Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 61 to 90 of 118

Thread: Hard Fantasy

  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    I read an article earlier this week about Richard Dawkins. It said he can't fathom someone understanding his argument and yet still not agreeing with him, so he just tries harder to explain or figures they're an idiot (paraphrasing).

    Something to think about in these discussions.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-14 at 08:57 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I read an article earlier this week about Richard Dawkins. It said he can't fathom someone understanding his argument and yet not agreeing with him, so he just tries harder to explain or figures they're an idiot (paraphrasing).

    Something to ponder.
    This is something I see quite often in many contexts--the idea that understanding === agreement. It's really annoying, especially on topics that have significant involvement of values, priorities, or subjective weighing of competing goods.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 533 MM and Volo's monsters

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Note... the word "science" isn't being used in the phrase "hard fantasy", the word "fantasy" is being used... when you put the two words together "hard fantasy", it literally means "fantasy which is hard", and "hard" in this context means "rigor", or "extremely thorough". In no way does the phrase "hard fantasy" have any relation to science.
    Hard sci-fi is a term with something like 60 years of provenance and acceptance between it. Borrowing that phrase and using it to explain a sub-genre within a genre that take the totally opposing attitude to fiction is needlessly confusing when more accurate terms exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Hard sci-fi is a term with something like 60 years of provenance and acceptance between it. Borrowing that phrase and using it to explain a sub-genre within a genre that take the totally opposing attitude to fiction is needlessly confusing when more accurate terms exist.
    What are those terms? Apologies if they are buried in this thread, I didn't read every post.
    Last edited by Mr Beer; 2017-12-15 at 12:50 AM.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    What are those terms? Apologies if they are buried in this thread, I didn't read every post.
    It's the title of the thread, the idea of using the term 'hard fantasy' to apply a measure on some kind of scale of rigor in the same fashion that 'Hard Science Fiction' can be.

    Personally, I'm inclined to broadly agree with War_Lord's assessment. Hard science fiction refers to the application of scientific principles in a work and the avoidance of blatantly non-scientific measures for the purpose of the rule of cool or some other storytelling reason. A simple example is sound in space. If you're being serious about your science, space is silent - there is no sound because there is no medium to transmit audio, full stop. Of course many nominally science fiction series violate this - even fairly serious ones like Babylon 5, because human observers expect audio.

    Scientific 'hardness' in science fiction does not measure a work's overall rigor, internal consistency, or require the characters/societies to react in a reasonable fashion, it simply measures how legitimate the science is. It is possible to have a work that is crazy and weird and still be effectively scientifically grounded (someone mentioned Dune). At the same time it is possible to have extremely rigorous works that pay attention to their internal logic in great detail but violate scientific principles like crazy (like the Dread Empire's Fall novels).

    In fantasy we have 'high-magic' and 'low-magic' (not the same thing as high fantasy and low fantasy, frustratingly) which defines the level of supernatural stuff is being crammed into a given universe. It is possible to have high magic with tightly structured internal rules (someone mentioned Brandon Sanderson, who seems to be the go to guy for this) or you can have high magic that is just plain crazy and does whatever you want it to do for the demands of the plot (like in the Mazalan Book of the Fallen). And the reverse is also true.

    Now, the simple fact is that is much easier to retain consistency with a reduced magic level, and it can even be explained why using a scientific principle. As you add more energy to a system the more unstable it becomes. A fantasy universe is a system and magical elements are energy. Adding magic is roughly akin to placing a sealed water flask on a hot plate and gradually turning the dial up. Keep it up long enough and the glass bursts - representing a universe that breaks down catastrophically. Note that this is not a value judgment, it is possible to tell all kinds of fun stories in horrifically trash universes, like Dragonball, it's only a problem when the creators don't realize or pretend that their universe works when it in fact does not. At low levels of magic/heat the system is much easier to manage than one just on the edge of breaking.

    Worth noting that a huge proportion of fantasy universes are built such that the author just turned the dial from low to high and the universe will eventually shatter but they're planning to get their story finished before that happens. ASOIAF and The Wheel of Time both take this approach, even the Lord of the Rings does it to a degree. This particular world-building device is much harder to use in table top roleplaying game design, because settings are generally expected to be stable over the long term.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    Hard sci-fi is a term with something like 60 years of provenance and acceptance between it. Borrowing that phrase and using it to explain a sub-genre within a genre that take the totally opposing attitude to fiction is needlessly confusing when more accurate terms exist.
    And the term hard liquor has something like 140 years of provenance... so can I say that "hard sci-fi" is an unacceptable term because reading it doesn't get you drunk? Words can be used for more than one application.
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2017-12-15 at 12:42 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Orc in the Playground
     
    LordCdrMilitant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Inner Palace, Holy Terra
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    I've never been honestly impressed with hard science fiction. I [will soon be] an Aerospace Engineer, with at least some focus on the second part of the portmanteau "Aerospace".

    First off, if an [untrained] author could understand how and why it works, then I wouldn't need 4+2 years and $300000 of university education to learn that. If you can communicate the complexities of orbital mechanics, aerodynamics, material science, and thermodynamics to a layperson through literature, please please please right a book right now and send it to me overnight by the weekend, I have exams next week.

    Personally, I don't really care for "hard" science fiction. I'd rather play a game of space cathedrals and sandworms and rubber-forehead-aliens and laser guns; because nobody's actually going to get it right, and if somebody does, I don't really want to sit there and do more work. From experience, the more an author tries to explain how things work, the more immersion breaking things get as it isn't actually how it works, and I can tell. My friend in economics has similar insight.



    In short, leave the science to the scientists, the engineering to the engineers, and the economics to the economists. Likewise, I'll leave the writing to the authors, because I'd be a truly terrible writer.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    What are those terms? Apologies if they are buried in this thread, I didn't read every post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    It's the title of the thread, the idea of using the term 'hard fantasy' to apply a measure on some kind of scale of rigor in the same fashion that 'Hard Science Fiction' can be.
    I meant, 'what are those <more accurate terms>?'. Have amended my post to make this clearer.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by LordCdrMilitant View Post
    First off, if an [untrained] author could understand how and why it works, then I wouldn't need 4+2 years and $300000 of university education to learn that. If you can communicate the complexities of orbital mechanics, aerodynamics, material science, and thermodynamics to a layperson through literature, please please please right a book right now and send it to me overnight by the weekend, I have exams next week.

    In short, leave the science to the scientists, the engineering to the engineers, and the economics to the economists. Likewise, I'll leave the writing to the authors, because I'd be a truly terrible writer.
    Traditionally, many hard science fiction authors have been scientists. David Brin and Gregory Benford - authors of the hard science fiction classic Heart of the Comet, are both astrophysicists. Larry Niven and Greg Egan - two fairly prominent voices - both studied mathematics up to at least the graduate level. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, while not a practicing scientist professionally, worked on scientific journals, wrote technical material, and had connections like you would not believe. Stephen Baxter has a doctorate in engineering and taught math and science prior to becoming a writer full time. I could go on.

    In any case, writing hard science fiction does not necessarily mean getting the nitty-gritty details of scientific or engineering processes correct, unless one is writing something super-technical like The Martian, it means adhering effectively to principles. The level of understanding necessary to write about established material in a given field for dissemination to the public is much lower than that necessary to actively pursue research to advance that field. This isn't even a specifically scientific thing, Tom Clancy became one of the most famous authors in America for writing about espionage and the military industrial complex in a way the was sufficiently accurate that he ended up meeting with actual military officials despite having a very limited military background. This sort of thing is very common.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    Dune's only fantasy element is the spice - everything else has a LOT of explanation. Melee is important because of shield belts mostly cancelling all ranged weapons - and it was one of the first settings I know of that did the whole premise of lost technology explaining the gaps in tech. (for a more modern setting - 40k took the idea and ran with it)
    The basic premise of Dune breaks down under the slightest amount of scrutiny. Specificaly, the galactic spanning empire that absolutely needs spice to exist yet somehow established itself without it.
    And while lost technology could explain that problem, it is in itself an absurdity. Nobody just loses technology, especialy something as important as FTL travel. It would need to be made obsolete (spice is only halfway plausible for that) and then be actively destroyed by an interested actor (pretty sure the Houses should have been able to stop the Guild from doing that).
    As for spice being the only fantasy element, my counterpoint are the gholas. Clones of dead people without memories that can actualy get them back. If they are made from a few cells, the recovery is impossible. If they are made from the actual corpse, the memory loss is poorly explained (it's apparently a feature, so they should be able to make the recovery impossible).
    "Explaining" why melee is no longer obsolete was trivial and cheap. Fantasy does that all the time.
    I'll gloss over the insane politics and warring over absurd and meaningless things because that's the kind of things real people would actually do.
    And that's just from the three first books I read. I heard the other books have a giant psychic worm god emperor.

    Ender doesn't explain what all the tech is (since none of the main characters know) but it actually worries about stuff like relative time due to near-light speeds etc.
    Yeah. As a plot point. Fantasy can do that with magic just fine if said magic has some basic consistency. There is no meaningful difference here.
    Last edited by Cazero; 2017-12-15 at 03:01 AM.
    Yes, I am slightly egomaniac. Why didn't you ask?

    Free haiku !
    Alas, poor Cookie
    The world needs more platypi
    I wish you could be

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    On Dune, there are some elements that were a bit less fantastic when the books were first written that have become more so as the science on the subjects has advanced. Go back and look at the state of genetics and neurology in 1965.

    As for lost technology, the FTL drive was not lost. What makes the spice-soaked Navigators necessary is the deliberate suppression of the advanced computers otherwise necessary to plot the jump paths.


    On "hard fantasy", I'm not wed to the term, but keep in mind that Brennan also lays out the following parallel to explain her use of the term -- "hard fantasy and hard SF alike are concerned with how stuff works, and why."
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-15 at 07:18 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Right behind you!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    And while lost technology could explain that problem, it is in itself an absurdity. Nobody just loses technology, especialy something as important as FTL travel.
    Lol - someone hasn't studied a lot of history. History is a series of civilizations rising and falling - and in the falling they lose technology! The fall of Rome is just one example. It has happened a bunch of times, and most of the time historians can't even track exactly why. Try looking up "The People of the Sea" who supposedly took down the height of The Bronze Age.

    Burning of Alexandria anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    It would need to be made obsolete (spice is only halfway plausible for that) and then be actively destroyed by an interested actor (pretty sure the Houses should have been able to stop the Guild from doing that).
    It's been awhile since I read it, but I remember Dune touching on the computer systems being made illegal and eventually lost due to their use as weapons in an ancient war that almost wiped out humanity. Maybe they did the bad AI thing like Skynet? But basically the guild had to do the calculations because they didn't have computers to do it anymore. Dune just implied the specifics and I can't recall exactly.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2017-12-15 at 07:29 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    It's been awhile since I read it, but I remember Dune touching on the computer systems being made illegal and eventually lost due to their use as weapons. Maybe they did the bad AI thing? But basically the guild had to do the calculations because they didn't have computers to do it anymore. Dune just implied the specifics and I can't recall exactly.
    The Butlerian Jihad in response to an AI-pocolypse.

    (I've only read Dune itself, but when I say I'm a setting and worldbuilding addict, I'm only exaggerating a little. I've read about the setting of the Dune series extensively.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-15 at 07:31 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    S@tanicoaldo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    Nobody just loses technology, especialy something as important as FTL travel.
    Hahahahaha say that to greek fire.

    Anyway, in dune, one of the best and most detailed settings ever made btw, there is a reason for the loss of technology, RELIGION!

    The new religion claims that "thinking machines" are heresy so no computers are allowed to exist, the ftl travel was a thing but witout computers to check in you will end up in colliding with a meteor or something they need to use the spice, which gives the user limited prescience, allowing you to know if it's safe to go and where you'll end up without the use of computers.
    I'm not a native english speaker and I'm dyslexic(that doesn't mean I have low IQ quite the opposite actually it means I make a lot of typos).

    So I beg for forgiveness, patience and comprehension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It's like somewhere along the way, "freedom of speech" became "all negative response is censorship".
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    ."Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking), and your humility is stunning"

  15. - Top - End - #75
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    On "hard fantasy", I'm not wed to the term, but keep in mind that Brennan also lays out the following parallel to explain her use of the term -- "hard fantasy and hard SF alike are concerned with how stuff works, and why."
    I think this is in error. It is entirely plausible and fair for the reason why something works in fantasy to be 'because god said so.' As long as god isn't inconsistent and doesn't behave like a schizophrenic on hallucinogens that's okay. For instance the elves in LotR are immortal because that's how Iluvatar arranged things do be, not because their biology is special. Indeed, the very point of fantasy, to some degree is about not having to explain why and thereby being able to do something in a story that would not be possible if one adhered strictly to the circumstances of the real world.

    In science fiction speculating on that which could happen has inherent value - it represents a form of inquiry into possible human futures and considers issues that we may have to face as a species in due time. The harder you are the more valuable this is. Even deliberately impossible devices in science fiction - like FTL - are often used simply as a means to get characters and societies to a place where they can consider new possibilities like first contact.

    Fantasy is fundamentally different. Since the world-building includes entirely fiat elements it exists to support the story and doesn't have inherent value. In fantasy with low amounts of supernatural elements and a high level of adherence to plausible human societies the fantasy is in many ways more of a hook than anything else to get the reader to jump into something that is otherwise historical fiction (or to make some other sort of point, as in the case of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which alters the historical record and adds in fantastical elements to make the plot better conform to Confucian ideals). This is absolutely what Guy Gavriel Kay does and, honestly, what Brennan did in A Natural History of Dragons. That story (and presumably universe, but I never got past book one) doesn't really grapple with how the terrestrial ecosystems of the planet would be dramatically changed by having large-bodied aerial predatory megafauna in all of them and doesn't actually contain that much natural history in the text. It's actually a story about a Victorian woman trying to become a naturalist, it's just that dragons are a subject with more popular appeal than any present day lifeforms or even a more plausible extinct option like pterosaurs.

    Telling a story about how stuff works and why, when the stuff in question is 'something I totally made up' generally isn't that interesting and in fact may annoy people who find it detracts from the mystique and cheapens the archetypal nature of the story. The most famous example being, of course, midichlorians.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  16. - Top - End - #76
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    I think this is in error. It is entirely plausible and fair for the reason why something works in fantasy to be 'because god said so.' As long as god isn't inconsistent and doesn't behave like a schizophrenic on hallucinogens that's okay. For instance the elves in LotR are immortal because that's how Iluvatar arranged things do be, not because their biology is special. Indeed, the very point of fantasy, to some degree is about not having to explain why and thereby being able to do something in a story that would not be possible if one adhered strictly to the circumstances of the real world.

    In science fiction speculating on that which could happen has inherent value - it represents a form of inquiry into possible human futures and considers issues that we may have to face as a species in due time. The harder you are the more valuable this is. Even deliberately impossible devices in science fiction - like FTL - are often used simply as a means to get characters and societies to a place where they can consider new possibilities like first contact.

    Fantasy is fundamentally different. Since the world-building includes entirely fiat elements it exists to support the story and doesn't have inherent value. In fantasy with low amounts of supernatural elements and a high level of adherence to plausible human societies the fantasy is in many ways more of a hook than anything else to get the reader to jump into something that is otherwise historical fiction (or to make some other sort of point, as in the case of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which alters the historical record and adds in fantastical elements to make the plot better conform to Confucian ideals). This is absolutely what Guy Gavriel Kay does and, honestly, what Brennan did in A Natural History of Dragons. That story (and presumably universe, but I never got past book one) doesn't really grapple with how the terrestrial ecosystems of the planet would be dramatically changed by having large-bodied aerial predatory megafauna in all of them and doesn't actually contain that much natural history in the text. It's actually a story about a Victorian woman trying to become a naturalist, it's just that dragons are a subject with more popular appeal than any present day lifeforms or even a more plausible extinct option like pterosaurs.

    Telling a story about how stuff works and why, when the stuff in question is 'something I totally made up' generally isn't that interesting and in fact may annoy people who find it detracts from the mystique and cheapens the archetypal nature of the story. The most famous example being, of course, midichlorians.

    The Lady Trent series gets into more detail on the biology of the dragons and their effect on the wider ecosystems (and on human cultures) as it goes on, and frankly it wouldn't be nearly as interesting if it didn't. You're grossly mischaracterizing the first book with that claim, let along the entire series.


    All worldbuilding is "by fiat", in the sense that all fiction is "made up" -- trying to draw a line there is meaningless. The difference is in whether the worldbuilding is internally coherent and consistent, or grab-bag "rule of kewl".


    Note that the actual phrasing Brennan uses is "concerned with how stuff works, and why". Not "about"... "concerned with". The story doesn't have to fixate on the minutia of how and why, to be concerned with it. And even if the how and why do play a central role, that in now way has to detract from the story.


    (Personally, I find "mystique" overrated and archetypes to be actively poisonous.)


    Comparing what we're talking about here with the midichlorians debacle is mistaken at best. E - seriously, how do you get midichlorians from rigorous worldbuilding?
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-15 at 07:33 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Right behind you!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Even deliberately impossible devices in science fiction - like FTL
    Actually - many scientists do believe that warp travel is theoretically possible - https://www.sciencealert.com/warp-sp...astrophysicist (yes - I know it's pop science-y, but I'm not a scientist - sue me)

    Now - I'm not saying it'll ever happen in our lifetimes - but not impossible.

  18. - Top - End - #78
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Thinker's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    The more I think about it, the more I like the term hard fantasy. It is short and to the point. It describes a rigorous approach to a subject material. When I think about what hard fantasy might be, I think it would have to be internally consistent and rely little on fiat, Mary Sues, or deus ex machina. The work itself might not show readers, viewers, or players a great depth, but the details would imply extrapolation of some kind from the core conceits. It does not require that the world be tied to the physical sciences of Earth, but to be tied to its own rules for the setting.

    For example, let's say that there are intelligent, ambitious giants in the world, therefore they use their strengths to attempt to politically control what they can as it is their destiny to rule the continent from the Frostbound Steppes all the way to the Emerald Sea. They don't like tight spaces and they're poor at construction. This brings them into conflict with the long-lived elves who live in the Veiled Forest, who have clashed with the giants off and on for a thousand years. The elves have access to vast troves of knowledge, particularly in magic, history, and biology. None of the giants remember the last war, but many of the elves do and so the elves attempt to apply the same tactics that succeeded in the last war, but the giants' strategies have developed in that time and so the early goings of the war are disastrous for the elves. As the war goes on, the elves develop a magical, fatal plague that decimates the population of giants, giving them an upper hand. The elves are established to be knowledgeable in magic and biology and so they use this advantage to create a plague. All of that is well and good. If we suddenly said, "and then the giants built a giant tunnel under the forest to attack the elves," we'd have problems. The giants, who don't like tight spaces and are poor at construction have succeeded at a massive construction project that requires them to go into tight spaces.

    It doesn't need to have any relationship with "hard science fiction" anymore than it needs to have a relationship with a "hardware", "hard liquor", "hard copy", "hard water", "hard target" or anything else that is "hard". You could say that this is different because hard science fiction is also an expression used to describe literary works. I don't see this as problematic. At its core, the term "hard" in hard science fiction is describing the rigor applied to the work. In the case of science fiction, this rigor is to our current understanding of science. Even in hard science fiction, we frequently have enabling devices that are there merely for the sake of the story - the biggest one being faster-than-light travel, but also can be time travel, interstellar travel, or odd features of a specific location like weird gravity on a specific planet or the world being shaped like a ring. This doesn't take away from the story and it allows the author to explore how the rest of the world would be impacted by these changes or an investigation into why the features of location are the way that they are or to identify problems with the conceit that might need to be fixed (*cough* Ringworld *cough*).

    In the case of hard fantasy, the rigor would be in the setting's own rules. You can extrapolate what an easy-to-access spell like Create Food would do to a society. You can figure out how a flat earth would impact the politics and the diplomacy of the civilizations that live there. Just as in hard science fiction, hard fantasy takes and enabling device and says, "How does this impact the rest of the world?" Instead of throwing in giants because it's fun to say "Fee-fi-fo-fum", you use the giants in a way that their culture, size, strengths, and weaknesses matter. I'm also a big fan of Chekhov's Gun - "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there." Though, that doesn't necessarily have to be a part of hard fantasy.
    "Only I may walk in the shadow between realms. Though I go mad, I do so to awaken those who came before and shall once more come again."

    "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." ~ Mark Twain

    - Fair Use has a Posse -

  19. - Top - End - #79
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Scripten's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by S@tanicoaldo View Post
    Hahahahaha say that to greek fire.
    Or Damascus steel or the legions of lost computer science technologies. I work in software, on an OS with a very long history and a need to retain legacy function. (Some of our biggest customers are banks and such, so our systems have to run software that was written a good thirty years ago or more.) The concept of "brain drain" is applicable to individual industries and companies, not just entire societies. We have code parts that, while we understand how it works in general, the exact mechanisms are all but lost due to deaths and retirement.

    Plus there's the loss of materials required for certain technologies such as here. Imagine this as applied to something on the scale of, say... electronics in general, and you could see an entire society collapsing over a single change.
    Avatar credit to Shades of Gray

  20. - Top - End - #80
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    In the case of hard fantasy, the rigor would be in the setting's own rules. You can extrapolate what an easy-to-access spell like Create Food would do to a society. You can figure out how a flat earth would impact the politics and the diplomacy of the civilizations that live there. Just as in hard science fiction, hard fantasy takes and enabling device and says, "How does this impact the rest of the world?" Instead of throwing in giants because it's fun to say "Fee-fi-fo-fum"
    Exactly. And I like pondering concepts of this nature.

    For instance, in a D&D type world with a large city that has various high and mid level spell casters working for the city... what happens with the justice system? Spells like "zone of truth" and "discern lies" or any divination type spell being available would have a major impact. What would be the result?

    Hmm... now I'm curious. I'm going to start a thread.

    link to thread
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2017-12-15 at 02:45 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #81
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Exactly. And I like pondering concepts of this nature.

    For instance, in a D&D type world with a large city that has various high and mid level spell casters working for the city... what happens with the justice system? Spells like "zone of truth" and "discern lies" or any divination type spell being available would have a major impact. What would be the result?

    Hmm... now I'm curious. I'm going to start a thread.

    link to thread
    Tippyverse.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  22. - Top - End - #82
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Tippyverse.
    No idea what that means... but I did a search and found the thread about it. Looks like a lot of reading, but looks interesting (at first glance at least)

  23. - Top - End - #83
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    2D8HP's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    San Francisco Bay area
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    ...And while lost technology could explain that problem, it is in itself an absurdity. Nobody just loses technology....

    As previously stated, there is real world historic precedent for technologies being lost, sometimes deliberately so.

    The Chinese had and scuttled ocean going ships,

    The knowledge of making

    Roman concrete

    was lost for centuries, and the recipe for

    Greek fire

    is still lost.

    In my own work I've seen machines that functioned well for decades stop being used because the guy who knew how to maintain them died, increasingly plumbing fixtures in the building I maintain that work longer with less maintenance need to be replaced with inferior modern replacements because they're"obsolete" and replacement parts are no longer made, steam heating systems that provide more comfortable heat than modern forced air are replaced because the guys who knew how to build them are dead, etc.

    That technological knowledge may be lost for centuries seems very plausible to me, I don't understand why anyone would think otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    ...what Brennan did in A Natural History of Dragons. That story (and presumably universe, but I never got past book one) doesn't really grapple with how the terrestrial ecosystems of the planet would be dramatically changed by having large-bodied aerial predatory megafauna in all of them and doesn't actually contain that much natural history in the text. It's actually a story about a Victorian woman trying to become a naturalist, it's just that dragons are a subject with more popular appeal than any present day lifeforms or even a more plausible extinct option like pterosaurs.
    .
    I really liked A Natural History of Dragons and the authors on-line works have been interesting, but the second, and half of the third books (despite hints of a fantasy "Voyage of the Beagle") in the series left me cold, as they read too much like someone trying to turn the contents of a Cultural Anthropology textbook into fiction.
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


    Extended Sig




    PBP's

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
    Snazzy Avatar by Honest Tiefling!

  24. - Top - End - #84
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    I've always thought of my preferred method of fantasy being "hard fantasy", but never really gave the term much thought beyond a rather simple concept.

    Have some simple rules presented. A reader may never know all the rigorous applications of these rules. Show a couple of cases of "here's that principle at work" or "here's what peoples' application of this is". If there were real people living within a world they would naturally try lots of different things with magic and use whatever works on a consistent basis.

    Have some basic questions about magical interaction answerable. Not everything needs to be answered, just enough to imply that within the context of the world itself, there are answers for theoretical questions an audience may have. I suspect to do this sort of thing best, the author would probably have answers for questions that are never explained to the audience.

    As a bonus with this approach, something that isn't explained in depth can sort of be ad-hoc explained by the reader to themselves. Explanations of that nature are much more bullet-proof than an author could ever accomplish. The audience may even come up with better answers than whatever the author has in mind. They probably will, honestly.

    Anything relevant to the actual plot should be presented in a bit more depth, since it's going to be something the audience "experiences" via the proxy of the main character(s). Everything else is fluff.

    Really, the way I think of this, the only difference between this approach to fantasy and "hard" sci-fi is a matter of presentation. Do you babble about how quantum-Einsteinian-epigenetic flux causes the thing, or do you babble about how the orichalcum-mithral spiritual arcane principle causes the thing? The former can stymie a layman while annoying a scholar. The latter option seems a bit more honest and inclusive.
    I write a horror blog in my spare time.

  25. - Top - End - #85
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    to me hard fantasy means one thing: "you can make people believe the impossible but not the improbable"

    GOT has been mentioned before so I'll illustrate it
    there's one thing that's really, really soft in GOT and that's scale, GRRM has absolutely no sense of scale
    in the words of the man itself after they showed him the wall relative to the characters: "I made it too big"

    and it doesn't end there, according to sources there where dragons in valyria as big as mountains and they could take flight
    I don't know about you but I call bullcrap, flying firebreathing lizards, yes, they're impossable according to severall physic effects but them finding a way around the square/cube law is just improbable (there where jokes about how the cataclysm was just one of those trying to take off)
    also it's not probable within the established lore, drogon is a small by dragon standards and he still needs a sheep or small child a day, how much would those dragons eat?

    I've once seen the actor who plays sam answer a question why his character is still fat with the reasoning that there's zombies and dragons and henceforth it's silly to find it strange that he's fat

    I disagree, I don't know how dragons or zombies work, it could and may very well be magical, that doesn't mean that fat is magical, I know how fat works and fat doesn't work like that!
    (GRRM actually did put an explanation in the books, bassicly sam is still fat, he's lost a serious amount of weight but because he was super fat at the start he's still fat compared to his fellows)

    so my advice: don't worry about how dragons fly, giants grow so big or how magic exists

    worry instead about how a dragon get's enough prey, how a giant moves both fast and slow at the same time and that magic rules are actually consistent

  26. - Top - End - #86
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    "Fantasy that attempts internal consistency and logical extrapolation from its premises" is definitely my jam, for game settings at least, and I think "Hard Fantasy" is a pretty good term for it.

    Besides immersion / suspension of disbelief, I think a big advantage, for games in particular, is the ability to invent / extrapolate things within the setting. For instance, notice how the Tippyverse and similar thought experiments pretty much stick to printed material instead of extrapolating "what kind of new spells could be invented"? I think in large part, that's because D&D has pretty much no consistency about what magic can/can't do or how difficult non-combat effects are. So there's no foundation to build on when you want to go outside what's already been written.

    Mage, while far from perfect itself, does have some consistency to the metaphysics, so that for a desired effect, you can usually figure out what spheres would be involved and how difficult it would be.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2017-12-18 at 07:52 AM.

  27. - Top - End - #87
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    that's because D&D has pretty much no consistency about what magic can/can't do or how difficult non-combat effects are. So there's no foundation to build on when you want to go outside what's already been written.
    That's one of the main reasons I have stopped running games with D&D rules... it is too hard to run a "hard fantasy" game in D&D without making major changes.

  28. - Top - End - #88
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by a_flemish_guy View Post
    t
    I don't know about you but I call bullcrap, flying firebreathing lizards, yes, they're impossable according to severall physic effects but them finding a way around the square/cube law is just improbable (there where jokes about how the cataclysm was just one of those trying to take off)
    also it's not probable within the established lore, drogon is a small by dragon standards and he still needs a sheep or small child a day, how much would those dragons eat?

    I've once seen the actor who plays sam answer a question why his character is still fat with the reasoning that there's zombies and dragons and henceforth it's silly to find it strange that he's fat

    I disagree, I don't know how dragons or zombies work, it could and may very well be magical, that doesn't mean that fat is magical, I know how fat works and fat doesn't work like that!
    I enjoy the TV series but really hated a moment when a giant hit somebody in a battle and threw them hundreds of feet into the air. I know they're strong but if someone was hit that hard, they would disintegrate into a red mist. So a) they don't unleash the kind of kinetic energy normally seen in heavy artillery and b) if they did, human bodies don't behave like that.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by a_flemish_guy View Post
    GOT has been mentioned before so I'll illustrate it
    there's one thing that's really, really soft in GOT and that's scale, GRRM has absolutely no sense of scale
    That is so true.

    And it is not only the dragons. The distaces and travel times don't match, the army sizes, numbers of lords, estimated population sizes don't match, the economy is wonky, the various timescales in the historical parts don't add up, the number and size of towns doesn't fit and so on.

    The political stuff is not bad, but pretty much every number in any of the books doesn't make sense. It is less of a problem if you are only reading the books or viewing the show but if you try to take the setting for an RPG, it becomes so obvious everywhere.

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Hard Fantasy

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    That is so true.

    And it is not only the dragons. The distaces and travel times don't match, the army sizes, numbers of lords, estimated population sizes don't match, the economy is wonky, the various timescales in the historical parts don't add up, the number and size of towns doesn't fit and so on.

    The political stuff is not bad, but pretty much every number in any of the books doesn't make sense. It is less of a problem if you are only reading the books or viewing the show but if you try to take the setting for an RPG, it becomes so obvious everywhere.
    And yet just because of the "grittiness", GRRM gets so much credit for being "realistic" or "doing his homework".

    (I feel like I keep coming back to that, but it's hard to not view his work as overrated at this point.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-12-19 at 07:15 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •