Gaming is entertainment.
I think that much is uncontroversial. How silly any given game should be is somewhat less so.
Example the First: Nobilis
The Nobilis game that I’ve been playing is has been mostly serious, despite the fact that our Imperator (a not-totally-sane angel) is sort of goofy. He often appears distracted and wears robes with t-shirt-style slogans on them (last night’s was “Believe.” – but it is just as likely to be “I’m with stupid.” or something). Anyway, the GM asked us to come up with other families of Nobilis. Half-jokingly (and with a note to the effect that I could come up with something more serious), I sent him the first thing that popped into my head:
Imperator: a true god known as the Voice of Thunder, his domains include Rage, Armor, Size, and Patriotism.
- Bruce Banner, power of Rage (Superior attribute: strength, decent Spirit, durant, and immutable… possibly even Immortal)
- Anthony Stark, power of Armor (Domain 5, lots of stuff bought through a focus. alcoholic)
- Steve Rogers, power of Patriotism (well-balanced. a good bit of Realm. Impressive. Durant with a focus.)
- Janet Van Dyne, power of Size (gift of domain that allows for size changes on herself. former anorexic fashion model-turned-designer)
Anyway, he decided that would work for the game… which surprised me a bit. I’m not upset by it, but a bit surprised…
That said, he hasn’t introduced these NPCs yet, and they may end up not being particularly silly at all…
Example the Second: D&D
In Angela’s D&D game, one of the PCs is insane. He’s a half-drow who constantly covers himself in mud, offers monsters pickles, and carries around a bag in which he is developing fungal colonies. Sometimes the player goes over the top. Sometimes it is rather annoying for those of us who actually have coherent goals… or don’t really want to sit there and watch him be wacky. The game has been going on for over a year and a half. Only within the last month has he said that his PC was created as comic relief. I’ll note that the player has a habit of creating oddball PCs – so we thought this one was just, you know, a little odder than usual. If he’d said from the outset that he was thinking of playing a PC for laughs, I suspect everyone in the group would have attempted to dissuade him (since he’s naturally goofy enough, thanks).
I think this is a case of lack of communication at PC creation and the outset of the campaign. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a silly rpg, but it is important that campaign tone is agreed upon by the participants.