Day 24 - Humour
Humour is wonderful. Humour is partially what makes us human and gives us sanity when times are tough or bad things happen. How does humour relate to roleplaying?
Playing rpgs is, by its very nature, a human experience. As such, humour has a role to play in gaming. When it comes down to it, humour should never come from the game or adventure itself, unless said game or adventure is a humourous one or based on slapstick, but even then the humour should come from the situations that arise and the way the players (and their characters) react to it.
Players bring humour to the table with them, since they are human themselves. This can be in the form of nervous laughter or other humour in a serious or horror rpg, as it has the players on edge and this is how they react to it, though it can detract from the serious nature of the game and adventure, and the mood the GameMaster is striving for. That said, in serious games such as horror rpgs, humour can relieve the tension, thus allowing the GM to start to build up more tension.
The key to remember is that humour in roleplaying games is situational, particularly in-jokes. Every gaming group has some in-joke(s), basically events that trigger fond memories and also uproarious laughter. I'm sure the readers' gaming group has a few of these. In my Friday night group, the reference to "scratching the paint" leads the veteran players to gales of laughter. In my old game of the Universe SF RPG, one of the characters was the pilot for the group, and had the notorious habit when docking the ship of hitting the walls of the docking bay, badly scratching the paint. Some scratches were worse than others, but when one docking attempt led to striking the ship of an important diplomat, and leaving some of their ship's paint job on the ambassador's vessel, things became seriously slapstick. To this day, the players laugh about that incident. I'm sure the readers' gaming group has a few of these. On the other hand, there's a limit to how often an in-joke is actually funny, and if used too many times or too often it starts to get tedious instead. And unfortunately that threshold is different for different people at the table. The GM has to be aware of this, as do the players. Keep it under control, you know what I mean?
The basic rule to remember with humour in roleplaying games is very simple: Don't force it. Humour will come naturally in roleplaying games, because when it comes down to it, all players and GMs need some humour in their gaming. It's the human thing to do.
And there you have this twenty-fourth post for this #RPGaDay for August, 2020. Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course. :)