Game Design: Storytelling In RPGs
I've been reading a very long, bizarre fanfic based on the game "Fallout 3", and thought it was interesting partly because it has a lot more characterization and interaction between people. Also for its realistic attitude toward violence, making characters physically and emotionally traumatized and in need of more than a magic healing potion. The game (I only got to play it in the last month or so) would've been awesome if it had somehow tapped into that level of plot and character. Now that I've got a fast PC I've actually gotten to play "Skyrim", and while that's pretty good despite wonky controls, it's the same sort of loner quest. (Magic is handled such that a mage is pretty much expected to run around bare-handed in a bathrobe, but to balance that you get two-fisted Force lightning and a flamethrower at level 1.)
Oh, here is that Planar RPG experiment, as an EXE and Python source. The author of the above article thinks that a game ought to be designed by finding some fun mechanics, then building the story around that. Thoughts on this concept of whether any fun can be had by boiling a freeform RPG down to extreme basics?