Some people like their game sessions spiced up with unwelcome events (in fiction, of course !) @hamnacb 's post referencing Vincent Baker's article
I understand the need for an adversary, but what about a contrariety for the whole table ?
I don't play that way, and always with people that play like me, for the surprise, wonder discovery and puzzlement. After his article, Baker, "falls back" on the idea that people don't really want the unwelcome event, just the menace of it. And that the menace has to be executed sometimes to stay menacing. I don't know. That's probably true for some, but it's also a less polemic, more acceptable point, that people want fear rather than pain. So I don't fall for it totally. After all, stepping on up can be interpreted as sadistic by nature. Also, I haven't got the answer to the horror paradox.
The overall question seems to be cultural : flirting with the limit / transgressing. Character death is in many instances a response to the players flirting with the limit of what their characters can do. Having the most agreed upon game mechanics dealing with danger is a sign of this.
Until now, I used a "racer" analogy for this : what makes it for you ? the wind in your hair ? the Gs in your stomach ? the lack of control ? zapping by and there in the traffic ? According to the answer, you could pick a bike with no brakes, a gravity racer in a gentle or steep slope, a motorcycle with or without helmet, a convertible, bungee jump, etc. What would be the risks in this analogy boredom and an accident (losing playing partners ?) As you see, this analogy is not very productive.
I am not trying to break boundaries here. Just inquiring about 2 things :
- what level of unwelcome people are after ?
What are the factors that get into play ?
- who's at the table
- character as pawn vs character as alter ego
- day of the week and mood