Why do we care?

So something has been striking me lately with regard to gaming: we care a lot. I’m saying this because in both of the games I’m currently GMing, there has been much discussion of system, setting, gaming philosophy, character, plot, and other things (including

a contract which was drafted for the fictional members of a fictional pirate crew to sign, one of whom refused to because it didn’t seem like something his fictional character would do.

Why do we care about the minutiae of these fictional characters and worlds so much? Why wouldn’t we, for example, always take the path of least resistance and do the easiest thing. Why do we sometimes do what’s hard or what’s conflictual, instead of just going with the flow, for the sake of making these fictional people and worlds consistent and realistic to us? This is an open question for me, because I do it too, and I’m not 100% sure why. So what do you think. Why do we care?

3 thoughts on “Why do we care?

  1. I think your reason can be found in this sentence: “Why do we sometimes do what’s hard or what’s conflictual, instead of just going with the flow, for the sake of making these fictional people and worlds consistent and realistic to us?” You value consistency and realism, and you believe consistency and realism can best come about through wrestling together with the minutiae. Also, you like to discuss this stuff. Talk, talk, talk about gaming is part of your gaming fun. Which is good for me and the other seven fans, because If you didn’t like it, there wouldn’t be a pod cast.

  2. I agree with Joe. If we are going to create fictional people and worlds for them to exist in, solely to go on adventures or tell interesting stories, we become invested in their consistency. It works the same way in writing, authors do not have their characters go the path of least resistance even when it is bad for the character, often simply because it is more interesting to have them go against the grain. A perfect example would be Harry Dresden; Jim Butcher has Harry do things because they are the right thing to do, or because he has a Spiderman complex (“with great power comes great responsibility”), regardless of the fact that it results in Harry being maligned at best and being consistently almost killed in the worst cases.
    Another reason which just popped into my head is, that it seems we are more willing to send these created avatars into the gamut regardless of the threats to their personal safety partially because all to often we do not make the hard choice. We take the easy path often simply to avoid either putting ourselves at risk, or because it would be too much effort. And because there is no personal danger to us in game, with the most effort and irritation it would cause us being to roll up a new guy to throw to the metaphorical wolves, we are willing to see where the decisions we ourselves would not make can lead. I’m not sure that this goes for everyone, but it is something I see in myself and those around me on occasion.

  3. Good thoughts. I definitely agree with Tristansaurus here that part of it could be that the game allows us to do things we normally can’t do. We have to compromise in life, so why should we compromise in game?

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