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Old 10-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
TippetsTX
 
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Default TFT Setting Influences

Thinking back, I recall that the different fantasy RPGs we were playing back in the 80s were usually influenced by the fantasy books that me or my friends were reading at the time. As a result, how I pictured our in-game settings, regardless of what the actual setting details were, was often colored by those other settings.

When I was introduced to TFT, I was reading stuff like Thieves World and Black Company, but the biggest influence on me at the time was Jhereg and the other Vlad Taltos books written by Steven Brust. Obviously, there are many differences between Cidri and the characters, races and setting of Brust's books, but even so the two have remained connected in my mind ever since.

What kind of world setting does everyone else picture when they play TFT? What sources were the primary influences in your games?
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:05 PM   #2
Shadekeep
 
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

Naturally there are the expected influences of Tolkien et al, but apart from those the fantasy novels that most reminded me of Cidri are Roger Zelazny's Amber books. There are certain parallels between the Amberites and the Mnoren, though by no means identicality.

I like to draw inspiration from pastoral fantasy novels, such as the Zimiamvia books by E. R. Eddison and the fantasy writings of Jack Vance. I also draw on classic fantasy/supernatural fiction by H. P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, and various Gothic period authors.

One series of books that was an interesting influence on a campaign were the Well of Souls books by Jack L Chalker. While these are science fiction, they are a lot of fantasy elements and races in them. And the world is laid out as a series of huge hexes. ^_^

One other series that mixes fantasy and science fiction, and which makes a different kind of campaign setting, are the Gaea novels by John Varley.

It's also fun teasing out where elements of the original In The Labyrinth seemed influence by books. I believe the Goo is inspired by a similar creature in the Magic Goes Away series by Larry Niven (though giant amoebae exist elsewhere in fiction too, including Star Trek), and the Slinker seems inspired by the creature of the same name from Mad Moon by Stanley G. Weinbaum.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

There's something about Cidri - probably the nature of artifacts, mix of cultures and the fact that of the limited monsters found within ITL some are specifically prehistoric mammals - that reminds be of the Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolf. The square-off, mercury filled executioner's sword certainly made it into my games.

Also, the sheer size of the world makes me wonder if it's not a Dyson sphere or something like Larry Niven's Ringworld.

Last edited by Oneiros; 10-04-2018 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:56 PM   #4
Skarg
 
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

Well, most of all our relevant references had some impact, some more than others.

Thinking about it for a while, I can think of some specific influences for some of the places and things in my TFT campaigns (Tolkien, Excalibur, history, and the wargames I incorporated to do major battles had some direct input and references), those were the minority rather than the norm in most of my TFT campaign world.

For the general flavor and style of the setting, apart from the main direct influence from ITL itself (and the TFT adventures), I think there was a lot of vague general input from sword & sorcery films from the 1950's through 1980's, and various things from studying history in and out of school. In fact, as soon as I started GM'ing TFT in 5th grade, suddenly I went from a semi-apathetic student to a much more interested one, as many subjects were applicable to world generation and GM-ing!

I think the Asterix books may have had a mostly-subconscious yet major influence, because Cidri is sort of a mix of ancient/medieval and modern in some more and/or less subtle ways, and Asterix does a lot of clever modern riffing and imaginative world development that shows a mostly ancient world but with many modern and anachronistic references and ideas (and humor).

I think the modernism, whatever its source, particularly shows up in the commoditization of things, especially magic, and the frequency of wandering adventurers and villains who are not particularly related to the aristocracy / military.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:23 PM   #5
WhiskeyVictor
 
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

I would expect that "Appendix N" is a good starting-place.
Was there any published article interview of Steve Jackson stating his influences?
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I think the modernism, whatever its source, particularly shows up in the commoditization of things, especially magic...
Funny you should mention this aspect. As I started re-reading Jhereg this week, that was one of the specific elements that jumped out at me; reminding me of the link between those books and TFT... the 'practical' nature of magic in Vlad's world and especially it's use in the economy.

Last edited by TippetsTX; 10-04-2018 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:00 PM   #7
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

I'm feeling a lot of Disk World in Cidri's DNA. Nothing about the meta-story of the world or how it was made, which is all 'front brain', but rather a feel created by the combination of familiar fantasy tropes and weirdness, the humanization of the non-human, the goofy silliness. Hard to put my finger on it, but this is the connection I feel.

The only trouble with my theory is that Cidri predates Disk World's published debut by a couple of years. I conclude that SJ and Terry Pratchett have some dark Cthonic connection and/or love child that they aren't telling us about.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: TFT Setting Influences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oneiros View Post
Also, the sheer size of the world makes me wonder if it's not a Dyson sphere or something like Larry Niven's Ringworld.
(Pardon the necromancing of an older thread)

Whenever I've read about Cidri, the idea of it being a ringworld is the first that occurs to me.
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