We live in a world full of complex socioeconomic challenges. Strategies for long term infrastructure development seem elusive; our increasingly long-lived population must wrangle with increasingly expensive medical costs; the question of gender parity remains unresolved; terrorism is a looming threat; the ice caps are melting; kids today are growing up without adequate access to Led Zeppelin. These are all important global issues, and there’s no easy solution. That’s why fantasy is so cathartic. Sure there are dragons and wizards and magical shavers that can turn you back into a human after a shitty role on the reincarnation table, but for me the most alluring fantasy of all is the idea of there are clear and obvious solutions. No matter your problem you’ve simply got to go consult a sage, find an ancient map to the lost temple of MacGuffin, and grab whatever artifact you happen to need this week. You might have to fight snake cultists and dodge pit traps along the way, but that’s only physical danger. Knowing that you’re STRIVING AGAINST THE ODDS and that your CAUSE IS RIGHTEOUS is enough to make up for it.

Of course, not everybody likes a power fantasy. Escapism has a bad rap even among gamers, and mature storytellers tend to eschew the “find the item that can save the kingdom” story line in favor of more complex plots with lots of difficult decisions. So I ask you, my loyal readers: Do you prefer moral certitude in your games, or do you like plots that reflect the difficulty of real world problems?