Two recently finished polls are getting added to the polls page.
WHAT STYLE OF FANTASY SETTING DO YOU PREFER?
High Fantasy (6%), Low Magic Grim and Gritty (31%), Swords & Sorcery (61%).
I think of Swords & Sorcery as Conan stories and Lankhmar - picaresque and easy to make them episodic. Perfect fit for D&D. There's the belief that High Fantasy requires strong narrative control by the DM (and a ton of railroading) because folks remember thinks like Dragonlance or Time of Troubles or the DM will inflict his version of Lord of the Rings on the players, complete with Mary-Sue Gandalf and Elrond MacElminster.
Could a High Fantasy sandbox work? I think it would be a fun project to try - maybe for my future "family campaign" I'll try and do something that incorporates all the familiar tropes of epic, high fantasy for the kiddos yet tries to keep the agency solely in the player's hands.
WHICH LIST OF ELEMENTS IS MOST IMPORTANT TO HOW YOU RUN OR PLAY YOUR D&D GAME?
Rules only (6%), Rules and Adventures (11%), Rules, Adventures, and Campaign Setting (51%), Rules, Adventures, Campaign Setting, Ruler ship of domain (6%), Rules, Adventures, Campaign Setting, Ruler ship, Economics and Warfare (23%).
Some interesting choices here. If folks are committed to the end game, they want to go all the way - economics and mass combat rules. I like how the ACS project is shaping up, so we should have some solid rules in the near future to help out with the campaign side of ruling and running domains.
The majority of folks just want a campaign setting with some history to place their adventures in. I like the 6% that said, "give me a good set of rules, screw the rest - I'll wing it."
At my current day and mood, I'm a bit tired of high-fantasy, ultra-heroic gaming where there is an epic story set by the DM to which the players must adhere.ReplyDelete
I currently tend towards exploring more varied themes alongside the players, with personal development, adventuring and exploration being first and plot being created alongside the players. I think that Sword & Sorcery fits this playing style very well - no implied PC morality, no over-arcing metaplot, and a lot of picaresque sub-quests, all while retaining the fantastic side of things, unlike Low Fantasy.
I'd say that you could do High Fantasy as a sandbox game. It doesn't have to include a railroad plot. HF is about the scale and the moral implications of conflict.ReplyDelete
You could easily have an Epic Big Bad threatening everything, without demanding the players be The Good Guys. The Big Bad's plan will touch everything, eventually, and remaining neutral will be tough, but they get to choose what side (if any) they stand on, and how they do it.
This scale, as well as the difficulty of staying neutral, are the two things that turn me away from High Fantasy. I prefer multiple factions that are rarely 100% evil or 100% good, allowing for complex interactions and players' choices.ReplyDelete
The old Rolemaster game in the 80's take on Middle Earth showed that you could blend a high fantasy setting with a total sandbox. It presented Middle Earth early in the 3rd age. You could go loot the barrow downs, kick back in Bree with a few beers, and then go burn the Old Forest.ReplyDelete
I think it would be big fun to let the players create their own 'Epic Plot' through choices and interacting with a high fantasy sandbox.