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April 10th, 2008, 01:34
You know, the more this gets discussed here and at Rampant Games, the more it occurs to me that the culprit is the focus on combat and mechanics over storyline.

It can be cool and dramatic to have a party retreat from a raid to regroup and recover a bit. And (ideally) face stiffer resistance in the future by a more prepared enemy. Or face counter-attacks. It's all good.

Performed in the abstract, there's no limit to this. It's simply game mechanics. What matters, really, is the context. I mean, the Viking raiders did this all the time back in the day, right? "Woops, it's February, time to hit Northern England again for some phat lootz and XP!" Okay, maybe they didn't say that EXACTLY, but I'm sure that was what was going through their minds.

But from a computer RPG perspective, we're so used to the game waiting for us that we get irritated if there is any story-based limitations to gaming the rules system to the utmost. What… you didn't rescue the princess on the first try, so the bad guys killed her and fled? I think man (most?) players would be furious about that. Hmm… maybe that's why Depths of Peril hasn't been as much a blockbuster as I feel it deserved.

So maybe that's as much a solution as mechanics changes? Story-based pressure? That, and maybe letting the poor wizards hit a little more often with a crossbow…
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