A Comparative History of Gaming Styles


It’s the nature of things for liberals to place their trust in the loving and guiding hand of a benevolent expert class, and for conservatives to place strictly defined limits on how and where the guys in charge can exercise their power.  As above, so below.  As in the real world, so in the tabletop world.

Consider the two adventure styles characterized by the sandbox and the corridor.

(Yes, I know it’s a continuum.  I’m writing for adults who understand the concept of generalities.  If you don’t know how those work, go educate yourself.  Come back after you’ve gained eight levels and dumped a point or two in your Wisdom stat.  Better yet, stop playing that modern trash version of D&D and raise your Wisdom the way Gygax intended – by reading an artifact tome that also curses you with club feet and three foot long earlobes.)

In a sandbox campaign, the DM keeps the reins of power, but let’s the players direct the course of action.  The DM places some limits, naturally, but gives the players a number of options for where they want to go, and what they want to do.  The players get to choose between the caves, the swamps, the bandits, and the hermit.  They can do them in any order, but live with the consequences of the choices made.

That sort of thinking is the strong-jawed bravery you expect out of people who love liberty more than than they love peace.  You know…conservatives.

In a corridor campaign, the DM has a specific story to tell, and the players better stick to it or the DM will just pack up and go home to his patchouli oil and Peruvian flute band CDs, “So ethnic!”  If they do waver from the path, the DM has all sorts of tricks to steer them back to “the right way” of doing things.  If they stumble or fail, the DM is ready and waiting with a helping hand rising even to the level of the DM ex machina.

Style Comparison.pngThat kind of thinking starts at the table, but it eventually leads to things like brutalist architecture and starving thirty million Ukrainians.  So don’t do it.  Welcome the chaos, the unpredictability, the sense of adventure that not know where the path you’re on leads.  That kind of fun will trump (2016!)* a pretty, pretty hallway any day.

*Sorry, reflexive habit I’ve developed over the last six months.


About The Alt-Right DM

At long last, a tall cool drink of alt-right water in the midst of a liberal and cuckservative desert. Inspired by the need for soldiers in the Culture War, E. Reagan Wright volunteered to stand up to the forces of progressivism before they complete their takeover of the once energetic, diverse and just plain fun hobby of role-playing games. A lone voice in the digital wilderness preaching to that quiet, right-wing remnant that has languished in the cold for years. E. Reagan Wright loves his Mom, guns, apple pie, football, and calling that lesser game by its rightful name - soccer.
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