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The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head

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The Gamers: Hands of Fate Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by Zumbs on August 12, 2012

So, how much experience do I get for the peasant?

Cover for The Gamers: Dorkness RisingMost, if not all, tabletop roleplayers have been there. Doing stupid stuff just to get a few, measly experience points. This, and more, is humorously captured in the movies The Gamers (watch it here) and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (watch it here), where we switch between the action at the table and the in-game action. The in-game footage does a nice job of capturing some of the funny shit that different rule systems allow characters to pull of.

However, the action at the table is also extremely funny, in some instances being similar to the comic Knights of the Dinner Table (free preview here). Naturally, the types of people at the table are exaggerated for comic effect, e.g. the following exchange from the first movie. One of the PCs just died, and the player made a new character, being introduced to the game:

Gamemaster: Guys, please! I want you to roleplay this. Remember you’ve never met this guy before, the last guys you met tried to kill you, and you’re standing in the ruins of an evil, cursed castle. Just act appropriately.
Magellan (player): Hello, I’m Magellan, a traveling mage. I notice your group has no wizard.
Rogar, the Barbarian (player): You seem trustworthy. Would you care to join us in our noble quest?
Magellan (player): Yes. Yes I would.

The movies also deal with a lot of the issues surfacing at the gaming table. How does the group handle missing players? Sometimes a Game Master (GM) will saddle the party with an NPC with the obvious attempt to chaperone the party into a particular path or actually *gasp* play their chosen alignment. And then we have the usual questions of player knowledge vs. character knowledge. More serious is the integration of female players into a party of males in a male dominated hobby. All to often female players experience that they are treated as newbies, and stupid newbies at that. Rules lawyers and the art of min-maxing is also touched upon.

Like in Knights of the Dinner Table, there is a clear and distinctly adversarial relationship between the Game Master and the players. This perplexes me to some degree, as GM and players tell a story together. Could it be due to the exaggeration for comic effect, I noted earlier? Still, it is obvious from the movies that the people playing are friends, who, like me, play with our friends for fun, to escape the bounds of who we are and pique our imagination.

Well, if you are a table top roleplayer and want to support your culture, or if you simply liked what you saw, you can help fund the next Gamers movie, The Gamers: Hands of Fate, by donating whatever you can and want at their Kickstarter page.

Oh, and while you wait, you can watch a comedy web series by the same producers. It’s called JourneyQuest, and it follows a group of adventurers on a quest to find a legendary sword. I would tell you more, but I find that it would ruin the surprise of some of the jokes. Naturally, nothing quite turns out as expected. The first season starts here and the second (still in progress at time of writing) starts here. ONWARD!

Oh, and everything is better with pirates! Yes, that is the offices of Wizards of the Coast!

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