Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Telecanter

What would you write to that version of yourself just discovering rpgs?

In some ways this blog functions as that for me; searching for elegant and simple solutions to the prickly challenges of the game. I know most readers are probably near my age and have years of gaming experience of their own. But . . . digital texts have a life of their own. It's possible that sometime, someday, a bright, introverted kid will find this blog (or your blog) and read it with relish.

And what would you want them to know?

I suppose you might tell them how to play the game-- give them tips and solutions. I'm not sure I have all that figured out yet myself. But I can imagine some tips I might give. For example: "Dear Telecanter, beware of adding detail because the game seems unrealistic. This is the first error. The game is not abstract because no one thought to research polearms before the game."

You might tell them what to expect as they go through life a gamer, and I'm certain this would vary considerably based on your own experiences: "You will never play as much as you wish you could. You will draw a hundred dungeons for every one you run. But those you run . . . you will remember the faces of your friends as they played them."

You might explain how unique this thing they just discovered truly is: "When rpgs came into existence in the 70's a new type of human endeavor was invented. Never before could someone craft something and yet have a group of others interact within it and through their choices make it come to life. Not drama, not symphony, not art installation. This may be the best interface of individual invention and group collaboration we humans can make."

Or, you might just say: "Welcome Telecanter! Check out these magic items I just invented, feel free to use them. And tell me how they work out."

The Torc of Trammel hinders those who wear it in the making of choices. The unfortunate wearer will not be contrary or stubborn on principle, but they will be unable to decide anything without help: whether to run or fight, which foe to strike, even which weapon to use.

A Ring of Redolance will emit a constance air of fragrance. Each ring's scent will be unique to it, mint or lavender, for instance. The atmosphere around the wearer will be safe from noxious fumes such as the reek of ghasts or the stink of wizard clouds. But the fragrance will carry far, especially in enclosed spaces, and none who wear it come unannounced.


  1. "...digital texts have a life of their own. It's possible that sometime, someday, a bright, introverted kid will find this blog (or your blog) and read it with relish."

    Not a young kid exactly, but I found your blog at the age of 22 after not playing for about 10 years, and it helped spur me to get a group together and play again. This was a couple years ago. I just wanted you to know that your solutions are indeed elegant and you are definitely within my Top 5 game bloggers.

    Keep up the excellence.

  2. Thanks so much. Your comment made my night and spurred me to share the latest chart I'm working on.

    I'm a tough critic of my own DMing, always wanting to make things simpler and richer at the same time. But my players *love* playing. It's pretty cool to see how D&D trumps Cards against Humanity, Dominion, everything in their eyes-- if I'm ready to play they want to do it.

  3. This seems like the post to leave a quick thank you on. I'm a Pathfinder DM, pretty far from old school roleplaying -- but give me an old school magic item over another set of +2 Dexterity gloves any day. I've done my best to give out almost nothing but unique items in my current game and finding your blog is a godsend. As imaginative as I am, it's always great to find a new source of cool and original items.

  4. Thanks so much and happy new year!