As I had mentioned in a few of my earlier posts, I have been really loving the RPG Circus podcasts recently. They provide a plethora of interesting discussion on gaming. And, yet again, in one of their early podcasts, I would like to go back in time to do some discussion about the difference between Fantasy and Super Fantasy, especially as I see it in the 4e published WotC material.
Unfortunately, I don't have a link for this one, and I forget which podcast they discussed this topic in (it isn't written in their show notes), but I would think it is around the 5-8 range of Season 1.
The topic they touched on, very briefly, was the fantasy vs. super fantasy campaign. Standard Fantasy, by their definition, is what you would get in a more historically realistic world (as I see it). Although their are monsters and demons walking about, you don't see them in your day to day dealings. In the Super Fantasy world, things are, well, pretty wild. Skyships are common, magic is everywhere, and it would not be uncommon to sit next to a half-dragon at a bar sipping on a brewsky.
The majority of the folks at RPG Circus mentioned that they prefer to game in the standard Fantasy setting. This is a preference for sure. I guess, I would fall into the other category. I really prefer games that are Super Fantastic. I don't know if it something that comes with being a fairly young gamer (yes, I am fairly young when compared to the rest of the community on the RPG Bloggers network), or maybe it is just something that varies from person to person. Either way, I really prefer gaming in worlds that are totally different than the one in which I live in on a day to day basis.
If you look at the published material that WotC is putting out for 4e DnD, it would certainly seem like they are moving in a more Super Fantasy direction. Eberron, it would definitely seem, is a Super Fantasy setting. Dark Sun, although going back to more of a Conan style world, is also seeming to move into a more Super Fantasy direction, especially with WotC putting out rules for Dragonborn in the setting.
I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing either. In my opinion, it takes a lot of work to put together a Super Fantasy world that actually holds together and doesn't fall apart (this is what I am afraid my setting is going to do). Putting together a more classic fantasy setting, I would think, is a bit easier to manage. However, this could be a very blatant error in judgement.
Which do you prefer? Fantasy or Super Fantasy?