Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Playing the Game Wrong
Lord Gwydion posted the other day about clerical healing and how it has become increasingly important in each subsequent edition. I found it interesting because I've seen at least one forum discussion in the last couple days about that perennial complaint: "No one wants to be a cleric because they're expected to do all the healing. It's such a burden!"
It made me think about the weird synergy going on between multiple game assumptions. For many players of newer versions of D&D, it's all about the combat. That means more damage. So they clamored for more healing capability, which designers of new editions promptly increased. But for the same group of players, it's also all about small parties, so the idea of henchmen and mercenaries fell out of favor.
Now, if PCs need lots of healing and no one wants to play a healer themselves, it would make sense to hire healers. But apparently they are too proud, or something, and don't want to do that? So, logically, they should cut back on the 100% combat all the time approach, to decrease damage. But they don't want to do that, either. So this group instead whines about how they need healers, but no one wants to play one. They have conflicting desires, and no intention of doing anything about it.
There's a faction of players of newer editions who thinks the OSR is "telling people they are playing the game wrong". I haven't really seen that, but there definitely is a way to play D&D (or any RPG) wrong: picking a version or adding house rules that causes certain things you don't like to happen, then refusing to do anything about it except whine about how you don't enjoy the result. If a game or a house rule isn't any fun, either drop it or change it. If you won't do either, but you aren't having fun, you are playing the game wrong. Or playing the wrong game.
That seems like an unavoidable conclusion, to me.