Brand suggested in passing that, by contrast to Design What Matters which pushes you towards Vincent's Fruitful Void, Design What Doesn't Matter tries to clear away all the brush from the foot of the Monolith. I like this; I may use it.

This is why I like it:

  • Are you a monkey freaking out at the base of the Monolith?
  • Or are you some hapless fool losing your sanity by staring into the Void?
  • Or do you, you know, alternate every other Sunday?

See? Funny. And as well all know, Funny is more important than True.

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I think I like "Design What

I think I like "Design What Does Matter" and "Design What Might Matter" more than the current designations. I don't think you'll ever shake the negative connotations around "Design What Doesn't Matter."

I'd rather be happy than

I'd rather be happy than right.

I just put up a comment on

I just put up a comment on Josh's previous entry which explains why I agree with Roger and not Fred. The idea that the some people regard mechanics only as a way of "clearing away the brush" just doesn't explain why a great many "toolkit games" (successful ones, with lots of happy players) incorporate detailed, fun mechanics for certain activities.

Seems to me this can be

Seems to me this can be summed up with the idea that the game is a player of sorts, it's just that many games are the supportive quiet one who lets everyone else guide where things go. Now we're seeing more and more games that are trailblazers, pushing the other players forward, and perhaps beyond what they would normally do. The nice thing about that perspective is you can also have that quiet supportive guy become the passionate minatures player for a while.

Well, if we give the rules

Well, if we give the rules player status, we also need to make players out of, like, the room you're playing in and the kind of day you had prior to playing. That these things have influence on the game I think we can all agree on. Whether or not they participate in the game is another question -- rules don't really have agency of their own; they merely guide what the players do, much like seating arrangements and your argument with your boss earlier that day.

I think Mendel was speaking

I think Mendel was speaking in metaphor. I.e., the DWM games are like the charismatic GM or the alpha roleplayer who gets everyone on the same page, while the unfocused games with neato mechanics are like the guy who sits in the back and doesn't really care how the scenario develops but when it's head-whomping time, he sure as hell wants to revel in the fight, not have the whole thing resolved in one plinky little dieroll.

Ya know, at this point I

Ya know, at this point I don't think it is about designing what matters or not.

It's about if you deisgn to encorporate the monolith or to create a void. Do you make your game with the assumption that people already know how to play it and don't want to be forced to change their structure, or do you make your game so that playing it by the rules forces a certain kind of play that may or may not be something the players have done before?

Does your game rely on the assumed structure of "this is how RPGs are played" or does it tell your players how to play their game?

Been mulling that over,

Been mulling that over, Brand...and I really don't think you're giving the DWDM side its due. It's not as if people can't find new ways to play on their own.

Elliot, Um... that's the


Um... that's the point of DWDM -- people can find new ways to play on their own. In DWDM you assume that they will do just that, and so don't need exact and systematic guidance. So where, exactly, am I shorting the idea that players can learn to play on their own?

Well, you may not have

Well, you may not have intended it to come across that way, but what you wrote made it sound like DWDM is for people who just want to stay in their rut.

Nope. DWDM is for people


DWDM is for people who want to play their way, not the books way. Their way could be a rut, but it could also be a riotous rite of spring with live sex on the gaming table. Ya never know.

Brand, I misunderstood.

Brand, I misunderstood. Sorry.

Elliot, It's the demon of


It's the demon of text. If we were talking to each other face to face I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem.

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