This issue of open-ended vs. tightly scripted RPing interests me.  My style
as a game master is to set the scene, create significant non-player
characters with their own agendas, some of whom act off stage independent
of, or in reaction to the player characters, but who may not meet them until
a climactic scene.  Once I've wound this world up and set the scene, I
release the PCs into the world.  I then regard my job as deciding how the
world reacts to their actions.  They are the protagonists of this story
after all.

Now that is human role-playing.  I've never seen a computer-mediated game
come anywhere close to the richness of a human-mediated game, even in the
MMORPG world.  There is always a narrowing of objectives to fit a
restrictive model.  This makes sense in a paradigm that demands complete
determinism for each scenario, where every action must be anticipated by the
game designer.  Without massive hardware support, you aren't going to see
emergent behavior out of this deterministic model, which is the main reason
human-mediated games are still more satisfying.

I'm not expecting Tom to break this problem, although if he has ways around
it, I'm so there for playing and ultimately purchasing the game.

        Chris Bartlett



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