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Being a Better Fan

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

So, today it's a bit more off the cuff than my normal blog post, as it concerns the community itself - and by this I mean the wider RPG community, and not the specific ones tied to D&D, Pathfinder, or whatever.

Angry at "fans"
Angry at "fans"


So, for a bit of context, a well-known D&D Creator was recently talking about how she often experiences that her D&D videos get comments of "Just play Pathfinder". Which is an asinine reply to any creator's work. Telling them to do something else is not a solution. If you want to show off something, show them the mechanic itself - they can then choose to use it as is, change that system, or adapt it to their current one. They can even choose to ignore you entirely. ALL OF WHICH IS FAIR.

But, and this is something I have to stress. It is not only the Pathfinder community that has this issue. 5e has it too for example, and I strongly suspect all systems have that sort of "fan", and I've seen a fair share of these types of comments and bad actors. Even the admins of certain of these communities are, to a smaller or lesser extent, guilty of gatekeeping and keeping fans from discovering stuff that might catch their fancy. (You'll find that many creators complain of having trouble showing off their stuff on social media groups (especially on Facebook) whether they're good or bad, large or small. It prevents people from discovering cool stuff.)

This brings me to my second point:

I do think that most of the people in the TTRPG circles would benefit from trying other systems. You'll find elements that you love and elements that you dislike in all systems. And incorporating more of what you love into your own game can only benefit you. But - as before - do NOT force your opinions on others. It isn't kind, and it's decidedly unhelpful.

This goes DOUBLE AND TRIPLE if you're a creator too. You should play as many games as you possibly can. Both good and bad, as they may feed you ideas and inspiration or save you work if you find that an idea you have (and which you think is brilliant) has already been attempted (and was bad). In that manner at least you know where to NOT take your creation, so you can try something else that might work.

— And before any of you out there get snarky, even 4th Edition has something to offer that works. I really like the skill challenges for example, even if I dislike most of the other things that the system tried. In fact, in the 29 years that I've been gaming to this point, I think I've met more systems that I liked than I disliked, and in some of those I found that it wasn't even the actual system, but something else that I didn't like - to give an example, I do not like the Vampire the Masquerade. Never have (though the reinvention with Vampire the Requiem sat better with me), but I didn't like the system. However, then Aberrant came along. Same system, and there I love it because it REALLY felt like a good fit.

Back to the original topic though: Stop hating on other people's games. Suggestions are fine, but keep it constructive and not just "play XXXXXXX" as that's basically the equivalent of "git gud", but for tabletop games. No one wants to hear it, and it's extremely unhelpful. Instead "Try X mechanism from XXX - it works really well, and might fit here" is far more helpful, and far less likely to get you ignored, or worse yet, your own community tarnished by association.

And now down from the high pedestal. I promise, something less serious next week. :)

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