V is for Victory #AtoZChallenge


Tension (Photo credit: chimerasaurus)

I suspect a lot of A to Z challenge blog posts will use victory as their theme. I want to explain how victory figures into roleplaying games.

Many board games or card games are competitive. You’re trying to defeat other players. Roleplaying games like Pathfinder or Dungeons & Dragons are collaborative. Victory comes when you defeat your enemies—but maybe only temporarily until you face the UBG (Über Bad Guy). I think that’s something people unfamiliar with roleplaying games have difficulty understanding. There’s no win or lose.

Granted, some gamemasters have an adversarial attitude toward their players, and may consider they’ve won when they achieve TPK (total party kill), but I don’t think that’s much of a victory.

Here’s to mutually assured victory!

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  1. My son is teaching me to play chess and he’s on the school’s chess team. I guess using the pawns and knights to play against opponents is role playing, and I can see how useful and fun it can be to create characters from this when writing.

  2. “Winning” for the players in an RPG comes from successfully completing the goals set out before you. You’re not competing against the other players but against the situation. You win and lose together (more or less).

    “Winning” for the game master is when your players enjoy themselves and have a good time. While I enjoy a good TPK as much the next guy, it’s only fun if you get a great story out of it that will be remembered for a long time to come.

    Trade secret: The players win if they have fun, too.

    • Thank you for that comment! That’s a nicely succinct version of what I tried to say. You are so right about getting a good story. The ones we remember and recount aren’t always the ones where we succeeded, but where we had fun failing miserably.

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