Saturday, May 8, 2010


James Maliszewski came up with the concept of "D&D is always right" which I think was an awesome insight. Trollsmyth does a nice job of explaining the approach and why you might care.

It reminded me of a concept writing theorist Peter Elbow proposed in the 70s. He called it the Believing Game. Basically, the idea is that western culture values critical or adversarial thinking to a fault and that it can be enlightening and useful to try the opposite approach.

So, rather than approaching a rule by saying "This is so unrealistic, why did they make this stupid rule?" you would pretend you agree with the rule as it stands and force your mind to look for reasons and benefits that that's a good thing. Something like: "Well, one good thing about awarding XP for treasure is that players will always be looking for treasure. And they wouldn't need to fight monsters to go up in level, so in that sense it may be more realistic because people won't go out of their way to fight life-threatening monsters."

I have to admit I am a doubter by nature, prodding, poking and objecting to new ideas as a first reaction. But I'm trying to use Believing as a mental move more often, knowing I can easily fall back to my default of doubting.

I give you permission the next time I'm whining about something to remind me, "Telecanter try Believing."


  1. I didn't feel my education was complete until I was able to do just what you are describing.

  2. That's cool to hear. I wish I was better at it. It seems like a muscle the more you do it-- the easier it is to do it.