good reminder of what good there is in the hoomans!
 
Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top