[Philippine Genres] Fantasy

Posted: November 5, 2014 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Roleplaying Games
Tags: , ,

We’re continuing the series ofarticles looking at the various genres available in gaming and seeing which ones of these resonate best with the Philippine gaming scene. In many ways, this is sort of an opinion piece of how I’m seeing the feasibility of a genre surviving beyond a pitch phase when being presented to a group.

Today Fantasy genres get the same look, with the subgenres for it given special attention.

Historical Fantasy

Here’s an interesting subgere to start with, as it is perhaps one of the most interesting. The Philippines has had a colorful history of being a colony of multiplie countries, each of which has left some mark on this relatively young country. As such, our history lessons give a lot of emphasis of what life was like under each of those who colonized us.

That said, many players would not hesitate to jump at the chance to play in a setting that has historical basis, but with the slightest amount of magic or edge. Adding a steampunk twist to the life and times of Jose Rizal, for example, or even the addition of competing magics of the more animistic native religions versus the Roman Catholic faith brought by the Spaniards would work immensely to add to the playability of such a setting.

High Fantasy

High fantasy works differently here in the Philippines. While we do have the understanding of the usual Tolkien tropes of elves and dwarves and wizards with pointy hats, the real kind of high fantasy that ties more closely to the culture is that of our myths.

Philippine myths are rife with Exalted-level deeds performed by equally flawed individuals. Emotions and base motivations run rampant, with lust for glory and amorous desire for the hand of a maiden fueling more than one insane romp through the islands in our histories.

Fantastic creatures play a crucial role as well, but not as fellow inhabitants of society as with most stereotyped western fantasy. The Diwata and other creatures are mysterious, dangerous and often unpredictable. It would be wise to deal with them with extreme care.

Low Fantasy

This sort of fantasy is still decently easy to pitch here. Again the same mindset that I described in the last article about cyberpunk rears its head here. Conan and other sword-and-sorcery heroes fit right in with the pessimistic mindset that we have.

Add the fact that we’re a culture that idolizes our villains (as evidenced by the countless action movies starring murderers and vigilantes as protagonists) and it’s no surprise that low fantasy is an easy sell for most GMs.

The trick, of course, is to make it relevant. Filipinos respond well to the local hero flavor, so even if their characters are pretty much ruthless bandits in all but name, making them the local heroes of a struggling community could result in interesting twists to take a story on.

Given the nature of our reaction to sci-fi, fantasy makes for a much easier pitch. While our brand of fantasy differs slightly from the western take, there are enough parallels to make the jump without much trouble.

Next up, we’re taking a look at a mixed back of other genres including Horror, Modern Fantasy, Supers, Anime and Espionage.

  1. Fabs says:

    This one seems to be the most viable option for a genre: look at films like Agimat, Pedro Penduko, Panday etc. Hoping Horror would be the next genre tackled. Haha.

  2. “Adding a steampunk twist to the life and times of Jose Rizal, for example”

    I’ve wanted to take Dungeon World or Legend of Anglerre and do some Rizalpunk. 😀

  3. Dai says:

    I’m really enjoying this series. I grinned when I read your comment on the Cyberpunk settings because I had just watched Tribu, after coming across it while doing research on Manila (Tondo in particular), and decided to incorporate stuff I saw there into my Shadowrun campaign.

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