Day 3 Redux
Paul Mitchener has rewritten his weaksauce Day 3 #12RPG question! This one is way better. I swear, getting a straight answer out of a Brit is like pulling teeth sometimes.
What does the fantasy game you want to run do differently to D&D? What do you think of the dominance of D&D fantasy elements in what sometimes feels like every bloody fantasy RPG setting under the sun?
What I want my fantasy game to do different than D&D is a long fucking list. And it has everything to do with a deeper question I’ve been poking at about the purpose of fantasy, once you strip away the nostalgia. Like, what is fantasy for that’s different than other kinds of speculative fiction?
I want the characters to have their own agency and needs. I want them to have interesting lives without having to suspend every ounce of disbelief just to stuff them into a “party.”
I want the world to be politically interesting and fraught and difficult. And I want it to recognize the intersections of many kinds of power. Temporary alliances, unbreakable oaths, lies of convenience. Faith that people actually believe in. Values like loyalty and honor that are actually valued, which is just impossible to replicate in modern players without mechanical intervention or all-in buy-in by everyone.
I want cultures to clash but also I want them to enrich one another. The dynamism of intermingling peoples is, I think, a massively overlooked aspect of world history.
I want the problems of the characters to be relatable. Human needs are a million times more interesting than saving the world, again and again.
I want super scary, unpredictable magic in the world that invokes wonder and terror. That’s a toughie. Still want it.
Second half of the question is, “what do I think of the dominance of D&D fantasy” etc etc. What I think is, it’s infantile and gross. It’s also what sells. Which occasionally makes me cringe at the capacity of this thing we do to facilitate infantile, gross play. But I’m also good at pretending that everyone’s fun is fine, it’s all harmless, haha let’s just have a laugh and not take any of this so seriously.