Did you know that a calamity is worse than a disaster? I didn’t, but apparently in the grand scheme of unfortunate events, a calamity is about as bad as it gets. I think it’s even worse than a catastrophe. That’s pretty bad.
I’m not sure if What I am about to talk about rates as a true calamity, but it can be very unfortunate. But even then, it doesn’t have to be all bad.
We all have people that we tend to gravitate towards. Something about them suggests a connection. We find them likable. Perhaps it’s their passion or their relatability. We find it we like talking about the same things, maybe thinking about the same sort of enigmas. Perhaps it’s their willingness to have tact an act maturely even when we disagree. We find conversation with them stimulating. We realize that they are one of “our people”. Whatever it is, we become friends. This happens in all areas of life and it is no different in the role playing game hobby.
And then, the unthinkable happens, calamity strikes.
Maybe this disaster becomes apparent as we talk about gaming, but maybe we actually game together before we realize the terrible truth. And then we find out how cruel and uncaring fate can be.
What is this catastrophe you ask? Simple. We find out that we have radically different expectations, biases, and preferences for the role playing game experience. In some deeply fundamental way we find that we are radically incompatible once we sit down to play. On some deep and inherent level we each naturally interface with the RPG experience in profoundly different ways. We are like oil and water.
If we are fortunate, we are able to realize that we are using different definitions for the same terms and w come to an understanding that each of us has very different things that make the RPG hobby enjoyable for us. We realize that the other person isn’t crazy, they just want something different. We are able to talk about our differences in a civil and friendly matter.
By being willing to seek to understand rather than just seeking to be understood, We each come away richer for the discussions. We are able to see just how diverse and big our hobby actually is. We start to comprehend why very often we as gamers can talk at cross purposes and not understand each other even when we are speaking the same language. We start to see the bigger picture.
Hopefully we become willing to compromise and meet in the middle so that we can play sometimes. Perhaps each of us takes turns playing in the other persons preferred manner so we can experience it and understand it better. We may still find that it is not and may never be our first choice, but we give it a shot. Sure, it probably won’t be an optimal experience, but we will be able to experience the same things and talk about it afterwards. We can understand each other and the hobby even more.
Even when after some open minded pursuit, we find that we aren’t able to play together in a satisfying manner, this does not signal the end of the friendship. Nor is it heralding the end of the ongoing discussion about RPGs and everything that surrounds them. Far from it. We can continue to have this friendship and those discussions and continuously appreciate the RPG phenomenon from a wider vantage point.
From apparent calamity comes wisdom and a richer experience.