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Mr. Mask
2014-11-23, 08:06 AM
In this world, we enjoy writing about dinosaurs, monsters, magic, elves, scifi, etc.. In a world that already has some of those things... how would you speculate it'd effect their fiction? Do you have ideas about the fiction of fictional cultures?

BeerMug Paladin
2014-11-23, 08:30 AM
The fiction would reflect the basic nature of the society. For example, take Elf-Classic. Their culture's realistic fiction would probably mostly revolve around villains destroying nature for whatever reason. Maybe a need for progress or a desire to learn. In whatever case they do it for, the heroes would be those that stop them and restore the life of the forest to health.

The basic nature of the villain in other settings would probably be similar. I am reminded of a movie I saw once where the bad guys were roundly defeated by healthy eating. Elves would totally make a futuristic sci-fi story about stuff like that. Or Captain Planet.

Orcs would probably tell stories about how book learning makes you passive, whiny and weak. Their villains would all be smart people who regardless can't lead a war camp, makes stupid decisions and are dumb enough to compromise for peace, so they'll lose a war of attrition even though they have superior forces.

Of course, no culture is as simple as telling one type of story or having one kind of villain. But that's something to consider.

Beyond that, probably a fantasy or sci-fi world is going to have silly escapist fantasies in their worlds too. It will just be something that violates the normal rules for technology or magic or whatnot.

TheTeaMustFlow
2014-11-23, 09:34 AM
Bear in mind that in a more primitive society (which most fantasy settings are), particularly one without the printing press, there's going to be a lot less written fiction around, so most people will mostly be restricted to stories told be word of mouth.

Edit: And since modern fantasy literature and speculative fiction are a product of modernity (they need high levels of education and literacy to be common to work), they naturally wouldn't exist in a standard fantasy setting.

Kid Jake
2014-11-23, 10:20 AM
They would solely write trashy romance novels. It doesn't matter what kind of world you live in shelves are going to be cluttered with trashy romance novels and without anything else to fill the gaps, they would naturally spread out to become the dominant medium.


Alternatively, they could write about things too fantastical even for their world. In a setting like Star Wars they'd read stories about people that beamed around on bursts of energy and no longer had war ala Star Trek.

This brings me to mind of a modern day monster hunter I played once that hated monster movies for being unrealistic and was the type of person to rant endlessly about it when provoked and he'd claimed to have personally everything from Gnomes to Chupucabras. Somebody mentioned the movie Gremlins and he commented that it was a helluva movie; they rolled their eyes and asked if that meant it was a realistic portrayal of gremlins. He answered "What are you, stupid? Gremlins aren't real."

hamishspence
2014-11-23, 12:36 PM
Alternatively, they could write about things too fantastical even for their world. In a setting like Star Wars they'd read stories about people that beamed around on bursts of energy and no longer had war ala Star Trek.

This brings me to mind of a modern day monster hunter I played once that hated monster movies for being unrealistic and was the type of person to rant endlessly about it when provoked and he'd claimed to have personally everything from Gnomes to Chupucabras. Somebody mentioned the movie Gremlins and he commented that it was a helluva movie; they rolled their eyes and asked if that meant it was a realistic portrayal of gremlins. He answered "What are you, stupid? Gremlins aren't real."

That crops up a bit in fiction- sometimes played for laughs:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArbitrarySkepticism

Milodiah
2014-11-23, 11:02 PM
An important thing to remember is that there's sort of a difference between legend and straight-out fiction. I'm not 100% sure of how much people really believed that kind of thing, but tales like Beowulf were somewhat presented as stuff that actually happened.

And it would be a hell of a lot easier to present that kind of story as true in D&D, because so much of it is. All the D&D novels we have would be sort of like their Beowulf stories.

Also, I can't help but think that since there's so many entries in the Monster Manuals, there would perhaps be a niche for speculative fiction about monsters so horrendous that even the spooky wizard who lives on the coast wouldn't stat them. It's like trying to do cryptozoology in World of Darkness...there's vampires, there's werewolves, there's ghosts and demons and mummies...who's gonna genuinely doubt you if you say there's Bigfoot?

Kitten Champion
2014-11-24, 06:03 AM
It's an interesting thought with regards to science fiction, I mean we exists presently in a not-so-distant future half-imagined by writers decades ago and yet science fiction is still a popular genre and ideas still exists for stories. Essentially, we don't really see the present as science fictional regardless of what trope staple we might actually fulfill.

So, I guess the question is what are the major social problems of this fictional future? What are the limits to their technology from which you can speculate change or conflict? Are there any sapient beings beyond humanity? Because -- I would suspect the underpinnings of the genre would remain the same, but like our own they'd continuously change the frame of reference to be relevant to society.

Also, speculating on current trends continuing into the future, I wouldn't be surprised to see authors of this future writing retro-SF from their perspective. Like steam, diesel, atomic, or cyber-punk evokes the mid-to-late 19th century, early 20th century, late 1940's through 1950's, and the 1980's respectively -- I could easily see something done 25/50/100 years hence written in a perceived early 21st century style anachronistically, either ironically or affectionately.

As to fantasy in a fantasy setting...well, depends on the developmental stage of the society. I think you could have something like The Tempest or Midsummer Night's Dream once you get around to plays and whatnot. I'm actually reading a story right now set in a counter-part fantasy France in the early 20th century, where the main character writes adventure serials for theatres that involve travelling to unknown lands and having sword-and-sorcery adventures.

For it to work I don't think you necessarily need to have modern levels of demystification, but everything can't be true either - which is the problem with most fantasy settings where almost everything is or plausibly could be. Something needs to be seen as fun and fanciful or why even bother? However, even something like magic could be played up with fiction in a magic-laden setting if the audience and writers are rather ignorant of the subject matter. I mean, a lot of SF like Star Trek throws out scientific terms and situations without any particular knowledge of them, I could see muggle pen holders with much the same attitude and bitter wizards writing scathing reviews of their trite inaccuracy.

Mark Hall
2014-11-25, 11:34 AM
In Richard K. Morgan's "Market Forces", the main character spends a bit of time confined, reading a book that those familiar with Morgan's work will recognize as Altered Carbon, his first novel. Fantastic technologies are still fantastic in a world a little less fantastic than themselves.

Nargrakhan
2014-11-25, 01:33 PM
I would think there's a bit of crosspollination with myths as well.

For example the Humans would have this demigod hero who crushed the Evil Green Tide at the Battle of Heroic Victory and slew the Vile Orc Warlord. His tale is constantly told to human children as a story about bravery and never giving up.

Meanwhile the Orcs would have demonic figure who used deception and lies to trick the Glorious United Tribes at the Battle of Shattered Dreams when he backstabbed the Greatest Warrior Orc under the cover of darkness. His tale is constantly told to orc children as a story to never trust an enemy and the vileness of humans tactics.

Same persons and battle; just a different spin.

Slipperychicken
2014-11-25, 05:06 PM
In this world, we enjoy writing about dinosaurs, monsters, magic, elves, scifi, etc.. In a world that already has some of those things... how would you speculate it'd effect their fiction? Do you have ideas about the fiction of fictional cultures?

They'd write fiction about the heroic Salarymen, whose drab, seemingly-pointless adventures take them from the comforts of bed and shower, across the smog-filled Black Roads of Hatred, to the soul-crushing Eight-Hours-Work, to face down the Almighty Bossmen, and trek back home again in an endless cycle of stress, despair, and misery.

Basically, our world is their version of a grimdark future.

hamishspence
2014-11-26, 09:30 AM
They'd write fiction about the heroic Salarymen, whose drab, seemingly-pointless adventures take them from the comforts of bed and shower, across the smog-filled Black Roads of Hatred, to the soul-crushing Eight-Hours-Work, to face down the Almighty Bossmen, and trek back home again in an endless cycle of stress, despair, and misery.

Basically, our world is their version of a grimdark future.

That's certainly the case in the Barry Trotter books. Or at least, the geekier young wizards play RPG games called things like "Accountants and Attorneys" where the characters do this sort of thing.


I would think there's a bit of crosspollination with myths as well.

For example the Humans would have this demigod hero who crushed the Evil Green Tide at the Battle of Heroic Victory and slew the Vile Orc Warlord. His tale is constantly told to human children as a story about bravery and never giving up.

Meanwhile the Orcs would have demonic figure who used deception and lies to trick the Glorious United Tribes at the Battle of Shattered Dreams when he backstabbed the Greatest Warrior Orc under the cover of darkness. His tale is constantly told to orc children as a story to never trust an enemy and the vileness of humans tactics.

There's a GURPS Discworld quote on this sort of thing- though it has less to do with stories than roles:

"A character who tries casting himself as the Brave Peasant Lad Who Outwits The Troll may find that he is actually one of the Twenty Poor Peasants Eaten Before The Knight Comes Along. Or even the Devious Little Human Squashed By The Troll Hero. (Troll fairy-stories are not very subtle.)"

Mark Hall
2014-11-26, 12:06 PM
Meanwhile the Orcs would have demonic figure who used deception and lies to trick the Glorious United Tribes at the Battle of Shattered Dreams when he backstabbed the Greatest Warrior Orc under the cover of darkness. His tale is constantly told to orc children as a story to never trust an enemy and the vileness of humans tactics.

I actually set up something like this for a character background at one point...


Something must be said of the Black Heart Tribe of the Storm Horns before one can understand the strange forces that created Ghoruk Ulkrunnar. Living in the mountains above Eveningstar, they have had frequent contact with humans, either with farmers who they raid, or adventurers who reprise the orc's raids on the farms near Eveningstar. This constant contact means that a quarter of the tribe is half-orc, and half of the rest have some degree of human blood. Human slaves rarely last long, but between them and the adventurers, the pantheon of the tribe has expanded to include some decidedly non-orcish deities, who have unique attributes to the orcish tribe, due to their own point of view, and partially based on their own oral history. For example, the assertion that Lathander uses a fiery spear is based on an event about 100 years ago, when a priest of Lathander who did indeed wield a flaming spear attacks and decimated the tribe.

Chauntea is understood as analogy to their own Luthic, but one who looks over the humans, rather than the orcs. Helm and Tyr are seen as two brothers, vengeful warriors who carry with them the wrath of the human race; their names in Orcish are Yam and Dur. Lathander (Lorub) and Selune (Shurga) are married, but Shurga takes pity on the orcish race; while Lorub throws fiery spears into the eyes of all of pure orcish blood, Shurga provides a gentler light. It is because of this kindness that the Black Heart tribe prefers to conduct raids on nights of the new moon, when Shurga does not have to see what they do.

Due to dealings with humans of questionable character, the tribe has a somewhat better understanding of the druid deities of Mielikki (Mukul), Malar (Mar), and Silvanus (Shark˙l). They are seen as a family, with Sharkul as the father, and Mar and Mukul being his fractious children. Mukul builds up the tribes of the animals, providing them to the orcs as food and ensuring that the strongest thrive. Mar teaches the orcs how to hunt, but in his pride and anger destroys indiscriminately, culling the strong simply to prove himself stronger. They constantly struggle, with Sharkul watching, assuring that the weak are culled and the strong thrive.

The remaining Gods common to Cormyr (Deneir, Tempus, Tymora, Waukeen, Lliira and Milil) are not much considered by the orcs. From their clashes with adventurers they know of Tempus, but see him more in terms of their own Yurtrus; a silent figure who brings only death and disease in his wake. He is simply called Yurtrus in Orcish, and that he carries and axe rather than simply using his bare hands is seen as the humans not understanding the ways of the Gods as the orcs do.

Many human priests would be shocked to see the bloody rites which are conducted to these gods; Yam and Dur, in particular, receive frequent sacrifices of humans and animals, in the hopes that they will be pleased and leave the orcs in peace. Of the adopted human gods, only Shurga (most CN), Mukul (TN), Mar (NE, CE), and Sharkul (TN, NE, CN) have true priests amongst the orcs; the others are appeased, not worshiped. Most of those priests are adepts, with a rare druid. Almost all clerics in the tribe are devoted to an orcish god, with Gruumsh being the patron of the tribe itself.

Durkoala
2014-11-26, 04:45 PM
They'd write fiction about the heroic Salarymen, whose drab, seemingly-pointless adventures take them from the comforts of bed and shower, across the smog-filled Black Roads of Hatred, to the soul-crushing Eight-Hours-Work, to face down the Almighty Bossmen, and trek back home again in an endless cycle of stress, despair, and misery.

Basically, our world is their version of a grimdark future.

To be honest, this is a joke that comes up a lot, even if this one is slightly more epic and dark... I think you may have just invented the equivalent of Game of Thrones.


I wonder what would happen if some wizard author of science fiction were to tell of a story about a godless world. How would the mostly religious population react? Would the clergy let it be published if it were clearly labelled as fiction? What would the indisputably real Gods of his world do?

Ravens_cry
2014-11-26, 05:01 PM
The future would be fun to consider, as art is a lot like fashion, and stories are a form of art. Some forms come, some forms go. Maybe novels will go on the wayside, while shorter forms will come to dominate the literary and even popular fiction world. I could even seeing that being plausible, as reading a novel on a screen is a strangely tedious experience, and if dead tree books become a rarity, it could make longer forms less common as well.

Jay R
2014-11-26, 10:48 PM
Go look through the fiction section of a bookstore or library,and you'll see that the majority of fiction is set in the real world in the current age. Much of the rest is set in the real world in the past. So most of the fiction in a world with elves, ogres, dragons, etc. will be about elves, ogres, dragons, etc.

Much of the rest will probably break down like Rincewind's speculations about universal laws for the universe, in which the power of lightning can be harnessed - but that's impossible, since it's an established fact that lightning is caused by the anger of the gods.

Palanan
2014-11-26, 11:39 PM
Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
Essentially, we don't really see the present as science fictional regardless of what trope staple we might actually fulfill.

Wash: Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science fiction.
Zoe: We live on a spaceship, dear.
Wash: So?

Jay R
2014-11-27, 09:43 AM
Most of the people in the spaceship read real-life stories about life in a space ship. Most of the elves in the forest glade read typical day-to-day stories about elves, dwarves, dragons, etc.

But there are a few people, kind of different from the rest, who read stories about outlandish things like football games, corporate life, or police work. The majority call this "escapist trash" and sneer at the people reading it.

Heliomance
2014-11-28, 11:11 AM
It's an interesting thought with regards to science fiction, I mean we exists presently in a not-so-distant future half-imagined by writers decades ago and yet science fiction is still a popular genre and ideas still exists for stories. Essentially, we don't really see the present as science fictional regardless of what trope staple we might actually fulfill.

I don't know, we're starting to get there. I mean, we can cure broken spines now. I carry a small device in my pocket which can instantly connect me to another person anywhere on the planet, and allow me to speak to them. I can use said device to watch cat videos. We have prosthetic limbs that are getting to the point where they're almost as functional as the real thing. We have weapon-class lasers. We really are starting to creep into sci-fi tech levels.

The game system Alternity has a ranking system for technological progress. I believe Progress Level 5 was defined as "present day" when it was written, a decade or so ago. I don't have access to the book, but I think we're now quite firmly in Progress Level 6.

Nargrakhan
2014-11-28, 12:40 PM
All this talk of sci-fi and fantasy reminds me of a campaign I was in several years ago.

Long story short: the GM had phrased and described monsters we were facing, to sound like strange undead golems with telepathy and fireball spells. It wasn't until the near end that we -- as players -- figured out the PC's had been facing robots using radio communication and plasma based weaponry.

From the prospective of the PC's though... they were just strange undead -- since how the heck could they know what robots were?

One thing I remember throwing us off, was when the party wizard asked what the golems were made of, and the GM cunningly describing hardened plastics and rubber from a medieval prospective. We thought it was this new magical material that was stronger than cloth and lighter than metal, but disguised so it wouldn't detect as magic.

He did it with such awesome precision and presentation... gods I miss that GM...

Gaming-Poet
2015-04-02, 05:04 AM
I'd like to risk "necro-rezzing" a thread, though I don't know whether three months is old enough to be considered too old for a response or not.


In this world, we enjoy writing about dinosaurs, monsters, magic, elves, scifi, etc.. In a world that already has some of those things... how would you speculate it'd effect their fiction? Do you have ideas about the fiction of fictional cultures?

Something crucial most people seem to overlook when it comes to fantasy literature: fantasy stories as we understand them could not exist without the schism between fact and fiction that occurred with the scientific revolutions and later Age of Enlightenment. Most fantasy RPGs and many fantasy stories take place in a mythologized or romanticized time prior.

It's not that people of those prior ages could not tell the difference between fact and fancy or between reality and imagination -- it's that, for the most part, they didn't consider the difference worth caring about.

A large part of this comes from the lifestyles of those areas and eras most often imitated in fantasy RPGs and stories. In general, the average man and woman back then would probably be born, live out a life, and die without ever covering more than a handful of miles. While modern First World people might assume this was the result of the lack of technology, it was actually the result of choice. Those people who truly wanted to "see the world" and were willing to take the risks to do so could always join a military, go out to sea, or simply explore -- but the average person found a sense of value in remaining part of the same community and same region from birth to death.

For such people, knowing the specific facts of their small region was very important to them -- often a matter of survival -- but knowing whether a story about events or animals on another continent was factual or not made no difference to them. They knew the events had no impact on them, they knew they would never have any reason to apply the specifics of the story to their own lives, and they knew they would never have any chance to find out whether the events were based in fact if they actually cared. Thus, whether it was factual or fantastical meant nothing to them. Instead, what they would care about (in addition to any entertainment value) would be whether the story's themes and wisdoms applied to their lives and whether the story fit their religious or metaphysical assumptions.

We know (as well as we can hope) that this is how the original audiences for Homer's Odyssey, for Beowulf, and for the Epic of Gilgamesh responded. In general, the ancient Greeks did not care whether or not there was in actuality a war against Troy involving an invulnerable hero named Achilles but instead cared about what the story told them about the nature of life and war; discovering there had never been an Achilles and discovering there was an actual scientifically-verifiable Achilles would have been equally trite trivia to them. Modern people might be surprised to learn how many centuries it took before the average person really cared whether or not Arthur had actually been a warlord (and ancestor of kings) in what is now Great Britain.

It was only when the science mentality became widespread that average people began to care whether something "really" happened and whether fabulous beasts "really" existed. (Obviously, it mattered already to explorers and the proto-scientists and "natural philosophers".) Works which could pass the test of scientific or scholarly verification were segregated from works which could not (and more than once have people in power condemned those works which could not pass said test!).

If a player of Dungeons & Dragons or similar fantasy RPG wants truly to understand the mindset of the time period being imitated, he or she should consider the following:

Modern Americans tend to divide all texts (written and spoken) into fiction, non-fiction, or religious works (with some overlap, such as the docudrama). There are even laws to punish those who claim certain types of fiction are actually non-fiction.

The average person of the imitated time period would divide all written or spoken texts instead into either Training or Entertaining (if forced to make such a division).

If the text teaches useful and applicable lore about farming, medical needs, food storage, or effective prayers, it counts as Training. If the text uses stories that indirectly teach how to understand one's spouse better, the psychology of people in power, the wisest way to live one's life, it also counts as Training -- regardless of whether the training on how to handle ill-tempered in-laws involves dealing with humans or dealing with ogres! If the text trains a person in nothing but manages to alleviate boredom, sorrow, or wistfulness, it counts as Entertaining. Most Entertaining texts tended to train subtly through themes that helped a person deal with people, and those texts are one of the many origins of modern fairy tales and legends.

So, in the end, the average person in any fictional culture which imitates the standard time periods of Dungeons & Dragons or conventional heroic fantasy would have no understanding of the modern notion of fantasy literature as something carefully segregated from our history texts, our anthropology texts, our zoology texts, etc.

Slipperychicken
2015-04-02, 09:11 AM
I'd like to risk "necro-rezzing" a thread, though I don't know whether three months is old enough to be considered too old for a response or not.

The rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1) say that posting in threads more than 45 days old constitutes thread-necromancy.

Maglubiyet
2015-04-02, 10:16 AM
The rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1) say that posting in threads more than 45 days old constitutes thread-necromancy.

Yeah, but it was a nice analysis, so...

Mark Hall
2015-04-02, 01:46 PM
The Mod Wonder: Thread Closed for Age.