Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fantasy Lands 'R Us

I've read the Tough Guide to Fantasyland and I've got to say that it would make a neat premise for a fantasy game. I don't know about running an entire campaign where the entire point is to point out and play with a bundle of fantasy tropes but several adventures or a short campaign could be a lot of fun. I mean, I might invoke a lot of those tropes in a Changeling game or Cyberpunk VR vs Real World game or even Fantasy World vs Fantasy Land where the contrast between the real world and the fantasy world can keep these tropes fresh and exciting, but I probably wouldn't do it as a straight up fantasy.

Mostly because without that contrast the line between satire and simply joining the satirised is quite a thin one.

Still just thinking about it can really provide a new perspective on your own fantasy campaigns and give you an idea of where you stand on the Unique ----> Shared Trope scale as well as the Realism ----> Stereotype scale. What would you need to change in your fantasy campaign to make it Trope Central? Not just Tropes Included but Tropes Placed Center Stage. How would that change the gameplay?

For Flashpoint it's kind of simple. I'd re-make all the pirates to be quite jovial. I'd probably make them sing. It'd be all "Ayes" and a delight for rum and a mishandling of women who aren't captains of their own vessels. The pirates would all be either happy or "mutinous". Most treasure would be in chests. It would also be all gemstones and gold. No stealing bolts of silk or barrels of cider. Oh no, merchants would inexplicably be carrying lots and lots of gold.

Whenever I think of the Chelish I think of Nazi tropes, but that would be no good here as I want fantasy tropes. So I'd need to make them all cape-wearing evil nobles with incompetent guardsmen and foreign accents who are intent on global domination and spreading the cause of evil. Moustache-twirling villains the very lot of them. The peasants would be all subjugated, largely silent and would be all gentle spirits rather than willing participants because that's how peasants roll. Unless they're soldiers. Then they're faceless mooks dedicated to stupidity and evil and willing to run off cliffs if their commander told them to. They would stick to rank and file attacks even against casters. There'd be no need to avoid killing large swathes of them and no moral ambiguity.

The evil nobles might cause the death of hundreds of thousands of people but that would all be off-stage. Largely they wouldn't be doing anything worse than most fantasy aristocrats in the game but they like to talk about supporting evil as a concept and they love devils so they therefore *must* be evil.

Barkeepers and merchants would all be inexplicably high level retired wizards to ensure that the players didn't get any ideas.

Everything the PCs did would be justified. Their treacheries are all okay but anyone who turns against them, for whatever reason, will be vilified to almost comical levels.

Hmm, I'm not getting into the stereotypes as much as I should. I'm sure there's ways to be more ridiculously trope-y. What do you folks think? How would you Tropeify your own game? Or mine?

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