Heroes of Hope

Joseph Manola has made a good case for approaching the style of Romantic Fantasy as something broader than only the settings of “Pladins & Princesses” that takes a central part in the Blue Rose RPG. I only learned a month ago that he’s been working on his Against the Wicked City setting for over a year, which like my own work on the Old World has been greatly inspired by the ideas and concepts of Romantic Fantasy. And apparently it seems that we both idepently decided on very similar tones and priorities. But the term is highly problematic. For a game like Blue Rose the association with love stories works in their favor, but the 20th century use of “romance” has replaced it’s previous use so thoroughly that you can’t really untangle it anymore. (Previously romance meant pretty much the same thing we call fantasy today.) It’s rare to find mention of Planetary Romance these days, but you might have a vague idea what to expect from Sword & Planet fiction. I think there has to be a better way to describe the broader concept that won’t make most fantasy fans “eww… is this kissing stories?”.

There is currently a thread going on on rpg.net, and while my favorite is High Valor, Hope & Heroism seems to be one of the more popular proposals. Which I think has a quite nice ring to it, is easily identified as a name for a style of fantasy, and I think it includes the essential qualities right in the title, just like Sword & Sorcery. If you never heard it (which you won’t, because we just made it up) you probably still get a good idea what it would stand for.

"I wish to see with eyes unclouded."

“I wish to see with eyes unclouded.”

Metal-Gear-Solid-Snake

“I am no hero. Never was; never will be. I’m just an old killer hired to do some wetwork. All the heroes I know are either dead, or in prison.”

"Butt kicking for goodness!"

“Butt kicking for goodness!”

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“Too many men have died at its edge. It may look pure… , but only because blood washes so easily from its blade. “

obi-wan-kenobi

“For over a thousand generations, the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic… before the dark times… before the empire.”

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"... and engage in jolly cooperation!"

“… and engage in jolly cooperation!”

"We were meant to be incorruptible, above reproach. How seldom does reality match the ideal."

“We were meant to be incorruptible, above reproach. How seldom does reality match the ideal.”

I hope this will dispel any notion that this is Wusses & Woobies. Badassery is not mandatory to personify the ideals of hope and heroism, but I think it certainly helps.

2 thoughts on “Heroes of Hope

  1. Cafaristeir

    Have you ever had a look at the Japanese RPG “Maids” ? Though it may look unserious at first time (playing maids sericing a master…), it is the only RPG addressing seduction rules in such a depth (more than the James Bond rpg); if the romance fails, there are “stress points” which can lead the character to some tragic outcome (rampage, suicide…)

    Reply
    1. Yora Post author

      No, but I heard of it. I think this style of fantastic stories is actually a lot more common and popular in East Asia than in the West. Asia-inspired RPGs seem like a great source to search for mechanical elements that reinforce the concept in a game.

      Reply

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