D&D 5E The D&D Multiverse Part 2- The Remix Culture of the Gygaxian Multiverse

michaeljpastor

Adventurer
I think that trying too hard to make connections between fantasy setting and the real-world politics of the day is fraught with peril and misunderstanding. There are perhaps some broad things one could say there, but I think to press it too hard is probably a mistake, much like trying to read Lord of the Rings as a straight WWII analogy.
Well of course it would be a mistake. It is obviously influenced by World War 1. :)
 

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michaeljpastor

Adventurer
I agree with this, and I originally wrote a longer section that I couldn't really do justice to, and condensed it to the following:

These same feelings- what we would call "the streams being crossed" was also just a general part of the gestalt of that era. It was common to see fantasy works which had "modern people" placed in Fantasy settings (e.g., Stephen Donaldson) or technology that was indistinguishable from magic (Julian May) or parallel universes (Zelazny).

But yeah- the 1961 Hugo Award nominee, Scylla's Daughter (Leiber) was a sword & sorcery adventure that had a modern German time traveler with a Lankhmar/German dictionary interacting with Fafhrd and the Mouser. Different times!
I'm really surprised I haven't seen a lot of commentary about the influence of Lovecraftian Cthulhu horror. Admittedly it was on the fringes, despite its inclusion in deities and demigods; which is ironic considering that it's considered the Far Realm now and it's getting a little bit of a Revival.

Personally I'm not a fan of Cthulhu in d-and-d. There was something about it that was modernism's skeptical to a fault point of view of ancient alien Magic. I'm sure I'd enjoy a pure Call of Cthulhu game however.
 

michaeljpastor

Adventurer
The "why" doesn't really matter much. All these shows where influenced by, but more importantly, influenced, the zeitgeist. Even though D&D wasn't limited in what it could do by TV budgets it still had to speak the language of the culture which had been defined by those TV shows.

So you can, for example, trace the Cold War Nuclear fears influence in Gamma World and Dark Sun 70s/80s, the Star Wars influence in Dragonlance and Baldur's Gate 80s/90s, LotR movie influence in the early 2000s, and so on.
The single most influential College course I ever took was in my freshman year at the College of Wooster. The title of the course was March 2nd 1667 and it was all about Hypertext Theory. Basically the premise was that no text ( books movies art or whatever) exist in isolation and is influenced by many different things, especially other texts. We used a program called guide to map out these connections. The reason for the title of the course was the date in Samuel Pepys diary entry from whence we launched our individual investigations. Then we spent the rest of the semester drawing the connections between our individual papers. One student did her entire research on 17th century women's fashion and misogynistic oppression. I concentrated on architecture

It would be fascinating to map out the hyper textual connections that connect to Dungeons & Dragons and its various editions and publications , both from texts and the world.
 

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