One of the main things that I’ve learned to love about roleplaying games is sub-optimal decision making. Because while, yes, you could form a perfectly executed plan utilizing all of your team’s key bonuses and attributes and attack your enemy from a 45 degree angle perfecting the flanking move you’ve been leveling towards for the past 6 months, you could also take your younger brother’s suggestion, dress up like goats and try to infiltrate the local Shepherd Association’s Druid Circle festival to learn about the secret entrance that he’s somehow sure that they’re going to know about.
Now, I don’t know about you, but, as a viewer, I’m going to vote goats. Which scene in the Schwarzenegger Conan film do you remember? The one where he fought and killed that giant snake? Or the one where he punched out the camel? The camel! You know it’s the camel. That and maybe when he threw that naked witch in the fire. Not the choreographed fight scenes which, supposedly, were the important parts. Hell, those unexpected side moments are what the only roleplaying game ever to be featured on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop is all about.
Fiasco, ladies and gentlemen, the Cohen Brothers-esque game of “high ambition and poor impulse control.”
I’m reminded of my love of intentionally sub-optimal decision making by two things this week.
First, by one of the Kickstarter-pledge-fulfillment roleplaying campaigns that I started on Sunday. When I wrote that pledge level in, I was afraid that I was going to get roped into running a very by-the-numbers high fantasy game about a quest for a ring. Oh, sorry, I meant a sword. Or something… I could never have even dared to conceive that I would be given the opportunity to run an Apocalypse World campaign about a traveling carnival of firebreathing androgynous transgendered sex cultists. That freakishly amazing campaign concept sprung whole cloth out of the players’ commitment to let one player choose all of their characters for them based on “whatever he thought would make them most uncomfortable.” While credit for this unique and memorable experience is certainly due in no small part to Vincent Baker’s brilliant game
it was really the players’ commitment to not just participate but revel in a sub-optimal decision making process that created us an amazing cast and setting that are going to be easy to have tons of fun rollicking through together.
And secondly, when I realized that I’d misunderstood the King County Health Department’s venue licensing guidelines and that I wasn’t going to be able to unveil my new hot food menu this Thursday. I’ve got a great menu lined up for you with a range of fun, tasty, easy to prepare items that are going to look great on our over-the-top square plates and before I can serve them to you, I have to go put on my goatskin and go punch out a camel.
Are we still opening? Hell yes. Let’s do this thing. Will there be a full bar? There won’t even be a kitchen. At least not one that I can legally serve you food out of. But let’s open doors anyways. Let’s do it sub-optimally and just see what happens. Because I know how Disney does it. I know how the Cheesecake Factory does it. And they’re boring. They cardboard the windows to ensure that you never see their laborers, they insure their insurance. But you, you lucky devil you, you get the full deal that I always promised. I’m building the place. I’m building it three steps forward and one step to the right with an occasional jump to the left.
And I’m bringing you along for the ride. Will it be bumpy? I hope so. Otherwise I’m going to look ridiculous in this goatskin.
We open doors this Thursday with what we’ve got. Amenities ranging from credit card processing to an accurate public calendar will follow as fast as they can and as slow as they do. I still project that we’ll be done with the place in about three years. Was this the most direct route that we could have taken to get here? No. We could have spent a lot more time talking to banks and a lot less time talking to you. I hope that you appreciate our choice to share with you our highly public and, at times, sub-optimal decision-making as much as we enjoy ongoingly making it.
I’ll see you at the lounge,