D&D General Why Fantasy? Goin' Medieval in D&D

MGibster

Legend
I would say (and I have said) that another reasons that fantasy predominates in the RPG world is because fantasy, moreso than any other genre, particularly lends itself to both the "campaign" and to the reward play loop (zero-to-hero) that so many people enjoy.
I wasn't so sure about this until I gave some thought to the reward play-loop. After all, there were plenty of television shows during the 50s and 60s with stories that could be viewed as a campaign including Rawhide, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza for example. On Rawhide, each week Gil Favor leads our band of cowboys through various adventures as they drive a herd of cattle from San Antonio to Missouri which sure sounds like a campaign to me. But there's a decided lack of reward play-loop examples. When Rowdy Yates guns down a no good varmint he doesn't immediately loot the corpse for +1 Boots of Scooting or that +2 Smoke Wagon of Doom the dead cowpoke carried on his hip. When Wishbone helps a sodbuster deliver her child he doesn't expect monetary compensation in return. I'm not convinced fantasy lends itself better to a campaign mode but maybe it does on the reward play loop.

What is surprising is the extent to which some people assert that D&D necessarily resembles medieval Europe- or would have feudalism (to use the example that was brought up in the other thread). To start with, D&D is fantasy, but while it borrows tropes from European (and other) fantasy stories, it doesn't resemble any specific historic period so much as it resembles ... itself.
In the other thread that went off on feudalism, I likened D&D settings to theme parks. It's like visiting Walt Disney World in Florida and going to the Star Wars world, then to Epcot, then to Animal Kingdom, then to Magic Kingdom. Each one of them is completely fake with a veneer designed to help visitors have a good time and separate them from their money. Likewise, D&D settings exist primarily to give player characters a place to adventure in. I don't believe they were ever really designed to model anything realistically.
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Everything I'd heard indicated that they weren't using it for market research, so much as just a goodwill/interest-generating product, and that it wasn't their view of a demographic that changes (if that were the case, why do it right before the initial 5e release, when they clearly were trying to recapture lapsed grognards?) so much as independent internet forums that they thought were ceding ground to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The people on the forums held no research value because they weren't the primary or even secondary demographic, as shown by research. Forums cost money, and had no value. Closed. This doesn't fight against anything you said, it's another line of reasons.

Also, it's not going to be leaked that there was little to no value to the posting on the forums that WotC cared about. At least, not after 4e's small PR disaster of alienating loud minorities of fans by doing that.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
In the other thread that went off on feudalism, I likened D&D settings to theme parks. It's like visiting Walt Disney World in Florida and going to the Star Wars world, then to Epcot, then to Animal Kingdom, then to Magic Kingdom. Each one of them is completely fake with a veneer designed to help visitors have a good time and separate them from their money. Likewise, D&D settings exist primarily to give player characters a place to adventure in. I don't believe they were ever really designed to model anything realistically.

D&D is to medieval history as the German Pavilion in EPCOT is to Berlin.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I always liked that the 1e DMG tried to make it be wide open, even if it was "loosely based on Feudal European technology, history and myth".

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MGibster

Legend
Of course they are. You think the dinosaur people living in the Earth's core are real?
I for one don't want to live in a world where they're not.

I think sort-of-medieval works because it doesn't hit the uncanny valley issue.
I believe this is why guns have been a difficult introduction to D&D for many people. They just yank us out of the fantasy setting because they seem more real.
We can respect each other as people, while still recognizing that we are not the most important thing to WotC.
I have it on good authority that I am God's gift to the world. I can only assume that includes D&D.
 



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