When you start a campaign is it equal chance you will begin with Keep on the Borderlands or Test of the Warlords? Is starting with a low level module tailoring the adventure to the PCs?I've seen weirder. Especially lately. The idea that everything is tailored to the PCs and that there's not only a chance but a very good chance that they can win any and every fight has thoroughly seeped into the players I've encounter in the last decade.
Well, that's not quite what you'd said before. Referee neutrality prevents designing an adventure tailored to the PCs, but letting the dice fall where they may is definitely neutral referee behavior.
We must be using "story" differently then. When I say story I mean a set plot with predefined beginning, middle, and end. To me, that's not something a neutral referee does. The neutral referee will create situations, events, factions with goals, etc...put those into the world and set things in motion, but how that all plays out is entirely a reaction to how the PCs handle things. If they ignore a problem, it gets worse. If they ignore a faction, it accomplishes its goals. Nothing waits for the PCs to show up, if that makes sense. If there's a sacrifice scheduled for the new moon, it happens on the new moon, regardless of where the PCs are. The world isn't paused while the PCs goof
I'm referring to story through emergent play. All the factions, events, goals, and situations you create are story. The way it progresses without PC intervention is story. How it's altered when the PCs do intercede is story. I think we are using story the same way.