It's very interesting in running a campaign (the Bard one) with players whose characters pointedly do not give a shit...about much of anything...to look at modules for ideas and find that almost all of the recent ones (last 10 yrs) are premised on the fact that characters, if approached with a problem that's not their own, actually give a shit about the poor bastard with the problem.
This could be just a failure of memory but wouldn't you say that back in the AD&D days, characters didn't so much give a shit about helping others, as they did in helping themselves, first and foremost? And the modules were designed with that premise in mind? It seemed to be mostly about slaughter and looting, and if someone else was helped along the way, good for them. Or, if you want my help, you're gonna pay dearly for it bitches. Granted, a lot of modules have "other character hooks" sections, but the main one, and the one modules seem to be written around, is one of the helpful do-gooder PC.
Even if you want to explore other plot hooks, often because of the story format of modules, and the tie-ins from one section to another, you have to do large revisions of sections to make it fit. Certain encounters are based on the characters following the story arc of the helpful PC---otherwise that encounter wouldn't make sense.
If this is indeed a true observation and not just a revision of history, when did the shift in assumed motivation occur? By shift I meant in the modules themselves, not in the players. A shift in the design premise of the module that the PC's players use will be do-gooders. Seems that the older modules didn't have this built-in assumption.
What came first, the do-gooder assumption in module design creating more and more players playng that way, thinking it was the way to do it, or the players out there actually doing it so modules were designed for them? Was it a result of the whole 2e abortion of assassins, devils and demons?