Amusing, Enjoyable, Fun, Pleasant
No contest really on this one. F is more fun than C, always has been, always will be. Amusement can always be had in giving your character a strange affliction, like being allergic to clouds, claiming they speak in smells or were born in a cheese cupboard. Saying your character’s sword does +2 damage due to their strength is boring. Consulting a table to see how long your character can breathe in a barrel is boring.
One point for F
Authority, Control, Discipline, Rule
No contest here, obviously. C wins hands down. During a critical part of the game, a character says he can speak to zebras because they are worshipped by his people as demigods in the world of Monochromia. (Badgers and pandas are also worshipped there, but only as semi-demi gods.) Now, allowing this ability would completely derail the plot and ruin the game for everyone. No, says the GM, because the rules say so. Attempt at cheating averted, balance restored, end of turn.
One point to C
Captivation, Engagement, Enthrallment, Immersion
You would think this was an open and shut case, one point to F, right? It’s not necessarily so clear cut. For instance, take the question can your character use the correct spoon when dining with the princess? Imagine your character picking up a soup spoon to eat Bouillon! What a terrible faux pa, bordering on social suicide. It could jeopardise the entire scenario, if not the campaign. Of course, a quick roll of the dice could settle the argument, odd number equals shame and humiliation, even number means smiles of relief all round. Of course, the situation could also be solved with F. For instance, the character in question was found abandoned in a coal scuttle up at the big house and was adopted by the under butler’s third footman, and cleaned his first spoon before he could walk.
On balance, I’m giving the point to F.
Equity, Fairness, Impartiality, Justness
This point lands fairly and squarely in the court of C. In order to maintain equality for all, then all need to abide by the same rules. It’s unfair to give one character a full set of dragon-forged armour because their mummy is rich and wants to protect her little snookums, while another gets 2xd6 gold pieces to spend on their entire wardrobe. If a character can go running back to mummy every time they want something, the other PCs are going to be upset, and start inventing rich relatives/sugar daddies/mummies of their own, which will completely unbalance the game.
A point for C.
Continuation, Endurance, Longevity, Perpetuation
After some thought, I think this one belongs to the F camp. Nothing affects the length of time a character is played like the little details which make that character interesting. As time goes on, the characters gets a deeper backstory, physical and mental wounds they pick up along the way, little habits (and I don’t mean garments worn by little monks, unless your character is a little monk) and foibles and all the other baggage we humans cling to like manic Dysons. Once you have a character like this, it’s hard to let go.
Another point to F.
Continuance, Persistence, Prolongation, Survival
I’m talking about characters here, not game systems. I’m going to give this one to C. Knowing every detail of the rules can make the difference between a character being dead, and them being merely near-death. Squeezing one extra point of health or defence out of the rules, or reducing the NPCs damage by a single digit can do this, but requires total dedication to the C, and an almost encyclopedic, and probably annoying, knowledge of the rules. F just can’t match this, especially when a character is lost in the temple of Hakin Koph, the evil god of tobacco, far from their inheritance and perilously short of previously undiscovered (just added when the GM went for a bio) skills or traits on their character sheet.
A definite point for C.
Function, Operation, Purpose, Work
It’s fair to say, I think you’ll agree, the a TRPG would still work without F, but wouldn’t without C. I’m generalising here, because I know some of you will disagree. (Well, if I said everyone dies some of you would disagree, but that’s the bonkers world we live in today.) As I mentioned, some systems are rules heavy already, and removing the F would make little difference to the gameplay. Try it. Instead of a ranger putting an arrow through the eye of an ogre, R inflicts 6 damage on target O. The numbers are all the same, but the flavour has gone.
On the other hand, having all F would lead to anarchy on the table-top, as the players invented ever more ridiculous abilities from absurd backgrounds. “My ranger kills the ogre with a photon torpedo he took from the Starship Enterprise during his time and reality travel visit to an alternative universe where both Star Wars and Star Trek are documentaries.” (I really wish I could go there!)
It seems clear that a TRPG needs both F and C to be a playable and fun game.
I’ll call this one a draw.
In conclusion, F and C are the Yin and Yang of gaming, fitting exactly together to create a perfect whole, (as opposed to a perfect hole, but we won’t go into that here.) Much like all the gamers on planet earth, we’re better together.