S is for Story
In most of my posts I at least touch on the idea of story. While my Dungeons and Dragons games over the years may have leaned towards dungeon crawls, I have learned story is probably as important as the rules to the game. Skill at story may be even more important as it carries over from one rule set to another.
Story can apply to many different aspects of the game. When creating characters, the players create backgrounds to give their character reasons for being an adventurer. Those backgrounds can guide the player’s choices as they work their way through the adventure.
The more obvious idea of story rests on the Dungeon Master’s shoulders. The DM takes responsibility for creating both the larger story that forms the entire campaign, and the smaller stories that make up individual adventures. I tend to find it easier to create individual adventures. With a single adventure you simply have to decide a goal basic goal such as protecting the caravan, or rescuing the princess.
While basic idea behind a campaign might be simple: destroy a powerful artifact, or bringing a war to an end. It can be more difficult to create adventures that fit into the goal, or which include important clues that will help lead the characters triumph when they finally reach the climax of the story.
Without story, the game devolves into an old fashioned hack and slash adventure, and while they can be fun, if my main goal is going to simply be killing creature after creature, I’d rather just play a video game.