Monday, September 7, 2009

Spell-casters and Fantasy Tropes

I like fantasy tropes, as they tend to create a shorthand that allows players to immediately understand character and context, without going into a great amount of detail.

Fantasy tropes can be tricky though, as sometimes what you think is a clear fantasy trope is not necessarily shared by all RPG players.

The Magic Realm game has several magic-using characters to choose from. Those include the Sorcerer, the Wizard, the Witch King, the Magician, the Witch, the Woodsgirl, the White Knight, the Elf, the Pilgrim and the Druid.

To me, there is a clear shorthand (fantasy trope) attached to each of those magic using characters. I'm not so sure that shorthand is shared by others, however. Here are the Magic Realm fantasy tropes, as I see them.

The "Wizard" is your typical Gandalf Character.
The "Elf" is a woodland sprite, playing sometimes deadly tricks on passers-by.
The "Sorcerer" is akin to the Sorceress in Sleeping Beauty.
The "Witch King" (Warlock) is attuned to the demonic, infernal powers.
The "Witch" is the same, but is the female equivalent, and has a black cat and flying broom.
The "Magician" is a dabbler in magic, doing simple tricks and occasionally stumbling onto powerful magic.
The "Woodgirl" is a friend to the woodland sprites, and is given access to their magic.
The "White Knight" is a Paladin, deriving holy power from on high, when he earns it.
The "Pilgrim" is a Cleric, who takes up a weapon to defend the faith when the need arises.
The "Druid" carries a sickle or dagger to harvest herbs, and derives his power from the natural world.

I find each of those characters to be clear fantasy tropes.

On the other hand, the Dragon Warriors RPG has four magic using characters. I find the magic using characters in that game to lack clarity as fantasy tropes, compared to the Magic Realm magic characters. Those Dragon Warriors RPG magic-using characters are Elementalist, Sorcerer, Mystic, and Warlock.

What do those four words mean to you, in terms of fantasy tropes? Interestingly, Dragon Warriors RPG has no Cleric-equivalent character (just in case you were thinking the Mystic was some kind of holy person!)

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