An Overview of Genre in T'Phon

Copyright (C) 1996 By Kiralee McCauley & Joseph Teller

T'Phon is the first Fantasy Realms World, and was crafted to be both familiar and alien to players and Game Masters alike. By this mixture of elements we hope to present a unique fantasy world that is easy to present in game terms, and yet which will provide a landscape of possibilities for exploration.

Unlike many game worlds for other systems, T'Phon is crafted to be a more lighthearted place. This does not mean it is humorous with a laugh a minute and jokes or puns strewn like pearls across the countryside. Nor does it mean that a game played here will not have its darker moments. T'Phon is a comedy in, perhaps, the Shakespearian sense of the word.

In Shakespeare's day, theatres did not advertise the performance of a particular play, but mearly flew a flag to indicate the type of play - tragedy, comedy, etc. Although witty remarks were more common in comedies, it wasn't the prescence or absence of humor which determined a play's type. Instead comedy comes from an amusing or ridiculous situation.

In Twelfth Night, for example, we have a tale of confused identity and confused romances. A pair of adult twins, one male and one female, are seperated in a shipwreck, each thinking the other is dead. The woman disguises herself as a man (and looks much the same as the missing brother) and becomes servant unto a wealthy gentleman, with whom she falls in love (but reveals not her identity). He uses her as a messenger, to present his tidings of love to a noble lady. The noble lady, not realizing the courier's true sex, falls in love with the messenger instead of the gentleman - an impossible love triangle of the most ridiculous kind.

Thus Twelfth Night is a tale of comedy, of ordinary people caught up in an absurd situation, and all the goings on within that situation. It ends when the missing twin is revealed alive and well, allowing the mixed up love affair to be solved with each major character getting something akin to their heart's desire. Along the way a half dozen absurd supporting characters pass on and off the stage, including another suitor for the lady (who only wants her wealth), a drunkard, a jester (fool) and so on.

T'Phon is intended as such a comedy. Either the characters are ordinary people in a landscape of absurd concepts, plots and NPC's, or larger than life people so absurd they make a mundane landscape bizarre. Thus Tor-VarDen is not just a big city, but the largest, most corrupt, crime-ridden city imaginable - an absurd setting for ordinary people to survive in. Yet it also holds an equally silly reputation of being the absolute best place to live.

It should not be a horrific, angst-filled nightmare place with an oppressive society and terrifying creatures spewing forth to leave a trail of carnage. This does not hold well with the background and concepts of the world and its mythology.

T'Phon is a world where adventures are meant to put a smile on one's face, a lightening of one's tread and an uplifting of the heart. Somehow the majority should see a happy ending, though not always the one expected by the characters involved. Death should be either thru absurdity or a heroic passing, not from futility, remorse or madness.

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