Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Virtual Austin

    Default Questions that create opportunities

    Fantasy games lean on some pretty standard tropes that seem to permeate the majority of game worlds. One of the fun games we always play when making a new game world is to find new ways of expressing these tropes. This lets you make a world that is at once familiar, but with some fun twists for players to explore. I find this particularly useful when introducing new players to PRGs.

    Our typical method is to play "the question game", where you take a trope from fantasy and then try to explain it.

    Trope: Dwarves are obsessed with mining and crafting, they work all day and then drink all night.
    Question: Why do dwarves behave like this?
    Possible Answer: Long ago, the dwarven race dwelt much deeper under the earth. The energies of the underdark suffused them and instilled in them a latent racial madness. Unless a dwarf keeps himself constantly focused on a task or falling-down drunk - the madness asserts itself. This is a secret they never share with outsiders.

    Trope: Dragons sleep on giant piles of treasure. They are jealous of every coin, goblet, and trinket and fly into a rage lest the smallest bit is stolen.
    Question: Why do dragons horde treasure and never spend it?
    Possible Answer: The dragon reproductive cycle is entirely based on treasure. Dragons aren't just sitting on a pile of treasure - they are sitting on an egg. Once they have spent a century (or some other time span) laying on a pile of treasure - it transforms magically into a dragon egg which will then hatch. The more treasure that was in the pile, the more powerful the dragon that hatches.

    Anyway, you get the gist.

    Have any of you come up with fun 'alternate explanations' for typical fantasy tropes in your games?

    I'd love to hear them!
    Last edited by Democratus; 2020-05-22 at 08:15 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope: Balance between Good and Evil.
    Question: Why does there have to be a balance?
    Answer One: the question is false: it's not that there has to be a balance, it's that there always is a balance: equivalency between Good and Evil is cosmically enforced so that for each dragon, there's a knight to slay it, and vice versa. The problem is that as one gets more extreme, so does the other: dragons upgrade into demons and knights into paladins, so on and so forth. Pursuit for "balance" is hence not just pairing each Good act with Evil, it is the pursuit of avoiding extremism, to keep a dynamic system from undergoing wild oscillation.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope: Humans are the most adaptative species, and have countless derivatives races: most of the half-X have their other half humans, and vampires/werewolves/... are almost exclusively humans.
    Question: Why is the human the most bland race, only characterised by how well it can change?
    Answer: Human's ancestors used to be shapeshifters, but as society grew, peoples too good at shapeshifting were not trusted and excluded. Modern humans have lost almost all their shapeshifting powers, keeping only the capacity to specialise their body (and brain) more effectively than most race, their capacity to reproduce with a lot of other races, and some affinity to shapeshifting effects.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Earth and/or not-Earth
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope: Societies experience technological, political and/or cultural stasis for thousands if not tens of thousands of years.
    Question: Why don't things change over time?
    Answer: A society of sufficient complexity becomes alive, and exerts a subtle but powerful influence over its constituent people that drives them to maintain the existing societal norms. Occasionally a sufficiently strong-willed or insane individual will be able to overcome the society's influence and begin innovating, but they can't make anyone see the benefits of their innovations and eventually either give up and accept the status quo, leave society to become a hermit, or attempt to take over the world and change things by force (this is where many BBEGs come from).
    I'm making a webcomic, featuring absurdity, terrible art, and alleged morals.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Back in the mid-1970s, I developed a world intended to justify all the unreasonable aspects of the D&D experience levels, lack of technological development past the middle ages, racial advancement limits, etc.

    The world was identical to ours in all respects until 1054, when the light from the Crab Nebula supernova arrived, bringing with it raw manna - the stuff of magic. Originally, this had no effect, since nobody knew how to shape it. But all the legends of wizards and magical creatures existed, just as they did in our world.

    The first effects were that slowly, things people believed in started to exist. Little kids started seeing the bogeymen of their nurses' stories - goblins, kobolds, orcs, etc. They existed because all the children believed they did (children's beliefs are stronger than adults').

    This also explained inconsistent multiple pantheons. If everyone in Scandinavia believed in a storm god with a hammer, then that god existed in Scandinavia

    The presence of magic enabled new creatures to be created, out of the imaginations of the people - which is why so many of them look like medieval monsters of heraldry, legend and myth.

    Imagine a world of superstitious medieval people in which people's worst nightmares could become real. It soon descended into chaos, filled with monsters from every story from every culture.

    But in a few places, there were little islands of sanity. If the lord, or priest, had a strong enough will, and enough determination, and could sway the minds of their followers, then a certain degree of order persisted in their lands.

    Over time, these people started to die off - but their influence remained. The essence of the great Warriors joined together into a great subconscious archetype of the Fighting Man. (Yes, that was the term in the books then.) Eventually, any Fighter who grew powerful was forced into the form of this archetype.

    Similarly, the archetypes of Cleric, Wizard, Paladin, and Thief grew. As a person gained more experience, they could align themselves more fully with the archetypes, but only in certain quantum levels, which became experience levels as we know them. That explains why there were discrete experience levels of experience - why a fighter with 7,999 experience points had the same abilities as one with 4,000, but very different from one with 8,000.

    Since the original Heroes were human, non-humans could not attune themselves to the archetypes past a certain point. Hence, racial limits on levels. The exception was the Thief archetype, made of those who didn't really fit into human society.

    The scientific method does not work when an experimenter's beliefs change the results of the experiment, so the technological level never developed beyond the Middle Ages.

    That's the gist of it. It was much more carefully worked out, and explained everything in the rules I could find a way to fit, and I was quite proud of it. But I eventually realized that it had no purpose. It did not help any player, DM or character in any way. Any in-game explanation for the limitations of the simulation is meaningless unless it can improve the experience somehow.

    I learned a great deal about how simulations worked from it. A simulation should only simulate aspects that need to be simulated, and anything beyond that is a distraction, and makes the simulation less useful as a tool. [Years later, my Simulations professor said, "If we wanted to observe reality, we'd observe reality."]

    I'm still proud of it. It was a worthy exercise. But not one that improved the game for my players.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope: Always Evil monsters.
    Question: Why are some creatures unable to be or become Good?
    Answer one: all intelligent beings have free will and capacity to choose Good, Evil, or somewhere in-between. However, they cannot choose consequences, and becoming a monster is the consequence of choosing only Evil. So a monster isn't Always Evil because it can't choose Good; it's Always Evil because it has always chosen Evil and would cease to be a monster if it started choosing otherwise. Example: a succubus is a tortured soul who has only had sexual relations out of lust, sadism and desire to have power over others, never out of love. The moment the succubus feels love, it will transform back to the human (etc.) soul it once was. It can only be a succubus as long as it's evil, and it can only be evil as long as it is a succubus.
    Answer Two: free will only exists in limited forn, only in relation to particular choices and is limited by physical laws just like all other phenomena of consciousness. Hence, an Always Evil monster is unable to choose to do Good, just like a human is unable to spontaneously see in the infrared spectrum. An Always Evil monster can only be made to do Good by forcing its hand via external means. Naturally, such a monster can only freely choose between different Evil actions. Example: a spirit called forth by a necromancer to animate a dead corpse is in constant pain and, as a result, deeply and constantly hates every living thing. Its master can magically command it to do whatever, like save orphans from a burning building or farm, but it would never do these things on its own. Left to its own devices, it would use its meager intelligence only to destroy anything alive nearby.
    Answer Three: Always Evil beings are not free willed, independent beings, they are manifestations of a greater being's malice, such as God's wrath. Physically, they may appear a living being like any other, but naturally and metaphysically, they are equivalent to natural evils such as hurricanes, earthquakes and diseases: forces of destruction no non-divine being can be held responsible for. Example: Moblins are created from the malice in Ganon's heart. They exist only as nightmarish reflections of his Evil desires, they do not have capacity to choose Good and cannot be individually redeemed, they can only be eliminated by purging Ganon's presence from the Sacred Realm.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Trope: Always Evil monsters.
    Question: Why are some creatures unable to be or become Good?
    My answer: It's not true. That's just an unwarranted assumption about the 99.99% of the world that the PCs will never see. There could be a quiet, peaceful villages of goblins on another continent. It just happens that the raiding parties of goblins that my PCs will see happen to be evil.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope : Gold coins as most relevant currency and in stupid amounts but still as sign of wealth
    Question : Why is gold so cheap that so many items are literally worth their weight in gold and still used as currency ?
    Answer : Gold was worth more. But various forms of magical/alchemical gold making have lowered the value of gold until most methods of gold creation were not profitable any more. As similar things would happen if another material was adopted for currency purposes and gold has still other benefits (easy to store, doesn't corrode, looks nice) gold coins stay in use.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2020-05-23 at 02:27 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    *snip*
    Love it! I hear you about it not actually adding to the setting/game in any concrete way, but I've always had a soft spot for a world that's internally consistent. Really improves immersion.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Virtual Austin

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by grabdexter View Post
    Why should gaming companies lean towards live fantasy
    Not sure I understand the question. Could you clarify?

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Questions that create opportunities

    Trope: Elves have much longer lifespans than most other races, and in many cases are also more intelligent, yet they also take much longer than those races to learn the fundamentals of {insert PC class here} - particularly wizardry, which they are supposed to excel at.
    Question: If elves have so much more time to attain adulthood, why don't they start the game at a higher level than shorter-lived races?
    Answer: In addition to a general aversion to seeking power for its own sake, Elven culture is focused as much or more around artistry than it is utility. It's not enough to learn a cantrip or a sword-form or to shoot an arrow, elves also seek to learn how to perform these activities in a way that is beautiful, unique, or otherwise aesthetically pleasing. Thus while they have the capacity to learn at an equal pace to other races like humans, in their formative years prior to adventuring they take longer because they (and their teachers) weave/embed that commitment to artistry into all their learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •