Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Pretty Real For A Fantasy Game

In a fantasy setting type game like AD&D 1E, there is a certain need, like in watching fantasy movies or reading fantasy books, a certain amount of "realism" that will allow the participant to suspend reality and accept the fantasy environment.

Mind you now, "realism" and "reality" are NOT the same thing.  Reality is "what is".  Realism is the information that the mind looks for to make logical connections.

There are fantasy book series that go above and beyond to provide the reader with detail information relating to everything from physics to cultural complexities that are anything but reality.  However, having that completely fictional detail provided allows the reader to replace the same information in their head that corresponds to his or her reality with details that make it possible to discard the reality and move forward with the fantasy.

AD&D 1E goes so far as to say in the Dungeon master's Guide that this is a fantasy game, not a reality simulator.  It is never the intention of the authors to make it be a game that is re-creating medieval history.  instead, this is a fantasy game that uses concepts, ideas and even names and items from what we know and inserts them into the fantasy.

For example,  I know what a longsword is in reality.  in the game, there is a longsword a well.  However, the longsword in the game, as far as I am concerned, is NOT the exact same thing as the longsword in reality.  They might share some traits but beyond that, the longsword in the game is it's own fantasy device and I do not have the expectation that it will operate or handle exactly like a "real" longsword.  New, fantasy, details have been provided for the longsword in the game in terms of how it works, how much it weighs, how it handles, what damage it does, etc..

Trying to go out and obtain all the specifications of a real longsword and use that information in the game instead is an exercise in futility in my opinion.  Now, as the DM/GM, we have every ability to revise such things as we like.  If you want to make them just like a "real" longsword, go for it.  Remember though, that it is your call as a DM to do that and it is still a fantasy game in the end.

Now me personally, when I see people arguing on behalf of reality in AD&D 1E,  I tend to step away from those discussions.  If I were to offer my opinion, it would like be taken as desultory or argumentative and really,  I personally have little respect for those with such little imagination that they have to turn this game into a reality simulator.  So,  I will leave those discussions and just let those folks argue amongst themselves.

So go ahead, sit back, relax, enjoy the pretense.  This isn't reality, it's just a fantasy game.

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