Intent and the GM

Reading this I find myself looking at the four words I have written on the inside of my screen – “Literal, Moral, Allegorical, Anagogical”. I spent a great many years thinking of my AD&D campaign as a sort of modern-day morality play for my players (I realized that it was equally so for myself, but that took some maturity to realize just how much). Over time, I realized that for my “big campaigns” there were constant themes that ran through them – both as a result of my own ideological and pedagogical stances as well as my players. My fantasy campaign revolves often around “What is the nature of evil” and my cyberpunk/Traveller setting as “What does it mean to be human” – either stance (indeed almost any stance) provides a touchstone or compass for what to do next what all else fails.

Now, some of this was greatly pretentious nonsense, but these are still things I return to over and over again. Good, Evil, Humanity, Responsibility… What makes great games are the same elements that make a great story – and this is what Lion Rampant figured out. Virtue and Sin, no matter if they are Christian, Buddhist, or some other socio-cultural construct are where our characters and players live, the microcosmic struggle of the characters reflects the projections of the player’s macrocosmic struggles in the real world – they also frame the twin streams of conflict and cooperation within the context of the fantastic in recognizable terms for the players and allow them to explore with greater ease.

D.

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Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, Game Play | Tags: | Leave a comment

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