I am a firm believer that the heist caper is a basic model for old-school RPG play, and ACKS encourages playing out other more legitimate kinds of enterprise (running a mercantile trading outfit, building a fortified village) as well as the established criminality of managing a thieves’ guild.
None of my real-life business dealings would make for interesting roleplaying even by the standards of Papers and Paychecks*, but they have given me the experience of trying to work with both gamers and non-gamers to set up a collaboration and get something done.
Role-playing gamers tend to have two fundamental skills. I take it for granted that we apply these skills to all areas of our life, so it is bizarre and alienating when I am in a meeting with non-gamers who don’t follow suit:
- We are all part of the same party, working for a common goal. D&D teaches us not to let personal agendas or enmities get in the way of looting the treasure and splitting it up fairly.
- When the dice have been rolled, you have to accept what they say. RPGs teach us to accept facts that are not what we would have wished**, and look for ways around them instead of hoping the facts will change if we complain or barging along despite all evidence to the contrary.
Folks who’ve been exposed to my conversation for any length of time are likely to have heard me say this before (unless they took sensible precautions like listening to their iPods throughout), but Tim Hutchings seemed to think this was deep and essential at breakfast during the ACA/PCA conference so I’ve posted it here. Note that it may be interesting to think about gamers who share these virtues (like you, dear reader) but not to speculate on the folks who don’t that I’m referencing here: trust me, that’s deadly dry Papers & Paychecks territory of the kind you’d venture into only in order to get paid.
*P.S. This is a worthy Papers & Paychecks scenario:
**RPGs which violate the “no backsies” design principle advocated by Invincible Overlord are thus demonstrably morally pernicious.