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Old 06-05-2018, 12:51 PM   #11
evileeyore
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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Originally Posted by Harald387 View Post
Conan the Barbarian (1982) probably hews (ha) closest to the Dungeon Fantasy format: once you get through the origin story, you get a long sequence of 'sneak into the evil temple, find the treasure, sell the loot and spend the proceeds'.
I would argue that Conan the Destroyer (though it is a quest) also sticks close to the premise of DF adventuring.

So does Conan (2011), though it is a revenge piece, not a 'quest for loot'.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:59 PM   #12
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I was trying to think of movies that might fit the DF idea, and oddly the one that came up for me was Guardians of the Galaxy. I know, that's sci-fi, not fantasy - but the idea of mismatched characters who want loot or revenge coming together and finding they're caught up in a grand quest kinda fits, at least to my thinking.
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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I was trying to think of movies that might fit the DF idea, and oddly the one that came up for me was Guardians of the Galaxy. I know, that's sci-fi, not fantasy - but the idea of mismatched characters who want loot or revenge coming together and finding they're caught up in a grand quest kinda fits, at least to my thinking.
Along these lines, the 1980 Flash Gordon film was a brilliant adventure romp, squarely in the tradition of old-school gaming, if not dungeon fantasy.
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Old 06-05-2018, 05:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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If you go back to the original dungeon fantasy game, Dungeons & Dragons, you'll remember that those guys weren't picky: they threw in EVERYTHING. Tolkien, Lieber, Howard, Moorcock, Anderson, the Kung Fu TV show, Barsoom, Hammer Dracula, folklore, science fiction, psychic powers... everything. There is no bit of fiction they wouldn't use.
TSR: "Let's see.... and throw in medusas, sphinxes, rocs, nagas, ents, hobbits, orcs..."

Tolkien estate lawyers: *ahem*

TSR: "Uh... treants, halflings... Oh, 'orc' is generic enough? Okay, keep that..."
Or so I'm told. (Did D&D have to rework/rename balrogs?)

Anyway, this thread directly hits a question I've been curious about. Should've thought to ask it here, to the perfect bunch of people:

There are plenty of movies & TV shows with bits of dungeon-delving adventure: Conan's serpent temple sequence, LoTR's mines of Moria journey, and many more.

But it seems to me these always involve characters making side trips into monster-filled dungeons/caverns for some one-time quest or goal, or to pass through on the way to the main adventure. Or they end up underground for some unplanned/unwanted reason, and want to get out as quickly as possible.

Even in the D&D movie: from what little I recall of it, there's some sewer or dungeon action, but the characters aren't actual dungeon delvers.

So, my question: Has there ever been a movie or TV show about true delvers, who regularly and intentionally gear up and go down to fight monsters and steal their loot, again and again, just as DF or D&D characters (typically) do for a living? I'm thinking there hasn't been (hence this thread...)
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Old 06-05-2018, 05:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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Or so I'm told. (Did D&D have to rework/rename balrogs?)
That would be yes.
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Old 06-05-2018, 07:37 PM   #16
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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So, my question: Has there ever been a movie or TV show about true delvers, who regularly and intentionally gear up and go down to fight monsters and steal their loot, again and again, just as DF or D&D characters (typically) do for a living? I'm thinking there hasn't been (hence this thread...)
Besides the anime I listed above, you mean?

The problem is that delving per se doesn't provide much of what is traditionally considered plot to build a property around. Even in an episodic TV show, how could it be structured so that (a) each episode has a story, but (b) that story is not just the Defeat the Monster of the Week and Take Its Stuff? This is why the examples you mention use the dungeon crawl as an element in a larger story.

Add to that the expense of special effects (magic) and costumes (monsters), and you can see why most of the reasonably close matches are animated (starting with the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon) rather than live action.

Finally, there is a subtle difference between fantasy and science fiction in visual media. Essentially, science fiction settings are distinguished by their assumptions, which result in very different and mostly incompatible imagery: Star Trek is not Star Wars is not Aliens. Since "show, don't tell" is the name of the game, this works out reasonably well in practice.

Fantasy properties, on the other hand, implicitly share a remarkably unified visual language: you could drop Aragorn into Westeros and never know he was out of place to look at him. This means, however, that it is easy to get that visual language wrong, and disappoint the audience's expectations in large or in detail. This was one of the problems with the D&D movie, over and above bad acting and lame plot -- it just didn't look right, for a lot of idiosyncratic values of whatever that means.
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Old 06-05-2018, 10:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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The problem is that delving per se doesn't provide much of what is traditionally considered plot to build a property around. Even in an episodic TV show, how could it be structured so that (a) each episode has a story, but (b) that story is not just the Defeat the Monster of the Week and Take Its Stuff? This is why the examples you mention use the dungeon crawl as an element in a larger story.
Conversely sci-fi shows very often fit the theme of "shadowrunning" very well: plucky band of criminals/outlaws take missions against mega-corps, towns, rich people, criminal bands, etc; and end up basically 'dungeon crawling', just to a sci-fi theme.

Dark Matter, Killjoys, Firefly, Farscape, etc. Sure there is a bigger background plot going on, but those shows all felt to me like someone's space c-punk games turned into tv shows.
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:05 AM   #18
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Tales of the Gold Monkey is a pulp version, and there are modern counterparts as well. I'm fond of Jack of All Trades as a not-at-all serious early 19th century espionage-themed version of the same, but I realize most people will not have heard of it.

Consider how boring these shows would be, however, if the only crime they ever did was bank robbery. It's the variety of missions and situations that keeps the model interesting.

It just occurs to me that we haven't mentioned the best live action TV depictions of a more general (than just delving) fantasy RPG campaign: Hercules and Xena. Would that work, Q?


Edit to add: Speaking from experience (I wrote a chapter of the original Serenity RPG), Firefly is a textbook example of why "show, don't tell" is great for visual media, but extremely difficult to translate into a gameable setting.

Last edited by thrash; 06-06-2018 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:02 AM   #19
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

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There must have been some movie or TV series made sometime between the '80s and 'now' that fits the tropes in the implied Dungeon Fantasy setting
Star-Trek and Star Wars are prefect examples for games set within those genres. However, there is no equivalent movie or TV series to do the same for dungeon crawl games because at their core, they are not inspired by cinema, but rather by video games. The Lord of the Rings movies are probably going to be the closest you're going to get, though I personally like Willow the best for a generic high fantasy RPG setting. Otherwise, it would be better to use Diablo as an example. Even Diablo III, if the audience is a bit younger, but the original and the second, more especially.

Kromm has given his "Appendix N" for Dungeon Fantasy at some point on the forums, but I'm sorry to say I don't have a link. Probably should get Matt in on that action, too, since he's written most of the official scenarios and dungeons, as far as I know. Of course, there are a lot of other authors as well, all of whom have their own inspirations, I'm sure.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:57 AM   #20
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Default Re: Mood or Tone of the 'Dungeon Fantasy' setting, world...

Video Games....

Note for all the people recommending 'video games' to me - I don't own any video games or video game systems.

I've never had a video game system of any kind. I grew up with coin-op machines at an arcade in a mall. When you ran out of coins you had to stop playing.

This also means I don't own any computer games either, and I've never played "World of Warcraft" or other online multiplayer games. Gaming for me has always been a table top thing and I am the GM 80 to 90% of the time.

Like I said in the opening post I like to have DVDs or compact discs playing in the room as inspiration when I am preparing for a game session days or weeks in advance.

Free RPG Day is June 16th - that is the day I am running the adventure "I Smell A Rat!" that was included in the DF boxed set.

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