Bookkeeper (ex_bookkeep) wrote in roleplayers,

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Bookkeeper's Rant #138: The problem with heroes... that who needs 'em?

I truly love the Forgotten Realms, but it seems to me that it's better built for evil campaigns these days than heroic ones. You can't hardly turn over a rock without finding a harper/moonstar/silver falcon/purple dragon waiting in the wings to shut down darkness. If, by some remote possibility, you do become a threat to humanity, A Chosen of Mystra wipes you from the map in a drive-by blasting. It has become something of an epidemic.

AEG, while creating more dangerous worlds, has similar troubles. Their worlds continue to morph out from underneath players. The big bad guys already have enemies. PC-types are too often witnesses to history, rather than makers of it. I think a progressing storyline is not a bad idea, letting characters face the facts of progress. But there's little room for the players to insert themselves.

This is becoming more widespread as time goes on. New games either leave no room for heroic parties of PCs (Forgotten Realms) or turn a cynical sneer at the notion of heroism (World of Darkness anyone?). Where's the game where a group of PCs are fighting for more than loot? How about a game where you build a stronghold not as a place to stash your 143rd +1 Longsword, but as a bulwark against the darkness? How about one enemy, just one, that no pre-established character has been planning for? Just one bad guy that only the PCs can stop because no one else was there waiting.

Heroism has to mean more than just killing the next Orc in his 10x10 room. If you're going to put neat ideas things into a game book, they should have some use in the game other than word-count padding. Gentle readers, how many of you have encountered this problem of the really cool pre-written antagonists in your favorite games being opposed by pre-written protagonists. Which games do you find are worst about it? Which do you find are not so bad, or even good about it? Share with the group, won't you?
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