On being a DM with Aspergers

I've been pretty open about my diagnosis of Aspergers for awhile now, as well as realizing how it affects my choices as a DM. It's also one of the main reasons why that age-old drama that happened with a certain *cough* organization *cough* ended so badly for me... My Aspie tends to see things very black/white, on/off, fact/not-fact - which is a trait many other Aspies share.

It's amazing how much it drives me though... this is my brain wiring we're talking about. It doesn't get much more real and concrete than the way my brain functions and sees the world around me. It's not something I can take a pill or go to some therapy and *bamf* I'm like the rest of the NTs (neuro-typicals), no, I'm pretty much stuck with this.

But the real point of this is not a boo-hoo, waaah deal. In all honesty, I wanted more to share that as a way of understanding why I'm not comfortable with in-town adventures. It's the drama and the *emotional* aspect, that it's easier to be a monster, than to run as other humans and try to present a "normal" human response to interactions.

So in some sense, I like some of the "read this" text and the "the NPCs will do this" scripts - it gives me ideas and ways to pull off those bits that otherwise might be hard for me. When I say that I'm liberally scraping from TV, movies, literature, there's a more real need for me than just inspiration. It's a guideline to how I will play the NPCs.

So if you see me being quiet at a con or event, I'm not some stuck up ass. It's shyness. The brain just doesn't compute how to comfortably mingle and interact, unless I know you already from online.


  1. Quality post. I never realized that even simulated social interactions would be a challenge. I commend you for being so open. Game on. :)

  2. I wasn't aware of your diagnosis, Michael, and have found you easy to interact and get along with online and at cons :)


  3. That's a great post. We need people to tell it like it is.

    I, too, dislike town adventures compared to a dungeon, but it's more because a town can pull my ADHD in too many directions. I do have medication, but it doesn't cure my. My brain is still wired differently. But it allows me some control over my focus. (Honestly, I haven't run a town adventure since I got the medication...might have to try that someday.)

    Anyway, keep on doing what you're doing, and it's great to have you blogging again!

  4. @Christian: Sure, in fact, I'd submit it's a bit harder - to make something in cadence to how the NPC should be, on top of trying to simulate an NT position, it stretches the programming. I'm better at it each time, but it's not something that comes intuitively.

    @Allan - well damn, us Aspies aren't drooling Trolls. :D Just teasing you. In all seriousness, I've never made a big deal of my diagnosis because 1) I didn't get it until 2010 and 2) I'd much rather have people focus on different things if we're going to have a discussion. But, I thought it made some sense to talk about it. Ironically, online is much easier because the communication is simpler. I'm just one of those shy, quiet ones unless we're talking about something I'm halfway knowledgable about, but it's still not intuitively easy.

    @Will - I have a reverse problem of intense laser focus which can pull me away from being more balanced as a person and in getting things done. It's great for projects, shitty for having a life full of many different things at once. And I guess, in Aspie fashion, to me this isn't as much of a big deal as it is "here's the facts..."

  5. Great post. I think it has some really good implications for all of us. We are who we are, both in real life and as players/GMs. So we have to game the way that works for us. What works for one person will be different from what works for another person, and all ways are good.


Post a Comment