|This is cute. Adults arguing over the "right" way to play pretend is NOT cute.|
This is something I've been meaning to post, given a recent resurgence of bickering that amounts to pedantry. Specifically, pedantry over exactly what a sandbox really is, as it pertains to roleplaying.
Sheesh. Here we go again.
I don't know why some of our fellow game geeks seek to make our wonderful pass-time an arena for nasty argument! There are those that needlessly complicate things, aren't there?!
Come now, folks. We all know, deep down, that a sandbox is a state of mind, a type of play, that unfolds organically between GM and his/her players if they are in that magical roleplaying "zone" we've all experienced at some point. Look, it's an interaction of the GM's prep and his ability to think on the fly when players inevitably go in their own direction. For some groups it's a rare thing, for others it happens most of the time. It depends on the delicate interplay of the unique individuals at any particular table at any time out there in gamerland.
A good GM will give players options/plot hooks/choices/paths/ whatever you want to call them. A good GM will be open to the unexpected directions that players will take when they choose which hooks to follow. A good GM can make any module into a sandbox.
Good players will trust their GM, if that GM is doing right by them and giving them lots of options to choose from. Good players will give them GM benefit of the doubt when it comes to the hard work of GMing.
If things aren't working out in a group, and the sandbox style you love suffers, then find another group, right? Sometimes this is easier said than done, but given perseverance, roleplaying hope springs eternal.
Come on, people, this is all pretty much self evident and, with decades of roleplaying experience under our belts, it's become a sort of RPG common sense. For most of us, at least. But there are those that, for some reason, just like to argue for the sake of argument. I pity them. I truly do.