In today's episode of the Digital and Dice podcast, our wonderful hosts talked about how realism can bog down a game and made a compelling argument for more narrative driven fantasy. At least they did for some of the time. A lot of tonight's episode was taken up by jokes and anecdotes and it was good fun.
And that's great. Sometimes, we can get off topic at the table too, and while this may detract from the game somewhat, there isn't necessarily anything wrong with this. Because it's a game. Our roleplaying sessions are meant to be enjoyed, and they're enjoyed alongside others. The social aspect of roleplaying is very important. So if your group gets off topic and starts joking around and having a good time, don't think that you're doing anything wrong. As long as everyone involved is having fun, it doesn't really matter how much is actually accomplished in your sessions. I've honestly had sessions where in a 3 hour time span, the party cleared two rooms in a dungeon, and only one of those had even a small combat encounter. And at the time, I was distressed by it. I reasoned that the slow pace was a problem, since we had only a limited amount of time to play, and any sort of goofing off was detracting from the game.
But looking back on it now, I realized it doesn't matter. I don't remember any of the characters in that campaign. I don't remember what the dungeon was, I don't remember what was fought. But I can still tell you the inside joke that spawned that day, and the fact that we had a good time. Sure, it was a lackluster session. But we crowded around a table and had fun. So at the end of the day, that's a win.
As GMs, we often hold ourselves to some sort of impossible standard about what success looks like. In fact, we do that as human beings, not just as GMs. The sooner you can push aside these insane benchmarks you set for yourself, the sooner you can just enjoy the moment. Sure, the game may not be as serious as you wanted. Sure, the flow of the game may be slow. But it doesn't really matter. Just try to have a good time. That's what success looks like.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. If you would like to read further on enjoying off-topic things, I suggest checking out the post "Inside Jokes- Table Bonding" on my personal blog. If you were expecting something on topic and relevant to today's show topic, I encourage you to instead look at the posts "Narrativist Vs. Simulationist Gameplay" and "Do we Really Need Rules?- Pure Narrative Games and Audiodramas." Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.