I don’t know that I’ve ever done one of these, but today’s rant is in response to a viral tweet. For those of you who don’t feel like clicking through, here’s the copy + paste courtesy of @itsginnydi:

Hey. D&D is a game. If I wanna build a pretty elf with no hit points and shitty spells so I can tell a story about her with my friends, I’m gonna do it. Because it’s a game. If you want to play a game where your stats are all ~maximized~ for effectiveness so you can kill monsters as quickly as possible or whatever, like… congrats? I hope that’s fun for you. Doesn’t mean that’s fun for me. I’m very very tired of sharing the littlest things about my gameplay and people responding like I’m failing a test.

This one opens up several cans of worms. We can talk about the gendered inflections of a female microcelebrity being judged for playing a ‘pretty elf.’ We can also talk about the Stormwind Fallacy, along with the implied opposition of RP and combat. Neither angle is my vector of attack in today’s comic.

What I’d really like to talk about is something we touched on back in “Community Support.” To wit, the way we respond to one another in the anonymous void of forums. (Forums not unlike this one.)

So here’s my take on the cosplayer at the heart of today’s controversy: Sure. Do what you like. But that might be a recipe for frustration if your GM isn’t on board.

From context, it’s clear to me that Ginny has a group that foregrounds social interaction and storytelling rather than tactical prowess and mechanical optimization. And given those conditions, why the crap would you judge her by the standards of your own group?

If Ginny is a guest player in your game and suddenly has a bad time because the group is combat-focused and likes to play on hard mode… then a bit of criticism is fair game. This is a group activity after all, and one person’s preference shouldn’t be paramount. But the fact is that she doesn’t play in your game. So once again, why would you start from the hypothetical situation where her character shows up to a cheese grinder

My point is simply this: Judge playstyle based on the other guy’s context, not your own.

So for today’s discussion, what do you say we practice a bit self-reflection? Imagine that an outsider heard about your group and the way you game. What kind of erroneous snap judgement might they make? Why would they be wrong? Let’s hear the results of your thought experiment down in the comments!


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