[color:"yellow"]Temporal Stasis![/color] Now, where is my spell book? I'll need a pinch of sand, three feathers, and a paperclip. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />

I agree with your hack-n-slash mentality assessment. Most newbies choose that mode, and get stuck in it if the DM doesn't gently coax them into a more contemplative mode. I like to salt my campaigns with enough monsters to let fighters advance, but I balance that with puzzles and situations that give the advantage to MUs, thieves, and clerics, too. Otherwise, all you have are paladins, healers, and thieves (regardless of the multi-class/multi-racial/multi-talented/royal-heritage names and labels the players put on their PCs). If I wanted that, I'd play a CRPG -- one hero (me) and one major quest (win).

IMHO a well-played RPG should look, feel, and sound like a cross between an epic novel and a reality TV show -- burps, warts, fumbles, and all. The DM really has to prepare and also let the story unfold as a group effort (not a scripted play), but it is well worth the effort and very therapuetic.

P.S. I may not be able to post for the next week or so, as I am planning to move to Seattle, WA. The drive from Texas is daunting, so wish me luck!

-- BG