03 August 2011
Location, location, location
I think different kinds of people like different kinds of adventures- or maybe fans of different genres like different adventures. There's something different between me, a location-based lover, and somebody who really wants to run a game of political intrigue, or wander through faceless dungeons, or scour a city, or solve a murder mystery. It's not that I don't want to run those sorts of things, naturally, but I always find myself being drawn back to writing and playing games where the really interesting thing isn't what you're fighting or who you're talking with, but where it's all taking place.
Maybe I've read too much fiction like that, where the world is as large of a character as any of the supposed protagonists and antagonists (Asimov's Foundation series, for one, possibly the Theives' World line as well, although that's cheating a little), but it really only seems natural to me.
I guess it's the sort of toolbox I'd prefer as well- don't give me seven new monsters and an enormous city and twenty interlocking characters with unique motivations I have to sort through or else the adventure won't play properly- give me an awesome, interesting, vivid location so that I can strip out what you put in there and put something appropriate to what I'm playing in there. Because you're not me, and you don't game with me. You don't know that I prefer nomadic assassin-mage goblins to the traditional warrior-clan goblins, or that my dwarves live in Petra, ride camels instead of mules, and wear robes and turbans instead of horned hats and plate mail.
If I take away all of the things I'm not going to use, don't want to use, or can't use, and I'm left with a boring place to go visit, I'm not going to play. It's one of the reasons, I think, that I like Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits more than most people: I don't care that there's not really a reason to go, cause I'll make one up. I don't care that the monsters are kind of oddly chosen, because I'll make those up too when I get there, based on what I'm feeling like and if I'm bored at the moment. But the idea that we're walking along on enormous, slightly vibrating strands of web cris-crossing each other to find and fight the Spider Goddess, now that I like. We can work with that.