How RPGs Ruined Fantasy and Science Fiction

Friday , 6, October 2017 7 Comments

Yes, role-playing games are the culprit.

  • They are the root cause of why contemporary authors are largely unable to tell a complete story. (Their rpg campaigns were not designed to ever culminate into an ending, either!)
  • They are the root cause of why contemporary authors are unable to think beyond origin stories, flashbacks, backstories, and clumsy Freudianesque “motivations.” (Most aspiring writers approached rpgs as if badly implemented method acting techniques were the central to the medium.)
  • They are a root cause of why contemporary authors lean so heavily on over-explained world-building that doles out detail after pointless detail seemingly for its own sake. (Because nailing down the ecology of their dungeon and making sure the monsters had a place to go to the bathroom was “obviously” the way to create a superior gaming experience.)

Sad!

Fortunately, the good role-playing games contain elements that point to a way out of this cultural foundering. Check out Jon del Arroz’s latest podcast for the whole story!

7 Comments
  • Nathan says:

    I see your RPG and raise you fanfiction.

  • deuce says:

    FRPGs definitely spawned what I call “middling” fantasy, which is neither fish nor fowl. I — and several other people I know — believe books like the Dragonlance series and kindred (such as the later Forgotten Realms novels) sucked away much of the audience for sword & sorcery, since they often amounted to a kind of “S&S Lite”. Not the sole cause, by any means, but certainly a factor. That is sure how things seemed in the late ’80s-early ’90s, anyway. I had more than one D&D fan tell me they liked TSR’s novels better than REH Conan [or some other S&S] because the TSR stuff “was more like the game.”

  • Just finished listening to the whole thing.

    This is about the greatest and most insightful hour I’ve spent in a LONG time.

    Jazzed up and wanting to get back to writing.

  • Kate says:

    Jeffro,

    What kind of rpg stuff do you enjoy doing around the table if not character interaction?

    When you object to characters having motivations, what exactly are you objecting to? That they have any motivations at all, or the type of motivations?

    I missed the live broadcast, so was unable to ask at the time, but did listen to the replay.

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