Monday, March 7, 2011

Worry

So let's just go ahead and lay this out:

I worry a lot.

About what? Everything, pretty much. Here's what I was doing since the last post:

  • Worrying about what to write next
  • Seriously considering deleting my blog and starting over repeatedly, on the grounds that I find any post I have written more than two months ago embarrassing
  • Being talked out of deleting my blog
  • Deciding my plans for the next post were terrible and starting over
  • Worrying about real-life business so much I forgot what I was doing, starting over
  • Worrying about whether to go back to drawing some comics because some asshole complained that he wasn't interested if there weren't pictures
  • Worrying about what kind of comic to draw
  • Worrying about whether to draw a comic again
  • Worrying about how real-life business so much I forgot to draw a comic
  • Worrying about how long this was taking
  • Just writing a damn post.

If you think this is weird behaviour try living with it.

When I'm DMing, though, I find it's pretty useful. See, nearly every bad gamer I know - every player who stops a game to complain if something he doesn't approve of happens, every DM who fills campaigns with her own author avatars, everyone who announces they are ragequitting the game forever if they don't get their way - have the same problem:

They never worry about whether anyone else is having fun.

A few years back I ran a game set in Paladinia, which you can probably guess the atmosphere of, where the PCs went on missions to find and kill devils, demons and daemons. At one point, a player's frenzied berserker cut off an ultroloth's arm, and he came to me with a proposition: He wanted to use the arm to get a fiendish graft for the sake of boosting his stats. Since asking around in this city would get few results, he planned to travel south to the local Evilwizardland, which directly opposed the city (and specific group) the party worked for, and get one there.

When it was pointed out that he would need a plan for replacing his limbs with demon parts without being thrown out of Paladinia once he got back, he revealed his master plan: Openly kill anyone who raised an objection. When the other players pointed out their characters wouldn't like it either, he claimed that his frenzied berserker could take on the rest of the party and win.

When the other players objected to that, he incredulously replied: "Like they get an opinion."

Yeah, he didn't get that graft.

Games are a group effort. You shouldn't play if you're not having fun, but the same mantra applies to everyone else, who are going to leave if you ask if there can be catgirls and tentacles in WoD.

When you worry all the time, especially about what other people would think, that's no problem. I mean, the worrying is a problem, but the other problems aren't my problem because they stop being a problem. I am constantly crushed by the weight of past mistakes and remembered NPCs, settings and adventures I find embarrassing, and everything is done with those in the back of my mind somewhere.

And when you can finally sit back, think "Are people going to enjoy this?" and feel good about the answer...

Well, that's just tubular.

4 comments:

Patrick said...

Yeah, I know how that feels. The problem is that eventually I get PARANOID, and suspect that all my players are worried about ME having fun, and aren't actually having fun themselves, but are just PRETENDING to have fun. Or I get so worried that the next thing I'm about to do won't work or will only seem cool to me, that I start scrapping plans like crazy.

Somewhere around that stage, my games usually collapse.

I wonder if I can get diagnosed with something so the government will pay me money to spend all day worrying and playing videogames.

Ran said...

Get diagnosed with "Run more games"-itis. @_@ Please.

Well... awww. This was a nice post to read. I feel bad about bringing up past mistakes now.

Anonymous said...

Ettin I know this is gonna sound really pants on head, but...

STOP WORRYING!

I have enjoyed everything you have written up till this point and while you may get complaints about this or that you need to remember that this is your space. This blog is for your thoughts not artificial thoughts pandering to those who don't like your real opinion. Your actual readers will read whatever you write and won't complain because they want to hear what you think.

Everything up till this point has been fun to read and I always look forward to reading what you write no matter the topic or how long its been since the last post.

I seriously wish I could play in one of your campaigns since they seem fun.

Ettin said...

Reverse order just because:

@Anon: Thanks! Don't worry, I am fine. I just ignore it and it goes away, though a few past things occasionally resurface to bug me for no reason. I am, for example, still embarrassed about something I did while playing Discworld MUD like eight years ago. Eight years.

@Ran: Uuuugh no. How many freaking games am I in now? There's Purple's Eclipse Phase game tomorrow, then your 1800s game in a couple days, then that thing with CG and Pid, then I run three games on the weekend, then there's your space game, then I run oh my god I have too much free time.

@Patrick: I have been there, minus the diagnosing! Government money is nice but I have a job now and being paid is better.