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What tropes do you want to see more of in fantasy RPGs?

Silvercat Moonpaw

Adventurer
What it says on the tin: what setting/story elements do you feel don't get enough love in fantasy RPGs?

Personally, I think sapient non-humanoids as normal members of society is woefully underutilized. I know it's hard for beings without humanoid hands to interact with many combat and equipment systems out there, but I like having to think about how a new body plan interacts with the world.
 

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Ixal

Adventurer
More detailed nobility, even when it goes into dramatized GoT territory.
In most fantasy RPGs nobility is just something which is there and on the niveau of Disney movies of having a king/queen with immediate family and thats it. If its relevant for the plot there is also 1 evil/good other noble but rarely more than that.

No families spanning multiple noble titles, no divide between nobility and common folk, etc.
 

Argyle King

Legend
•Classic Knight on horseback...

But with mechanics that don't make having a mount a liability instead of an asset. (Sometimes D&D handles this very poorly.)

•A weapon/item which grows in power as the hero learns how to connect with it (instead of magic items shops and disposable items).
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
What it says on the tin: what setting/story elements do you feel don't get enough love in fantasy RPGs?
This isn't what the tin says. Tropes get too much love.

What I would like to see become a trope: cool bards. Somehow, musicians get lots of respect everywhere BUT in medieval fantasy. My money's on the bard if it's him versus the wizard in a swordfight, and the bard is likely the most gallant member of the party, so let's pay some respect.

role playing yes GIF by Hyper RPG
 

Tropes get too much love.
Agreed
What I would like to see become a trope: cool bards. Somehow, musicians get lots of respect everywhere BUT in medieval fantasy. My money's on the bard if it's him versus the wizard in a swordfight, and the bard is likely the most gallant member of the party, so let's pay some respect.
The problem is that, until the 19th C, we really don't have much about significant musicians outside the Troubadours - but those weren't adventurers. (The best documented Troubadour was Henry VIII, who played the local pubs during his royal progress - singing and playing the Tenor Blokflöte (Tenor Recorder)...Much to the annoyance of some of his courtiers.)

In the very late 18th C, we get "The Minstrel Boy" out of the Irish Rebellion a couple decades before, written by Thos. Moore.
And that sets a tone throughout the English Speaking world...
It is Moore's "Warrior-Bard" that is the major influence on the D&D Bards, not the historical Celtic ones, who were teachers and preachers, essentially the junior clergy (~deacons) of the druids (~priests), in training to become the higher clergy (Druids).
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Agreed

The problem is that, until the 19th C, we really don't have much about significant musicians outside the Troubadours - but those weren't adventurers. (The best documented Troubadour was Henry VIII, who played the local pubs during his royal progress - singing and playing the Tenor Blokflöte (Tenor Recorder)...Much to the annoyance of some of his courtiers.)

In the very late 18th C, we get "The Minstrel Boy" out of the Irish Rebellion a couple decades before, written by Thos. Moore.
And that sets a tone throughout the English Speaking world...
It is Moore's "Warrior-Bard" that is the major influence on the D&D Bards, not the historical Celtic ones, who were teachers and preachers, essentially the junior clergy (~deacons) of the druids (~priests), in training to become the higher clergy (Druids).
The problem with bards is that it mixes two different concepts. The minstrel and other forms of entertainers and drummers in a military formation who use sound and music to steer troop movement and demoralize enemies.
Its either, or. You can't have both. D&D tried and create a bard who has been the target of jokes for decades because of how silly that is.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
. . . D&D tried and create a bard who has been the target of jokes for decades because of how silly that is.
Hence, the need for a trope.

The problem is that, until the 19th C, we really don't have much about significant musicians outside the Troubadours - but those weren't adventurers. . .
Neither was Bilbo. But I guess we still need a non-hobbit-thief trope, too.
. . . It is Moore's "Warrior-Bard" that is the major influence on the D&D Bards, not the historical Celtic ones, who were teachers and preachers, essentially the junior clergy (~deacons) of the druids (~priests), in training to become the higher clergy (Druids).
It doesn't help that D&D started as/from a war game. If everyone brings death to the table, but the bard brings a recorder, who gets the bad rep?

Teachers and preachers? Now I'd like to see another trope: bards-as-sages. "The ancient, dwarf crypt was sealed long ago, and cannot be entered, save by ghosts. The Bard of Eenwhirl has studied it at length. If you can safely interrupt her lecture-song, she might bestow great knowledge upon your helmed heads."
 


schneeland

Adventurer
  • I would like to see more western monks (like Friar Tuck) / non-martial artists (there might be a certain overlap with a priest/cleric type.
  • Generally, more (bigger) fantasy game with a folkloristic touch (only major game somewhat that comes to my mind which fits that mold would be Vaesen).
  • A bit overlapping with the last one: archetypes that follow occult or historic magical traditions (witches, alchemists, shamans, etc.), incl. suitable mechanical representations
  • Athletic body types that resemble power lifters more than body builders (generally, a wider variety of body types, but specifically this one)
  • Female magic-users with reasonable clothing style (it's getting better, but I still see way too many illustrations that look like entries for a "magic-user or meretrix" questionnaire in the spirit of the old harlot table from AD&D's DMG)
 

Teachers and preachers? Now I'd like to see another trope: bards-as-sages. "The ancient, dwarf crypt was sealed long ago, and cannot be entered, save by ghosts. The Bard of Eenwhirl has studied it at length. If you can safely interrupt her lecture-song, she might bestow great knowledge upon your helmed heads."
Umm... probably not. That level of detail is probably the druids, not the bards. But, being primarily an oral-hymnody tradition, we don't have much. We have some of the hymns and tales written in the 6th to 8th C in Cornwall, Devon, and Wales. The written traditions of the Druids and Bards elsewhere are after replacement by Christianity. We have a few bits about them from the Roman invaders.
A bard probably had a repertoire of 20 to 100 songs, most over 10 minutes, used to teach the druidic faith, much as the skalds had with the oral sagas in the Norse cultures.
They're not academics; they'd not be doing research, but maintaining the local traditional stories and rituals, and seeing that the culture retains them shared.
 


schneeland

Adventurer
Already present. See also "Cleric"...
Kind of. It was meant as a broader comment (since we are in the general section), but if we specifically look at the D&D cleric, friar Tuck doesn't really cast spells and is also less about fighting in armour and with martial weapons than the D&D version. But that's admittedly also at least partly related to D&D not being great at emulating the Robin Hood kind of fiction.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Adventurer
There have been numerous attempts at a "Cloistered Cleric" in D&D and derivatives, mostly by removing armor and weapon proficiencies. Problem is they don't get a lot of use/press, possibly because healing has continued to be something that needs to be done in the middle of battle. I think if there was more ranged healing an armor-less cleric might be more attractive.
 

reelo

Adventurer
I would like to see more western monks (like Friar Tuck) / non-martial artists (there might be a certain overlap with a priest/cleric type.

The "Friar" from Necrotic Gnome's "Dolmenwood" setting is just that:

A sort of unarmored Cleric (with AC bonus), gets Simple and Improvised Weapons (pans, shanks, cured sausages), Spellcasting/Turning, Foraging, and Herbalism.
Very flavourful, decidedly old-school.
Which is to be expected, as the class is for B/X.
Might seem unspectacular at first, but the foraging and herbalism traits are vwry desirable in that particular setting!
 





reelo

Adventurer
That's a good point! Lots of good things in Dolmenwood that I'm looking forward to.
Yeah. I really really REALLY hope the setting will not be porter to 5E. It's too charming (quirky, weird, whimsical) to be ruined by stampeding superheros.
Besides, the setting doesn't lend itself to most modern class-concepts.

Knights, Friars, Minstrels, Hunters, Fighters.... That's where it's at!
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
What I would like to see become a trope: cool bards. Somehow, musicians get lots of respect everywhere BUT in medieval fantasy. My money's on the bard if it's him versus the wizard in a swordfight, and the bard is likely the most gallant member of the party, so let's pay some respect.
I'm quite surprised you didn't summon Snarf with such words.
 

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