Episode 217: genre emulation in RPGs

We’re back and we’re looking at our underpinnings. This can be an awkward thing to do when you reach our age. We recommend finding somewhere nice and private first. Alternatively, record it all in a podcast and put it out on the internet.

Main Topic: Genre Emulation in RPGs

This episode is our discussion of the role of genre emulation in RPGs. How do RPGs reflect the source material that inspires them? Should they even attempt to do so? And how do we even attempt to define genre? While we may not provide comprehensive answer to these thorny questions, they do at least act as springboards for some robust discussion.


Things we mention in this episode include:


Submissions for Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

Covers of Tomes of yore

Paul on Frankenstein’s RPG Podcast

Paul made a recent guest appearance on the Frankenstein’s RPG Podcast. He took a selection of spare parts to the lab and helped stitch them onto the ever-growing monster they’re creating.

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3 comments on “Genre Emulation in RPGs

  1. Tom McCarthy Sep 19, 2021

    I was a bit surprised no one mentioned (or was aware of?) Drama system/Hillfolk by Robin D Laws, which deconstructs the dynamics of non-genre shows like Deadwood, Six Feet Under, or Shameless, and gives rules and structure to setting up and running such non-violent or non-supernatural fair.
    As to the experiences at your local club trying to run non-violent games, I will say that the Hobby’s roots and origins are in genre, and I expect your club is full of people who are happy longtime consumers of genre; the hobby has given us decades of genre material and the club members are self selected from genre & violence lovers. The RPG form can probably bust out of the genre restrictions, but it will probably happen when new players naturally find non-genre games to cut their teeth on. (Maybe Fiasco or the like will serve that roll someday.). Till then, I expect we will keep nerdtroping everything.

  2. Elina Sep 20, 2021

    Thanks for a great episode.

    We played a great PTA game that modelled the West Wing / House of Cards (political drama) and it was great fun. So, I agree with Scott that this is about the exposure and preferences of the players around the table.

  3. LitRPG can basically be split into two categories. Number 1, you’re a person from a cyberpunk setting trapped or spending a large amount of time in some kind of MMO type video game. Stuff like Otherland by Tad Williams, Real Player One, and the animes .hack//Sign and Sword Art Online.

    Second category is you’re in D&D type of fantasy setting where the Gods have set up the rules of the universe to emulate those seen in RPG type games. Stuff like Record of Lodoss War (from 1990!), KonoSuba, Goblin Slayer, etc. Characters literally grind in “real life” because they can level up and become more powerful like RPG characters.

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