D&D Has Never Been Suitable for Generic Fantasy - Page 3


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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    *D&D started as a pure emulation of Arthurian Chivalric myths. It is evident in the art and text of the ODD. There are Galahad-like knights and there are Merlin-like old wizards.
    O_o

    Gary Gygax wrote an entire appendix to the DMG to say what the influences on D&D were. The famous Appendix N. It certainly isn't pure Arthurian Chivalric.

 

  • #22
    Yes it is, because almost the entire Appendix N is about idealised heroic men with swords, killing monsters.

  • #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    Yes it is, because almost the entire Appendix N is about idealised heroic men with swords, killing monsters.
    That's a very broad definition of 'Arthurian Chivalric'and many of the protagonists of the Appendix N books are anti-heroes rather than heroic.
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  • #24
    As far as I can tell, about 70 or 80 % of Appendix N were American writers writing in the tradition of Old World myths...for example isn't Conan's Hyborian Map, just a substitute for "all the cool warrior cultures" geographical mishmash? You know, instead of Vikings, we got Vanirs, instead of Turks we got Turans etc.

    My point is that the Appendix N masterpieces were also under the influences of Nordic Sagas, Chivalric legends and some Greek myths maybe?

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    4e did try to be D&D... and failed in that regard... (actually it did not fail... but many believe so)

    5e wants to be as inclusive and versatile as 3rd edition is. (And I appreciate the effort and I love what I see so far)

  • #26
    Before D&D there was:
    * Arthurian tales
    * Robin Hood
    * Greek myths
    * Tolkien
    * Beowulf and Norse myths
    * fairy tales (Grimm, etc.)

    Everything else would be rated obscure, regardless of whether Gygax read them. His audience would simply not have understood.

    I would further add:
    * medieval historical miniatures mass war games
    Because that is the chassis he built everything else on. Arguably this leans towards "Arthurian" and "Robin Hood" as well, because of the role played by the armored horsemen and massed archery.

    It is easy enough to understand his foundational mechanics on these influences alone. Yes, the system accreted other quickly stuff to explore magic and fire breathing dragons in more detail, but the above is a reasonable working definition of "generic fantasy".

    I do not think Gygax was personally shooting for anything Tolkienesque -- he denies as much and I take him at his word. But Tolkien elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins and magic items were bolted into the game very early on -- presumably because his audience wanted it (and it fit prominently into their working definitions of "fantasy").

    Recall that not long ago we called this hobby Fantasy Roleplaying Games. What was meant by "FRP" was swords, chivalry, dragons, Tolkien elves, Greek myths, and sundry fairy tales.
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  • #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
    4e did try to be D&D... and failed in that regard... (actually it did not fail... but many believe so)

    5e wants to be as inclusive and versatile as 3rd edition is. (And I appreciate the effort and I love what I see so far)
    No, 4e tried to redefine D&D. It stopped being what TSR through 2007 WotC defined as D&D and began using its language to define new idea. Some were good, some were not. The evidence of this is everywhere.
    Tieflings going from "fiend-blooded mongrols distrusted by all" to "heirs of a fallen devilish kingdom with unified look and culture".
    Eladrin went from being the celestials of Arborea/Mt. Olympus to a fey race resembling gray elves that exist on the feywild.
    Archons stopped defining LG celestials and started defining elementals.
    The whole cosmology was changed from the roulette wheel of alignment to the vast sea of planar places, the elemental planes got crushed into one.
    Demons got redefined as corrupted elementals and the succubus bailed on them.
    Giants were just baby titans; who themselves stopped being related to the titans of myth.
    All elves became wood elves; primal and druidic (retconned a bit in Essentials).
    Gnomes became escaped fey rather than miniature dwarves.
    Many monsters got planar or elemental upgrades or additions; leading to the compoundword creaturename system of naming monsters.

    Not all these changes were bad, but they were departures of the 30+ years of lore that preceded it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    O_o

    Gary Gygax wrote an entire appendix to the DMG to say what the influences on D&D were. The famous Appendix N. It certainly isn't pure Arthurian Chivalric.
    Appendix N isn't really the be-all, end all on the topic. This is especially true as Gary lost more and more control of it and other talented writers (Hickman & Weiss, Greenwood, Cook, Marsh, and Metzer) took over.

    D&D is suitable for a variety of different playstyles and adaptations (from Ravenloft to Al-qadim) but its hard to argue the rules are suitable for adapting easily. Each setting TSR or WotC created (with perhaps the exception of Realms and Hawk) required major rewrites of the rules OR huge grains of salt to accept D&D tropes. (Look how something like Masque of the Red Death had to bend to create 1890's versions of the core four!). D&D is adaptable, but hardly generic.
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  • #28
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    I would basically agree. However there has always been room in D&D for different groups to do their own thing. While I would be disappointed if the next iteration of D&D jettisoned the traditions of D&D, like I think that 4e did in many cases, there should be a sense that DMs are not constrained by what the books say and the like.
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  • #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Zack View Post
    I would basically agree. However there has always been room in D&D for different groups to do their own thing. While I would be disappointed if the next iteration of D&D jettisoned the traditions of D&D, like I think that 4e did in many cases, there should be a sense that DMs are not constrained by what the books say and the like.
    I agree that the game should encourage you to make up the stuff you need to run the world you want. I don't think it really needs to to focus on providing that stuff itself when it could be providing D&D stuff instead. That said, I think there is room for 3rd parties to do that kind of thing.

    The 3.5 manual of planes would I think be a good template. It covers the D&D cosmology in detail, and then has sidebars and a chapter at the back which says 'That was our cosmology, this is how you could go about building yours'.

  • #30
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    Personally I don't believe RPGs replicate fantasy novels well at all. That's like saying Legend of Zelda replicates fantasy novels well even though the whole game for you is running around cutting down bushes. You know, you could do that in D&D as well, if you want.

    "Generic" fantasy is a goal I wouldn't desire anyways though. I like medieval elements and magical elements. Having the game with a definite fantasy realm with a past, present, and future is far more enjoyable than whatever generic means.

    What D&D does well is remove any specific fantasy world (unlike many other FRPGs) and instead provide a broad scope of fantasy worlds more or less easily imagined within it.
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