Friday, January 29, 2010

Gaming Fiction

One area of RPG's that has developed and become big business in the last three decades is gaming fiction - That is, books based on a game universe. Most of these are based on some role-playing universe, but not all.

I do have somewhat different standards for gaming fiction than I do for a history book or more mainstream fantasy or science fiction novel.

- I expect at least one interesting main character, preferably more than one.
(Since most gaming fiction is rooted in the concept of "the party" this is something most gaming fiction succeeds at achieving)

- I expect some interesting supporting characters.
(On some level this boils down to "things I can steal")

- I expect to feel immersed in the world - most gaming fiction is based on a very well-developed world and this work has been done for the author before their story was written or likely even conceived. The story should use that - it's one of the potential strengths of gaming fiction. The background details are already there - all the author has to do is come up with interesting characters and a situation to put them through, and then they should be off.

- I expect the story to obey the laws of its particular universe. A parallel to the above, this can be a cardinal sin to me - if the author sets their story in an established world, then violates the tenets of that world, they have failed as a writer.

So, we have a situation where a game is published, has a great background, develops fans and takes off, and then some novels are written to tell some stories in that background - sounds like a great situation, right. It should be. Unfortunately there is a lot of bad gaming fiction out there and it has been there since the very begining

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