Being passionate about your hobbies and wanting to share them with others is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. However, there are times when going into the intricate details of how to harvest, preserve, and categorize nose boogers is just plain wrong; sometimes you have to learn to keep your big, creepy mouth shut (and your finger out of your nose).
Nowhere is this more needed than within the so-called ‘nerd culture’ demographic, where you can easily encounter some 20th-level Sperglord with epic levels in Talking Uncomfortably Loud and Standing Too Close. If you’ve ever been inside your friendly local comic book or gaming store, you may have seen a wild sperglord or two from time to time. However, the true danger is not in the sperglord we run into, dressed as he is like a Naruto character and sitting down in the Manga section at the local Barnes & Noble; it’s instead the risk any niche hobbyist runs of going full retard and undergoing the sudden and terrifying transformation when an unexpected opportunity presents itself to publicly wax passionate about their hobby. Point in fact: I’m fighting that urge right now.
As you may be aware, the wife and I went down to South Jersey this weekend to play the inaugural session of our new Scion tabletop campaign. We both had a blast and we’re eagerly looking forward to our next session in a few weeks. While I’d like to recount, in staggering detail, the events of the evening in game – including a painstaking analysis of my own character and his exploits – I’m not going to do that, simply because nobody ever wants to hear that shit. It’s one thing if I’m telling a story about how I accidentally punched a friend in the balls during a Legacy event – everyone loves a good nut-punching story, after all – but if I was to sit here and type out paragraph after paragraph recounting the exploits of some imaginary dude you don’t give a fuck about doing shit with people you’ve never met, you’d scroll to the end looking for some new dick jokes and then just close the browser tab.
This is the thing that ‘nerd culture’ folk such as gamers (especially tabletop or LARP players) don’t seem to get somehow. We get so caught up in how amazing it was to experience what we did firsthand and how underwear-filling our adventures are that sometimes, if we get even a whiff of an opportunity to tell a “war story,” we’re off to the races – and I have to tell you that 90% of the “awesome RP stories” are utterly boring bullshit. In fact, the best RP stories are never about what happened in the game or to the characters but are instead about how players – usually your friends – ended up doing something ridiculously stupid or funny or both that resulted in weird, unexpected, or downright hilarious results (e.g. me using Ford’s ball sack as a speed bag).
Let’s face it: roleplayers are almost all frustrated writers, their characters are the protagonists in their own personal stories, and the worst tend to be the kind of Mary Sue self-insert wish fulfillment that can make you absolutely gag upon reading it or hearing it. The problem is that a roleplayer recounting the stories of his chaotic good dark elf ranger that was exiled from the Underdark and wields two magical scimitars (but is nothing like Drizzt Do’urden, really) is going to invariably bore his audience and get branded as the kind of completely socially inept, scenery-masticating sperglord that makes people cringe and try to find someplace to hide whenever they see him or her show up.
And for the love of sanity, never ever say to one of these people “tell me about your character.” Not unless you’ve got hours to spare – or you’re trying to sell them something.