The Alkenstarian's page

220 posts. Alias of Aslaug.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey everyone.

This came up in another thread, and it's made me think about my own attitude.

The issue on hand, as the headline says, is psionics.

Let me explain my own personal stance her:

I don't allow Psionics in my PF campaigns. Ever. I have flatly rejected character concepts from players as soon as the word "psionic" was even brought up. I've had one player try to explain the idea to me in a circumspect kind of way, hoping he could sell me on the idea before he brought up the word "psionic" and it did sound like a pretty solid concept ...

Until the word "psionic" was mentioned, at which time I told him to please do something else.

Now that I think about it, this actually surprises me. I don't normally hold with putting too many restrictions on players (a few can be in order, in terms of class, race or archetypes I suppose, depending on the campaign), but by and large, I want people to play something they have fun with.

However, the flavour of psionics simply feels like someone is running fingernails down a blackboard or grinding a fork against a plate nearby.

In the school of RP that I was raised in, psionics was a sci-fi concept, and magic belonged in fantasy-settings, and never should the twain meet. Then someone came up with the brilliant concept of making a grimdarkdarkdarkgrimdarkgrimgrimgrim sci-fi setting, calling it Warhammer 40k, and suddenly, the lines got all blurry. Suddenly you had classic psionics, but you also had chaos sorcery, and I never properly reconciled that in my own mind.

But here's the thing:

I'm not sure if my hard-line stance on this issue is the right one. I'm at least not sure if it's the right one for me. However, I just can't seem to bend my head around the idea of psionics in a fantasy setting without getting a headache and feeling like someone's trying to insert a large, round peg in a small, triangular hole.

So I'm going to throw the ball up in the air here, and ask what all of you have to add to the topic. I'm simply hoping for input that'll help jog my ongoing, mental gymnastics-routine on this issue. I'm not saying I'll change or I'll stay with how things are now. But I'm hoping to hear people's honest opinions, pro and con, when it comes to psionics.

Thank you.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

One year and two days ago, a friend of mine, Nearyn, made a post in which he offered tips for aspiring GMs. It's an excellent read and can be found here.

This morning, it struck me that it might be a good idea to have a similar thread in which people can offer new and aspiring -players- some advice as well, and where GMs with inexperienced players in their groups can find some hints they might offer in such a situation. After all, it's all too easy to simply say "Just go with the flow" and forget that this may not be as easy as it looks.

I don't claim to have found the philosophers stone on this issue, so by all means, I'd love to see what others have to say. I have one very green player in my own group and I'd be happy if someone could add something I hadn't thought of to this post for that reason.

Anyway, here goes:

1: No one expects you to be flawless and able to keep up with veterans of five, ten, twenty years. It's okay to be new. We ALL were at one point or other.

2: It is perfectly alright to misunderstand a rule or to ask for clarification. Again, we were all new at some point in our careers, and frankly, most roleplaying games out there consist of half a rainforest's worth of paper. No one expects you to have it all memorized. In fact, very few people -at all- manage to do that. Even experienced players err in this way.

3: When creating your character, you don't have to impress anyone. You don't need to make the biggest, baddest and most innovative character ever thought of. All you have to do is make a character you think will be fun to play, and ... if you're new ... that will allow you to learn about the game at the same time.

4: Make a character who is a person first and a set of stats second. It's easy to be caught up in how awesome your high-strength warrior is at hitting things over the head, but roleplaying is about more than flattening orcs. It's about the characters and who they are.

5: When that is said, then whatever you do, resist the urge to make a quiet, shy character. In thirty years of roleplaying I have never seen one single quiet, shy character result in anything but a player sitting silently at the gaming table night after night after night, faithfully being quiet and shy, saying three or four words over the course of an entire evening. You don't have to be outspoken about everything, bombastic, loud or obnoxious. But being quiet and shy, while it may make perfect sense in your mind, just never seems to work in practice.

6: It is okay to realize that the character you made isn't really as much fun as you thought it'd be. Simply put, don't feel you're obligated to play a character you've severely soured of after a few game-sessions because you've realized that rogues aren't half as fun as you thought they'd be, and that you'd much rather be a wizard. Just let your GM know, and talk it over with him or her, and ask if it's okay that you change your character to something else.

7: Keeping point 6 in mind, -always- understand that your character may grow on you as time progresses. At least give the character an honest chance to evolve. If you feel something is missing, let your GM know and maybe he or she can help insert something into the story to resolve the issue.

8: Not everything should revolve around you and your character. A typical game group consists of between 4 and 6 players and a GM. Everyone is there to have fun. It's really, really cool that you've discovered roleplaying and that you think it's great fun ... but don't try to insert yourself into every single situation. And whatever you do, don't try to steal someone else's spotlight. Everyone likes it when their character is the centre of attention for a while. Your fellow players feel that way as well.

9: Your character doesn't need to have the best set of kit, the best stats and the best bonuses in the group to be viable. This is about roleplaying, not rollplaying, and more than anything, this is about cooperation. Everyone in the group is there to have fun and all the characters should have something to contribute. It doesn't have to be in combat ... great characters can be terrible in a fight, but hugely useful in all manner of other situations.

10: Don't get jealous if your team-mates manage to accomplish something in spectacular fashion without you. Be happy for them. It'll be your turn to do something equally awesome soon enough.

11: Rules are rules, but there's always the Golden Rule, or Rule 0. Your GM is the final arbiter. If he or she says something is impossible or assigns a difficulty to a roll that you feel is unfair, it's okay to ask them if they don't think it should be done differently. But be polite about it, and if they maintain that their ruling stands, then it's their call in the end. If you feel this happens all the time and you're being short-shafted and treated badly, you can always try to talk to the GM between game sessions about that, and if there's no way of improving the situation, there are a lot of other game groups out there you can play with. Or you can start one up yourself.

12: Don't let yourself be pressured into something you do not want to do. Whether this means playing on a day when you'd rather be out with your non-roleplaying friends for a change, or making a character of a class that the other players feel is needed but which you don't want to play. You've got every bit as much right to say no, as someone who's played for twenty years or more.

13: Don't cheat. It's a dealbreaker for most people and can get you thrown out of a group very swiftly. It can be tempting to pick up your D20 and, rolling a 3, declaring to the rest of the group that you rolled a 17. But it kills the mood instantly. You may think you're terribly clever and that no one notices ... but you'd be wrong. Roleplaying isn't about being better than all the others. It's about being great together. Cheating is a slippery slope and it just ruins the game for everyone.

14: Don't feel your character isn't as good as the others in the group because you only wrote a page and a half worth of background, compared to the player sitting opposite from you who turned in 25 pages and said he or she had to reign themselves in to make it that short. Words don't come equally easily to everyone. It's not a contest.

15: Don't view the GM as the enemy. Even if he or she creates the encounters that you come up against, the GM is just as much a part of the collaborative effort of the whole group to have fun, as the players are. Without encounters, your game would probably get a little stale after a while.

16: Do not take it personal if someone else's character or an NPC is mean to you. Learn to separate IC (In Character) from OOC (Out Of Character) from the start. Your best friend away from the game, may play the group's evil character, and he might nick your stuff in game because it's part of who his character is. He may lie, cheat and cause you all manner of trouble. But it's part of the game. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"

17: Don't be afraid to offer your opinion even if you're new to the game. Old hands at roleplaying are just as likely to make mistake or overlook the obvious as anyone else. If you're sitting there on your first or second night in the group and you're sure the others have overlooked something glaringly obvious, chime in and let them know. You're not playing with demigods ... just other people and there's no need to be in awe of them or afraid to speak your mind.

18: Your GM may expect you to act in a certain way in a certain situation. However, to paraphrase the Prussian strategist Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (yeah, he was a real person ... stop snickering), "no plan survives contact with the enemy". Your GM may expect you to turn left at an intersection because all his plans are geared towards you going to the left. But you're allowed to go to the right, just the same.

19: Whatever you do, do not take the death of a character as a personal defeat. It's okay to snap one's fingers and feel mildly miffed that your character just got cut down by Rotheart the Vile; Great, Evil Overlord of Kruelstein Castle (tm), but that's how the dice fall at times. If your character can't get resurrected, just make a new character and get introduced to the game as someone new. Look at it as an opportunity to play something else you'd like to try instead. Your GM isn't evil for having killed off your character. Your fellow players aren't evil for not saving him or her. It just happens sometimes.

20: Remember, it's just a game. Have fun.