Nothing Is True. Everything Is Permitted.
No, I am not going to try and create a table top Assassin’s Creed. The creed of the assassins is one to think on for all parts of your life though, and I think a creed that GMs and Players should consider more often in their gaming.
What does this creed mean? Play the video game or google it if you want a more philosophical meaning. For gaming, it represents a philosophy that was familiar in early Dungeons and Dragons but isn’t so often used today. Today, the rules are strict laws, followed to the letter or by the spirit of intent. You do not stray from them, you do not try to break them, you do nothing that isn’t covered by them. You are limited by what is written, and you only act with the abilities given to you.
This was not always so. In the beginning of the table top role playing games the rules were suggestions and guidelines that people would alter, adapt, and exclude to fit their games. Players did not question the GM on his rule choices, and often times things were made up on the spot if a rule was not in place for a specific action. Players were limited by the class they chose, but were allowed to at least try anything they could imagine. Imagination was the key here, as it was used more often than rules.
In a sense, nothing was really true when it came to the rules and imagination allowed everything to be permitted.
While we still have that to a certain extent in modern gaming, I am finding that players and GMs alike are limiting themselves to the rules. The question of, “Can I do that?” is often answered by a quote of the rules. I answer it by responding with, “I don’t know, can you?” This is became a running joke with my own players for a time, but my point was made. You should have to ask if you can do something, and you shouldn’t be afraid to try. If it doesn’t work out, you at least tried.
So the next time you are sitting at a table and thinking, “I wish I could jump onto that dragon’s back and fight it while riding it,” you should try it. Sure, you might die. What glorious death it would be though, and how amazing would be the story you could tell.