Love for humanity?

edited February 2011 in Story Games
Is it possible to express a love for humanity in role-playing games?
Exploring the human condition?
Being human?

I'm doing a rewrite of the game A Poem for Mr.Morning now. It's kind of based on the players having some shared love of ordinary human beings, and the ability to see human beings with caring eyes. I want to approach the game with new eyes, so any thoughts and ideas on the theme of brotherly love are welcome!

Comments

  • Well I have no idea how your game works, or will work...

    But it seems to me that you have the perfect material at every game table. There are a bunch of humans who like each other so much they meet once a week to roll dice and/or pretend to be wizards. So maybe try to draw some of those real world connections into the game. The people at the table are friends, so how did they meet? Do they remember that time they got so drunk that? If they get along, good times will be had. If they don't get along, your game couldn't help them anyway.

    It's probably more a series of conversation starters than an actual game, but that's my thought anyway.
  • Sorry for being repetitive, but my game Beyond the Mirror aims at answering exactly to those questions (the second and the third, not the first one).

    I'm sure it's possible, there are many works of fiction, mainly science fiction and cyberpunk, whose aim is to explore that theme. But maybe that's not the type of setting your game is about?

    As per caring for humanity. I think you need players with that disposition: no game can force it IMHO. For example, I doubt I'd ever be interested in playing that theme, because of my cynism.
    Cheers
    Suna
  • Posted By: SunaI doubt I'd ever be interested in playing that theme, because of my cynism.
    That's strange, Tazio; I read that statement as a strong reason to play that particular theme. Role-playing is all about stepping into the shoes of people different to yourself, you know ... ;-)
  • Aren't all games exploring the human condition in one way or another? I mean, they're made and played by humans, after all.
  • I love humanity! I love humanity most. I dress it up in gaudy clothes, but it's all and only what my games are for.

    -Vincent
  • Yeah, AW may be the only TTRPG I've played that made me feel guilt. "I can be a better person than this, I've got to make this right." Does that count as love for humanity?

    I think Shock and Polaris shoot for this, too. But I do notice a ton of what John Gardner calls 'frigidity' in my story gaming - it's an authorial sin where I don't really care about the characters I've created. I happily create some schmo and give him some hubris and send him off to his train wreck and laugh at him. "Wasn't that just like a tragic play?" I say after, still laughing.
    Which is a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but not very human. I would be blown away by the first game in any medium that makes me cry - or even just a little misty-eyed. You know what, I'm going to start another thread.
  • Posted By: ndpAren't all games exploring the human condition in one way or another?
    They are, so you'll have to read that one into the context here. ;-)
    Posted By: lumpleyI love humanity! I love humanity most. I dress it up in gaudy clothes, but it's all and only what my games are for.
    Not sure I understand you, Vincent. Are you in earnest, or joking? Or both? How/why?
    Posted By: jdfristromI would be blown away by the first game in any medium that makes me cry - or even just a little misty-eyed.
    "Blown away" as in; really engaged by? I would love to hear that you have had a cry in role-playing game, Jamie. All emotional expressions*, when done in-character, are good gaming experiences; crying, laughing, red fury, white fury, etc. Go for it!

    * I do not include harmful ways of expressing feelings, or intimacy not agreed to.
  • Oh, I'm in earnest.

    In all of my games, I want the potential for you, the player, to look at your own character, or one of your friends' characters, and to care about that (made-up) person on the strength of your shared humanity.

    All the stuff about guns and magic and psychic maelstroms and pirate ships and torture and gods and demons and puppies - that's all just stage dressing.
  • Nice to hear, Vincent. We're on the same page then. I like your way of putting it; to care about that person on the strength of your shared humanity. Good one!
  • Hmmm.

    I feel very strongly that yes, it is possible to express a love for humanity via rpg.
    And that one of the purposes of story games is to explore the human condition. I too am fascinated by this.
    And being human.

    Ok, so i have nothing deep to add at this moment. Regardless, interesting to think about.
  • edited March 2011
    What's the most fascinating thing about being human, Jackson? (others may answer that one too)
  • Posted By: TomasHVMWhat'sthemost fascinating thing about being human, Jackson? (others may answer that one too)

    The most fascinating thing about being human? Choice. We hold great potential for many things, but none of them will ever happen unless we make it so.
  • Ally said:
    The most fascinating thing about being human? Choice. We hold great potential for many things, but none of them will ever happen unless we make it so.

    I think I could make the counter point that the most fascinating thing about being human is that we labor under the delusion that we have a choice.

    ...

    Also, Thomas, what does love of humanity mean to you? When I think of humanity, I think of a million things... funnily enough, the first thing that comes to mind is Homer Simpson. Homer Simpson is a loving portrait of some of the most human things about us humans.

    To answer the initial question of the thread:

    I've always thought there were two types of gamers, people that game to grow and people that game to avoid growth. All of the best fantasy elevates us, it makes more human in the sense that it makes are experience of the world more universal. In a lot of ways role playing is the closest anyone can come to being someone else and I think a lot of gamers, myself included, have had moments where they realized an actual truth about actual people and actual life outside of the game through their experiences in the game, their experiences pretending.
  • edited March 2011
    The most fascinating thing about being human.

    Actually, maybe the most fascinating thing is how unlikely it is that we even exist to ponder what the most fascinating thing is. Accidents of location that give us liquid water, cosmic accidents that ensure we have strong tides, more cosmic accidents that tilt the evolutionary balance away from strength and toward brains, and so on.

    Actually, the most fascinating thing is that maybe it will turn out that species like ours are not that unlikely at all.
  • Posted By: masqueradeballAlso, Thomas, what does love of humanity mean to you?
    To look at humanity, the race, with a detached and caring eye, perhaps realizing the shortcomings of this race, and still to care for it. To realize the shortcomings of particular individuals, and still care for them.

    The most fascinating thing about being human, to me, is how emotions may surge through our bodies, and between us, in hilarious ways. Life's a joy-ride at its best, and then at times the most frightening horror-ride you can imagine. Whoo-haa!
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