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I think part of it's a reaction against the decreased lethality of modern D&D.
But you don't have to invoke sword and sorcery subgenre to play a more deadly game of D&D. "War movie" and "horror" are genres more associated with a high death rate amongst the protagonists.

What I would be looking at if I wanted to make adjust D&D to be more S&S would be to remove alignment and aim for lower magic.
 
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He lacks Super Morality.
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Accaris

Explorer
Publisher
But you don't have to invoke sword and sorcery subgenre to play a more deadly game of D&D. "War movie" and "horror" are genres more associated with a high death rate.

What I would be looking at if I wanted to make adjust D&D to be more S&S would be to remove alignment and aim for lower magic.
I enforce alignment in the Doom that Came to Astreas. But not for the humans. Humans are decidedly neutral, but the other races are archetypical.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Not a Superhero. Superbeing. Occasionally Heroic in a given arc... but Loki's a villain and antagonist.

Though I should also note: Super Morality kinda went out the window in the late 70s through the 90s. But I can't think of any superheroes who maintained the title after committing acts of sexual assault.

In the Frost Giant's Daughter (the chronologically earliest work of Conan's life by Howard though it was written later) Conan fights alongside some Aesir against their Vanir opponents. He's the only survivor of the battle with 80 dead on the field when a practically nude woman appears and lures him into an ambush by Frost Giants.

He kills the Frost Giants then gets ahold of Atali, the Frost Giant's daughter. She calls out to Ymir, god of Frost Giants, who rescues her with a lightning bolt before Conan can rape her. Conan is knocked out and other Aesir from the raiding party find him, so he thinks Atali and the giants were just a dream.

Howard makes it -super clear- that Conan didn't -actually- commit rape, but absolutely intended to. Therefore Conan is innocent of all wrongdoing, because Howard was a garbage fire of a human being... but yeah.

Conan? Not a superhero.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I think part of it's a reaction against the decreased lethality of modern D&D. People who don't like that tend to be people who have played the older versions, and those tend to be people who have read the source material due to generational factors. But those are tendencies and demographic averages--there are definitely younger people who have discovered Howard and want to play OSR games. Basically, age, desire for a higher-risk version of D&D, and taste for the old S&S fiction are correlated, but they don't always go together. There are always people who don't fit the stereotypes.
Often mixed in with a dose of, “…and if you haven’t mastered a complex game system as well as I have, you deserve to lose your character.”
 





Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
But you don't have to invoke sword and sorcery subgenre to play a more deadly game of D&D. "War movie" and "horror" are genres more associated with a high death rate amongst the protagonists.

What I would be looking at if I wanted to make adjust D&D to be more S&S would be to remove alignment and aim for lower magic.

Absolutely you do not, but I think people have more of an idea in their head of 'I want to do something like X and not like Y' rather than dissecting genres like we're doing. If people's pool of reference is 'Lord of the Rings', 'Harry Potter', '5e D&D', and 'early D&D', they are going to think 'I want to try something more like early D&D and less like 5e D&D, Harry Potter, and LOTR [each of which themselves are very different of course]'. They might not be able to pick out the precise elements differing in each case.

But of course you can mix and match. If you put enough parts together from something different that the new Frankenstein monster has appeal of its own...well, you've got a new genre. Take a Western and put it after the apocalypse, and you've got the post-apocalyptic genre (thanks Mad Max!). Take a film noir and add robots and high tech, and you've got cyberpunk. (I am oversimplifying and someone could no doubt add lots of detail.)

From there, you can of course have post-apocalyptic things that don't draw on the Western or aren't set in the desert...genres evolve over time.
 
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