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In Defense of Classic Fantasy Storytelling

Ixion_SEROV

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It seems that with the rise of the sterile, modern internet, other more unique aspects of what could once be considered "nerd culture" have gone the way of the dinosaur. This sort of forks off of the idea that the internet now "feels smaller" than it is- or is dead altogether- in that everything has been streamlined and rounded out for consumption by the lowest common denominator. Once upon a time, the 'nerd' was an icon that no one aspired to achieve yet kept in secret, away from mainstream consumption where products, stories, and concepts were kept away from casual exposure and only circulated among those who truly cared about them.

In a way, this same sentiment is echoed by the Retro Video Game enthusiasts of today who archive and preserve the many lost gems of yesteryear through emulation. This same mindset is something I encourage through internet archiving, off-site storage, and a healthy amount of research for the sake of posterity. You can bet that cultural revisionists and and iconoclasts alike will be offended by your efforts- a badge of honor for certain.

Dungeons and Dragons has always been the bellwether for cultural undertones within the 'nerd' circles of modernity. It always remains a bridge too far for most normies to become obsessed with, and it demanding one to apply their imagination means that one cannot succeed here without a modicum of creativity or an inner monologue. Yet still, despite these 'barriers', you can never be too safe. As Dungeons and Dragons has become more popular in recent years, the proverbial bar for storytelling has been visibly lowered.

It is why I encourage anyone and everyone to help do their part to work to preserve sites, supplements, and works from the pre-smart phone era to keep the stories alive and untainted. In recent memory, I can recall Wizards of the Coast addressing the supplements they've been making with derision, mentioning that there are no longer "evil races" as this contributes to wrongful stereotypes in the real world. In doing so, they are elevating modern politics over the classical storytelling which put them on the radar, potentially alienating more of their playerbase in the process. Use this as a cautionary tale for any medium with a long, rich history- video games, literature, newsprint, etc.

As such, I find it important to list and archive several sites that remain holdovers from the previous era of nerd-dom. Like with all the ancient sites that I usually find, these will be older, more unique, and more raw examples of human expression sans the sterilized and smoothed-out look of modern computing.


If anyone knows of any more, please send them my way. It always helps to grow my catalog of classic fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons works.
 

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Jessica3cho

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This is not where I thought this thread was going, but I do agree whole-heartedly.
I commonly discuss with people I know about why I dislike the surge in popularity with traditionally "nerdy" or "geek culture" things, such as high fantasy, sci-fi, anime, etc. As it becomes a popular medium, it must expand, and as it expands, the umbrella must become wider and wider so as to fit more and more people under it. Wizards of the Coast is a comically egregious example, your D&D example being one of many, and I think a visage of what is to come in the future for "nerd culture". I greatly support these efforts and will be glad to do what I can, though my trove of fantasy goods mostly exists in the physical realm.

I do believe I have a digital collection of original D&D books and supplements that, if I do have, will make copies of and then store somewhere that can easily be shared with you all.


With this, I would like to suggest the Apprentice Adept book series to people. It was a series my parents read growing up and they handed down the first 2 novels to me. I loved them so much as a kid that I went out of my way to buy the last 5 (though the 7th book isn't as great, in my opinion. I believe it was finished and released by his daughter after his passing and, as such, you can tell that it is not quite in line with his style). It is a wonderful blend of both traditional fantasy and traditional sci-fi, with an interesting cast of characters, and a fantastical universe. It is unashamedly and unabashedly a piece that highlights old-school fantasy (and sci-fi) story telling. It is fun, silly, very adult, and probably checks every nerd checklist box. I mean, just look at the cover pages of these things:

s-l640.jpg
 
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RisickWinters

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This reminds me of a thought I had recently. I have a really nice volume of A Princess of Mars. I originally read the first book in the Barsoom series in my early 20s about 10 years ago and thought it was just really fun, swashbuckling sci-fi. The books were originally written in the 1920's I believe by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who is better known for coming up with Tarzan. But when I was looking at the book the other day it occurred to me that it would probably be looked down upon now. I guess this is just me assuming but just a thought I had. As long as content isn't advocating for doing harm to others, I think people should like what they like.
 

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Swordlike

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This reminds me of a thought I had recently. I have a really nice volume of A Princess of Mars. I originally read the first book in the Barsoom series in my early 20s about 10 years ago and thought it was just really fun, swashbuckling sci-fi. The books were originally written in the 1920's I believe by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who is better known for coming up with Tarzan. But when I was looking at the book the other day it occurred to me that it would probably be looked down upon now. I guess this is just me assuming but just a thought I had. As long as content isn't advocating for doing harm to others, I think people should like what they like.
Oh my god yes the pulpy shit, it was so fun to read. I'm reading Solomon Kane stories right now and they are pretty unsavory in the context of our current Zeitgeist. However, it's fantasy from 1930s, how can you not enjoy a story written with very much the spirit of its time, including themes and attitudes? It might seem racist or sexist, but reading with an open mind should always be encouraged. Reading it doesn't mean you agree with it.

There are so many people today who refuse to read older stories because they don't fit their values or worldview, their echo chamber. But it needs to be preserved. It's history. it needs to be known and kept.
 
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SELCOUTH

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It seems that with the rise of the sterile, modern internet, other more unique aspects of what could once be considered "nerd culture" have gone the way of the dinosaur. This sort of forks off of the idea that the internet now "feels smaller" than it is- or is dead altogether- in that everything has been streamlined and rounded out for consumption by the lowest common denominator. Once upon a time, the 'nerd' was an icon that no one aspired to achieve yet kept in secret, away from mainstream consumption where products, stories, and concepts were kept away from casual exposure and only circulated among those who truly cared about them.

In a way, this same sentiment is echoed by the Retro Video Game enthusiasts of today who archive and preserve the many lost gems of yesteryear through emulation. This same mindset is something I encourage through internet archiving, off-site storage, and a healthy amount of research for the sake of posterity. You can bet that cultural revisionists and and iconoclasts alike will be offended by your efforts- a badge of honor for certain.

Dungeons and Dragons has always been the bellwether for cultural undertones within the 'nerd' circles of modernity. It always remains a bridge too far for most normies to become obsessed with, and it demanding one to apply their imagination means that one cannot succeed here without a modicum of creativity or an inner monologue. Yet still, despite these 'barriers', you can never be too safe. As Dungeons and Dragons has become more popular in recent years, the proverbial bar for storytelling has been visibly lowered.

It is why I encourage anyone and everyone to help do their part to work to preserve sites, supplements, and works from the pre-smart phone era to keep the stories alive and untainted. In recent memory, I can recall Wizards of the Coast addressing the supplements they've been making with derision, mentioning that there are no longer "evil races" as this contributes to wrongful stereotypes in the real world. In doing so, they are elevating modern politics over the classical storytelling which put them on the radar, potentially alienating more of their playerbase in the process. Use this as a cautionary tale for any medium with a long, rich history- video games, literature, newsprint, etc.

As such, I find it important to list and archive several sites that remain holdovers from the previous era of nerd-dom. Like with all the ancient sites that I usually find, these will be older, more unique, and more raw examples of human expression sans the sterilized and smoothed-out look of modern computing.


If anyone knows of any more, please send them my way. It always helps to grow my catalog of classic fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons works.
With AI becoming more and more prevalent, even people who are completely devoid of inner monologue and imagination can do anything that one of us can do. I thought about this when I was at the hobby shop today. "What's even the point of buying all of these books and running a campaign when I can just have an AI write me a better campaign in seconds and do all the math for me. But what an AI lacks, as well as a typical "Normie" is the ability to create an experience with the other players. Any dumb shit can play DnD now, but most normies will play it only a handful of times and get bored. It takes a tried and true nerd to really get into it and be able to form a bond with his/her party. DnD isn't just about math and numbers or adventure when you really get down to it. its' also about spending time in a dingy basement or a garage with people who you care about, your best friends who happen to share those niche interests with you. You can't take that away no matter how hard anyone tries. Humans will always want to get together and share these experiences. I think the nerd culture will be just fine. Much love from a fellow player.
 
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LostintheCycle

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Dungeons and Dragons has always been the bellwether for cultural undertones within the 'nerd' circles of modernity. It always remains a bridge too far for most normies to become obsessed with, and it demanding one to apply their imagination means that one cannot succeed here without a modicum of creativity or an inner monologue. Yet still, despite these 'barriers', you can never be too safe.

Is this a herald it will become more mainstream, or that it already has?
I wish there were more people who bothered with tabletop RPGs other than just DnD
 
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