As I said in a previous post titled “Logical Illogical”, there was no story continuity when I used to play my Greyhawk ranger, back in the day. But now, it’s all about time-scheme and filling in whatever blanks there may be. So I’m already writing what the PCs did after the end of our last AD&D, because I know they’re gonna ask about this at the beginning of the next session.
Why is that?
In my opinion, it is the cultural influence of TV shows: we now know much more about our favorite characters than we did back in the heyday of movie heroes. Really, nobody knew what 007 did between the end of Casino Royale and the beginning of Dr. No, or between Octopussy and A View to a Kill. Movie franchises are very much like the old school modules. We play Dwellers of the Forbidden City. Next we tackle White Plume Mountain. What did we do in between? Nothing?
Those Silver Age games introduced continuity in RPG campaigns – is it good, or is it bad? I don’t know, but it’s very similar to modern TV shows with their tight plots, web episodes, flash forwards / backwards / sideways, and interlocking season premieres and finales. Sooner or later we learn everything there is to learn about the heroes: blanks get filled in quickly, and it makes a lot of sense... except with Lost.
So, players come to expect that.
You can’t pluck them from a tropical island one week and throw them onto a snowy mountainside the next week without any explanation, like in a James Bond movie. Damn, our HBO era is not like the old MGM era: there is a heck of a lot more stuff to write and prepare, now!