With the launch of the Fearful Ends Kickstarter imminent, Dan and Paul discuss roleplaying impossible situations. How do we maintain player autonomy when the deck is clearly stacked against them? What does it mean to “play to fail”, and how do we enjoy games when there is little to no hope of success?
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) defined autonomy by three themes regarding contemporary ethics. Firstly, autonomy as the right for one to make their own decisions excluding any interference from others. Secondly, autonomy as the capacity to make such decisions through one’s own independence of mind and after personal reflection. Thirdly, as an ideal way of living life autonomously. In summary, autonomy is the moral right one possesses, or the capacity we have in order to think and make decisions for oneself providing some degree of control or power over the events that unfold within one’s everyday life.
Fearful Ends is a horor roleplaying game about existential tragedy. Existentialist philosophy encompasses a range of perspectives, but it shares certain underlying concepts. Among these, a central tenet of existentialism is that personal freedom, individual responsibility, and deliberate choice are essential to the pursuit of self-discovery and the determination of life’s meaning. However, because of the world’s absurdity, anything can happen to anyone at any time and a tragic event could plummet someone into direct confrontation with the absurd. This is what gives meaning to people’s lives. To live the life of the absurd means rejecting a life that finds or pursues specific meaning for man’s existence since there is nothing to be discovered.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia articles “Autonomy” and “Existentialism“, which are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.