My open-ended gaming experience
I'm currently playing a game with an open-ended GM. He has a world and a timeline of major events, but everything else is pretty much left to the group.
In this world demons are controlling elves and other sentient "good" creatures and their army is wiping out kingdoms.
My character is the only one with ties to anything. I am playing a knight of the church and I keep getting sent on missions for said church. Of course, the rest of the party tags along because it'd suck if we split up and went our separate ways.
The demons come in various forms and the ones that we have seen erupt from their host's throat when the host body is killed or becomes useless.
The missions that we are going on are driving us apart more than anything else. We got sent to slaughter a caravan of possessed people, including children. We did so but not one of them had a demon pop out.
We went back to the church, angry and disgusted over what we had done, and confronted the Council of High Bishops who told us that demons come in all shapes and forms and may not all burst out when the host body is killed.
They sent us on another mission against soldiers lead by a demon. These soldiers turned out to be the Queens guard, lead by the queen of the neighboring country, which the church is at war with.
We only killed a couple of the guard and captured the queen (who was unharmed outside of the knot on the back of her head from being donkey punched into unconsciousness). We sent the guards hoofing it butt naked across the wilderness and are in the process of bringing the queen back to my church.
The problem is that half of the group are from that neighboring country and this is their queen. None of us believe that she is a demon, although we know that she is a magic user and magic has been outlawed by the church as demonic in nature. Not only that but we have another knight of the church, his squire, and three other soldiers who all want her executed on the spot, as per our orders.
The party is about to disintegrate in a gory explosion of conflicting ideals and I don't see how to stop it. If I side with the other PCs and free the queen, after killing off the other half of the party (no easy task), than I will have forsaken my character's entire life's work in the church, all my vows, and my father's memory.
On the other hand, if I try to bring the queen back to the church then I run the risk of being caught between both parties. Even if I make it and successfully bring her back, I'd need to have proof that she was a demon before letting them take her, which I doubt they'd do.
I don't look forward to having to fight my way out of our church's equivalent of the Vatican, especially as we are on war standing and have an entire army surrounding the city with nothing to do.
And if I side with the church I'll end up killing off the other PCs. None of them are a threat to me in combat. But that'd suck both in and out of the game (one of the other players is my wife and killing her character would definitely not be good for our marriage!).
I understand that a large part of the problem lies with the GM. He didn't have his world created when we started making our characters, he put us in a position that causes strife and conflicts of interest within the group, he started running his first fantasy campaign in a system that he has never played, and he left the game so open that we continually do things that he isn't prepared for and has a hard time reacting to.
I think that if this was a linear game as opposed to the open ended style of play, it'd be a better game. It'd give the GM more control over what happens and would cut down on a lot of problems.
Of course, more preparation would have helped immensely.