The word "hard" is funny. It's the opposite of "soft"... and of "easy". But not always the opposite of both simultaneously.
The word "hero" is the same way. It's the opposite of "villain"... and of "ordinary joe", or some one-word equivalent that I'm unaware of at the moment. A hero can just be someone who excels, or a hero can be an embodiment of all that's right and good. In much literature, a hero is both, simultaneously.
But if you decide to play an RPG in which you are not a hero, that might not mean that you are a villain or even an anti-hero; it might just mean that you want to be a mostly-decent citizen looking for a little success. Someone who's not already famous and exemplary.
Good post. Good point. Thanks!ReplyDelete
welcome tonic. i think there's enough room in the osr for both those who want to play heroes, and those who want to explore ancient ruins and recover fabulous treasure.ReplyDelete
I use Gurps or CoC for that game. It's maybe my favourite kind of game, too: try to keep the kids safe during the martian/goblin invasion, go looking for trouble only if it's preferable to letting the trouble find you, try to improve the world by building rather than destroying... I find incessant dungeoneering a bit dispiriting, actually.ReplyDelete
A very astute comment.ReplyDelete
Right on. The first step in good discussion (and the one most often overlooked before we begin stabbing at one another with arguments) is that of defining terms.ReplyDelete
This is probably related to my pet hate: when amping up scores is described as making the characters more 'heroic'. I always think that it would be more heroic to go into a dungeon with 2 Hit Points than with 10.ReplyDelete
Thank you for what might be the most clear and concise rationale for ending the debate.ReplyDelete
Good point. For what it's worth, a reasonable one-word antonym might be "everyman". Although one can also have an "everyman hero" of course.ReplyDelete
Hero is one of those tricky words in game design because everybody thinks it means different things. Some people think "heroic fantasy" means "fantasy in which the protagonists are good and honourable" and others think it means "fantasy in which the protagonists are very powerful".
Assuming this post is in reference ot the recent debate about DCCRPG and its "you are no hero" tagline, it might be worth pointing out that while "no hero" could mean "you are an ordinary person" (and certainly this is supported by the "funnel" system of character creation) the line immediately following is "you are a reiver, a cutpurse, a slayer of infidels" or something similar.