Arguments happen in real life. Sometimes they are vicious and spiteful. Built up emotions that have been repressed for a long period is always a recipe for a nasty argument. So why do we shy away from this style of thing in games? Or is it just me? When we get to a point in a game where this begins we look around and get uncomfortable about it. We do not want to go to that place. I s this because this type of conflict is too real?
I am in person a fairly quiet kind of guy who watches and listens. If I have a point that is valid and pertinent I make it. If I don’t I generally just sit, listen and observe. I do not overly like going to massive outings or events as people on the whole can make me a little uncomfortable. I am also a pretty easy guy to get along with when you get to know me. But I know that all this sitting and observing also has its price. I soak up a lot of crap that people hurl my way and make it appear that it does not affect me when in reality I store it away. And then every now and again all this pent up emotion spills and I turn into a raging argument machine blaming all the wrong people for this tear in my being. I become irrational and do things that just do not make sense and generally upset others who are not even part of the problem.
|Some subjects are difficult to face…|
So the paragraph above is me. Why don’t we role-play things like this? Is it because we all become uncomfortable thinking that the characters we play could become irrational? Is it because we do not think this does not produce an agreeable story? Film makers use it all the time, vitriol flying by an antagonist or the main character who needs to atone. Wild, reckless abandon in the face of reason. Do we not role-play this because we are scared that it will be somehow taken personally? Or is it that we do not want to face the true dark places that this evokes?
We can often bring ourselves to play the evil in a character. I am sure at one stage or another we have all wanted to, or have actually, played an evil character. But we preface this evil with a back story and a reason. It is rare that we go and burn down the orphanage to have a laugh. It is always because that was where we were reared and there was a vicious caretaker who beat us etc. That way it becomes allowable evil, or even reasonable evil. I think we can all be comfortable with this but to be truly (and I am now dipping into D&D or Pathfinder’s system for this) Chaotic Evil can we really handle us. I am sure if we were to play a truly Chaotic Evil character who does evil just because he can that we would struggle. I have seen GM’s stop a character in mid action to say “Hey, would you really do that? What is the reasoning?” when in reality they are chaotic. They do stuff. No-one can really tell why but that is what the character is about.
Is it that reason? Do we not get into the vicious argument in games that have no rhyme or reason because we don’t understand it. I do this on an irregular basis and in the cold light of day after it is done I can see no reasoning for it. I know my anger is misdirected and that it is stress that has caused it in me but there are streams of truth that I am amplifying to cause a situation.
As you can tell, today’s post has me in a sombre and reflective mood. Why doesn’t this kind of argument get seen in RPG sessions. Is it because we can’t recreate them without becoming invested by them? Or does your group see these type of arguments between characters or characters and NPC’s? If it does can you just walk away from it without any ill feeling? Let me know what your thoughts are on this difficult topic. Keep rolling!