Friday, May 31, 2013

Arguing over the sandbox...again?!

This is cute. Adults arguing over the "right" way to play pretend is NOT cute.
This is something I've been meaning to post, given a recent resurgence of bickering that amounts to pedantry. Specifically, pedantry over exactly what a sandbox really is, as it pertains to roleplaying.
Sheesh. Here we go again.
I don't know why some of our fellow game geeks seek to make our wonderful pass-time an arena for nasty argument! There are those that needlessly complicate things, aren't there?!

Come now, folks. We all know, deep down, that a sandbox is a state of mind, a type of play, that unfolds organically between GM and his/her players if they are in that magical roleplaying "zone" we've all experienced at some point. Look, it's an interaction of the GM's prep and his ability to think on the fly when players inevitably go in their own direction. For some groups it's a rare thing, for others it happens most of the time. It depends on the delicate interplay of the unique individuals at any particular table at any time out there in gamerland.

A good GM will give players options/plot hooks/choices/paths/ whatever you want to call them. A good GM will be open to the unexpected directions that players will take when they choose which hooks to follow. A good GM can make any module into a sandbox.

Good players will trust their GM, if that GM is doing right by them and giving them lots of options to choose from. Good players will give them GM benefit of the doubt when it comes to the hard work of GMing.

If things aren't working out in a group, and the sandbox style you love suffers, then find another group, right? Sometimes this is easier said than done, but given perseverance, roleplaying hope springs eternal.

Come on, people, this is all pretty much self evident and, with decades of roleplaying experience under our belts, it's become a sort of RPG common sense. For most of us, at least. But there are those that, for some reason, just like to argue for the sake of argument. I pity them. I truly do.


  1. "I have seen the enemy,
    "It is us ." POGO

    I enjoy RPGs,
    I don't like gamers

  2. As Bill Hicks once said, "Not only do I think pot should be legal, I think it should be MANDATORY. Some guy, stuck in traffic: BEEEEEP BEEEEEEEP!

    Hey buddy, smoke this. It's the LAW.

    Puff puff.

    Oh, sorry, I was taking life too seriously. Vroooom."

  3. Ive had worse abuse over game choices than non-religious and political choices. Edition the biggest - one high profile blogger accused me of being a gay prostitute (?) because i said i found modern economics to flawed and my games had divine controlled gold standard (also said i must be worst DM in world and my players must all h8 me ?)- rather than ignore me he kept baiting me to continue fight. The only other abuse as bad i got online was over a cat picture blog and only time i ever had to complain and block the person. Really pointless. Worse than childhood fights over sport teams or who is best superhero

  4. What? Yo don't play like I do? Then you are wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Three more times wrong. Only I know how to play right. Because I am generous I will tell you how to play right and why your way is wrong...

    That's about the time I click the x in the corner to get off the blog. Or tell the dipshit to leave my table. I've got no time for that kind of nonsense. Where as I will most definitely listen to a new idea or an alternate way of doing something, that kind of attitude will get you tossed on out. Haven't experienced it a lot in real life, more so on the blogs, but they are easy to avoid.

    1. I don't like people who claim to know the one and only way to play.

      But I like those people even less who are offended by someone pointing out the assumptions of a game and how playing it should look like if one played by the book...