Sameoldji often refers to the “Holy Trinity of RPGs”. Play the right game. Talk with the players. Don’t be a Jerk. Most problems we run into with RPGs can be solved or avoided by adhering to those three guiding principles. To this list I add “Play with the right people“. Ji and Anthony don’t necessarily agree with this addition, but this is my blog and they don’t get a vote. 😉
In his excellent video Conscience in Gaming, Anthony talks about things relating to today’s topic in greater detail and from a certain perspective. It’s definitely worth checking out. While I wanted to use Trust as the topic, I found that I couldn’t talk about it without mentioning the alternate topic of conscience.
At its heart, the RPG experience is something that one engages in with friends. Even if you don’t know each other at first, I have found that I become friends with the people that I play with, or we don’t continue gaming. To be sure I am friends with some people where we realized that we were not good matches because of our clashing intentions for the game experience, but we are still friends. Convention play and other play with strangers is on the fringes of the hobby and is by no means the mainstream.
Friends trust each other not to be jerks. They trust each other not to do things that the other one would find offensive or hurtful. They trust each other to act with respect and if they need to talk about things that went wrong or how anybody’s lines were crossed they talk like adults. Friends don’t want to hurt each other and don’t want to cause each other angst or to not enjoy the RPG experience. They act with conscience. Friends (and all decent adults) don’t want to be jerks to the people that they game with.
We get to talk to our friends in a session zero before the game and in between games to talk about our expectations to make sure that we are all enjoying ourselves and not causing the other people at the table not to have fun. If we realize that we’re not playing the right game then we choose a different game. If we realize that we are not a good fit then we don’t play together or only play certain games together that we all enjoy. We behave with conscience.
I have found that I can trust the people that I play RPG’s with. If I can’t trust them then I don’t play with them. If we clash then I don’t game with them. Modern technology has enabled me to cast a wide net and find “my people“. Play with the right people. Play the right game. Talk with the players. Don’t be a jerk. When you all act with conscience you can all trust each other and everything is cool.
Then you can get on to the serious business of Pulp heroics on Venus or investigating supernatural horrors or whatever else floats your boat!