« on: March 13, 2011, 08:43:18 pm »
Some DMs put a great deal of effort into crafting a large, detailed, and intricate world that their players will adventure in. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. Indeed, there are many ways in which this can be seen as a very good thing, as it adds a great deal of depth to the experience of roleplaying a hero in a fantasy world. Busting down the evil lich's door and beating the shit out of his minions and stealing all his cool stuff can mean a lot more to some players if they're doing it for a reason beyond "get the XP and loot everything."
That said, your vast and epic setting doesn't mean JACK FUCKING SQUAT if no one wants to play in it.
You can have the biggest, most decked-out sandbox in the world, but it's gonna be one lonely sandbox if you don't remember that your players are supposed to be the most important group of four, five, or six assholes ever to stomp around in it.
It doesn't matter if that is completely unrealistic, or if your players are technically working at the behest of much more powerful people than them. Your players are THE most central thing to your setting, and not one nanosecond of the hours of brainpower you've put into crafting this setting and all of its grand cosmic machinations will ever mean more than a dried-out dog turd to anyone if you didn't craft it with the express purpose of being a place where a group of adventuring dorks can have a grand old time fucking it up and leaving their mark on it.
If your players are storming an Archmage's tower to recover an artifact for some other, more benevolent Archmage so that the good Archmage can keep vast and terrifying beings of cosmic horror beyond mortal comprehension from piercing the thin barriers between the Material Plane and the maddening Far Realm beyond, that's grand.
However, your players will NOT care or be even slightly happy about it if their role in this world-saving drama is to putz around for six hours doing jackshit while the rogue slowly and laboriously picks his way through the various locked doors and the ONE combat encounter that happens during the first three hours is completely piss-weak and lasts three rounds.
If you didn't want to write up a fun, well-balanced encounter where the Rogue, the Fighters, the Wizard, and the Ranger all have plenty to contribute, because you wasted all your time and energy on thinking up the "big picture" aspects of your beloved setting, then maybe you should fuck off with trying to be a Dungeon Master. Write up your campaign setting and put it online or try to publish it (LOL), so that some DM out there who actually gives a shit about entertaining his or her players and wants a convenient backdrop for their adventures can make use of it.
Or just write up the whole thing as D&D fan-fiction and post it on LiveJournal for all to ignore.
Just stop torturing your players. There's a goddamn reason none of them are making it easy to pull a group together anymore.