Do you understand what "vanilla fantasy" means anymore?

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There's a thread on ENWorld where a poster is asking "if you homebrewed a 'vanilla' fantasy world, what classes would you choose".  And I read that line and I was like "Wait......what's 'vanilla fantasy'?"  I'm completely serious when I say that I can't come to a concrete conclusion.  I can make an assumption, but I still find myself needing more information.

I think I've hung around the definitely non-vanilla CBG so long that the very idea of vanilla fantasy just doesn't make sense. :yumm:

Anyone else find "vanilla" hard to understand anymore?

Sort of. It's more I now see Vanilla Fantasy as amateur and boring. This is very negative and wrong of me, but generally I find little to excite me in such settings (although, ironically, I prefer to play them as games).

Though I think that asserting that there are a set of qualities that absolutely define "vanilla" fantasy (or any other genre/sub-genre) is impossible, when I think of vanilla fantasy I generally think of worlds still locked in a post-Tolkienian mode with a fairly standard (and stagnant) array of racial/cultural types and environments.  I think, fortunately, that in fantasy we're increasingly seeing an abandonment of any norm or center, any "standard" or "vanilla" or "typical" world.  Hopefully this trend will continue and fantasy will become a genre of wild and unlimited invention rather than a self-limiting genre as it often has been.

J├╝rgen Hubert:
To me, a "vanilla fantasy world" is one where everyone knows the main tropes of the setting before you even tell them of the background.

Though I might be in the minority, to me 'Vanilla' means traditional published setting, as opposed to a setting built around the needs of the specific players in question.


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