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Poll: The Appeal of Fantasy  

139 members have voted

  1. 1. What about fantasy appeals to you?

    • "Wish fulfillment" in some form; I have the ability or power to do things in fantasy that I can't do in real life (i.e. magic).
      66
    • "Escapism"; fantasy allows me to have my own private "world", outside from the influence of life's struggles and/or other people.
      79
    • "Simulation"; fantasy serves as the ultimate thought experiment, case studies in which we can decide the rules that govern imaginary worlds.
      47
    • "Challenge"; fantasy as a genre can challenge our assumptions about "reality" (which we otherwise take for granted) in a valuable way.
      58
    • "Novelty"; I find fantasy interesting simply because imagination can make reality look boring in comparison.
      65
    • "Just world", in fantasy everyone can/will get what they deserve, whereas reality can be unfair in its randomness.
      20
    • There's an additional reason for my interest in fantasy that doesn't fall under any of the above (please describe).
      20
    • I'm not actually particularly attached to fantasy genre; I simply tolerate it because it apparently includes most good RPGs.
      22
    • Fantasy offers a lot of narrative flexibility, allowing us to explore cross-cultural archetypes in an abstracted/generalized setting.
      70


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Hey guys, by now you have probably noticed my tendency to sporadically put up very generalized polls, and this is my latest effort. Essentially, I'm asking everyone to think very hard about why fantasy appeals to us, being fully honest with ourselves in the process. I think that we often tend to fall prey to the allure of crusading under the "fantasy" banner, without really considering what it is about fantasy that specifically appeals to us. There are many potential answers for this, and I believe that they have different implications for design philosophy, so I think it's important that this is considered. Poll answers are anonymous for the record.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I personally like it when fantasy does twist what we take for granted so I voted "Challenge". My second vote was for the "I'm not actually particularly attached to fantasy genre", because IMO most settings can be interesting if done well. In terms of RPGs, while I would appreciate a break from the usual suspects(I think a well-done superhero/villain RPG would be fantastic, if it was possible to balance well), I don't feel an incredibly strong need to break away from post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, and fantasy simply to break way.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

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Fantasy is rooted in/influenced heavily by history, and history is ultimately about stories, true or not, and humans view the world in narrative form. There's a nostalgia appeal, but all of the "tropes" of fantasy are based on ancient tales and myths that entertained and inspired ancient people in the times before the teevees and the interweb supertubes and so-on. Such stories have always been about escapism, because they're usually about excitement and adventure, as well as often integrating tragedy, like a hyperbolic exaggeration of real human experience. A good story is an appeal to the emotions of the listener/reader. The peasants of yore would certainly have found tales of heroes like Hector, Sigurd, Cu Chulainn, Rostam, Heracles, Sun Wukong and the like to be thrilling escapades, an escape from the mundane and often grim realities in which they existed. Most people dream of having power, fame, prestige, wealth, etc., and thus live those fantasies vicariously through such tales.

 

The fundamental truth, though, is that all the stories told, even today, are built on the foundations of archetypal legends and characters that appear throughout human cultures the world over. It's fundamentally something that appeals to the human condition regardless of setting.

 

That said, I'm all for novel settings (retro-future, steampunk to a degree, cyberpunk to a degree, and perhaps more adventurous forays into unconventional territory like Torment.) Fantasy is overused, but it can be great when done well, simply because it's a model that has worked for thousands of years. There's a definite appeal to the setting in that it hearkens back to simpler times, without being too simple (hunter-gatherer societies, for example.) Most people seek a certain balance between comfort/safety and risk/excitement in their lives, humans being the highly adaptable creatures that they are.

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Fantasy is rooted in/influenced heavily by history, and history is ultimately about stories, true or not, and humans view the world in narrative form. There's a nostalgia appeal, but all of the "tropes" of fantasy are based on ancient tales and myths that entertained and inspired ancient people in the times before the teevees and the interweb supertubes and so-on. Such stories have always been about escapism, because they're usually about excitement and adventure, as well as often integrating tragedy, like a hyperbolic exaggeration of real human experience. A good story is an appeal to the emotions of the listener/reader. The peasants of yore would certainly have found tales of heroes like Hector, Sigurd, Cu Chulainn, Rostam, Heracles, Sun Wukong and the like to be thrilling escapades, an escape from the mundane and often grim realities in which they existed. Most people dream of having power, fame, prestige, wealth, etc., and thus live those fantasies vicariously through such tales.

 

The fundamental truth, though, is that all the stories told, even today, are built on the foundations of archetypal legends and characters that appear throughout human cultures the world over. It's fundamentally something that appeals to the human condition regardless of setting.

 

That said, I'm all for novel settings (retro-future, steampunk to a degree, cyberpunk to a degree, and perhaps more adventurous forays into unconventional territory like Torment.) Fantasy is overused, but it can be great when done well, simply because it's a model that has worked for thousands of years. There's a definite appeal to the setting in that it hearkens back to simpler times, without being too simple (hunter-gatherer societies, for example.) Most people seek a certain balance between comfort/safety and risk/excitement in their lives, humans being the highly adaptable creatures that they are.

 

You know, I think I'll edit the poll to include an option along these lines.

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Fantasy is rooted in/influenced heavily by history, and history is ultimately about stories, true or not, and humans view the world in narrative form. There's a nostalgia appeal, but all of the "tropes" of fantasy are based on ancient tales and myths that entertained and inspired ancient people in the times before the teevees and the interweb supertubes and so-on. Such stories have always been about escapism, because they're usually about excitement and adventure, as well as often integrating tragedy, like a hyperbolic exaggeration of real human experience. A good story is an appeal to the emotions of the listener/reader. The peasants of yore would certainly have found tales of heroes like Hector, Sigurd, Cu Chulainn, Rostam, Heracles, Sun Wukong and the like to be thrilling escapades, an escape from the mundane and often grim realities in which they existed. Most people dream of having power, fame, prestige, wealth, etc., and thus live those fantasies vicariously through such tales.

 

The fundamental truth, though, is that all the stories told, even today, are built on the foundations of archetypal legends and characters that appear throughout human cultures the world over. It's fundamentally something that appeals to the human condition regardless of setting.

 

That said, I'm all for novel settings (retro-future, steampunk to a degree, cyberpunk to a degree, and perhaps more adventurous forays into unconventional territory like Torment.) Fantasy is overused, but it can be great when done well, simply because it's a model that has worked for thousands of years. There's a definite appeal to the setting in that it hearkens back to simpler times, without being too simple (hunter-gatherer societies, for example.) Most people seek a certain balance between comfort/safety and risk/excitement in their lives, humans being the highly adaptable creatures that they are.

 

You know, I think I'll edit the poll to include an option along these lines.

 

 

Noooooo...don't do that...don't you know that AGX is never right !!!  :p


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Noooooo...don't do that...don't you know that AGX is never right !!!  :p

****, Cat's out of the bag. It's time to bolt. OUT

 

Then again, liar paradox.

 

Minds = blown.

Edited by AGX-17
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Other: I am still a five-year-old-boy who wishes that "holding a sharp piece of metal" was still the dominant method of conducting martial combat.

i feel you... back then it took skill to defeat your enemy and survive a battle. today any idiot with a gun can shoot blindly and will hit something, or any veteran can get hit by a lucky shot no matter how skillful and experienced he is


The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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I don't particularly know why I prefer fantasy over other genres, I'm not sure if I do, though there certainly seems to be a preference.

I think it is because fantasy is free to tackle subject matter that wouldn't otherwise find its way into fiction, and it can do so in a politically neutral way.

 

I find though, that most of the reasons why I like fantasy, are reasons why I like fiction, rather than the genre specifically.

Yes, it can challenge beliefs, yes it is escapism, yes, fantasy is imaginative (hence the name ;))

But mostly, I think the fantasy genre allows an author (or authors) to set up a world free from real world conventions, and imagine their own. In that way it's very much a clean slate from which any idea could be investigated. The author is free to create his or her own setting.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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I voted for 'Challenge'. When I was kid, whole 'real' world was same as fantasy world. I didnt knew all the physics and stuff.  Now I am in same world when playing fantasy game.

 

example:

 

When I was kid I was afraid after dark in my room, because my imagination create monsters etc which may be jumping out of closet. Today when I grew up I know that science and my experience proove that its not going to happen. But when playing fantasy game am I again not sure about it and it feels great.

 

Cheers

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I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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I voted: There's an additional reason for my interest in fantasy that doesn't fall under any of the above (please describe)

 

I voted this way because all fiction is fantasy to greater or lesser degrees, ergo, as someone who reads fiction, watches fiction and plays games in fictional realms, I like fantasy.

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Maybe I'm used to it, I don't know. Been exposed to fantasy books, movies, games and more since I was a kid. Some grow tired of it, I still don't mind it. I guess I like magic and reading/watching/playing in different worlds with their own fiction/history/gods and so on.

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I guess for me its "wish fulfillment". I love starting out as some regular character and building them to fantastical power levels and abilities, wielding the best weapons and wearing the best armor. My kingdom to be able to become Ashen-Shugar / Tomas.

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image,Gfted1,black,red.png

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I think that, at the very least, fantasy expands the horizon of possibility. In reality, sure, there's stuff we haven't experienced. But, we know a much larger chunk of the experiences that can be had in reality. In a fantasy world, we get to experience things that are different, even about the very same experiences we've already had. It's like a hybrid of the things we think are great about reality, and the things we think COULD be great if they were real.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I think that, at the very least, fantasy expands the horizon of possibility. In reality, sure, there's stuff we haven't experienced. But, we know a much larger chunk of the experiences that can be had in reality. In a fantasy world, we get to experience things that are different, even about the very same experiences we've already had. It's like a hybrid of the things we think are great about reality, and the things we think COULD be great if they were real.

Or the things which would be more terrible than reality, to survive horrors and nightmares. The things that some dread and hope for. The drama of chaos, abuse of power and destruction. Violence and trauma. Heroics and cruelty. Fate and those who struggle against it or go with the flow. The nature of humanity when the person in question is only human in the past tense.

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^ Heh. I dunno know how to get into it very well with words and whatnot, but some of the things we think are "great" are, for some reason, very seemingly negative things. Kind of like how we sometimes want things t exist that scare the crap out of us so that we can feel thrills. Or how we don't want to get hit by a tornado, but we yearn to witness its destructive power.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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^ Heh. I dunno know how to get into it very well with words and whatnot, but some of the things we think are "great" are, for some reason, very seemingly negative things. Kind of like how we sometimes want things t exist that scare the crap out of us so that we can feel thrills. Or how we don't want to get hit by a tornado, but we yearn to witness its destructive power.

It is all perspective. Fantasy allows us to explore life as the tornado and learn what it would mean to wield that power. Whether for wholesale destruction or playful innocence. To be the target of it's wrath or some random nobody in it's path.

Fantasy is as much about exploring the heights of altruism as it is the exploration of corruption and the depths it may sink to if there were different limits. The many and varied facets of humanity and inhumanity.

The highs and the lows and how they interact. Even living in the middle ground in a world of such highs and/or lows.

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Imagination, which is why I mostly read fantasy and sci-fi, reading about something imaginative is more interesting than not for me; and for the most part fantasy and sci-fi are much better at this than other genres. Of which I'd love to recommend "Red Storm Rising" as an imaginative real world scenario that still manages to be interesting. As well as the Master and Commander series, which is rigorously researched and entirely based on historical events, but picks out those events where real life was weirder, grander, and more bizarre than most authors can dream of.

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Hmmm... so it seems we have a lot of people who claim to like fantasy just because it tends to have a medieval setting (swords and castles). I'd be very curious to hear their thoughts on magic, since that arguably has more to do with fantasy than swords.

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I voted: There's an additional reason for my interest in fantasy that doesn't fall under any of the above (please describe)

 

I voted this way because all fiction is fantasy to greater or lesser degrees, ergo, as someone who reads fiction, watches fiction and plays games in fictional realms, I like fantasy.

 

Hmmm... interesting, but you haven't said anything about why you like fiction, and I'd argue that many people's reasons for liking fiction would fall under the poll options.

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Oh mcmanusaur I made a similar post a while around the reasons for people liking fantasy RPG, you may get some answers and opinions  there?

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/62357-why-do-you-enjoy-rpg/

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I went mostly with "Novelty", in regards to why I like fantasy over other types of fiction.
Especially because I like a lot of surreal kind of fantasy, where the emphasis is more on creating a certain aesthetic, or feel, or the kind of fantasy that deals with... really exotic things, manifestations of abstract concepts, the idea that it's an infinite world out there and you could find literally anything, and it doesn't need a technical explanation, it just is.

 

Probably why I like the Planescape setting so much.

 

Wish Fulfillment and Escapism play a part too, though I can still get those through stories that don't involve dragons, wizards, or giant robots.

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"Lo and behold, said the propthet, thou shall fancy the sparkly magical genre of entertainment."

 

Tough question - I just like it for entirety of reasons. I don't mind the made-up creatures, lands, societies and such. Will not philosophize about it.


It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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I just like to immerse myself in the setting and lore. Not pure escapism, as I like it to be very believable and consistent.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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