During the month of August, I’m participating in RPG a Day 2017. Each day I’ll answer a question, or my interpretation of a question, about tabletop roleplaying games. For those who have wanted your beloved UncleBear to get back into RPG blogging, this is the closest you’re going to get.
Which RPG Features the Best Writing?
Warning: Here come my weird opinions again. The roleplaying game with the best writing is the one that I can skim quickly and still understand. It’s the one that’s well-organized so that I can find things as I need them. The best RPG writing has about 20 pages that I absolutely have to read, with the rest of the book being options and fiddly bits that I can access if and when I need them.
I want a toolkit that will help me to tell my story, not spend its time telling me yours. Yes, I know that there are people who love game fiction and deeply layered worldbuilding and all sorts of metaplot and detail detail detail. There are settings where every square inch of the world has been accounted for and every moment in history has been well-documented. Entertaining to read, yes. Incredibly restraining on a gamemaster or player who might want to put their own mark upon the world.
This dovetails with my opinions about art in roleplaying games as well. I fully acknowledge that I am an odd duck who wants bare bones that I can build upon, rather than a coffee table book that does all of the heavy lifting, imagination-wise, for me. Keep it simple. Give me what I need, then get the hell out of my way so my players and I can tweak the setting to suit what we want, and tell the stories that we want to tell, in the manner in which we choose to tell them.