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.