I think what I appreciate most in D&D is bathos: perhaps the overwhelming narrative characteristic of the game, insofar as it has any such characteristics. Random encounter tables, rolling dice in the open, taking results as they come, and resolute avoidance of illusionism or pallete-shifting of any kind - all of these elements of 'old school' D&D play contribute to the development of the bathetic.
People who like "narrative" games and prefer things to make "dramatic sense" usually miss this.
An example of bathos from last night's game: Eki Ulele had just survived the most difficult and bloody encounter the party had yet had, in which 8 bandits and 2 hireling retainers had died and one of the PCs dying. He had been through, in many ways, his toughest moment. He had faced down the bandit leader and bluffed him into retreat, then survived a nerve-wracking chase through a pitch black forest, with no weapons or magic and only flasks of oil to aid him. He had led the opposition away from his wounded friends, buying them time to escape.
He survived all this, and if I was interested in trying to develop the "plot" of the campaign, as if it was a story, this would have been a defining episode for his character - the making of him. He would have gone on to better things, and grown as a person because of what happened to him at the bandit lair. Or perhaps he would have died bravely in one final showdown with the bandit leader, going out in a blaze of glory, remembered for ever more.
But the dice said otherwise: the next day he got an unlucky result and had a wilderness encounter; he got an unluckier result when it turned out to be giant bees; and an even unluckier result when he failed his surprise roll. He died a meaningless and ignoble death alone in the forest, stung to death by mindless insects. Bathos.
Yet this has its own narrative sense. Bathos and absurdity are proud and important traditions in drama and comedy. They may not be "emotionally satisfying", but they have their own value. The next time somebody makes out that you should fiddle or ignore dice rolls in the name of maintaining some sort of narrative consistency, remind them of this: "I prefer it bathetic, darling".