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25 November 2009 @ 01:29 pm
The Hoard Potato rags on Dungeon Fantasy some more.  
paka posted some thoughts on LotR Elves vs. D&D Elves, in which he noted that Unca Gary wasn't that much of a Tolkien fan, since the Professor's work "wasn't pulpy enough for his tastes".

I responded:
I have long felt that the reason Dungeon Fantasy mutated into its own peculiar, inbred subgenre that, frankly, doesn't really WORK that well was because players tried to graft the tropes of Heroic Quest Fantasy onto a system whose initial assumptions were rooted in the very different tropes of picaresque Sword & Sorcery.


I may be the only person who thinks so anymore, but to me, D&D's haphazard combination of High Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery isn't so much a matter of "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" as "you're wearing plaid and paisley together."


 
 
 
Pakapaka on November 25th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
I'd say it's more like;

1. Chocolate rocks. Peanut butter rocks. And chorizo rocks.

2. Therefore, mole peanut butter chorizo was our compromise dinner plans 'way back when.

3. Which means that years later;
a) it's a familiar dinner, even if people really don't like it much
b) regularly, someone attempts to sell the idea of mole peanut butter chorizo as haute cuisine, even though it tastes lousy
c) people eat mole peanut butter chorizo because it reminds them of good times, even though it tastes lousy and
d) people spit and curse about how absolutely dismal mole peanut butter chorizo is, and how they just will not eat the swill again
e) a few grognard types accept mole peanut butter chorizo as craptastic, but part of the unique "feel" of those dinners.
eggshellhammereggshellhammer on November 25th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
I agree wholesale!
Tube: nosetoob on November 25th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
BTAIM,

Give me high fantasy over pulpy swords and sorcery any day.
Your Obedient Serpent: grognardathelind on November 26th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
Amusingly, I'm just the opposite, most of the time. I'd much rather read about Fafhrd and the Mouser over Thomas Covenant, or Elric of Melniboné over the Wheel of Time. I liked The Scorpion King far more than I did Willow.
Darth Paradox: Rock Into Mordordarthparadox on November 28th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC)
Have you read any Brust? I'm guessing you'd be a big Vlad Taltos fan.
Peggyshatterstripes on November 26th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
And then there's pieces like this, which point out that there were a lot of other bits of fantasy that Gygax and Arneson were clearly into. Some, they were more shameless about - until Katrina, I had a copy of the first edition of Dieties and Demigods, complete with the unlicensed Lovecraft, Lankhmar, and Melniboné chapters!

But really, the stories most like a typical D&D campaign (IMHO) are those collected in Vance's Dying Earth. D&D's magic system was lifted from there all in one piece, right down to the rhythms of the names of the spells, and Cugel's assholish quest across the world, twice, to have vengeance on a wizard he pissed off in the first place, really sounds like the history of a single-player campaign gone horribly, gloriously awry.
Drakedrakegrey on November 26th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
"Paisley and plaid together" is sooooo apropos, for a room full of nerds huddled around a game table. :)

And I'll reveal what a lack of nerd cred I have, to say that back then when I started with rpgs (when D&D itself started) I couldn't tell the difference between high fantasy and swords and sorcery. I just knew that for the next ten years, fantasy meant 'dungeon crawl'. Oh, and 'what the HECK was up with Norton's D&D novel 'Quag Keep', with the bracelets with poly dice on 'em? I mean, dude. Seriously. :)
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on November 26th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
To flip that assumption on its head, it could also be said that D&D allows for groups to decide on their own what they're playing - if they're doing high fantasy or sword and sorcery. It is my experience that almost no group just "does what the books say". They take the options as, well, options. They say, "Some of this, some of that" and build the game out of the materials of the book - but rarely do they use all the material precisely as presented, though it presents enough options to do one or the other.

Tho', as written, 4th ed clearly sides on the S&S side of things. ;)
one in a billionsiege on November 26th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
I don't mind sword and sorcery, but I do mind players who approach role-playing with the simple mindset of "kill everything and win".
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on November 26th, 2009 09:10 am (UTC)
I've heard there are D&D groups who are like that, but I've never really been in one. Even the worst game I've ever been in, there was a big plot and story involved - it's just the GM was evil and stupid. But it is my experience that attitude is fairly well distributed through the traditional role-playing crowd.

I don't even mind the "kill everything and win" style of playing. If they want to have a series of tactical wargames with some role-playing elements to tie the struggles together for a larger "point", culminating with a big battle with a tough enemy, like a video game, I find nothing inherently objectionable with that, even though I have no interest in it.
one in a billionsiege on November 26th, 2009 10:26 am (UTC)
I once played in a game (the system is irrelevant) where the GM played to the munchkin's desire to be powerful and able to kill insanely powerful things in a single pitched battle. For me, it sucked. I was always playing catch-up because I normally don't gear a character for combat; instead, I tend to take support roles when playing in generic settings. But they didn't really need a healer, they wanted a fellow combat monster. They didn't care about my character's motivations or connections, as the plot was too simple for that. Locate the next MacGuffin, acquire it by any force necessary, use the set to locate the next part, use the 13 Treasures of Rule to destroy the source of Dark Water, blow up the god who shows up to prevent this, et cetera ad nauseum.
JP Sugarbroadtaral on November 28th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)