Quote Originally Posted by Majoru Oakheart View Post
I guess I just keep reading on ENWorld about games where the PCs are not "railroaded" at all. That they often decide on their own goals without any input from the DM at all and then the DM is forced to write an adventure to go along with that desire. Like the PCs decide "We're going to clean up this city and defeat the Thieves Guild." and then the DM now needs to write up a bunch of encounters with Thieves.

I've never ran a game like that. Every campaign starts with: Plot hook, the PCs take it and then follow every clue I leave them without ever coming up with their own ideas.
Pure sandbox is something I've never seen either.

It's hard for me to imagine a campaign where at least part of isn't "plot hook then do the adventure the DM prepared for". Some of what I run on email is pretty "open ended", but, except the downtime periods, there is a goal of some sort, and I write lots of monster stats, etc. planning for when the PC's go after the dangled target.

Quote Originally Posted by Majoru Oakheart View Post
They don't really take their characters seriously as people...no. I've been complaining about it for years. Hoping some people will come up with real personalities. Problem is, that we're used to games ending so quickly or PCs dying so quickly that coming up with background for your character and a real personality is almost always wasted when you die during the second session. Or the DM decides to stop running his game.

Plus, a number of them LOVE character building. They want to see what kind of broken power combos they can come up with. So, after one session of playing their character they are almost always ASKING to have their character leave so they can try a different concept.

We had a TPK a couple of weeks ago and every last member of the group said they didn't want to be brought back to life because they'd rather just make new characters. Thereby ruining all of the plot I had put into the game up until that point.
Huh. I don't have any char op players. I have the opposite problem -- some of them just like to play and get bored by the "paperwork" of leveling up, rather than looking forward to it -- it's like pulling teeth to get people to do it in my email campaign!

For my live campaign, most of the folks in my live campaign just borrow my PHB's rather than buying their own books. We do the updates at the gaming table.

The vibe is similar for the 4e campaign I'm a player in -- we use the character software on the DM's PC when we're there to play, and none of us own it.

Perhaps that's the difference in where they came from. Mine are old school gamers (AD&Ders who had dropped out of gaming) or new converts who never did MtG or anything like that. Most have LOTR as their main inspiration, not thinking of it as a game first, story second.

It's really interesting to me how different your groups and mine are. I think this explains why it's so hard to make everyone happy in D&D edition changes.

Quote Originally Posted by Majoru Oakheart View Post
We just...played a LOT. For about 2 years, we played about 4-5 times a week. One of which was 14 hours long.

I think the amount I played was one of the main reasons I hate CaW style play. There's only so many times you can see the same "creative" plan play out before it doesn't seem creative anymore. And if it got used even once in one of our games, it got used in all of them.
Wow, yes, I can see your point. I'm coming from a very different universe of gaming.

BTW, I played 4e last night, and enjoyed it really for the first time. It was a crazily hard CaS scenario, which to me made it sort of CaW. We were traveling back from the Keep on the Shadowfell, when a famous dragon who had killed the Warlord's family swooped down to attack us. There was no talking out of the fight, nowhere to run to (open plain), and nowhere to hide (open plain).

The DM told us afterwards, it was an encounter balanced for 5 10th level characters -- we fought as 6 4th level characters. We were lucky -- my dice were on fire -- and we survived a LONG time. In the end, everyone had used every Daily and Encounter Power and single-use magic item we had, except one potion on the archer and one defensive encounter power the Wizard had. The result was three deaths -- including my paladin -- but most of us had fallen more than once (our Cleric is really good). The Cleric killed it even though he has a feat with a side effect of stunning him if he attacks a bloodied opponent -- he survived attacking, hitting, being stunned, and then did it again for the win.

Why I enjoyed it was that we tested out everything we had, and the Warlock and my Paladin got to be heroic. I was down, healed, got up, charged, hit, and then went down again. Then the next round, I took a breath weapon critical hit while already at negatives! I couldn't ask for a better way for a paladin to go.

So was it a CaS scenario -- because the tactics and rules were all -- or a CaW scenario, because we were fighting to the death in an unfair fight, roleplaying to the end?

Either way, it was fun!