Q Is for Quit Whining & Play!

I read many threads on Paizo’s Pathfinder messageboards. I don’t respond to most of what I read, in large part because I simply cannot relate to the topics. Chief among these topics are the threads about the lack of rule clarity (usually accompanied by demands that one of Paizo’s developers respond with an official ruling), complaints about changes to the rules (often accompanied by demands that Paizo rescind the change), and complaints that certain rules ought to be changed (some even accompanied by demands that official changes be made).

As I said, I just can’t relate to these sorts of topics. Almost always, my response would be, “Quit whining and play the game.” Since that sort of response isn’t terribly helpful and isn’t likely to be well received, I leave the thread without the questionable benefit of my wisdom, feeling for a time somewhat sad that it seems as if so many RPGers spend so much time arguing about these sorts of issues instead of playing the game.

What I especially cannot relate to are the widespread demands that the game’s developers take time out of their days to personally respond with Official Rulings. Now, to be sure, this attitude isn’t new. Way back in the day, before there was an Internet or messageboards, Dragon magazine, for example, regularly featured “Sage Advice”, a Q&A column wherein AD&D‘s experts answered questions from readers about the rules. Then, a few issues later, other writers would complain in the letters column about those answers. So, it was sort of like Paizo’s messageboards, only a lot slower and with better grammar and spelling.

Also, to be fair, there is one segment of the Paizo on-line “community” that gets riled about these sorts of issues, and with cause, these folks being those involved in organized play. These sorts of game require a uniform understanding of the rules to help ensure that characters are indeed portable from one GM to the next without those characters’ abilities, spells, magic items, et cetera, changing due to varying GM interpretations.

So, organized play players, I’m not talking about or to you. Instead I’m talking to/about all the other gamers who are more like me, playing in nonorganized play games in someone’s home on a more or less regular schedule with more or less the same people each time.

Let’s say your situation is like mine. You play with the same GM most of the time in the same campaign. One of your players runs a Zen archer monk, and he’s read about the recent clarifications from Paizo about the monk’s flurry of blows ability. He expresses concern about how this rule change will affect his character, especially after reading all the posts about how Zen archer monks are now unplayable and that the change definitively “nerfs” the archetype’s primary ability. What’s the GM’s best response?

“I don’t care what Paizo changed. Keep running your Zen archer monk just like before,” the GM responds bestly.

This same principle applies to questions about vague rules, rules that should be changed, et cetera. The players of the game in that particular campaign get together and come up with a solution that works for that group. That solution then becomes the only official ruling that particular gaming group needs.

I’m sure the Paizo staff are nice people. I’ve corresponded with a few of them here and there, and I’ve always found them professional and personable via email. But regardless of how nice, professional, and personable Vic Wertz, Liz Courts, James Jacobs, and other Paizoans are, they don’t run my game. Instead, I run their game, and my players and I change what they’ve published to better suit our preferences.

April 19th, 2012  in RPG 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Q Is for Quit Whining & Play!”

  • nutschell says:

    i enjoy playing RPG but I just never seem to find the time.
    Nutschell
    http://www.thewritingnut.com
    Happy A-Zing!

  • Rick B. says:

    I think I’m going to bookmark your blog because, well you make a certain type of common sense that is seldom found in gamers. I don’t subscribe to the idea that gamers are smarter than most people but I REALLY believe that the wisdom score of the average gamer is like, 5 or something.

    Either way I like your approach here because to me it’s the one that makes the most sense.

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