Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bonus Post Three: Bog-Standard Fantasy Bogs Down Fantasy

As most if not all of you will have noticed by now:  The Tirin Peninsula is not the standard Tolkienian (or Gygaxian) fantasy setting.  Unless you're house-ruling, you're not going to find elves, dwarves, orcs, gnomes, or halflings here. 

Now, mind you, this wasn't always the case.  But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that the standard fantasy setting came with altogether too much baggage.  For all that writers may go out of their way to put a twist on the standard, there are stereotypes attached to just about every aspect of it:  Elves must behave this way, orcs must behave that way, and nothing can be any too far removed from the works of Tolkien.  If the rules get bent too far, the readers complain—or jump to conclusions based on how things are in The Lord of the Rings.

Long story short?  Although I know that you can't really blame the setting for what the readers infer, I didn't want that baggage or those stereotypes.  And I really didn't want people jumping to Middle Earth-based conclusions about the Tirin Peninsula, because the Tirin Peninsula is not Middle Earth.  It's also probably best not to presume that what applies to medieval Europe (or some idealization or exaggeration thereof) necessarily applies to the Tirin Peninsula, either.

I'm aware that, in light of this, it may be a bit odd that I intend to make it Pathfinder-compatible.  Pathfinder, after all, is a D&D spin-off with a loosely Tolkienian core setting.  But it’s also got three strong points in its favor:  The basic rules are open content (meaning that I won't have to pay any fees or get written permission to use them).  I'm sufficiently familiar with the system to write for it with some degree of confidence.  And last but not least, it saves me the (tremendous) hassle of designing my own system.

No comments:

Post a Comment