Guest Post: “Progression Fantasy – A Merger of Genres?” by Alex Knight

KnightA-AuthorPicFantasy, as we know it, is an ever-evolving genre. It’s wild, sprawling, and impossible to pin down for any length of time. It’s the beauty of the genre.

At the present, though, I believe we’re seeing a relatively unique evolution in progress.

In recent years, the genre of LitRPG has exploded on the indie and small press scene – and is now reaching into traditional publishing and media. For those that don’t know LitRPG, there are a bunch of definitions, but the one that’s always helped me is this: LitRPG is any story where the characters go into a video game OR the story takes place in a game world OR the story takes place in a world where game logic and mechanics replace physics. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Writing Novels vs. RPGs” by F. Wesley Schneider

SchneiderFW-AuthorPicWriting a novel, you’re telling your story. Writing an RPG adventure, you’re telling a thousand stories, none of which are yours. They’re both fantastic mediums, but they’re nothing alike.

I’ve been writing stories for roleplaying games like the Pathfinder RPG and Dungeons & Dragons for more than fifteen years, and as the editor-in-chief at Paizo Inc., my team and I create the former. While RPG players always love new options for their games, published adventures stand at a pinnacle of tabletop RPG design. These adventures look something like a giant outline, detailing monsters, settings, and the behavior of a story’s minor players. But main characters, those run by the game’s players, are complete mysteries. As the writer of an RPG adventure, you’re telling a story without knowing the main characters and have to predict various outcomes for every scenario. It sounds crazy — and it sort of is — but these stories are designed to allow players to create any characters they want and send them in to experience the adventure. Adding to the challenge, the adventure’s author isn’t the one telling players the story, that’s the Game Master’s responsibility. So, on top of these stories’ complexity, the author ultimately hands the story off to someone else to tell. It’s a challenging way to tell a story — and that’s before you even factor in that you have to include game rules. Continue reading