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Who here hasn’t at least heard about Faerûn? Or as it’s more commonly known, the Forgotten Realms? And if you’ve ever played World of Warcraft, you’re certainly familiar with terms like Azeroth, the Sunwell or the Forsaken. And what Warhammer 40k player doesn’t know that the Red ones go faster or that Horus betrayed the Emperor?
Canon means that’s it’s pre-established; this is the setting as it was intended by the creators. Every roleplayer and GM will sooner or later have to put themselves and what they’re playing in relation to established Canon; are they following it or breaking new grounds and, if so, how much do they differ?
RPGs have a complex relationship with canon when, after all, most games these days tell the GM outright to forge new and untrodden paths; to explore their own realm of imagination unfettered by what the game designers made for them. Yet there are so many rules and limitations in your typical RPG that it’s almost impossible to ignore Canon completely. And the more you learn about it, the harder it is to keep out of mind whenever the GM pulls a rabbit out of their hats and goes against what you all thought was established canon.
TV-series, movies, comics, books, everything can be said to have canon, and if it doesn’t explain something well enough, Fanon will usually fill in the blanks. This can of course lead to hilarious arguments about whether or not something is proven canon (For more on this, cf. The Internet. Literally all of it.).
In this episode Max, Andreja, Toby and Chris discuss how they relate to canon in RPGs; ranging from video- and computer games (cRPG) to more traditional Pen & Paper RPGs. We discuss everything from FFXIV’s Miqo’te naming conventions to the Dragonborn of Skyrim and the NPCs of Forgotten Realms.
We also touch upon why some people consider canon important, and why it’s important to share a common idea of what is, and isn’t canon, so that eventual conflicts can be avoided. As usual, our solution is a solid Session Zero, but even if you’ve already started, it might occasionally be useful to sit down as real life people and discuss these issues with each other.
Why do people Roleplay their characters in Single Player games like Skyrim? Why do we strive to create some kind of framework for our characters in games that are essentially our own, personal experiences? And why do so many homebrew RPG settings fall flat early on?
We even touch upon Homestuck, specifically the carapaces of the comic and the very narrow field of Fanapaces and roleplaying in Midnight City, the backdrop of the Homestuck Intermission.
Come shoot the shit! Have fun! Do some memes!
And as usual, thanks to the Scouts of Sweden for letting us use their offices for our recordings!