|"The road (to adventure)|
goes ever on and on ..."
(illustration by Theodor Kittelson)
The crux of the matter as laid out by the player seems to revolve around whether D&D** is a game or a collaborative story.
No one can answer that question definitively. It's both, of course, but we play it for different reasons at different times and with different people.
When I first picked up D&D, the only thing I cared about was the adventure. I came to D&D from wargaming, and D&D was an extension of that. We approached quests like military missions. That doesn't mean we were all about fighting. Everyone who's played early versions of D&D knows how quickly a fight can turn against you. If we could beat an enemy without fighting or rig the odds in our favor, those were plan A and plan B. When we were forced to use plan C--a fair fight--then we knew that casualties were almost inevitable, and the best we could do was minimize them. If you were smart and charismatic, you'd bring along sime hired muscle and let them take the brunt of the enemy's wrath. If you were dead but wealthy and high-level, you might get raised. But, as von Clausewitz stated, "blood is the price of victory."***