28 Jul LitRPG – When Gaming and Literature combine
Fantasy is without a doubt one of the most popular styles of literary fiction. Within this genre, a diverse landscape sub-genre, each with their own appeal, exist to entertain fantasy enthusiasts.
The heavyweight of this bunch is Epic Fantasy, a sub-genre made popular by all-time great classics like Lord of the Rings (LotR).
The impact of Lord of the Rings on modern fantasy is undeniable, spawning many sub-genres of fantasy and influencing some of the most popular modern fantasies.
Household names such as Harry Potter and Game of Thrones are perhaps the first book series (and TV/Film series) that come to mind when discussing popular fantasy, but another popular fantasy that has emerged as a direct influence of Tolkien’s work is Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).
D&D and its creator, Gary Gygax, was undeniably influenced by LotR.
Gygax created a system of gaming that merged elements of Roleplay, Storytelling, and Gaming mechanics, publishing his first campaign module in 1974, titled Dungeons and Dragons Single Volume edition.
From that point on, over the last five decades, D&D has gained in popularity to the point where it garners mainstream attention through popular TV shows like Stranger Things and even a high-budget film production set to be released in late 2022.
Just like Tolkien influenced many fantasy authors, D&D has influenced and spawned a host of board games and computer games over the years including, World of Warcraft, Warhammer, Pathfinder, and Elder Scrolls.
It was only a matter of time before popular games and literature were to intersect, and thus the LitRPG sub-genre of fantasy was born.
LitRPG is a sub-genre of fantasy that takes the gaming mechanics of popular RPGs (board games or computer) and places them prominently within the narrative, so as to make the reader believe they are participating or watching a game in a story format.
The sub-genre sometimes overlaps with other existing sub-genres like isekai or portal fantasies, in that the main protagonist of a story “falls” into a gaming world and the narrative of the story is expressed through adventures and progress in a game.
LitRPG is a relatively new fantasy sub-genre, and what constitutes a LitRPG can be broad, with some debate amongst fans on the matter.
While not a prerequisite, LitRPG usually involves expressions of stat and leveling mechanics for the protagonist within the story making the bridge between RPG and Literature quite explicit.
However as indicated above, not all LitRPG works this way, and some argue (with validity) that popular portal fantasies like Jumanji and Ready Player One, also fit the bill by being classified as GameLit, a sub-genre of the LitRPG sub-genre.
Yes, it does get rather confusing …
What is not in dispute however is the growing popularity of LitRPG amongst fantasy fans.
LitRPG is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sub-genres, and one only has to look at book sales and levels of engagement by its fans in forums and social media to validate this claim.
Popular Sub-Reddit forums and Facebook pages have tens of thousands of followers that engage daily, sharing popular books, ideas, and opinions on the subject.
Some of the most popular destinations for fans include:
If you are looking to dive into this relatively new and exciting sub-genre of fantasy, I suggest you head over to some of these pages and roll an investigation check.
If you love D&D and RPG’s in general, then this might be the right sub-genre of fantasy for you.
If you are a reader that enjoys both D&D and Epic Fantasy, then The Tome of Syyx is the book for you!
Tasked with helping secure the future of the town of Sanctuary, four young adventurers soon discover that armies of orcs and hobgoblins are far from the only threats to peace on the frontier.
Ancient evils stir. Deals must be brokered. But can everyone be trusted?
The Fateful Force Book Series
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