Monday, November 14, 2011

Fantasy Versus Science Fiction - Unfair Fight?

A good friend of mine has brought it to my attention that my recent series of 'Fantasy Versus Science-Fiction' posts, originally a way to air my thoughts on which of the two I should run next, have amounted to little more than D&D/Old School Medieval Fantasy RPG bashing.

Such was not my intention, nor do I 100% agree that that's what they are, yet at the same time I must concede that by putting thoughts to screen as it were, those thoughts do come up. I can't deny that I am not a big fan of D&D and the type of Fantasy it covers but since I don't run the game in the typical way I should have probably changed the nature of my comparisons. Perhaps.

Tell me what you guys think? Unfair portrayal or spot on observations? D&D bashing or honest gaming fan speaking his mind?

Inquiring minds want to know. I want to know.

Barking Alien

8 Days until The Muppets. I hope I can make it without exploding in joy first.


  1. I don't think it was bashing - much of what you said was true - but I think it can be applied to Science Fiction about as easily as you applied it to Fantasy. I think it's your preference for SF that makes it seem different to you more than any inherent quality of the genre itself.

    Much like an earlier discussion on how understanding magic is not required to play a fantasy character - despite that being a defining quality of "fantasy" - an understanding of science is not really required to play a science fiction character. Unless you're runing for a group of engineering students, making a solid background in physics a requirement for solving the problem in an RPG advenyure is probably a bad idea. If science and magic are similarly vague then how much difference is there based purely on genre?

    Conclusion: Supers is best so you don't have to get tangled up in these which-is-best type arguments. All are welcome in the Hall of Justice...

  2. While you make some accurate observations you do seem to be comparing the worst of fantasy to the best of sci-fi. The magic thing for instance - I totally agree with you about the laziness that is often attributed to magic, but there are works out there that tackle it in a fascinating and well-thought out way without turning it into "superscience" (LeGuin's Earthsea is the first to come to mind).

    Similarly with locations. In my D&D campaign at deliberately modelled the structure on Star Trek style planet hopping, except I used an archipelago world with enchanted islands in place of the planets (seeing as most sci-fi treats space as an ocean anyway...)

    Characters.. well I think fantasy actually has the edge here, as the choice of gritty to superheroic is much more justifiable and you can usually take your pick. I prefer more fallible every-day protagonists in my fantasy as well as in my sci-fi.

  3. Well put Dan. Very honest assesment. I appreciate your commenting. I do tend to base these things on what I have experienced myself and it may well be that I just haven't been exposed to enough good Fantasy.