Friday, October 21, 2011

My Own Sword and Sorcery Game: Part 2, Influences

I'm still in the note-taking process of mashing together my own role playing game, but it is fun just thinking about it.

Step one of this process is declaring "what" my game is going to be about. In three words: Sword and Sorcery.

The definition of Sword and Sorcery I prefer is by Philip Martin in his work The Writer's Guide to Fantasy Literature: From Dragon's Lair to Hero's Quest.

"Sword and Sorcery [is characterized] a strong bias towards fast-paced, action rich tales set within a quasi-mythical or fantastical framework. Unlike high or epic fantasy, the stakes tend to be personal, the danger confined to the moment of telling" (Martin 35).

I also like Karl Edward Wagner's definition: "[Sword and Sorcery is]...a fascinating synthesis of horror, adventure and imagination...displayed to best effect in a universe in-which magic works and an individual may kill according to his personal code". I like KEW's definition for it puts "horror" first. This is important for I feel that the proper father of Sword and Sorcery is Robert E. Howard.

The roots of Sword and Sorcery, just as those of Epic/High Fantasy, stem from the great epics (Gilgamesh, Beowulf, etc.) and the much later Lord Dunsany story, "The Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth"; however, it was Howard's 1929 Kull story, "The Shadow Kingdom" which solidified what Sword and Sorcery would become, even if the phrase Sword and Sorcery would not be coined until 30 years later by Fritz Leiber. Howard, of course, was heavily influenced by his contemporary, H.P. Lovecraft, and horror, and/or a sense of dread, was often a large factor in the Sword and Sorcery writings of Howard, and those of Clark Ashton Smith.

Thus I've begun my project by deciding upon my own early Appendix N. I'm sure the list will change as I go along.

Another early decision I'm trying to arrive at is a good working title. The best I've come up with so far is: Sword and Sorcery Game Algorithm, or SAGA. It is a mouth full, and the use of the word "Algorithm" is forced as an synonym for "System", but works as an acronym in the spirit of Fudge and GURPS, and it serves as a tribute to both the North sagas and the 1960's Swordsmen and Sorcerer's Guild of America, whose membership included Lin Carter, Fritz Leiber and Jack Vance, just to name three.

My second option is MOSS-Game, My Own Sword and Sorcery-Game.

Advice, votes and suggestions are welcome.

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