Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

When I posted yesterday bout the old $1.00 Exalted book, I knew that sooner or later I'd mention another reason why I think ebooks are vastly overpriced.

The free ebooks. Now these aren't only books done by unknown authors or authors trying to get word out on the street. They are books whose age puts them into the public domain and well, are free to read if you have a reader and well, are classics such as, you guessed it, treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. For a brand new author to come out with an ebook that cost $14.99 out the gate when readers have the choice of thousands of classic titles... well, that's just $14.99 I'm going to save.

Today's post was in part inspired by the webcomic, d20monkey, in particular, this strip.


In Treasure Island, one of the passages goes a little something like this;

"Captain," said I, "Trelawney is the dead shot. Give him your gun; his own is useless."

They exchanged guns, and Trelawney, silent and cool as he had been since the beginning of the bustle, hung a moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service. at the same time, observing Gray to be unarmed, I handed him my cutlass. It did all our hearts good to see him spit in his hand, knit his brows, and make the blade sing through the air. It was plain from every line of his body that our new hand was worth his salt."

When I read the above in Treasure Island, I instantly thought of the d20 Monkey comic because I've seen similar behavior and at times, as a GM, I'm a little stumped by it because it transcends editions and game systems and its a point of player behavior. As a GM do you just stomp on this player because he's being an ass or do you wait it out and see what the other players do? There are no easy or right answers because people are complex and what works for one group may not work for another group.

All too often advice for role playing games tends to focus on the Game Master. How to be a Yes Game Master. How to be a No Game Master. How to identify different play styles. How to accommodate said play styles.

What is really needed is more advice on how to get players to work together in the game. How to let players use that knowledge they have of the system to not lay claim to an item whose obvious use is better with another class. To use that meta knowledge to make a character that fits into the party.

In short, to be part of a group. Stop hiding behind "It's what my character would do." If you as a player can ask for healing because you're down 25 hit points, you as the player can stop and go, "Maybe I shouldn't sell this wand of magic missile for gold because the mage or the fighter-mage can use it." Don't hide behind your character on one hand and then profit from it on the other.

Oh, and speaking of free books...


Don't believe the hype!