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Old 09-25-2018, 08:26 AM   #35
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Does DFRPG more and more resemble a super hero game to you

The team is essential to dungeon-crawling fantasy even if it isn't inherent to fantasy (especially epic and heroic fantasy) in general.

The trope probably firmed up the most with The Lord of the Rings, which featured an adventuring company of four rogues, four warriors of various stripes, and a wizard, using all manner of weapons (axes, bows, knives, shields, staffs, swords), stealth, and magic to pass through at least one genuine dungeon and a bunch of other dangerous places, fighting a variety of monsters. The power levels weren't equal, but I'd be hard-pressed to say that anybody but perhaps Merry, Pippin, or Sam was a "sidekick." It's true that hack 'n' slash fantasy cherry-picked one Tolkien storyline to arrive at that point, but the influence is there nonetheless.

The three things fantasy gaming arguably added were:
  1. Clerics as healers.
  2. Cool ethnic stuff (e.g., your warrior might be a samurai with a katana).
  3. Equally powerful team members.
You could debate #2, because I'm not sure nonhumans aren't just a way to do cool ethnic stuff without reference to real-world ethnicities. Even #1 is shaky, since the differences between "cleric" and "wizard," and between "ancient arts of the healer" and "healing spells," are kind of vague in a lot of cultures' tales. Only #3 is solidly a gaming invention.

Coming around to supers, I think you have the same top-category roles – rogues who use speed and/or wits, warriors who use force (mainly super-strength and super-toughness), and wizards who use strange energies (be they energy blasts or psionics) – but the tropes carry different freight. The equality of power levels is once again an RPG addition, though.

Looking at it like this, I can't help but wonder whether games aren't essentially reskinning the same archetypes (not necessarily Jungian, but hero, trickster, and wise elder are always there) over and over again in every genre.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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