Day 21 of #RPGaDay2019: Vast


2019’s RPGaDay conversation has only 10 days left, but I suppose before that’s really true, we must log today’s prompt in the books. That prompt is VAST.

I have been trying to adhere to a common approach for each of these word prompts — namely to roll with the first thing that springs to mind. I could be writing today about vast underground dungeons hidden deep below the earth, or the vastness of space as found in any number of sci-fi themed rpgs, but that’s not where my my went first.


My first thought was the vast differences between how Dungeons & Dragons was played when I first started compared to how it is largely played today. I am not judging. I have enjoyed both styles of play that I am going to briefly outline. I do have a preference, but it’s like choosing between a chocolate or strawberry shake. I may like the strawberry best, but I’m not going to be disappointed if I get a chocolate instead.


So, as I see it, in the 70s, back when tarrasques still ruled the earth, the relationship between DM and Player was adversarial. It was how Gary Gygax presented the game and it was how most DMs ran their sessions.

Most games were modular in nature. Few people established worlds or settings. You showed up with your character. You entered a dungeon. You killed some nasty critters. You earned xp and treasure. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The game evolved to where campaigns became these epic tales told over months and years, in an official campaign setting or one that was born from the DM’s imagination (and in some cases with input from players).

The game took on a more narrative structure, where the DM created mood and drama, but with the idea of forming a symbiotic relationship between DM and Player in a more cooperative fashion.

860247_10200704618766773_762192571_oMy preference lies somewhere between these too points, leaning slightly more toward to the narrative side. I think either extreme is bad for me, personally.

I like to tell a story, but I want that story to be rooted in a sort of living history.

By looking at the vast gulf between the two extremes, a world conducive to my style of play took shape. My game continues to evolve and I try to present a campaign that is first and foremost immersive. I want it to live and breathe.

Sometimes I fail, but there’s always time to course correct. No errors are too vast to overcome.

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