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Funny Things About Role-Playing Games
RPGs are so immersive that we never really think to question their logic. But if you step out of your character's shoes for a moment, you can see that there are several flaws to the classic RPG formula. Here are seven questions to make you laugh and reconsider everything you thought you knew about the genre.
1. Why Do You Need Keys?
Every game has locked doors that you need to find a specific key for. The key is usually lying around somewhere in the area you are exploring. But if you are a mighty warrior or wizard, why not just knock the door down? You can take on hordes of giant monsters, but a wooden door with a padlock has you stumped? Now that I think about it, the same can be said in regards to chests. Some games have a lock-pick skill, but is that more useful than the character who can shoot fire out of their hands?
2. How Does Food Heal You?
Your characters need food. But why? I get that food curbs hunger and replenishes stamina, but how does it stop bleeding? Do you just take a turkey leg and stick it in their wound? Not only does food heal your character, but the quantity and type of food can even boost their life bar. Eating a lot of food probably isn't the best way to prepare for a battle. I have stuffed myself on Thanksgiving for many years, and I can tell you that I was not ready for battle after. I was ready for a long nap.
3. Why Do Inns Heal All Status Ailments?
There is nothing a few hours of sleep at an inn won't cure. No matter how beaten up or sick your party is, just grab a blanket and a pillow, and you are as good as new. (Who needs hospitals?) I don't know if these inns have magical beds—but if they do, maybe they should charge a little more each night. Also, where does your whole party sleep? I have stayed in inns with one bed and a party of 12 people. Speaking of, where are those 12 people when you are wandering the map?
4. Where Is the Rest of Your Party?
Why can only three people fight at a time? I have an army of 12, yet only three of them want to do the work. And if those three go down, the other members won't heal or carry the fallen back to an inn.
Most RPGs require you to save the day, but if the rest of your party is MIA, you have to wonder what could possibly be more important to them? Maybe your party is just trying to be polite by fighting in smaller groups to give the monsters a fair shot?
5. Why Do You Take Turns In Battle?
Alright, first you go, then our wizard and then your henchmen. Rinse and repeat. This process is slow and tedious—and with the world at stake, I'd like to think that it's okay to attack out of turn.
Games do try to use stats like speed to justify the turn-based gameplay, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a lot of standing around waiting to go next. Your character can’t be that tired, all they did was drink a potion on your turn. If you need a minute break between every action, maybe you are not the hero we need. And if it is manners, as mentioned in number 4, why do the monsters wait too? Is everyone just super polite in RPGs?
6. Why Do Monsters Have Items and Gold?
Every monster in an RPG world drops coins. No matter how big or how small—and the bigger ones drop more. Not only that, but they also drop random items. Now the explanation might be that these monsters are eating people and they cannot digest their items or money, but is any one monster eating that many people? How many people die a day on account of random monster encounters? Also, how did that little guy hold onto that big piece of armour while fighting you?
7. Where Do You Put All Your Items?
I will be honest and say that I do not like games that limit my inventory, no matter how unrealistic it is. If I want to hold 99 regular potions, that is my business. But really, it makes no sense to open a menu and see hundreds of large items all being lugged around by our heroes. They are not even carrying backpacks. Where do all these items go? And they have to be heavy. Plus, they are wearing heavy armour. No wonder they are so strong—they are carrying a whole armoury on their backs.
Question Everything (Most of the Time)
While it's usually good to question everything, when it comes to RPGs, it's better to just let things be. RPGs are meant to be immersive. Playing one is the perfect way to relax and disconnect for a while. So although there may be some hilarious flaws and questionable logic, why not just commit and enjoy the expansive world around you? (After having a laugh or two.)
© 2019 Kevin Mann