Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If You Listen To Fools...

Another look at some of the elements of the Wolfman.

When the prodigal son arrives into town, one of the first things he does is to visit the local tavern. Here the small minded folk speak of the recent rash of murders. One man blames it on a trained bear of the gypsy camp, another on a madman. A third speaks of ancient tales and of silver bullets and not leaving his house at night. Of course there are some insults, inadvertantly thrown the way of the Talbot heir but those just showcase the small minded nature of the town.

Rather, it's the bit about the silver bullets and not going out on a full moon that are of more interest. I've seen some Game Masters trying to ignite the original passion that burned in their imagination when they first started playing by trying to describe everything and avoid naming everything if at all possible. The old D&D setting Ravenloft often used this tactic to avoid naming things and to try and instill a sense of fear of the unknown in the players.

But if the uneducated masses know what a werewolf is, and in parts of Dracula if Van Helsing knows what he's doing, and other examples I'm sure could spring to mind, in a fantasy setting, try and keep in mind that chances are the normal day to day townsfolk know what an orc, orgre, goblin or other typical maruding humanoid is. They've probably heard about various types of 'famous' monsters.

I can appreciate a GM trying to expand his game through detailed descriptions. These can be vital clues in the foundations of a certain type of orc culture or a certain style the GM is trying to bring to it. At my age though, what I can't stand is the GM trying to force ME, the player, back into that babe in the woods shell that I haven't had for over twenty years. My first time learning what an ogre was is done. Surge, describe the beast in all its glory but if my character knows what it is, don't get surly about it.

After all, as one man says to another here, "I didn't know you hunted monsters. "Sometimes monsters hunt you." If you're an adventurer and going out and fighting for your life on a daily basis and the GM wants to bust on your meta gaming that you know what a goblin is, well, we all have different tolerance points for gaming styles we don't like.