“Always let your conscience be your guide”. Thus spake Jiminy cricket.
Pretty good advice, but sometimes we need a little more help.
Life can be confusing. Very often in one area or another we find ourselves wishing that we had some guidance and direction available to us. Why should the RPG hobby be any different?
Sometimes we can get by on our own power. In 1981 when I picked up the Moldvay Basic set for what would become known as B/X D&D, I read the manual. It wasn’t very difficult. I was able to figure it out by myself. Not that I was able to figure out every little nuance of how to run and play a game, but I figured out how it worked. Fast forward to today, very often I can pick up an RPG text and figure it out. Keep in mind I have to read the text. The entire text. Very often I have to re-read it. After all, it is a manual. The books that we have can give us a great deal of guidance if we take the time to read them.
Assuming we’ve done that, sometimes we can still be left scratching our heads. There might be some procedure that we’re just not quite sure about. Some part of the book that is perhaps written in a confusing manner. Maybe the information isn’t organized the way we might, so things are difficult to locate. Perhaps we’re not sure why we’re supposed to do something in a certain manner or in a different way than we are used to. Or maybe we’re just not sure how to run or play in a certain type of game. Maybe we are running into difficulty in some area and we’re looking for a technique to solve our problem.
Fortunately for us we don’t have to go it alone. Especially in the modern era of the Internet, There is a wealth of information available for us. Yes, of course not all of it is going to be right. We have to seek guidance with some discernment. Have the people we are looking to actually read the game? Have they actually played the game? Have they actually done what they are advising us to do? Can they tell us what the experience was like? Can they give examples of how they made mistakes and corrected them? ~ In short, have they been there and have they found their way to the other side?
After all, isn’t that what a guide is? Somebody who has been that way before and can show us how to navigate it?
The remarkable thing about this Hobby is that I have found that many of those that I have sought guidance from have been willing to share not only their experience, but time at the table together. We have become friends.
Last but not least, don’t forget, once you have been led through the area that was giving you trouble, YOU have been there and found your way to the other side. You can pay it forward and guide the next person seeking for an answer. You have experience.