Yeah, a lot of people have the wrong idea about that. Dungeons & Dragons is a set of rules for running a particular kind of game, with a number of published settings associated with it, few of which resemble the generic Tolkien pastiche most folks picture when they see that it’s got elves and hobbits in it.
In the same order as the previous post:
Planescape is set in an industrialised quasi-Victorian city constructed around the inner rim of a giant ring hovering atop an infinitely tall spire at the centre of the universe. The streets are ruled by warring gangs of philosophers who can literally argue you to death. Playable races include anarchist goat-centaurs and sapient geometric shapes.
Dragonlance is basically medieval fantasy meets World War II, wracked by constant open war between the forces of Light and Darkness. Knights ride dragons into battle while sinister dragon-men prowl the countryside (there are a lot of different kinds of dragons). Playable races include steampunk gnomes and musical minotaurs.
(If that last bit sounds familiar, it’s because most of what World of Warcraft didn’t borrow from Warhammer, it lifted from Dragonlance).
Ravenloftis pretty much as described in the previous post: it’s a prison dimension for the multiverse’s worst baddies, which has evolved into a confederation of dystopian city-states ruled by thinly disguised expies of various Hammer horror villains, like Dracula and the Wolfman. And also an evil version of Pinocchio, because why the hell not?
Spelljammer is D&D in space, where enchanted galleons sail the luminiferous aether in search of fortune and adventure. If you’ve seen Treasure Planet, you’ve got the right basic idea, though Spelljammer predates Treasure Planet by some decades. Standout features include mercenary hippo-men and gnomes whose ships are powered by giant hamsters running on wheels.
The Forgotten Realms is probably the closest to what folks are picturing when they think of “generic fantasy land”, though they’re a couple of decades off with respect to its inspirations - it’s much more 1980s romantic fantasy than 1960s epic fantasy. Talking housecats, cosmopolitan cities with suspiciously modern amenities, enlightened matriarchies ruled by beautiful sorcerer-queens - you know the drill if you’ve read your Lackey.
Dark Sun is a post-apocalyptic milieu set in the wake of a global environmental collapse brought about by irresponsible use of magic. “Mad Max with wizards” would be a glib but not-wholly-inaccurate description. Playable races include savage cannibal hobbits and giant psychic praying mantises.
Birthright assumes that the player characters are members of ancient ruling houses empowered by the blood of slain gods. Beyond that, it’s almost entirely generic - its whole shtick is that you get to rule a domain right from first level, rather than having to work your way up to it.
Red Steel is an Age of Sail swashbuckling game set on the Savage Coast, a region tainted by magical fallout that grants wondrous powers, but also induces progressively more hideous mutations. The economy is based on the eponymous red steel, a rare metal that grants resistance to the mutations without suppressing the accompanying powers. I wasn’t kidding when I said The Three Musketeers meets the X-Men.
Eberron is a “magipunk” setting that envisions a high fantasy world in the process of undergoing an industrial revolution. Trains powered by bound lightning elementals crisscross the land, and one of the major tensions involves the integration into society of a race of mechanical soldiers constructed from enchanted wood to fight in a recently ended war.
Greyhawk is tough to pin down, as it’s basically the collected campaign notes of one of the game’s original designers. It covers a lot of ground, but the focal point, the eponymous city of Greyhawk, is a straight up sword-and-sorcery pastiche. In terms of inspirations, think Robert Howard, Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock. Sinister cults, baroque cities ruled by degenerate nobles, and player characters who are as likely to be planning urban heists as delving dungeons.
I cleaned my room today and found all of my sketchbooks scattered everywhere. I stopped and looked through them again for the first time in who knows how long, so please indulge my trip through memory lane
Watched the Series Finale of Black Sails today and was compelled to create a mood-board and drabble for these irresistible Nassau Husbands.
Hiding in the Spaces
Flint had never truly imagined happiness was a concept made for him. The fleeting joy of the past was like a shadow—faint and easily lost in the darkness. What little light filtered through the cracks was quickly chased away by everlasting night.
Flint could hardly recall Thomas’ face, the feel of his skin, the scent of his hair, nor the taste of his lips. Those memories turned to dust and slipped between his desperate, grasping fingers. Rage, hate, regret—that was the world Flint lived in.
So how could it be that the sun burns so brightly? How is it every step, each crunch of gravel beneath his feet echoing loudly in his ears, brings him closer to the light?
After so many years of pain and darkness, sorrow and shadows, the blistering midday sky offers something new. Golden rays fall across Thomas’ face, illuminating the creases around his eyes as they widen in recognition.
Familiar lips curve into a smile and the darkness flees without a second glance.
Because now there is only warm skin, strong hands and calloused fingertips, digging into supple flesh. There is strength and tenderness, urgency and peace.
This painting was really inspired by Owl City because he sings about so many things. Space, adventures, the sea, happiness, love. He’s just so amazing to me and helps me realize “Why worry so much about your place here, when we all have a place among the stars?” Plus I painted it with glow in the dark paint so the stars will glow. 🙌🙌🌟✨💫⭐️
A lot of people believe that Joji had better skill and Hands went down too easily, and thus the duels were plot gifts for Flint. I disagree completely. The duels were actually an expose of what makes the ultimate advantage in a duel against an opponent using different weapons other than a broadsword.
Here are basic duel logics on who has the advantage:
1. Skill and expertise in your weapon of choice. Flint is likely one of the best three broadsword fighters in the show. Joji is the expert with his katana. Hands is an expert in wielding two weapons - cutlass and hammer with spike. Flint dispatches several men wielding broadswords with great or relative ease. Billy has less expertise in the broadsword than Hands has with his 2 weapons, and lacks experience in defending against 2 weapons. Hence Hands could dispatch Billy so quickly.
2. Physical fitness and strength. The stronger, the fitter, the more agile, the taller a fighter is the more he has a personal physical advantage over his opponent, and it could make the difference if the duelists are of equal expert skill. Remember the duel between Blackbeard and Flint. Same weapons, same skill, but Flint weakened after living weeks on rations. Duel between Billy and Flint in 4x02: Billy has the length and power over Flint, but just not as skillfull.
3. Distance > manouvaribility > sharpness. The longest weapon has a distance advantage, because it allows the duelist to harm the opponent without requiring your body to come into the danger zone of the opponent’s weapon(s). Joji’s katana is longer than Flint’s broadsword, very flexible in use because of its two handed grip, and deadly sharp overall, more so than a broadsword. Flint’s broadsword however is longer than Israel’s cutlass and hammer, and sharper.
4. Having optimal space for your weapon. You need the space that matches your fighting technqiue and your ability to optimally wield your weapon. While a spear is longer than a sword and can prick someone dead as easily as a swordpoint, theoretically a spear has an advantage over a sword, especially if the spear wielder is an expert in wielding it to block, knock and stab the opponent. But that is only true when the fighter has the space to wield it around. Put the fight in a small corridor and the spear wielder loses that advantage altogether, and would do better in dropping the spear and draw out a dagger instead.
Joji versus Flint
Assume both are equally skilled in their weapon of preference. Joji has the weapon advantage and fighting technique in his optimal space, when he can also use his legs to trip Flint. That is what we see at the start of the duel.
As soon as Flint realizes he is outmatched in this manner and nearly has his head chopped off, he moves away from Joji’s optimal space and draws back into the trees. Flint starts to lure Joji into a more confined space, so Joji cannot use his legs anymore and the slight difference in weapon length might still put him in a disadvantage, but just not as much anymore. Still, the katana remains an advantage in flexibility. Flint manages to defend himself barely in this phase of the duel based on muscle power. But he sees his chance, and drags the both of them into a ditch and close contact position. On their knees and this close to one another, Joji has lost all his advantages, while Flint has the strength upperhand.
Result: Joji dies.
Israel Hands versus Flint
Assume again that both are equally skilled in their weapon of preference and required fighting technique.
Hands uses two weapons, both shorter ones than Flint’s sword. In that sense Hands is always at a distance disadvantage against any opponent with a broadsword, whether that is Jacob, Billy or Flint. He is a tough guy but not the tallest either. Because Hands has to always put himself in bodily harm’s way against anyone with a sword, his advantage relies on agility on the one hand, and the opponent not having any expertise to defend himself against 2 weapons. We see Hands win against Jacob and Billy for these reasons. He gets into the danger zone, deals a blow, a cut and dances away again to avoid and parry a swoard at a safer distance.
Hands’ foremost issue is that Flint knows how to defend himself against 2 weapons. Hands cannot come in and strike a cut or blow. You may also have noticed that Hands seemed to fight far more stiffly than against Billy and Jacob. His arms are outstretched and stiff. It looks like he cannot fight anymore all of a sudden. Well that’s true and not true. Hands has not lost his skill, he just cannot use it as he usually does, because Flint doesn’t allow him to get close. And now Hands is forced to try and hurt Flint without going near Flint’s sword. So, he creates a bigger distance than he usually does, by stretching his arms, thereby losing his felxibility.
Then consider the environment. It is an open space, optimal enough for Flint’s sword, and yet too slippery for Israel’s dance in and dance away tactic. To win this duel, Israel had only one option - do what Flint did with Joji. Hands should have drawn Flint into a close and confined area, though he would still risk being outforced by Flint.
In both duels, Flint managed to gain or keep advantage because of his tactical choice of fighting space.