Dungeoncraft #56 tries to explain why rpgs aren’t novels. I think he’s right, up to a point. But only the point where my games begin. I’ll explain, but first, here’s his explanation.
So he’s very definitely right about most D&D games, and he’s mostly right about rpgs in general. BUT if one has players who are into role-playing and story-telling more than getting the gold, and if the game design supports that (D&D typically doesn’t), and if the Referee helps the players see and feel what their characters see and feel, then one can have a wonderful co-created set of stories. Those stories are almost never what the Referee thought would happen, and they often fragment into multiple individual stories, but if those stories enrich the world in which they are played, then everyone benefits. And that’s why I DM and don’t write novels, because I always know how the novels will end and I never know what the players are going to do. That’s much more interesting to me.
I’ll give you an example. We were playing in a MERP campaign, and the Referee quit before the end of the current adventure. So we all wrote our own endings to the adventure, and it was perhaps more fun than playing the actual ending would have been. I shared those out in https://lostdelights.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/merp-escaping-the-mines-rashomon-style/ If you’ve done something similar, or if you have a story about how the adventurers did something unexpected that turned out great, please share.