Friday, May 25, 2012

Discussion: Obscure Facts

If there's one thing I've noticed about sitting around the gaming table is that gamers know some really obscure things. I mean, this plays into the stereotype of the geek and all that, but there is more to it than that. Table Top RPGs are a fairly large, if not out in the open, hobby and the people that sit around the gaming table come from all sorts of different walks of life. For example, my current gaming group has a CTO level IT guy, a business major from Michigan that worked in high risk money lending and repo, a former New York Guardian Angel, and then the two "normal" people in me - the aspiring professional writer/state IT worker - and the poli-sci major turned mid level account specialist bureaucrat for a state institution.

Each of these people has a lot more than those facts I've listed, but you can see all the different walks coming together and thus all the different sources of knowledge there. You learn a number of interesting things at the game table. Some of it is BS, sure, but some of it is real. How many D&D players have actually looked into how medieval siege engines worked? Odds are at least one person at your table has, even more likely they're the more 'old school' gamer who remembers 1st edition and Advanced D&D.

So, today I want to ask what kind of obscure tidbits have you learned from the gaming table? Anything that has shocked you? Anything that has stuck with you?

For me, the gaming table was my first experience to the world of corporate crime and other aspects of how crime worked. Considering this blog has an entire section on how crime works, you can see how much of an impact that has had on me since. I've also learned a few shocking facts (how long the body will function after death being probably the creepiest) and a few more mundane tidbits (how farm life actually works.) All of which has been kind of fun.

Gamers aren't masters of 'trivial' knowledge for nothing. So, tell us something you've learned.

Also, apologies for this going up late. Last night I was sure that today was Thursday and I already had a post done for it. I didn't realize my error until I got to work and someone wished me a happy Friday, then corrected me when I said "you mean Thursday, right?"


  1. I'm a librarian in addition to being a gamer, so I love researching stuff when I come up with the backstory for my characters.
    For my current Cthulhu Gaslight character, I have learned a ton about the Rifle Regiment and British battle honours in general. I know what weapons the army was equipped with at that time. I know about shooting ranges and army barracks in Victorian London. I know how to travel from London to India and back again through Persia and the Ottoman Empire and how long it all took and what kind of transport you could rely on.

    For another Cthulhu character, I learned more about being a doctor in 1890 than I ever wanted to know. I can now name the majority of instruments in a typical surgeon's kit of the time.

    I doubt I will ever really need any of that, but it's still cool to learn about it.

  2. Which is why it is usually listed as "trivial." About the only career where some of this knowledge would ever come in handy would be as a writer. Which reminds me, I need to see if my library card to the university library is still good....