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By way of clarification, the conversation I had with my friend was not really about attending a convention. She got the rulebook, read through it it, and was mystified. It was only then that I suggested a local con as a place she could play with people.
We shouldn't beat up game designers, writers and publishers because the texts don't communicate how to play the game. This is not a "problem" unique to RPGs.
I defy you to find a book on baseball that could teach people how to assemble teams and play the game.
Uh, no, I think that might be outstretching it too far. If RPG's rules, procedures, techniques, mechanics and setting were so simple that you could learn how to play it by heart after ten minutes of verbal explanation (which you could also repeat to other people to teach the game), then we could call it a social thing that doesn't need books to be thaugt.
Exactly Rickard, I didn't think it couldn't be done, but actually, that it should be done more. On top of that, discovering the setting in play and learning new mechanics every once in a while adds a lot to the fun, so you could actually have a very complex set of rules, procedures and mechanics but not release them to the players until later in the campaign, providing you've got a good excuse for that.
We could start playing right away, though it certainly demanded a lot of GMprep (well, at least making NPCs and monsters stats was easy) but then again, if I ever get to make this into a book, it would be almost entirely setting.
I had an idea of creating an OSR game that consisted of five adventures where the player characters are starting at level 0. Each adventure introduces a new element of the game. The first adventure presents the attributes and the last the alignment system, and each one tells the game master how to create adventures around that particular game element. When all the adventures are played, the characters would level up, and the group would be given a quick start of how to create level 1 characters.
"you are going to be wonderful because new gamers often do it better than old hats, and we will be supportive and answer any questions you have. Or if you just want to watch for a little while before jumping in, that's cool too."
As the campaign progressed the characters learned skills, new mechanics were revealed and equipment started to appear. I still think it could be a good game for unexperienced players (it's starts with a bit of a ryuutama lighthearted atmosphere, facing PC against non-lethal stuff, but it goes into epic escape-from-hell scenarios with a nice bump once players get the basics.) But it would certainly need a couple of nice tools for world creation for the GM and a comic explaining Techniques for the players and GM.
I actually think settings are written in the wrong way. Today, settings are like a combined history and geography book. You need to read it and when creating a scenario, you need to first go back and look what kind of things that occur in the setting and then think about how to use it. I hate that. If it's going to be a game where a game master must do a preparation, the game master should come up with a story and then go to the book for references.
The method used for creating an adventure should be first in the book together with structures that tells the reader how to play the game. These should be so intertwined that you can't tell what is what, exactly like techniques and game mechanics should be combined into structures ("procedures"). In other words, prep and play should be explained at the same time. Otherwise, you wont understand why you're doing the prep, and you can't understand how to play if you don't know the prep.
To the original post. I would imagine that your person was experiencing a natural level of shyness. Many people need to be invited to join something. Kind of like vampires needing to be invited to enter a house.My guess anyway.
So I guess gender is irrelevant after all, huh. So interesting to see it brought up and summarily dismissed as predicted. I am usually a little skeptical of claims that this happens but it just happened, so that's good. I'll be less skeptical!
Uh, oh, Brian, I don't get if you're dismissing the gender part or not, I'm taking like it's still on the table though you as me don't see that as the main issue in discussion.
Shauna: ok! I just literally do not know how to play. That was not in my giant book.Game makers, take note!