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Re: Alignment

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:51 am
by oncelor
Thanks for the thoughtful response. In the past I ran more lofty-minded campaigns in which I tried to develop philosophical and literary ideas. I even did this with alignment for half-a-year: about ten years ago I ran a campaign that was set in a pre-fallen world without sin and evil, a world in which there was no permanent illness, injury or death; the fall -- and sin and evil and death -- came half-way through the campaign. It was fun trying to design challenges for the party and to create dramatic tension in a world without evil and death, and at that time I was very interested in developing the ideas of evil and alignment in my campaign. My players never really seemed to get into it, however. Now-a-days I tend to run kind of low-brow campaigns -- beat up the monster and save the princess kind of stuff -- and I find that it just doesn't really hold my attention whenever I have tried to develop these loftier sorts of ideas or themes. So what I'm trying to say, I guess, is that I'm not trying to make any judgment about other campaign styles since I used to run campaigns like that back when that sort of thing could hold my interest.

I will add that it's been my experience as a DM/Judge has been that these sorts of lofty themes have never really improved the game for my players; what they seem to enjoy the most are those spontaneous moments of high-tension and wacky solutions to difficult problems. When we get together and drink beer and talk about our campaigns of a decade or two ago we never talk about the lofty themes or complex stories that I used to work into my campaign worlds, instead we talk about the time the party was trapped at the top of a 100' tall pillar and the base was surrounded by 40 orcs and the bard lit the giant wooden altar at the top of the pillar aflame and tried to throw it over the edge but fumbled, tripped, and went over the edge with the flaming altar. In the nick of time the wizard managed to get a feather-fall spell off and the cleric a protection from fire and so the bard ended up landing safely in the center of the conflagration. The orcs had never seen magic like this and were so frightened by the bard that they ran away.

Re: Alignment

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:05 pm
by Doug Kovacs
I completely understand that. DMs so often have big ideas that players could care less about. It might have something to do with me being an artist but I never seem to quit trying. Even failure to hit lofty goals to me is it's own reward.

Ironically I was just talking last night to someone about doing a straight good (and vs. evil, I guess) game. Not sure if we were just talking about a straight up heroic party or not but there is yet more to be explored in games.