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Rampant Games - Guns, Phones & Magic

by Dhruin, 2011-10-20 22:33:55

Jay Barnson has an excellent post about the cultural impact (or lack) of magic in RPGs. The intro:

No, this isn’t a post about mixing guns, phones, and magic in the same fantasy setting. Though as a fan of urban fantasy – I’m 100% for it!

This post is actually about attitudes towards magic in fantasy worlds. Specifically RPGs. It’s something I’ve touched on before, and will again. It’s about the impact of “magic” on a fantasy world and the characters in it.

In most RPGs, magic is fairly mechanical.  In many action-RPGs, a spell-casting player character spam-fires so much magic that it makes Tim the Enchanter look positively subtle in his application of the arcane arts.  There’s not a whole lot “magical” about that kind of magic, really. Magic is like a gun… you pull the trigger and it goes off, though perhaps not always with perfect accuracy or reliability. And yet this incredible power seems to have little impact on the game world, which seems to just shrug it off and treat it as a tacked-on appendage to the culture. Which I guess it is.

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