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Monday, 4 March 2013

Are some preferences incompatible?

There was this debate on G+, where Elliot Willen mentioned that some people don't like that according to some theories, some preferences are always going to clash.
However, this is a fact of life. If I only eat meat-based meals, and you're a vegan... we're not going to share many meals from the same bowl. Sure, I can eat a vegan meal once in a while, but that would be a once-in-a-blue-moon event.

Back to RPGs, yes, some motives for playing always clash. Simple example, imagine someone who wants to create a setting along with everybody else, trying to play a game where the GM believes setting-building is his or her task and only the GM's task.
Conversely, imagine a GM that believes players should add stuff to the setting. And now imagine a player that wants to only explore and change the setting from the PC's perspective! Is the GM likely to think the player is "leaving the whole work to him/her"? I'd say it's likely.

Now, can these people achieve a compromise? Sure. Well, maybe. But the point is, it would be a compromise. No game I know that allows for collaborative setting-building allows only the GM and some of the players to add to the setting. It's either all players, or none of them.

And I see virtually no chance at compromise if the parties can't articulate their respective desires... that, or they should have someone else identifying them for them.

So yes, some preferences always clash. If you play to make Monthy Python jokes, and someone else plays to "visit another place"? I don't see how you could even achieve a compromise. Maybe it's just me, though.