Grey Days and Urban Fantasies

We’re back into overcast days here in Ballarat. Thankfully, the latest of these days is matched with rain as the first three months of 2014 were exceptionally dry.

I wander into a very mild form of light-influenced depression when it gets so dark. I’ll be back to normal shortly, especially if I find a project that really captures my interest. Reviewing UK3 The Gauntlet is not that project!

Despite not want to do much creative, I’m quite happy to read a lot of books. The trouble with having a Kindle is it makes getting the next book in a series entirely too easy, and when you read at the speed I do, you can spend a lot of money on books very quickly!

Last week I went through most of the works of Faith Hunter (the Jane Yellowrock and Rogue Hunter series) and enjoyed them. This week, I’m moving through Kelley Armstrong’s “Women of the Otherworld” series, which – I’m glad to see – is actually complete. I’ve got so many series that aren’t complete, it is very nice to be reading something from start to finish.

One big difference in my reading today as opposed to (say) twenty years ago is that today I read a lot of Urban Fantasies (and Paranormal Romances), whilst before it was all about the Epic Fantasies. I’m sure a large part of this has to do with the fact that Urban Fantasy is the new hot thing in fantasy publishing; it’s hard to think of all that many titles twenty years ago, whilst today they’re everywhere – and can be quite successful, just think of Harry Potter and Twilight. (Yes, I read both series and also enjoyed them).

And, despite my reading speed, there are only so many hours in the day. I’m more in touch with current Urban Fantasies than what the big Epic Fantasies are these days. A Game of Thrones, yes, but it’s so irregularly updated that I’m not entirely sure if it’s an ongoing series. J The Wheel of Time is over and done with, likewise the Magician series. I’m pretty much only left with the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson (and the Vlad Taltos series of Steven Brust). Other than that, epic fantasy is something I don’t keep in touch with.

Because Dungeons & Dragons comes out of the Sword & Sorcery tradition of Epic Fantasy, this may mean that people coming to D&D today have very different expectations of the fantasy scene as to what I had back in the day. I suppose it helps a lot that D&D really exists in its own form of fantasy; very few books really work in the D&D idiom, but the D&D style works great for a game. Vampire was really big when the Anne Rice books first came out – you can see her fingerprints all over the world of the game, though it isn’t a 1:1 copy of her work. However, the Urban Fantasies of today probably don’t fit into the Vampire mold so much – and, let’s be frank, the genre is much, much broader than it was.

So, is there a role-playing game that fits people who like Urban Fantasies better than D&D? Or is a lot of the ideas behind Urban Fantasies already in D&D? If you made up a version of D&D where the “Class/races” were Witch, Werewolf, Vampire, etc. would it then work?

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