On the opposite end of the spectrum, Nathaniel and I have been talking about Gus's awesome HMS Apollyon campaign, which has our heroes literally plucked out of the deep blue sea and set to earn their keep by adventure. Awesome game, very little player agency at the outset. Yet it's still clearly a sandbox of a megadungeon. Zak's points apply after the outset, and the play reports do contain references to later passenger-class or characters from Apollyon-specific races. It's the agency-denying castaway origin that played into our discussion, though. We were looking for an answer to the eternal question of what unifies our handful of special snowflakes?
Maybe agency is overrated. Sometimes it's nice to have your options constrained by circumstances. That's why we all choose to look for our loot and threat inside of nice comfortable dungeon walls instead of seeking treasure and fighting monsters in the woods, with it's profusion of natural cover and map-defying nameless hills. Do we need a say in why the character is in the party?
Tangentially, I'm considering going with order as rolled for my next character. Not that I'm suicidal, but now that Baldomero is the party tank, I expect to slip on the wrong banana peel sooner or later. I bring it up only as another example of arbitrary constraint I feel drawn to. I'm not so far gone that I favor pre-generated characters or random character traits. I still think it's worth while to think about what kind of character you want to play.
Back to the main point, which is whether we can afford to have six guys all having their own individual agendas each do their thing in the two or three hours we get to play these days. If not, then we may as well have been plucked out of the sea. In Gardmore, the Deck draws us. Groovy. This creates a set of lines I have to stay within when I'm thinking up that next guy.
Whoever it is needs to just happen to be kicking it in monster town and then decide he wants in on the party's thing. Or, there's always the two hillbillies Rokdig hired, I guess. One of them could step up. What to do?