Cultural influences in roleplaying


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Besides what others have mentioned above
Some of my friends were inspired/influence by Manowar and similar bands' lyrics.

I received some influence from animated The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Gummy Bears.

And certainly from all the various incarnations of The Three Musketeers up until and no further than The Man in the Iron Mask, which latter movie was also the time in which The Mask of Zorro came out. Of course, Cyrano De Bergerac falls into this group of influence as well.
As an additional Arthurian-styled movie to Excalibur, and Tristan & Isolde was Hallmark's Merlin with Sam Neill.
The older historical movies pre-Gladiator such as Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and Spartacus (1960).
And finally Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).
 

It does, however, require everyone to be onboard producing that sort of experience, which is not true with a novel and far less true with movies or television shows. This is often why a lot of RPG campaigns don't get into these things in the same degree of intensity as the other media; because either the designers of the game assume that's more intensity than the end users will want, it is more intensity than they'll want, or both.
Great point, that's why Critical Role was so popular--they had professional voice actors who were up for that.

There was an OSR blog (Grognardia?) that argued the experience of gaming was actually the lack of complete immersement, the experience of pretending to be an elf while joking around about being an elf with your buddies and having beer and pretzels.

So, it really depends on the group. I remember reading there were early geographic distinctions, with Midwestern groups being into realistic battle simulation and West Coast groups being more into high drama. I doubt any of this has survived but wonder if anyone remembers reading about it.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Great point, that's why Critical Role was so popular--they had professional voice actors who were up for that.

There was an OSR blog (Grognardia?) that argued the experience of gaming was actually the lack of complete immersement, the experience of pretending to be an elf while joking around about being an elf with your buddies and having beer and pretzels.

So, it really depends on the group. I remember reading there were early geographic distinctions, with Midwestern groups being into realistic battle simulation and West Coast groups being more into high drama. I doubt any of this has survived but wonder if anyone remembers reading about it.

I was actually part of West Coast gaming fandom at that time, and while there was certainly a lot more fictional centering than with the more wargamey parts of the hobby, I think "high drama" overstates it; there usually wasn't that much depth.
 

A game is not a book. Your DM didn't have the fine control over your characters' actions a screenwriter, director or author would. If you had fun, that's the most you can hope for. (I mean, there are cases where published replays of people's games have kicked off whole games or anime subgenres (in Japan), but we don't have that in our culture.) You got together to tell a story and have fun, and that's what you aimed for. Nobody's doing this to make art, let alone genre-defining art by a master.
While you are free to speak for yourself and the limitations of your own ambitions, you are not free to speak about me or mine. You don't know why we got together, and you certainly don't get to decide what we have produced together, at that time or any other.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Getting back to the main topic I would say that one area I am very atypical in this hobby is that the media I am most interested in tend to be ensemble dramas rather adventure stories. A lot of my approach to running and playing roleplaying games is shaped by TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Homicide - Life on the Streets, Hell on Wheels, True Detectives, Power, Deadwood, Breaking Bad and The Wire. Ensemble dramas about people on both sides of the law with deeply personal motivations that are sometimes allies, sometimes friends and sometimes enemies. Almost always driven by passion.

Even in speculative fiction my tastes tend to run towards conflicted protagonists and ensemble pieces. Dune. Wheel of Time. Interview with the Vampire. Bitten. The Black Company. X-Men (especially New Mutants and X-Factor). Sand Man. Constantine. Ghost in the Shell.

The only real exception for me is my deep and abiding love for shonen anime, but even then the ones that really appeal to me are focused more on personal motivations then saving the world or going off on adventures for the sake of it. The Sasuke / Naruto arc was particularly formative for me.
 

While you are free to speak for yourself and the limitations of your own ambitions, you are not free to speak about me or mine. You don't know why we got together, and you certainly don't get to decide what we have produced together, at that time or any other.
You're right. It's your game.
 

Getting back to the main topic I would say that one area I am very atypical in this hobby is that the media I am most interested in tend to be ensemble dramas rather adventure stories. A lot of my approach to running and playing roleplaying games is shaped by TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Homicide - Life on the Streets, Hell on Wheels, True Detectives, Power, Deadwood, Breaking Bad and The Wire. Ensemble dramas about people on both sides of the law with deeply personal motivations that are sometimes allies, sometimes friends and sometimes enemies. Almost always driven by passion.
No The Shield in that mix? If you haven't I'd recommend it for you given that list.
 

Aldarc

Legend
The only real exception for me is my deep and abiding love for shonen anime, but even then the ones that really appeal to me are focused more on personal motivations then saving the world or going off on adventures for the sake of it. The Sasuke / Naruto arc was particularly formative for me.
This is interesting. My formative experiences with anime gave me a different relation to shonen. I know we are the same age, so there is not the usual excuse of a generational gap, but I bounce completely off most shonen stuff. Shonen anime often feels too "thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread," with a lot of repetitive and filler stories.

Before streaming or consistent internet for downloading, a lot of my anime watching was typically via DVD, with some anime trickling via Saturday mornings on the Sci-Fi Channel and later Cartoon Network (i.e., Toonami, Adult Swim). I could not afford, much less bother my limited attention span and patience with, anime that extended beyond the 26-52 episode range. I grew to appreciate animes with tighter narratives and story arcs. Yeah, that precluded A LOT of shonen that I saw.

My first exposure to Naruto was at college with my roommate, a Japanese language major (now an international lawyer and expat living in Japan) who was using Naruto to reinforce his Japanese listening exposure, but my preferences had already formed by then and I was bouncing hard off of it. Considering the enduring popularity of shonen anime, I have likewise been bouncing off a lot of anime that commonly makes rounds on the internet.

It's also no surprise in some regards, that some of my favorites tend to be based off light/visual novels rather than shonen: e.g., Twelve Kingdoms, Crest/Banner of the Stars, Spice & Wolf, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Slayers, etc.
 

I was going to say that I can't really relate to this thread, that most of my influences have gone the other way, gaming => literature, e.g. I probably wouldn't be enjoying the Lies of Locke Lamora right now if I hadn't GMed enough to be interested in things like pacing and how awful thieves often are in D&D (Lies of Locke Lamora makes them interesting).

However, I thought of one clear influence. In the Book of Mormon, there's a section where Mormon (the primary author of the book and a military historian) spends several chapters going into depth on various strategic feints and ruses used in one of his civilization's wars: drawing armies out of fortifications, leading them on long marches before hitting them in the rear when they're tired, leading them on long marches so you can double back in a forced march and take possession of their own fortifications before they return, etc., never using the same trick twice in a row. I think it's safe to say that reading the war chapters in the book of Alma was largely responsible for igniting my initial interest in warfare outside the box, what we today in RPGs call Combat As War as opposed to Combat As Sport. (Also, in RPG rule systems that make it matter if you're tired, have the high ground, haven't eaten recently, are surrounded, etc.)
 
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So the question is what are your artistic and cultural influences from film, music, art and comics, and what themes and patterns from them have you noticed in your roleplaying?
My dad was big into adventure fiction, and a bit of an outdoorsman. So I've read a bit of Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter), London (Call of the Wild, Klondike short stories), Melville (Moby Dick), the journals of Sir Richard Francis Burton, and so on. I've read countless fairy tales (HC Anderson, The Kalevala, Brothers Grimm, East of the Sun, West of the Moon). My parents had this magnificent copy of Beowulf from the '50s, Gargantua and Pantagruel, The Divine Comedy. Others.

Ditko Dr. Strange comics, psychadelic art, '60s rock posters, Timothy Leary-esque psychonaught journals, early New Age writing, Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods), Zecharia Sitchin (The 12th Planet), other "Alien Conspiracy" ramblings.

Heavy Metal, Alt Rock, Prog Rock lyrics from the '70s and '80s; King Crimson, Ronnie Dio, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, &c. I remember listening over and over again to Court of the Crimson King, Man on the Silver Mountain, Temple of the King, &c. and writing down the lyrics.

The theme was that we were the Big Damn Heroes in over our heads exploring places beyond our ken, performing deed of renown without peer. Us against the World, saving the girl, and showing the inept king how to get things done. Unless, of course, we got ourselves in over our heads and the girls would have to save us. Sub-optimal, but acceptable. :)
 

Voadam

Legend
I think the biggest influence on my games now is the movie Army of Darkness.

Horror but PG 13.

Action movie combat.

Humor.

Jerk protagonist.

Failing forward.

Eventually rising up a bit to meet the challenge.

Great one liners/quotes "Its a trick. Get an axe."

Medieval warriors, magic, monsters.
 


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