Is the classic fantasy setting dead?


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Irontruth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

And yet the majority of classics in the genre have nothing to do with Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

Basically, your point boils down to...

"this is what I'm used to, therefore, we must use the word 'normal'"

Even if it isn't "normal" or "traditional" to someone else.

I'm very curious what "majority of classics" you think don't fit?

Can you give a few examples?

Just to see if I'm missing something or if you're using a narrower definition than I am.

Burroughs, Howard, Zelazny, Leiber, Vance, Camp, Lovecraft and Moorcock (most are listed as influences on D&D in the AD&D DMG as well). I'm not saying they're the only important authors, but rather important authors who's work doesn't fit the mold of Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

And before someone responds "But those are science fiction", yes, they're fiction, but there really isn't any science in them, and many works are broadly accepted as being within the fantasy genre.

At least some works by most of those authors fall within the broad definition I'm using. Others wouldn't, admittedly. Not Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy, but I wouldn't limit it that far. Definitely within the TVTropes "Medieval European Fantasy" bit quoted earlier.

Not Barsoom - no real magic, too many tech type toys and explicitly set on another real planet.
Conan, definitely.
Zelazny's very broad. Having written everything from pretty hard SF to fantasy. Most of his stuff doesn't qualify, in my mind.
Leiber, yes.
Vance, I think, though I haven't read much in a very long time.
deCamp, certainly. The Incompleat Enchanter stuff takes place in worlds of European legend.
Lovecraft is mostly horror. Even the more fantasy Dreamlands stuff isn't much like anything I've ever seen in a D&D game.
Moorcock is another very broad author, but much of the Eternal Champion stuff would qualify. Elric, especially.


For those arguing against arguing over semantics, how else are we supposed to answer the question "is the classic European medieval inspired fantasy setting dead?" without defining "classic European medieval inspired fantasy setting"? Each of the individual specific settings (Tolkien et al) have their own specific idiosyncrasies that would disqualify them as the European medieval fantasy setting. If you don't pick one to use then you need to begin defining it individually, piece by piece. As someone has pointed out, Game of Thrones is a great European medieval inspired setting, but I'd argue it's a little light on the "fantasy". I certainly wouldn't use it as the basis for all European medieval inspired fantasy but it comes a lot closer to a generic setting than any of the other examples I can think of. Similar problem with specific Arthurian stuff, it usually skimps on the fantastical. And while the totality of Arthurian stuff has quite a bit of fantasy it's also a horrible cluster@#$% of different authors with wildly varying ideas. "Arthurian" is about as ill-defined a setting as "classic European medieval inspired fantasy".

As I said last time, I don't think the setting the OP is asking about existed. It may now (as a form of nostalgia), but that would be the opposite of "classic". So it wasn't dead so much as nonexistent.


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I play in the forgotten realms as often as not, which is pretty classic Medieval European inspired fantasy as I run it.

So does D&D 5th for the most part, which I am told is fairly popular right now.

Most of the APs that I have played fall along similar line. There is absolutely no requirement to allow the advanced technologies, even gunpowder into Pathfinder, or the advanced races. It is always the choice of the DM running the campaign and the group what is available.,


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Medieval Western Europe is not and never should have been the sole face of your 'classic' fantasy. God, that single setting's been dominating fantasy literature for decades over here. Now that it's finally being afforded the proportionate respect it has earned—meaning, it's being treated equally to the dozens of other cultures from various locations and time periods, instead of being treated as the default for all make-believe—are we really going to act like it's being marginalized, or even murdered?

Fantasy Medieval Britain is an interesting setting to work with. It will always be around in fiction, and probably still has more emphasis than it really deserves. The fact that Fantasy Victorian France, Fantasy Feudal Japan, and Fantasy Pre-Columbian Caribbean are now being recognized as equally fascinating worlds to explore doesn't mean it is getting shunted away or forgotten.


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The Sword wrote:

I play in the forgotten realms as often as not, which is pretty classic Medieval European inspired fantasy as I run it.

So does D&D 5th for the most part, which I am told is fairly popular right now.

Most of the APs that I have played fall along similar line. There is absolutely no requirement to allow the advanced technologies, even gunpowder into Pathfinder, or the advanced races. It is always the choice of the DM running the campaign and the group what is available.,

Anchorome, Kara-Tur, Maztica, and Zakhara, or North America, Asia, Central America, and the Middle East, respectively. Faerun might be medieval Europe, but it exists in a world with four other continents which are most definitely not.

This is why I said I think the OP is pining for a setting that never actually existed. The "fantasy kitchen sink" approach that Paizo took is not new. That's basically what everyone's been doing since the beginning. TSR wanted to expand their fantasy base to include other cultures and slapped it on to what they already had.


I think Greyhawk comes close, though it certainly added more variety as it aged.


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Personally, I now want to bring around sometime a completely non-Asian style person with ninja class levels. 'There weren't ninja in medieval Europe!' 'That just means they were REALLY REALLY GOOD ninja.'


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Scythia wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
There's also never themes from the Holy Roman Empire! So much stuff from Medieval Europe that never gets used!
I've always heard that Paladin was inspired pretty heavily by the companions of Charlemagne.

And yet no Kings or Emperors are ever elected and there are never power struggles between church and state in many of the "Classical" fantasy settings. And as far as I can tell, there aren't too many crusades analogues either. And kings never die by having a heart attack in a river.


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You know, I think this video really gets into the heart of the place of European history in our fantasy.

Shadow Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

And yet the majority of classics in the genre have nothing to do with Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

Basically, your point boils down to...

"this is what I'm used to, therefore, we must use the word 'normal'"

Even if it isn't "normal" or "traditional" to someone else.

I'm very curious what "majority of classics" you think don't fit?

Can you give a few examples?

Just to see if I'm missing something or if you're using a narrower definition than I am.

Burroughs, Howard, Zelazny, Leiber, Vance, Camp, Lovecraft and Moorcock (most are listed as influences on D&D in the AD&D DMG as well). I'm not saying they're the only important authors, but rather important authors who's work doesn't fit the mold of Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

And before someone responds "But those are science fiction", yes, they're fiction, but there really isn't any science in them, and many works are broadly accepted as being within the fantasy genre.

At least some works by most of those authors fall within the broad definition I'm using. Others wouldn't, admittedly. Not Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy, but I wouldn't limit it that far. Definitely within the TVTropes "Medieval European Fantasy" bit quoted earlier.

Not Barsoom - no real magic, too many tech type toys and explicitly set on another real planet.
Conan, definitely.
Zelazny's very broad. Having written everything from pretty hard SF to fantasy. Most of his stuff doesn't qualify, in my mind.
Leiber, yes.
Vance, I think, though I haven't read much in a very long time.
deCamp, certainly. The Incompleat Enchanter stuff takes place in worlds of European legend.
Lovecraft is mostly horror. Even the more fantasy Dreamlands stuff isn't much like anything I've ever seen in a D&D game.
Moorcock is another very broad author, but much of the Eternal Champion stuff would qualify. Elric, especially.

What about Edding or Feist?


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The Campaign Setting is not the same thing as "where the campaign is set". Campaign settings like the Realms (and Golarion) feature places like Kara Tur and Maztica, or indeed Anauroch and Mulhorand because it caters to multiple tastes. It allows the setting to appeal to a wide range and of tastes. It also mimics the 'real world' which most certainly isn't generic.

That said none of my campaigns that were set in the Dalelands, Damara, The Silver Marches and Waterdeep respectively, featured elements from Kara Tur, Maztica or Zaharra. Just because anything exists, doesn't mean it needs to feature in your campaign.

On a side note Ventnor, several published campaign settings include crusades of one form or another. If you like that sort of thing I highly recommend 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay as a setting - port it across to pathfinder if you like - it makes a fairly good stab at replicating the Holy Roman Empire.

We should also not conflate Medieval history with "inspired by medieval history". The core rules are inspired by a mish-mash of Medieval and Renaissance history (excluding the magic chapter of course). That is still present at the heart of the game. It doesn't mean that we need to accurately replicate life in 15th C Normandy.

My understanding of the Original Post was that it referred to the classic fantasy rpg: Greyhawk, ForgottennRealms, and home-brew, rather than classic fantasy literature, which is by definition extremely varied. What is classic fantasy literature sounds like a black hole question which isn't really relevant to a discussion of Campaign Settings.

We have just started playing in the Northlands Saga which is heavily inspired by Medieval Europe. It is excellent - and judging by the kickstarted success very popular.

European-Fantasy-Settings aren't dead, they are just competing with their spin offs. Razor Coast, Skull and Shackles, Carrion Crown & a home brew Rokugan campaign remain some of my favourite stories.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
You know, I think this video really gets into the heart of the place of European history in our fantasy.

No no no, This Video gets the real heart of Medieval European history

The Exchange

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Bob Bob Bob wrote:

For those arguing against arguing over semantics, how else are we supposed to answer the question "is the classic European medieval inspired fantasy setting dead?" without defining "classic European medieval inspired fantasy setting"? Each of the individual specific settings (Tolkien et al) have their own specific idiosyncrasies that would disqualify them as the European medieval fantasy setting. If you don't pick one to use then you need to begin defining it individually, piece by piece. As someone has pointed out, Game of Thrones is a great European medieval inspired setting, but I'd argue it's a little light on the "fantasy". I certainly wouldn't use it as the basis for all European medieval inspired fantasy but it comes a lot closer to a generic setting than any of the other examples I can think of. Similar problem with specific Arthurian stuff, it usually skimps on the fantastical. And while the totality of Arthurian stuff has quite a bit of fantasy it's also a horrible cluster@#$% of different authors with wildly varying ideas. "Arthurian" is about as ill-defined a setting as "classic European medieval inspired fantasy".

As I said last time, I don't think the setting the OP is asking about existed. It may now (as a form of nostalgia), but that would be the opposite of "classic". So it wasn't dead so much as nonexistent.

This is not a mathematical discussion. You don't need to build careful definitions from the ground up using elementary building blocks in increasingly complex structures to keep track of what's going on.

I think the consensus on this thread is perfectly clear - and previous replies to Irontruth outlined it several times. It doesn't matter what is the precise way in which each correspondent to the thread perceives the concept of classic or traditional fantasy because as long as we all understand that the conversation is about fantasy settings that full under the rather broad definition of "classic fantasy" discussed in previous posts, we can be coherent.

Instead, tens of posts in the thread went into the pointless exercise of attempting to pinpoint the exact meaning of a word is. Again, if you are solving a mathematical equation you need to have a perfect, watertight understanding of what each and every word in it means, but that kind of thinking is not constructive in the context of discussions such as this. Imagine a discussion about young adult fiction where most of the discussion is devoted to a long winded argument about trying to figure out the precise age-range that counts as young adult (is it 13-18 or 12-16?) and maybe you'll see my point.


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Do you see! See what mixing classic fantasy with young adult fiction has wrought! I used to be cool! Then some b$!!% decided vampires should sparkle in the sunlight. Now look at me! I'm all sparkly, and emotionally complex.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry in my popcorn and watch Gilmore Girls with Fzoul.

Dark Archive

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Qaianna wrote:
Personally, I now want to bring around sometime a completely non-Asian style person with ninja class levels. 'There weren't ninja in medieval Europe!' 'That just means they were REALLY REALLY GOOD ninja.'

[tangent] A Persian hashashin could be built with ninja class levels, as could quasi-mystical assassins of other cultures. The only really hard-coded 'asian' elements are the weapon proficiencies, and are super-easy to adjust. [/tangent]

As for the various other elements, I'm of two contrary minds on the subject.

I'd like a purely 'real-ish' setting in which there's a fantasy-Egypt, fantasy-Africa, fantasy-India, fantasy-Persia, fantasy-China, *and* a similarly thematic fantasy-Europe, with fantasy-Celts and fantasy-Rome and fantasy-Slavs (which Golarion really doesn't have, since most of the Avistani nations don't really parallel well with real world Europe. Galt is much less 'fantasy France' than Minkai is 'fantasy Japan', for instance.).

I *also* like purely fantasy nations, which have no Earth parallel, such as Cheliax or Varisia or Numeria or Irrisen.

Mixing the two approaches, a bunch of purely fantasy nations surrounded by fantasy takes on Persia, Asia, Africa, North America, Inuit lands, etc. just seems weird, as if any non Western European nation or culture is as exotic and fantastic as a nation of devil-worshippers or a Thundar the Barbarian-inspired nation.

But it is what it is. In the end, all game settings are buffets. You eat what you want. If you don't want any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings, don't put any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings. Paizo is not going to send gninja to bust down your door and force a kitsune gunslinger down your throat.


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Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
As I said earlier - people I speak to know what I mean by "traditional fantasy setting". They know I'm speaking about gaming not literature and they know I consider the 'traditional' period to be 1975-1985.
There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start, but it does make answering the question easy. Yes, those settings are dead. Have been for 30 years, ever since newer, better games have come out, and they've stopped being supported. Some have come back as a form of nostalgia but otherwise nope, dead a doornail.

So Forgotten Realms is dead or just a nostalgia gimmick?

We're not talking systems here, but settings.

The basic answer to the question is that the traditional fantasy setting in the broader sense is alive and well, as it always has been, since well before I was born. Other kinds of fantasy settings are also alive and well, as they have also been for a very long time. There is much cross-pollination.
Both in fantasy literature and in gaming.

This is a good thing. I'd say it's a great thing, but it's basically the way things have been all along.

You want to play "classic" and keep all the weird science fiction and foreign influences out of your game, you can do that. In many systems and even in Pathfinder. You want to mix in a bunch of high-tech toys and concepts and a party of weird races and concepts, you can do that to. In many other systems and even in Pathfinder.
You can also find plenty of novels and series to match any of that.

Beyond that, who really cares about what the exact definitions are and who's game qualifies as what? I've been as guilty of that as anyone in this thread, because my mind does tend towards classification, but it's really not a big deal. I'm a fan of a lot of the things I've called traditional fantasy. I'm a fan of a lot of the things I've kicked out of the category.


Just calling it Ye Olde settings seems good enough to distinguish what we're talking about.

My first Pathfinder characters (first RPG characters actually) were a gunslinger and a ninja so the desire to run and play in what people think of as a 'traditional/normal/Ye Olde/whatever' setting is pretty obvious to me whatever you call it and it's certainly not dead.

Thankfully the ninja has found a great home though the game the gunslinger was in got hit by a disappearing GM :(


Set wrote:
Qaianna wrote:
Personally, I now want to bring around sometime a completely non-Asian style person with ninja class levels. 'There weren't ninja in medieval Europe!' 'That just means they were REALLY REALLY GOOD ninja.'

[tangent] A Persian hashashin could be built with ninja class levels, as could quasi-mystical assassins of other cultures. The only really hard-coded 'asian' elements are the weapon proficiencies, and are super-easy to adjust. [/tangent]

As for the various other elements, I'm of two contrary minds on the subject.

I'd like a purely 'real-ish' setting in which there's a fantasy-Egypt, fantasy-Africa, fantasy-India, fantasy-Persia, fantasy-China, *and* a similarly thematic fantasy-Europe, with fantasy-Celts and fantasy-Rome and fantasy-Slavs (which Golarion really doesn't have, since most of the Avistani nations don't really parallel well with real world Europe. Galt is much less 'fantasy France' than Minkai is 'fantasy Japan', for instance.).

I *also* like purely fantasy nations, which have no Earth parallel, such as Cheliax or Varisia or Numeria or Irrisen.

Mixing the two approaches, a bunch of purely fantasy nations surrounded by fantasy takes on Persia, Asia, Africa, North America, Inuit lands, etc. just seems weird, as if any non Western European nation or culture is as exotic and fantastic as a nation of devil-worshippers or a Thundar the Barbarian-inspired nation.

But it is what it is. In the end, all game settings are buffets. You eat what you want. If you don't want any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings, don't put any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings. Paizo is not going to send gninja to bust down your door and force a kitsune gunslinger down your throat.

Though, judging by some threads here, some players might. :)


Classic arguments are far more onerous than traditional ones


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If we're talking solely about RPG settings, rather than the fantasy genre in the various entertainment media, then this whole conversation is a bit pointless. I mean, not to be a jerk about it, but the answer to any problem you have with more popular/bastardized/gonzo settings is to find 4 or 5 people who share your tastes and run games set in your idea of a classic fantasy setting. You'll be enjoying yourselves just as much as the people playing Starships & Spacemen.


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thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

And yet the majority of classics in the genre have nothing to do with Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

Basically, your point boils down to...

"this is what I'm used to, therefore, we must use the word 'normal'"

Even if it isn't "normal" or "traditional" to someone else.

I'm very curious what "majority of classics" you think don't fit?

Can you give a few examples?

Just to see if I'm missing something or if you're using a narrower definition than I am.

Burroughs, Howard, Zelazny, Leiber, Vance, Camp, Lovecraft and Moorcock (most are listed as influences on D&D in the AD&D DMG as well). I'm not saying they're the only important authors, but rather important authors who's work doesn't fit the mold of Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy.

And before someone responds "But those are science fiction", yes, they're fiction, but there really isn't any science in them, and many works are broadly accepted as being within the fantasy genre.

At least some works by most of those authors fall within the broad definition I'm using. Others wouldn't, admittedly. Not Arthurian/Tolkien fantasy, but I wouldn't limit it that far. Definitely within the TVTropes "Medieval European Fantasy" bit quoted earlier.

Not Barsoom - no real magic, too many tech type toys and explicitly set on another real planet.
Conan, definitely.
Zelazny's very broad. Having written everything from pretty hard SF to fantasy. Most of his stuff doesn't qualify, in my mind.
Leiber, yes.
Vance, I think, though I haven't read much in a very long time.
deCamp, certainly. The Incompleat Enchanter stuff takes place in worlds of European legend.
Lovecraft is mostly horror. Even the more fantasy Dreamlands stuff isn't much like anything I've ever seen in a D&D game.
Moorcock is another very broad author, but much of the Eternal Champion stuff would qualify. Elric, especially.

thejeff, I want to make it clear...

I'm not arguing that these don't share elements of Medieval European Fantasy, my point is that THAT is the proper term for it... not "traditional fantasy". There is no genre of "traditional fantasy"... or if you go ahead and look around at sites that do use the term, you're going to find a really wide breadth and width which is going to include things like Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. And I highly doubt that when you and Tormskull used the term "traditional fantasy" for your games, you were looking to include those two works within your definition.

Medieval European Fantasy = good term
Traditional Fantasy = bad term


There are very much traditional fantasy role playing games though.

Traditional Fantasy literature doesn't exist because fantasy authors are usually trying to weite something innovative.


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Forty years doesn't seem like enough time to establish much of a tradition. Especially when you've got stuff like Empire of the Petal Throne so early in RPGs.


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Irontruth wrote:

thejeff, I want to make it clear...

I'm not arguing that these don't share elements of Medieval European Fantasy, my point is that THAT is the proper term for it... not "traditional fantasy". There is no genre of "traditional fantasy"... or if you go ahead and look around at sites that do use the term, you're going to find a really wide breadth and width which is going to include things like Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. And I highly doubt that when you and Tormskull used the term "traditional fantasy" for your games, you were looking to include those two works within your definition.

Medieval European Fantasy = good term
Traditional Fantasy = bad term

I agree traditional fantasy isn't a genre. Nor, for that matter is Medieval European fantasy.

The problem is that we're mixing levels here which is a common problem talking about fantasy sub-genres. We're really talking about setting, not genre. You can take that MEF and have a Tolkienesque high fantasy, a Fafhrd-like sword and sorcery piece, or a young adult story. You can have it grimdark or noblebright, still with the same basic setting components.

Since this particular digression started with TV Tropes, I'll add this one. Standard Fantasy Setting

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed some baiting derails over semantics and abusive posts. Folks, we're really not interested in hosting a thread where folks gnash at each other over the words like "traditional", "classic" and other similar terms to describe a fairly typical set of game setting tropes. If you want to have a discussion about the content of these settings, whether they're still relevant/dominant, that's perfectly fine. However, if you have an axe to grind about the difference between synonyms like these, take it elsewhere.


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Manshoon, Sparkly Vampire Lord wrote:

Do you see! See what mixing classic fantasy with young adult fiction has wrought! I used to be cool! Then some b&!@& decided vampires should sparkle in the sunlight. Now look at me! I'm all sparkly, and emotionally complex.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry in my popcorn and watch Gilmore Girls with Fzoul.

Twihards forever!


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thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

thejeff, I want to make it clear...

I'm not arguing that these don't share elements of Medieval European Fantasy, my point is that THAT is the proper term for it... not "traditional fantasy". There is no genre of "traditional fantasy"... or if you go ahead and look around at sites that do use the term, you're going to find a really wide breadth and width which is going to include things like Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. And I highly doubt that when you and Tormskull used the term "traditional fantasy" for your games, you were looking to include those two works within your definition.

Medieval European Fantasy = good term
Traditional Fantasy = bad term

I agree traditional fantasy isn't a genre. Nor, for that matter is Medieval European fantasy.

The problem is that we're mixing levels here which is a common problem talking about fantasy sub-genres. We're really talking about setting, not genre. You can take that MEF and have a Tolkienesque high fantasy, a Fafhrd-like sword and sorcery piece, or a young adult story. You can have it grimdark or noblebright, still with the same basic setting components.

Since this particular digression started with TV Tropes, I'll add this one. Standard Fantasy Setting

Are we allowed to mention that site without flameposts following it? I thought reading TVTropes had become one of those things you can't admit to on the internet, like eating at chain restaurant or not hating comic sans with the passion of a thousand burning suns? [spoiler]It's just a font! Not that big of a deal! :P [/spoil]


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Set wrote:
Qaianna wrote:
Personally, I now want to bring around sometime a completely non-Asian style person with ninja class levels. 'There weren't ninja in medieval Europe!' 'That just means they were REALLY REALLY GOOD ninja.'

[tangent] A Persian hashashin could be built with ninja class levels, as could quasi-mystical assassins of other cultures. The only really hard-coded 'asian' elements are the weapon proficiencies, and are super-easy to adjust. [/tangent]

As for the various other elements, I'm of two contrary minds on the subject.

I'd like a purely 'real-ish' setting in which there's a fantasy-Egypt, fantasy-Africa, fantasy-India, fantasy-Persia, fantasy-China, *and* a similarly thematic fantasy-Europe, with fantasy-Celts and fantasy-Rome and fantasy-Slavs (which Golarion really doesn't have, since most of the Avistani nations don't really parallel well with real world Europe. Galt is much less 'fantasy France' than Minkai is 'fantasy Japan', for instance.).

I *also* like purely fantasy nations, which have no Earth parallel, such as Cheliax or Varisia or Numeria or Irrisen.

Mixing the two approaches, a bunch of purely fantasy nations surrounded by fantasy takes on Persia, Asia, Africa, North America, Inuit lands, etc. just seems weird, as if any non Western European nation or culture is as exotic and fantastic as a nation of devil-worshippers or a Thundar the Barbarian-inspired nation.

But it is what it is. In the end, all game settings are buffets. You eat what you want. If you don't want any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings, don't put any Numeria or catfolk on your plate full of Ustalav and halflings. Paizo is not going to send gninja to bust down your door and force a kitsune gunslinger down your throat.

..aaaaand now I'm imagining a kitsune gunslinger with her blunderbuss, facing off against an Ustalav halfling and a Numerian catfolk trying to pass each other off as prey. 'Halfling season!' 'Catfolk season!'


thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

thejeff, I want to make it clear...

I'm not arguing that these don't share elements of Medieval European Fantasy, my point is that THAT is the proper term for it... not "traditional fantasy". There is no genre of "traditional fantasy"... or if you go ahead and look around at sites that do use the term, you're going to find a really wide breadth and width which is going to include things like Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. And I highly doubt that when you and Tormskull used the term "traditional fantasy" for your games, you were looking to include those two works within your definition.

Medieval European Fantasy = good term
Traditional Fantasy = bad term

I agree traditional fantasy isn't a genre. Nor, for that matter is Medieval European fantasy.

The problem is that we're mixing levels here which is a common problem talking about fantasy sub-genres. We're really talking about setting, not genre. You can take that MEF and have a Tolkienesque high fantasy, a Fafhrd-like sword and sorcery piece, or a young adult story. You can have it grimdark or noblebright, still with the same basic setting components.

Since this particular digression started with TV Tropes, I'll add this one. Standard Fantasy Setting

Yup, there can be a lot of components to a game/book/story/etc. Which is why I think specific and accurate terminology serves the conversation much better than using words that relies on the assumption that everyone has all had the same set of experiences and preferences.


Personally, I hope so. I keep getting into groups with DMs who demand this sort of game. Inevitably, the ad hoc house rules start piling up and the game just collapses under the Titanic lack of understanding in the game system. Last couple guys who ran games I was in had that mentality and the game mechanics were broken beyond repair before the first session was finished.

Long story short, if you don't care about game mechanics and think everyone ought to just RP better, then don't fiddle with math you don't understand.


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Irontruth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

thejeff, I want to make it clear...

I'm not arguing that these don't share elements of Medieval European Fantasy, my point is that THAT is the proper term for it... not "traditional fantasy". There is no genre of "traditional fantasy"... or if you go ahead and look around at sites that do use the term, you're going to find a really wide breadth and width which is going to include things like Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. And I highly doubt that when you and Tormskull used the term "traditional fantasy" for your games, you were looking to include those two works within your definition.

Medieval European Fantasy = good term
Traditional Fantasy = bad term

I agree traditional fantasy isn't a genre. Nor, for that matter is Medieval European fantasy.

The problem is that we're mixing levels here which is a common problem talking about fantasy sub-genres. We're really talking about setting, not genre. You can take that MEF and have a Tolkienesque high fantasy, a Fafhrd-like sword and sorcery piece, or a young adult story. You can have it grimdark or noblebright, still with the same basic setting components.

Since this particular digression started with TV Tropes, I'll add this one. Standard Fantasy Setting

Yup, there can be a lot of components to a game/book/story/etc. Which is why I think specific and accurate terminology serves the conversation much better than using words that relies on the assumption that everyone has all had the same set of experiences and preferences.

Well, I think we've established that there's no "specific and accurate terminology". At least none that everyone will agree on. So it's something of a fool's quest. After all, according to some around here, when I say "fantasy" I might actually mean "Star Trek".

We should probably just drop all the shorthand terms and give a full description of exactly what we mean. Shouldn't take more than a couple paragraphs. Every time.


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Recently posted elsewhere.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Fantasy Pre-Columbian Caribbean

Who made that, and does it manage to not suck?

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