Could you help me figure out something?
I'm trying to identify and describe a particular playstyle which I'm (sort of) not familiar with.
1. If you look at Star Wars: New Hope as an RPG mini campaign, you see that the farmboy protagonist realizes that he is destined to something great, finds some dark parts in his past/family, and meets the villain of the setting!
2. In the Swords Trilogy Corum fights against not 'some orks' but the Chaos Gods themselves!
I think this is what people call 'epic' or 'heroic' fantasy. Or what? (I'm trying to not use LotR as an example because I fear that would derail the conversation)
The playstyle I'm trying to grasp is not alien to trad D&D, but maybe not the norm. I think we all experienced a lot of rat/ork killing and small scale adventures to realize this. D&D at it's gene (even with the Tolkienesque races) is still close to S&S IMHO. This is not even the gradual farmboy -> fighter -> ... -> hero -> king storyline, because the protagonists are (nearly) immediately pushed into some high stake situations.
Two game examples come to my mind.
3. In the original campaign of the most famous Hungarian RPG called MAGUS, the PCs met some 13 wizards and killed one. These later became the Thirteen of Krán, the top indestructable villains of the world. But nobody plays MAGUS in this way nowadays, the PCs are usually just adventurers and not the Chosen Ones. They play the agents and puppets of the Thirteen, but nothing more.
4. When I was a teenager I idolized a Hungarian Actual Play called the Chronicles of Marauders. A high stake campagin from the get go. One of the first enemy was a giant who controlled trolls and the four elements! Every encounter was somehow epic!
These stories are characterized by PCs in subordinate but strong relationships, noble feelings, pure intentions, enthusiasm, weariness, universal disorder and/or decadent ignorance, deus ex machinas, personal conflicts, surprising alliances, secrets in the protagonists past, and great vistas as the party travel thought the setting. No filler fights, every battle is important and devastating. The world seem to be only a backdrop, some kind of facade, there are no dungeon economies or anything like that.
I hope it's clearer now.
My problem is that I find it very easy to create a story like that with one-shot narrative collaborative RPGs. But I have no idea how to make it great and not railroady / boring / too long in a classic campaign. I feel like I dont have tools and dont know how to fight against our RPG habits. (I'm more interested in defining methods, principles and 'moves' (a la DW / PbtA games) than edition nitpicking.)
What do you think?