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Why Fantasy?
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Thread: Why Fantasy?

  1. #1
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    Why Fantasy?

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    Why do you do fantasy gaming say instead of modern or science fiction? What about fantasy attracts you?

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    well, I can't say I do fantasy gaming instead of any of the others.... for me the attraction is the same regardless of genre - posing an impossible (or implausible) problem, and then solving it within the context of given conceptual framework.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

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    It's a tough question, but my thoughts on medieval fantasy are slowly condensing into this:

    Pre-industrial age people took care of business. Things were done with people-power. Their accomplishments came from fortitude instead of technology and chemistry.

    Or to put it another way:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-YMWBMZoe8
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    Mostly its just the openness of a world without as much order as today. I play both fantasy and sci fi games but fantasy is the usual just because its a lot easier to work with a world filled with magic, there is an innate suspension of disbelief (for me) I work in technology so the sci fi stuff tends to be a little more nitpicked just because I know too much real world stuff about it. So for me its just easier to plan and play.

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    I run all kinds of games in different time periods, it all depends on the type of game I'm looking for. Here's my insight on why I think people prefer the various genres, your opinions and mileage may vary!

    Fantasy - I believe people like fantasy games because usually, player can get away with being somewhat lawless much easier in a fantasy setting. Not saying that you're running around being completely chaotic, but if the players kill a bunch of goblins, who really cares, accept maybe other goblins.

    Western - This time period can be similar to fantasy because of the frontier setting it is often played in. Again, if the players go really nuts, robbing stage coaches, trains, etc, the law will eventually come after them. But if they have a shootout in a lawless town, say Deadwood, then they are apt to get away with it easier.

    Modern - With most modern games, and I'm talking about roughly 1920s and later, you begin to see less of a frontier mentality, so the players become more careful with how they act, except for maybe a war-time game or superhero game. War time games the players can get away with killing the enemy easier than say if they were cops. Superhero game, well, the players are super powered, so they will have the ability to get away with more.

    Sci-Fi - These can be very similar to modern games, just with fantastic gadgets, but again, the players will be less apt to be chaotic as the authorities would be more aware of such craziness.

    Post-Apocalypse - Depending on the approach, this can be very much a chaotic game where the players expect to be able to do things without having to worry as much about the consequences.

    The are generalizations and each GM will handle things in their own way.
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    I agree skunkape. That is a very good way of putting it.

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    My first speculative love was Star Trek. I found and read science fiction anthologies at school. Not so much into Fantasy per say. I read Lord of the Rings. You more or less were not allowed to leave the 70s until you did. My friends and I did role-playing before we had a system, the setting was Star Trek.

    Now I had done war gaming. I enjoyed it. Spending Saturday afternoon mutually sinking the whole of the American and Japanese fleets in Seapower.

    Then I discovered D&D at MichCon. and brought it home to my friends. We went slightly crazy for it and in a matter of a few years the game world I still play in today was established.

    I didn't go looking for fantasy, I stumbled into it. I still play fantasy with a very science fiction feel. A friend has said all my games are Star Trek, based on the idea that people are people everywhere and the optimistic tone. I can't argue with that. I'm a romantic at heart and love a happy ending.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    I'm a romantic at heart and love a happy ending.
    I'm right there with you!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    It's easier to raid the past than to predict the future.

    For better or for worse, most fantasy RPGs converge on the same elements: vaguely medieval world with elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, and assorted mythological monsters. Even if you swap out some of those elements -- bronze age/African/Asian cultures for medieval Europe, different mythologies, Moorcock or R.E. Howard instead of Tolkien -- the result is similar, or at least similarly relatable. Tekumel, despite its Mesoamerican and science-fiction roots, still resembles D&D in broad outline (and originally mechanics).

    Early Modern retains some of that feel of open frontiers and shadowy unknowns. Industrial Age and Modern settings must accommodate the weight of history and the march of technology, but at least they're familiar. (Alternate history shakes that up a bit.)

    There are, however, endless possible futures, no two alike. The 1950s "space opera" genre now must contend with the ubiquitous communication of our time, not to mention nanotechnology, bioengineering, cybernetics, and transhumanism, to name few looming technologies. In 20 years, those technologies may feel as quaint as Star Trek communicators or Traveller's cabinet-sized computers do today. Rapid technological change thwarts not only science fiction authors but science fiction roleplayers who must understand a (brave?) new world with every new game. Even if we roll back to a classic "free traders seeking new worlds" setting, players still have a wide range of technologies readily available to get them out of scrapes. Depending on the system, player characters might turn into Christmas trees of high-tech gear; gadgets and/or cyberware mean more than the character bearing them.

    Some science-fiction genres lend themselves more to adventure and man-versus-the-unknown, but they're essentially fantasy with technological set-dressing: sword-and-planet, Star-Wars-style space opera, post-apocalypse, time travel. There's something comforting about wandering strange but ultimately relatable worlds, and inescapably heroic about facing the unknown with only low-tech weapons and a "magic item" or two, even if that "magic item" is a laser gun, grenade, or sonic screwdriver.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    I'll toss my ten cents in (because my two cents are free), and I apologize in advance, because I may piss some folks off.

    Playing games is a time sink - a total waste of time. This leads me to genre. I can envision myself in EVERY other genre out there: I can see myself with a hat and six-guns doing old West, I can see myself as a super spy, or a super, or on the bridge of the Enterprise... BUT, I have to REALLY stretch to see myself in a fantasy genre.

    If I'm going to waste my time playing a silly game, I'm gonna go all the way - so, THAT'S why fantasy.

    And I intend to waste time until I am cold and buried. Viva la gaming!!

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    you know, why not?
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

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    I as a player prefer playing in modern or sci-fi based games, but as a GM I prefer fantasy or fantasy/Post-Apocalyptic fused games like RIFTS. I like the wide openness, things can be a bit more exiting. Magic spells going off & swashbuckling combats. Plus I tend to be able to create fantasy settings & adventures better. I can create one world to my liking & instead of numerous worlds. If playing I prefer modern supernatural games or dark n' gritty Cyberpunk or high flying Space Operas Ala Star Wars or shows like Firefly, the Killjoys, Dark Matter or the Expanse.

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    Brandon Sanderson has put it well. He said something along the lines of "With fantasy, you can have everything other genres have and on top of that, you can have dragons."

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