What are you favorite RPG genres?

Committed Hero

Adventurer
Dystopia is a genre too.

If a dystopian setting starts off as an extrapolation from the trends of a status quo, how can it not be considered science fiction? I am struggling to think of one that doesn't fit that model. Of course, that description can arguably apply to all alternate histories, too....
 

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Reynard

Legend
If a dystopian setting starts off as an extrapolation from the trends of a status quo, how can it not be considered science fiction? I am struggling to think of one that doesn't fit that model. Of course, that description can arguably apply to all alternate histories, too....
I guess you might call it "soft" science fiction -- as in, the soft sciences like sociology? I don't think it is particularly useful to lump The Handmaid's Tale in with Rendevous With Rama.
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
Need to remember that you do not need to place everything in a genre, sometimes just placing material under fiction is all that is required. Thinking The Handmaid's Tale is that way, yes you could place it in another genre but is there a need.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
In terms of preferences, supers is my number 1, but sadly, one I don’t get to play often as I’d like. Fantasy (of all its subgenres) would be a very close second. Next is sci-fi, including hard, opera, dystopian anime and others. Sometimes, I get to play pulp/spy stuff, but rarely. I’ve rarely played in true horror games, and never played a western RPG that I can think of.

If you look at what RPGs I own, you’ll see a different picture. D&D across all editions- plus its clones & cousins- dominate my bookshelves. Champions/HERO and RIFTS are next. Then Space:1889, Paranoia, Deadlands (again, never played), Traveller and an assortment of other fantasy, sci-fi, and supers games. There’s 1-2 horror and spy games.

Play time is overwhelmingly D&D, then HERO, GURPS, RIFTS and Traveller in that order. (But I haven’t played Traveller in 40 years.)
 

aramis erak

Legend
If a dystopian setting starts off as an extrapolation from the trends of a status quo, how can it not be considered science fiction?
When the extrapolation assumes impossible or extremely low probability events as key elements, or when it incorporates magic. If it's a space setting, a little magic makes it into Space Opera - a subtly different form of speculative fiction. Not all Space Opera deserves to have Science in its label — not that this makes it bad fiction —

When Atwood wrote Handmaiden's Tale, in the years leading up to its 1985 release, it was looking to be extremely unlikely. It was an examination of the risks of a certain type of extremism extant in other places, transposed to the US.

I should note: I have not read the book, nor watched the show, but have read many reviews of both. And seen Atwood's responses. A newer article gives the reason why many consider it merely an alt-history but not science fiction:
Margaret Atwood said:
I made a rule for myself: I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist. I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behavior.


Basically, It's not Sci-Fi because all the changes were thought, even by the author, to be low probability non-technological social changes. At the time, it looked like a dark fantasy... but later events in the real world have altered that point of view.

Moreover, it's built on tropes that are all from real history - time jumped and mixed into a nightmare. Which is why I've opted to not read it. I didn't quote that portion, because of the gory details, but it's the same paragraph as above.

I am struggling to think of one that doesn't fit that model. Of course, that description can arguably apply to all alternate histories, too....

MASH - it's an alternate history, almost by accident. How? The active war phase of the Korean War lasted twice as long in the series as it did in reality. The Warrant Officers and NCOs were wearing the wrong insignia (both wearing 'Nam era, rather than Korean era), too. It wasn't science fiction - it was political commentary on the then ongoing Vietnam war, set in the past. Likewise, China Beach wasn't as much about Viet Nam as it was about the relationship of the US and warfare - a protest of American interventions in Europe, Africa, and South America. Every war, we seem to get a bit of an ahistorical historical setting fiction... and it's set in a prior war... but not about that war, merely using it as a proxy.

NCIS tries to stick to current — if bleeding edge — tech. But, despite looking a lot like our world and timeline, theirs has a whole hell of a lot more murders by &/or of USN and USMC personnel. Murder shows sell more commercials for better prices than simple procedurals. This makes it an alternate history (as does the renaming of the director), but not sci fi. And, like many such, it's making political and social commentary.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I like medieval fantasy up and including high-fantasy à la Tolkien. I don’t mind magic as long it is not too too prevalent. Actually, I don’t mind D&D’s high-magic as much as I dislike the fantasy-supers of high level play.

Sci-fi is usually hit-and-miss. As a genre I love it but individual settings are often either love at first sight or big nope for me.

I love many of the most popular “punk” genres (cyberpunk, dieselpunk, and steampunk mostly). I guess they can all fit in a broader alternate history genre, but they specifically revolve around specific technology being able to achieve more than what they really could.

And I love Star Wars, which is almost a genre of its own; not quite sci-fi, not quite fantasy, not quite retro-future…
 

damiller

Adventurer
Lord of the Rings (the One Ring iteration): I know the mythology well enough that I can just inhabit the world. Creating adventures and the tone are just comfortable!

Superheroes: Same thing as LoTR. I am so steeped in the general mythology of supers its just like slipping into a comfortable pair of mutated genes.

Star Wars: Not quite like the other two. I struggle with it because I dont have as broad or deep of an understanding of the mythology beyond the movies. So most of my Star Wars lately is basically Spies IN SPACE!!!! Which I like just fine, but doesn't really capture the mythological aspect I associate with Star Wars. But frankly I am over the Jedi and Sith and Skywalkers (in my RPG, I like them just fine in the media).

Star Trek: It was the first fandom that I really gravitated towards on my own. I discovered it after Star Wars but not by much, and the themes just resonated with me better. Plus it is just as mythological as all the others, no matter how hard it tries to be scientific AND Modiphius 2d20 system is just right.

Westerns: it must be the love I have for pulps, that I can't really make happen (I've yet to run a successful "Indiana Jones" game - its my similiar problem to Star Wars: love the tropes, don't know how to translate them to RPGs). My go to system from now on Weird Frontiers the DCC inspired Western. Its just enough crunch to kill.
 

Committed Hero

Adventurer
When the extrapolation assumes impossible or extremely low probability events as key elements, or when it incorporates magic. If it's a space setting, a little magic makes it into Space Opera - a subtly different form of speculative fiction. Not all Space Opera deserves to have Science in its label — not that this makes it bad fiction —

When Atwood wrote Handmaiden's Tale, in the years leading up to its 1985 release, it was looking to be extremely unlikely. It was an examination of the risks of a certain type of extremism extant in other places, transposed to the US.

This examination of a contemporary issue is large part of dystopian science fiction. I agree with her/you that it's not typical, but it does what the best dystopian literature does.

I guess "speculative fiction" is a better term that wasn't in widespread use in 1985.

MASH - it's an alternate history, almost by accident. How? The active war phase of the Korean War lasted twice as long in the series as it did in reality. The Warrant Officers and NCOs were wearing the wrong insignia (both wearing 'Nam era, rather than Korean era), too. It wasn't science fiction - it was political commentary on the then ongoing Vietnam war, set in the past. Likewise, China Beach wasn't as much about Viet Nam as it was about the relationship of the US and warfare - a protest of American interventions in Europe, Africa, and South America. Every war, we seem to get a bit of an ahistorical historical setting fiction... and it's set in a prior war... but not about that war, merely using it as a proxy.

NCIS tries to stick to current — if bleeding edge — tech. But, despite looking a lot like our world and timeline, theirs has a whole hell of a lot more murders by &/or of USN and USMC personnel. Murder shows sell more commercials for better prices than simple procedurals. This makes it an alternate history (as does the renaming of the director), but not sci fi. And, like many such, it's making political and social commentary.

I was struggling to name dystopias that don't comment on the times within which they were written. The writers of MASH were probably trying to do that, but not via the medium of alternate history.
 

aramis erak

Legend
This examination of a contemporary issue is large part of dystopian science fiction. I agree with her/you that it's not typical, but it does what the best dystopian literature does.

I guess "speculative fiction" is a better term that wasn't in widespread use in 1985.
Yes. It is.
It covers a lot of ground, tho', and it is generally not a useful distinction for finding particular types of literature.
I was struggling to name dystopias that don't comment on the times within which they were written. The writers of MASH were probably trying to do that, but not via the medium of alternate history.
They weren't trying for alt-hist, but they were succeeding. It's very safe to say that many in the Army during both wars considered Korea and Vietnam to be dystopias.
 

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