Handy Sleazy Rationalizations for Buying That Gaming Supplement


So you want to buy that latest gaming supplement, but you’re trying to justify the purchase in your head. It’s not a question of money, of course: you can afford to buy it (if you cannot afford to buy it, then don’t). It’s not even a question of whether you want the supplement. You do: you just feel the need to have what the folks at the folks at the legendary comic-dystopian roleplaying game Paranoia call a “sleazy rationalization” in order to buy the book. Well. I’m not here to judge. Or at least: I’m not here to judge you. So here you go: sleazy rationalizations a go-go!

  • “I need it for my campaign!” OK, so this is not really a sleazy rationalization.  People who run campaigns often could use a good idea or three; and there’s nothing wrong with mining a supplement for useful campaign material. That’s literally what the book is for. In fact, there’s actually nothing wrong with using an adventure from a supplement — although apparently many gamers disagree with this, given how many times I’ve seen game supplements reassure their purchasers that yes, really, you’re not a bad person for buying their book. I don’t really get this attitude, honestly. So your GM is mining a supplement instead of, say, last season’s top three superhero TV series.  So what? At least this way he’s using stuff written with roleplaying games in mind.

  • “I’m going to run a campaign in this setting someday!” OK, sure, that’s a sleazy rationali… wait. Stop. Rewind. Start from beginning.  …Yes. Yes, you are going to run a campaign in this setting someday; and by “someday” I mean “next month.” Call up at least three of your gamer friends in the next day, block out a time that you can all make consistently, and run a game. I give you permission. Heck, I will give you an order if that’s what it takes. Worst case scenario? You’re a bad GM and somebody else will have to take on the mantle. Aw, shucks. Guess you’ll just have to game, instead.

  • “I’m supporting the industry!” I suppose that this isn’t actually going to be a sleazy rationalization, either, because… well, yeah, you are. You give gaming companies money, they stay in business, they write more gaming books, and the Circle of Gaming continues. This is pretty obviously a good thing, given that we end up with more gaming books. And gaming writers who eat more regularly.

  • “I want to read this stuff in order to learn how to write gaming material on my own!” This is… almost correct, actually. It’s not quite complete, though. I mean, yes, you need to look at representative examples of the literature in order to get a feel for the style. But what actually will teach you more about how to write gaming material is to go ahead and write some.  Submitting it to a publisher will teach you even more. And getting paid for it will teach you the most of all.

  • “Dude. Bathroom reading material.”  OK, so that’s my sleazy rationalization. Still, I can’t be the only person on the planet who buys roleplaying game supplements simply because I enjoy reading them. In fact, there may be sufficient numbers of gamers out there who do the exact same thing that doing so may not really qualify as a sleazy rationalization at all.

…I swear, I started this article fully intending to come up with humorous, but not really fully legitimate, reasons for feeding one’s gaming habit.  It was just that all the rationalizations that I came up with turned out to be legitimate reasons after all. Which could possibly mean that I’m just really good at deluding myself, at least; but it could also mean that there’s perhaps more legitimacy to this hobby than popular mainstream culture would like to ascribe to it.

Nah, that’s just crazy talk.

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