Forum > General Discussion

Are people having trouble with Fantasy?

<< < (11/11)


--- Quote from: EltonJ on December 20, 2021, 09:59:43 PM ---Are people not understanding the fantasy in Fantasy Roleplaying any more?

I looked at the Dark Elf thread, and I understand it was locked. What I mean is it's okay to have a race of villains in your own campaign setting.  It's a fantasy, something people make up.  When did someone's fantasies become political? I think people are confusing politics with fantasy.

--- End quote ---

When were someone's fantasies not political?  Are you going to seriously suggest that Tolkien's politics didn't inform how he created Middle Earth and get reflected in that creation?  Gygax's in Dungeons and Dragons?  More close to home, Terry's in Shadow World?  Come on!

Politics have always been in fantasy.  The only thing that's changing is whether you get to see your politics as politics or simply the way things are.

I'm seeing several different tentacles to this thread, all of them interesting.
1. Historic games and current culture/politics: I know that some of the historic elements have racial/racist foundations. If we know those and perpetuate them, we are participating. But I think 90% of these situations are unknown to the players, and it takes a fair bit of effort to assign blame to them. I'm really not a big fan of "the sins of the father are visited upon the son" or inheritance of guilt/blame. I'm also not a big fan of what I consider "reflexive self victimization," where individuals look at an issue and their first reaction is to look at how it makes them a victim.
2. Thinking games, challenges, and railroading: I've run into this a bit in my latest campaign. I give the party 3 or 4 plot threads to entice them, allowing choice. They get frustrated that I'm not giving them a clear direction. On top of that, I'm finding them more and more risk-averse. I've threatened them that the next adventure will be getting out of the retirement home for unadventurous adventurers.
3. My politics in my campaign: I deliberately put politics in my campaign, but not just those I agree with. I put elements that I like, and elements that if I were in that culture, would infuriate or terrify me. It's a way to experiment and explore the ideas, and how I and the players react to them. I have theocracies, homophobic cultures, racially/culturally split cities, misandrist or misogynist cultures. I do listen to players and try not to hit any really big triggers or personal issues, but I've been very fortunate to have players who also want to challenge whatever the norm or idea is. Even when I don't know it's there, they bring something to the surface. (They were in the middle of a turf war between two gangs and their first plan was just to create a social safety net to help the merchants who were suffering, rather than try to stop the war or become a third faction in the war. Not the direction I was expecting!)
I will borrow Cory's "Fun>Balance>Realism" line, and just say that yeah, if the realism of the cultures/politics is destroying the fun, the realism needs to go. But it all depends on the players, collectively.


--- Quote ---Politics have always been in fantasy.
--- End quote ---

  As a student of the Milton Friedman school of economics, I have also noted that fantasy has been an integral part of politics...but I'll end there before I tread deeper into banhammer territory...

  Tailoring a campaign to suit players was never an issue when I first started RPGs in 1974. There were no scenario books, just rules and very cheap dice that wore off their corners after a few months' use. The players were just happy to play every weekend, so we solved riddles, read puzzles in the form of poems (one GM was good at long poems where the answers were spelled out using the first letter of every line) and do the math (the same GM would design dungeons using mathematical formulae to place traps) and we'd have a blast with anagrams, cryptograms and even foreign languages (we were lucky to have Russian, German, Latin and Japanese speaking players) which added significant depth to the game.
  If my last group of players ran through the Xai campaign, they wouldn't have the patience to make it past the (puzzle operated) front door of a dungeon without trying to blow it up. As a long-time advocate of "Victory Through Superior Firepower" a fantasy world can easily trump that overused card.
  While GMing a dumbed-down mindless campaign is very simple (all I had to do is present a series of targets for the players to kill until they finally faced one they couldn't beat.) Their answer was building bigger and bigger units without the bother of having to administer or command them. In short, they wanted a huge army to throw at an enemy but didn't want to have the power or responsibility of command. I them had to remind them that no matter how large the army was, none of them were qualified to command more than a tiny fraction of it, if at all (we had one player unable to figure out the sequence of combat over months of play, and his math was atrocious). In short, I was doing all the admin work to run a military unit that was normally the players' responsibility. And they paid for it. They had no idea that all of their benefits came out of the paychecks, the food, medical treatment, legal fees, equipment maintenance, the mobile brothel, they paid for all of it. They had to pay insurance for everything they possessed or did. The NPC commander became incredibly wealthy because the players didn't care about accounting or management.
They still have no idea how much they were exploited...but as a GM, gaming was almost like babysitting and I suddenly realized that since the group was mostly younger veterans, I could see what a modern NCO has to put up with...Lol.   


[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page

Go to full version