Arrogance is not an attitude or a set of actions, as is defined in many a dictionary. It is a place. It is a place that Creators can often find themselves, if they are not careful. We (those that write, design, sculpt, paint, and/or otherwise create) can, all too often, begin to believe our own hype and we move our way into arrogance.
I, once, heard Robert Jordan speak about “world creation as a writer” on a panel at large science fiction convention. He was with another writer and they had drifted onto the topic of magic in fantasy worlds. Jordan seemed to hold the belief that Clarke’s Third Law, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” was the truth of all magic; Magic is just Super Advanced or Non-understood Science. When the female author tried to offer the idea that was true in his books, but not hers, Jordan reinforced his belief that there was no such thing as magic and called her stupid for thinking anything else. That left a sour taste in my mouth and I’ve not been interested in reading any more of the Wheel of Time series, since.
During my college days, I encountered two instances of, what I perceived as, arrogance. One came from Gary Gygax on page 64 of Dragon #67.
The AD&D game system does not allow the injection of extraneous material. That is clearly stated in the rule books. It is thus a simple matter: Either one plays the AD&D game, or one plays something else, just as one either plays poker according to Hoyle, or one plays (Western) chess by tournament rules, or one does not. Since the game is the sole property of TSR and its designer, what is official and what is not has meaning if one plays the game. Serious players will only accept official material, for they play the game rather than playing at it, as do those who enjoy “house rules” poker, or who push pawns around the chess board. No power on earth can dictate that gamers not add spurious rules and material to either the D&D or AD&D game systems, but likewise no claim to playing either game can then be made. Such games are not D&D or AD&D games — they are something else, classifiable only under the generic “FRPG” catch-all. To be succinct, whether you play either game or not is your business, but in order to state that you play either, it is obviously necessary to play them with the official rules, as written. Thus, when you get information in these pages which bears the “official” stamp, that means it can immediately be used in game play.
The other came from a fellow Game Master on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. Doc stated before a group of people that, if anybody wanted to play D&D, they had to play in his D&D world and his way, since his game “was the only game in town.” Both of these cases struck a nerve with me. My response to Doc’s claim was to pick up my D&D stuff form my parent’s house the following weekend and start up a game that ran for multiple years. I really didn’t do anything in response to Mr. Gygax’s claim that those who didn’t play by the “official” rules weren’t really playing AD&D, but were playing at it; however that claim did make me less willing to read anything by Gary Gygax and more willing to look to third party producers of FRPG content for my D&D game.
Now, I’ve got to ask myself, “Gregory, have you ever gone to Arrogance?” I have been told that I run good games and over the years, former players who have gone on to play in other person’s games, have told me that I have ruined them, because my games were more interesting and/or enjoyable than others. I’m proud of my work. If I was not proud of what I do and create, then why would I want to do it?
Now, I must look and see, if I have become haughty and disdainful. Have I forgotten that others can create, as well? Do I always strive to be a better game master? Are there things that I can do to make my world better and more enjoyable? Do I still as +DKlarations says “Keep the Channel Open?”
Until I post again, Game On!