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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Heroes For Heroes (The Super Bowl and Fantasy Gaming)

This post will actually have very little to do about the Super Bowl, and I'm not even going to make any mention of Blood Bowl beyond this first paragraph. I'm just going to do a little reflection, inspired by this famous event. I also don't expect this post to get much readership today, seeing as so many people are watching said Super Bowl. At any rate, here it is: what the Super Bowl has to do with your fantasy world.

All joking aside, there's some interesting trends to note in professional sports. In essence, you have highly athletic (and sometimes steroids-enhanced) individuals performing feats of great prowess, and ordinary folk who admire them for it. Why? On one level, it's because some of the fans are people who figure they don't have a hope of aspiring to that, but by cheering on their hero, they can still participate in that. On another level, though, these sports heroes serve as an inspiration to some people, who aspire to reach those heights. To these people, the success stories of athletes are a blueprint for their own success: "If they can do it, so can I!"

Now, you can quite easily draw a parallel between this and fantasy gamers. Of course, no sane gamer thinks they can aspire to the crazy feats of their fantasy character, but such achievements, I believe, can still inspire personal success. I'm not actually aiming to talk about that, however. No...what I have in mind is something a bit more meta...

Fantasy Within Fantasy
Ordinary people in your fantasy world aspire to be like your hero. That in itself is pretty cool. If you think about it, your average D&D party is going to start drawing attention, and they'll actually start to get fame and fans, or possibly notoriety. They're celebrities of a sort, because of the mythic deeds they achieve. If you're the 8th level Fighter who held off a horde of orcs, you could be Eli Manning to young, aspiring soldiers in a nearby country.

But there's a flipside to this. In this world, your hero shouldn't just be a celebrity to people. Your hero should have heroes of his or her own! Think about it: why shouldn't your hero aspire to be like other legendary figures in the setting? And by "legendary" I don't mean ye olde heroes of olde. I mean living, breathing adventurers. If your hero is a level 12, there's level 20s wandering around there who are big-time aspirations to them, probably.

This makes things awesome when your character gets to meet up with their heroes in some respect. Doubly so when they manage to reach that level. Triply so if they manage to reach that level so fast that they can fight alongside or against their hero.

Doesn't that sound cool?

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