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D&D General The first official D&D novel, a surprise


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don’t know if I’d count that. I mean, it wasn’t a group of kids being transported to a fantasy world. It was a guy being transported to a place people believed existed.

It was a contemporary person being transported to a fanciful world of figurative meaning (Dante and Medieval Catholics believed in Hell, but not in the physical sense as depicted. Source for further reference: C. S. Lewis, Oxford professor of Dante, humorously enough).

And Dante didn't invent that sort of structure either. The oddity is actually the modern Fantasy without a frame story of mundane people traveling to another world.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Read a lot of fantasy back then, and yes, it was a pretty common trope. 😊
Yup - to the extent that it got its own name: "Portal fantasy."

As far as "true" portal fantasy, where you literally cross into another plane or universe, the most popular examples I can think of are C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" and Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. But if you widen the frame just a little, to include stories where the fantasy world is nominally part of our own but so cut off from the mundane that it might as well be another plane... man, the list goes on forever. Everything from "Peter Pan" and "The Wizard of Oz" to "A Wrinkle in Time." You could even make a case for "Harry Potter," although the dividing line in that one gets much fuzzier as the series wears on.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I read this as soon as I could get a copy after I found out about it. I did like it. I started the sequel but never finished it.

The first is a “real” people drug into D&D, kind of like the cartoon, but with amnesia. Which struck me as interesting that it would have the same trope. I wonder if this was a common idea or trope back then?
Joel Rosenberg also used the idea in his Guardians of The Flame series, and did very interesting things with it, like Karl being unable to teach someone how to Barbarian, because he had never actually learnt himself, but just magically gained X levels in the class when he was transported while playing a Barbarian PC. And the fact that they all had to find a balance between their character’s persona and their own, with Karl completely sublimating his character in the end, while John Michael simply allows himself to become Ahira the Dwarf, because he never liked being John Michael anyway. (I think I have their names right! Lol)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yup - to the extent that it got its own name: "Portal fantasy."

As far as "true" portal fantasy, where you literally cross into another plane or universe, the most popular examples I can think of are C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" and Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. But if you widen the frame just a little, to include stories where the fantasy world is nominally part of our own but so cut off from the mundane that it might as well be another plane... man, the list goes on forever. Everything from "Peter Pan" and "The Wizard of Oz" to "A Wrinkle in Time." You could even make a case for "Harry Potter," although the dividing line in that one gets much fuzzier as the series wears on.
Also the John Wick movies.
 




Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Joel Rosenberg also used the idea in his Guardians of The Flame series, and did very interesting things with it, like Karl being unable to teach someone how to Barbarian, because he had never actually learnt himself, but just magically gained X levels in the class when he was transported while playing a Barbarian PC. And the fact that they all had to find a balance between their character’s persona and their own, with Karl completely sublimating his character in the end, while John Michael simply allows himself to become Ahira the Dwarf, because he never liked being John Michael anyway. (I think I have their names right! Lol)
Or that guy who became an engineer and unleashed engineering upon the fantasy world...
 


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