In another thread, a poster mentions this essay by Ron Edwards
on Story Now play and using its approach with rich gaming settings. As with most essays by Edwards, I felt thinky after reading, and a bit punchy. Here's my reaction. It seemed reasonable to start another tread to see if people had further thoughts on this, rather than de-railing the previous discussion which really wasn't about the essay directly, much at all:
Hrm. I like how Ron punks "sandbox" play as an ambiguous shibboleth coined by misty-eyed nostalgicism, and then turns straight around and lauds "your Glorantha may vary" as a mechanism for gloriously vibrant creation through localized interaction with a setting by selective embracement of detail.
Funny -- that's what I thought "sandbox" play actually meant. Here's a setting, of some size, evocative in detail to some degree, not in plot. Now it's yours, go have fun. In other words, "your Wilderlands of High Fantasy may vary". Hrm.
In my reading of many of the leading, actually playing, lights in the OSR end of the hobby, it seems to me that the focus they propose of dynamic "just draw it out at the table" gaming is more similar than not of the sorts of details Ron proposes for Story Now play: Start with some evocative detail ("sword & sorcery pulp-age fantasy type vibe! dark gods, here are some capsule descriptions!"), and a tightly focussed setting ("ummmm... this dungeon"), some characters that are lightly created, but -belong there- ("ummmm... OK, here's a fighter, a thief, a cleric, and a magic-user: why are they here? because they want -gold-"), introduce a radical conflict trigger ("you've been exploring mostly empty rooms for five hours; suddenly you hear a hideous shambling noise -between you and the exit-, and your torches are -burning low-...").
Ron makes a lot of good points, as he seems to in all the essays of his that I have read. But he also seems to have a pretty solid axe to grind. Which is fine, I suppose, but at the end of the day, he still seems to be doing his part to attempt to invalidate other people's fun. I'm not sure I'm cool with that.