Friday, April 3, 2009

Telling the Hero's Story

Early D&D includes some classic heroic elements.

There is a departure -- the characters usually start in town, doing mundane things like shopping for equipment. They then cross the threshold into the magic world (the dungeon).

In the magic world of the dungeon, they come across trials (tricks, traps, and combat), meet friends (remember that old school reaction roll?), and enemies. Ultimately they seize some boon (treasure, magic, or experience levels).

The return is exciting too. Often, the magic flight is a session of play in itself. Escaping a dungeon with one-way doors, teleporters, slides, and other such tricks is a challenge! Sometimes the character needs rescue from without. Most importantly, the character can share their boon with others. They spend money to outfit hirelings and henchmen. A newly minted second level fighter uses his experience to protect his first level friends. At higher levels, characters can reward entire baronies.

However, as Grognardia observes, D&D is largely about a Picaresque Swords & Sorcery game where the goal is (1) survival and (2) becoming the ultimate self-made man
( Especially later elements of D&D eliminate what few heroic vestages there are in the game (no more hirelings, no more baronies, etc).

My question is -- is there a game system out there now which is explictly intended to help tell heroic stories? I haven't found it yet if it does exist.

So perhaps that is the direction I should take my homebrew -- figure out what kind of story I want the game to tell, then design the mechanics to enable that.

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