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Jay Wolf, editor of the anthology here!

One of the reasons we think Sword & Sorcery & Romantic Fantasy go together so nicely is they both have genre-defining tropes, but those tropes can also be used to great effect to subvert reader expectations and surprise them as well.

Here are a few of my favorites--and many of them have overlap between both of these genres!

Enemies or Rivals to Lovers
Ahem.
Love it or hate it, it's a classic for a reason.
My favorite comic, ElfQuest, my first love in this world of bare-chested sword-wielding adventurers, does this one really well multiple times over multiple storylines.
Often, one of the ways it stays fresh and surprising is the nature of the rivalry or enmity and how our lovers are able to overcome it.

The Tragic Hero
Okay, listen. The reason I am really insistent on the wording "romantic fantasy" and not "fantasy romance" is that you can stick the word "tragic" in front of the former and not the latter. While we've managed to muster a roster of endings I think are overall the Sword & Sorcery ideal of a happy ending, I am an absolute sucker for a romantic and tragic figure like Elric of Melniboné, another of my first loves in this beautiful weird subgenre of ours.

Just to round things out, one of my favorite goofy ones that tends to materialize on the fandom side of things:

Only One Bed!
Good grief, do I love a solid Only One Bed moment. While the function of this trope is forced proximity or closeness, I think it's also a fun way to dig deeper into a character's psyche. I have written an only one bed moment in a tragic fix-it fic, and one of my favorite Tumblr jokes that occasionally makes the meme rounds ends with the punchline "this bed ain't big enough for the two of us," so there are lots of ways to use it to subvert sexual or romantic tension between characters.


  • What are some of your favorite tropes of sword & sorcery or romantic fantasy?

  • How might those be subverted in a fun or interesting way, especially in the context of mixing genres?
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I was on a Discord server that was chatting about the anthology and someone said "I love the premise but I know nothing about sword & sorcery". If you were trying to create a Beginner's Guide to S&S, where would you start? In the cases of "long series/characters", is there a particular short story or volume you'd point someone at? Classics OR newer authors/stories in the genre welcome. I think I'd start mine with _People of the Black Circle_ and _The God in the Bowl_ by Robert E. Howard, plus _The Black God's Kiss_ by CL Moore on for starters.

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We've all done it; finished a story imagining the what ifs and if-onlies of a potential romantic coupling(s) that never was/were. What was that one rousing good tale which still haunts your hopelessly romantic thoughts? For me, well... It's a bit of (pretty much entirely) a crackship, I admit, but I have never gotten over the potential of King Conan and Rinaldo the Minstrel. I know how this sounds, but hear me out. Yes, they barely interact, it's incredibly generous to call their exchanges a 'relationship', and the latter tries to murder the former... B-but have you even heard the way Conan talks about him? The way he stays his axe when he is among his would-be assassins? Does that sound at all like someone who isn't down bad? To say nothing of Rinaldo's brief mention in 'The Scarlet Citadel', which implies he might've been under the influence of Tsotha-lanti. What if there was a STRONG and RUGGED Cimmerian to— Ahem, anyways, what about yourselves?

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Let’s build a Hollow together!

If you missed the stream where CJ and I kicked this off, you can check it out here:


WHAT WE'RE DOING

There are several answers to this, all of which are true! We're experimenting with (and to some degree, playtesting) the Hollow and Entity creation chapter of the Hollows book. We're showing how to take a player character or NPC's narrative arc and turn it into a Hollow. We're also setting up a really fun event for the end-of-campaign stream, where our characters from the ongoing actual play of The Sins of Grisham Priory fight whatever we create!

We want to do this together with you, as much as we can. This is daunting for us and maybe tricky for you, since we're asking you to have ideas about a game you maybe haven't played yet. But, we saw in chat that folks who have played Hollows a couple of times already have really great design ideas, and even if you've never played it at all, we're talking about taking a story and turning it into a game - if you've ever written an adventure or a character backstory, you can help with this. Helping us design this Hollow is a great opportunity to share your ideas or ask questions about how something might work in Hollows, and it’s going to be loads of fun. Maybe in the Type II way.

THE STORY

We're working with the backstory of Alexandra Breckett, CJ's character from our stream.

Alexandra's a blue blood noble. She became a Hunter when a suitor she rejected raised a mob of dissatisfied citizens and stormed her family home, killing everyone but her. This was not only Alex's worst day and the Seed of her corruption, but also his.

We've established a few things about this relationship:
* It wasn't a romantic connection for either party
* He was under pressure from his bankrupt family to marry well and save them from poverty
* Alexandra was entirely uninterested in him. She wanted to play her violin and enjoy her rose garden, not get married to ensure the family line
* When he destroyed Alexandra's home and murdered her family for revenge, the Grand Malignancy Pride sank its claws into him, and he Hollowed.

THE HOLLOW

Unbeknownst to the characters, the Hollow is physically located in Alexandra's family home. 

We know that the Hollow originated from this suitor's desperate pride and his emotional rock bottom. How could we symbolise that? We've thought about combining the two ideas, and juxtaposing sinkholes of emotional collapse with grandeur and elegance - an example of how to represent this might be theatrical props that look fine and expensive, but break down or come apart under scrutiny.

We know we need four locations for the four Entities the Hunters will fight here, and other areas for them to explore in between fights. We want Hunters to encounter the mob Alex's suitor rallied, his demanding family (perhaps a trapped sibling, and an overbearing parent), and her family. But how and in what contexts? 

We’re also interested in providing character moments for each of the player characters. One character, Rosie, was created inside a Hollow, so we think there’s some great story in how she reacts to a mob of Hollow-born common folk who can either be treated like an obstacle and slain – or made into allies to attack the Entities of the Hollow.

THE ENTITY

Alex's suitor is a proud, vengeful, somewhat self-destructive man. And those are the traits we'll turn into game mechanics to fight him (more on that in another discussion thread). They should also tell us something about the other people in the Hollow, who are in different ways the victims of his pride and now exist in service to it. 

OVER TO YOU!

We'll carry on this design challenge in other threads and maybe other streams, but before we go too much further we'd like your input! This is a community exercise, so all ideas for cool moments or engaging story are welcome – we can work together to refine them in the comments.

* What should we call this Entity? Like the Vicar or the Bishop from Grisham Priory, we like to rename our Entities to create a separation between the humans they were and the monsters they've become
* What should the Hollow look like? What locations could we add as interesting backdrops for Entity fights, or places to explore? (e.g., the chapel where the "happy couple" could have been married, the beloved rose garden, labyrinthine wine cellars, a gallery of mirrors indicating the Lord’s vanity, pride, but also self-loathing as a result of his failure)
* What hints can we drop and NPCs can we include to help tell the story of the Hollow's Lord and why he did what he did?
* Who should his Vassals be?
* Who else should be in the Hollow? 
* How do we communicate the story of family pressure and damaged pride to the players as they fight their way through the Hollow?
* How should the Hollow get more dangerous as Doom increases?

We're also going to ask for your help to design the Entity himself, but we'll save that for another thread.


user avatar image for Chant (Hollows Producer)
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HEARTS OF TITAN IS HAPPENING YALL #HOTSWEEP !!!!!!

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Holy cow, we're 50% funded and it's only been a single DAY!!

You are all absolutely incredible!! We feel so lucky that our pocket of the indie animation world could make such a big difference, thank you all so much <3

Now that the trailer's out, what do y'all think? Any easter eggs you noticed? Maybe...theories? Leave them in the comments below! We spent months working on that trailer and it is chocked full with interesting narrative tidbits if you know where to look. I've already said too much though...

Let's keep this momentum going, thank you for supporting the future of independent animation!!

-Milo
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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 50K REACHED! :D

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I'm glad I could support the project. Indie animation is some of my favorite.

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Monster Card Deck (Physical, ~50 cards) <---- Are these 50 new cards for this adventure module?

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I'm sure this has been asked, but I can't find the answer... I have the prior entire series for OSE / Basic D&D. Then I saw the whole series for Fantasy Trip. Now there's a new adventure, but it seems like there's no OSE option. What gives?

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