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Author Topic: Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?  (Read 10347 times)

Daddy Warpig

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:33:31 PM »
(And in the quest to spawn more game-related discussions...)

I've seen some people describing Benoist's fantasy RPG references (pre-UA 1st ed. AD&D) as "fantasy fucking Vietnam".

(Yes, I pay attention. Even when lurking. And often I remember.)

But, since I'm pretty new around here, I missed all the discussions where this might have been explicated.

So, I'm throwing it out to the peanut gallery, Benoist in particular, to explain what exactly this means.

(Also, I'm assuming America's years, not pre-Dien Bien Phu, despite Ben's French origins. Just an assumption, mind, feel free to correct me.)
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Simlasa

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 11:55:09 PM »
I took it to mean the old school dungeons where players went inch-by-inch, carefully checking for traps with ten-foot poles and such... kinda like the troops in Vietnam, checking for booby traps.

Sacrosanct

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 12:28:01 AM »
Quote from: Simlasa;627451
I took it to mean the old school dungeons where players went inch-by-inch, carefully checking for traps with ten-foot poles and such... kinda like the troops in Vietnam, checking for booby traps.


This, and grit, and lethality.  If you let your guard down, you died.  Save or die.  None of this "fail your save and you're still oK.  Just take a penalty to Con for awhlie"
D&D is not an "everyone gets a ribbon" game.  If you're stupid, your PC will die.  If you're an asshole, your PC will die (probably from the other PCs).  If you're unlucky, your PC may die.  Point?  PC's die.  Get over it and roll up a new one.

talysman

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 12:32:16 AM »
Pretty much my interpretation, too. I interpret it to mean the play style where attrition is a major danger. How long can the party continue? Do we turn back because Joe lost his fighter, or do we just let him play one of the mercs? Have we lost too many supplies? Did dropping that rock to test the depth of that pit accidentally alert something nasty in the dark, and now it's waiting in ambush?

I believe it was Old Geezer who coined the phrase, but I'm not sure.

I've seen some people use the phrase in a slightly different way, something like "the same thing, but cranked up to 11" or something akin to fantasy survival horror. I'd like to see some discussion about the different variants people link to that term.

Arminius

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 12:38:22 AM »

talysman

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 12:44:31 AM »
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;627458
Also ambushes.

One of the early uses of the phrase: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?407357-What-system-for-quot-subterranean-fantasy-fucking-Vietnam-quot


Yeah, I was just reaidng that thread, which apparently marks Multipass as the originator of the phrase. And that's a good example of the different meanings I was talking about, because the original quote just looks like a reference to the attrition I was talking about, but the thread is about literally playing up the Vietnam references.

Daddy Warpig

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 12:45:04 AM »
Quote from: Elliot Wilen;627458
Also ambushes.

One of the early uses of the phrase: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?407357-What-system-for-quot-subterranean-fantasy-fucking-Vietnam-quot
See, that sounds pretty cool. Sort of like The Black Company.

A war, an actual war, where the overworld is being invaded by a coalition of ancient evils from the Underdark, and PC's are enlisted in the war to fight in the vast tunnels below civilization. All the dungeon delving isn't for treasure or glory, but to infiltrate and exterminate the enemy.

(Mind flayers, or what-have-you. Drow, if you want to hew too close to the obvious answer. Wormlings and Mojave rattlers from Deadlands: Hell on Earth would be really twisted. Plus a legion of humans, kept as slaves and bred by the enemy, brainwashed to hate the surface dwellers.)

Set it in a city like Ptolus, where there was a large dungoneering tradition anyway. Adventurers are mercenaries hired by the city, or special forces troops with extensive experience in the deep places of the world, where dark things sleep.

Yeah, I could hang with a campaign like that.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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amacris

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 12:47:14 AM »
I think of it as a sub-genre within which one can play old-school D&D. If you imagine that Ravenloft is "D&D as gothic horror" and Dark Sun is "D&D as post-apocalyptic" then Fantasy Fucking Vietnam is "D&D as a Vietnam war movie".

I consider the styles inspirations to be movies like Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, and Platoon, and books like Glen Cook's The Black Company and Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes.

Here's what it's like in play:
1. PC casualties are high.  Death is random and sometimes pointless. Moral virtue is no insulation.
2. The PCs might have the equivalent of tanks (fighters in magic plate armor) and air support (mages with fireballs) but the NPCs are dangerous because they have viciousness and cunning. They use poisoned punji stakes, hidden ambushes, and twisting underground tunnels in the wilderness.
3. It's not particularly clear that the PCs are good or that their cause is just. But it's not that the NPCs are good or just either; in fact, the NPCs are inhumane and ruthless. Both sides do awful things. The innocent bystanders tend to get killed.
4. Nobody goes into the Shit and comes out unchanged. Characters get cursed, mutated, polymorphed, their Constitution gets depleted, their levels get drained. There are fates worse than death.
5. By the time adventurers are successful enough to be seen as heroes or lords, they are too damaged to enjoy the fame and glory.
6. In its bleakness, it has similarities to Lovecraftian horror, except that the soul-destroying evils don't require Cthulhu; they are inflicted by man on man.

This is more-or-less my favored GMing style. The permanent wound chart and tampering with mortality chart in ACKS give some of the overtones.

Simlasa

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 12:56:26 AM »
Quote from: Daddy Warpig;627460
A war, an actual war, where the overworld is being invaded by a coalition of ancient evils from the Underdark, and PC's are enlisted in the war to fight in the vast tunnels below civilization. All the dungeon delving isn't for treasure or glory, but to infiltrate and exterminate the enemy.
That sounds a lot like a book I read, The Descent by Jeff Long. As literature it's total crap IMO (still stands as second worst book I've ever read)... but there are some interesting ideas to take away from it. Set in modern day though, not medieval (though it gave me a great sense of how scary goblins and such might be in an Underdark-like setting).

I've also seen the term (minus 'fucking') used for fantasy wargames that don't go with tightly ranked units, columns and rows... because of the nature of magic and fantasy creatures making that sort of combat ill-advised... so battles end up looking more like sci-fi skirmish games ala 40K.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 01:33:08 AM by Simlasa »

Daddy Warpig

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 01:13:21 AM »
Quote from: amacris;627461
I consider the styles inspirations to be movies like Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, and Platoon, and books like Glen Cook's The Black Company and Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes.
Gears of War. Invasion of the sub-surfacers, adventures in the deep below, discovering that the evil invasion you've been fighting is just another barbarian migration being driven by something even worse.

A great city, the shining city at the center of the world, built atop the ruins of another civilization, which vanished a million years ago. Below that lurks evil beings who worship the End of All. Their very religion drives them to kill and kill, until no sentient beings are left alive.

And those are the pansies, being driven from their homes by an evil older and greater than they...
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 01:16:53 AM by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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crkrueger

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 01:35:24 AM »
Two Words

Tucker's Kobolds
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

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Daddy Warpig

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 01:46:33 AM »
The War is everywhere. The Seven Kings, who rule the shining city, are dragooning peasants and nobles alike, and sending them into the dark to fight and die.

No one can avoid service, save for licensed and bonded adventurers. So you're miles down the mountain, in a tiny village, being hired by the village elders to raid the tunnel that just opened up in the town square.

Black vapors rise from the hole, and high pitched wails. Shortly, the forces of the enemy will pour forth. Unless you can seal it first.

So you go into the deep.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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J Arcane

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 01:48:52 AM »
We have always been at war with Menzoberranzan?
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Benoist

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 11:25:27 AM »
Looks like everyone's brought up the salient points before I could make it to the thread. Cool. :)

Benoist

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Fantasy Fucking Vietnam? What Means This?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 11:39:02 AM »
To summarize and not leave you in the cold, since you addressed me specifically in the OP: it's basically a combination of what the others have said:

You are not a hero. You're an adventurer, a tomb raider, a grizzled veteran going deep under the earth in hostile territory like you'd take a trip through the jungle. You have no guarantee to make it back to the surface. You'd like to strike it rich, but for that you need to survive, and your wits, your companions, your experience are your best weapons in the fight. Maybe there's an Assassin in the group who'll get stupid and try to stab you in the back for a purse or a gem or a magic item at some point. You'll deal with it when it comes up. There will be booby-traps, ambushes along the way. There... there are things down there that look human but don't know the meaning of mercy. It's better to be prepared. To have the right equipment, to go about exploring the place not fooling around and collaborate with the other members of your [strike]squad[/strike] adventuring party, because if you don't, you'll die. Somewhere, somehow. Doesn't really matter. So you better load up that crossbow, memorize that magic missile, fasten your sword tight and keep it at the ready, because you're going to have to make them count at some point, sooner rather than later.