thread: 2011-09-08 : Trad vs Indie: FIGHT! pt2

On 2011-09-28, cc wrote:

OK.  Well that seems very weird to me.  Clearly we must be talking past each other.

By necessity, dungeons were carefully designed, sculpted experiences.  Even venerable old Keep On The Borderlands, for example, has “scenes” with a set-ups in them: the players come across a room with some goblins, and wade in; but an ogre who is providing protection to the goblins intervenes, turning the fight into a surprising, much more serious affair.

You asked me “why plan outcomes at all”, and my answer was and is, “because it creates much more entertaining and interesting games”.  And I don’t think I’m alone in that view.  From my reading of the discussion that went on in Dragon Magazine and the like, a lot of people were unhappy with the results they were getting from “just playing”. What they had wanted, what they had thought or hoped they were getting, was something that was a bit like LOTR, and what they got instead was a lot of mercenary looting, clowning around, and a barrage of Monty Python jokes.  So the search was on to make something more serious, more engaging, more “immersive”.

Now I’ll agree that many of the solutions they come up with were bad ones.  But I don’t see how that it can be argued that the drive wasn’t there.  And it was there because just playing was NOT automatically successful.

At that point to say “don’t plan” is tantamount to saying “play shitty games”.  Now I’m willing to accept that the may be some other method of play, like that of universalis frex, that is provides good play without planning for some subset of the gaming population.  I’m certainly willing to consider the idea that there may be some other, superior methodology that would work without planning for the people I’ve described above.  But I can’t understand how a D&D-like system, combined with lack of planning, can be confidently asserted to produce satisfying play, because if that had been the case then there never would have been any drive toward all the stuff that subsequently developed.


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