Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#1
What do you reader/author think about what define the litrpg genre?

A genre it's like an agreement beetwen the novel and the reader about what content to expect.
Some genre have conventions so strong that the reader literally demand them, like in a mystery novel there must be the uncover of a mystery or in a pnr reader want and expect weird demihuman love affairs.
Other conventions can be broken, or new one enstablished as the reader's expectation of a genre evolve.

It's really hard to pin point what make reader of litrpg click, cause the scope of the content can be broad AF from fantasy to SciFi, VR, other world. It's about building town or slaying great evil or doungeons or slice of life. 
You get it, it's all over the place.

But there must be something genre defining, witch make the reader think "i'm reading a litrpg!" or "this is bad/good/weird. But definitely not a litrpg, i've been lied to!"

What do you think it is? There are no wrong answers, the genre is young and every  reader and author are part  of the process.

I for one, think litrpg as having strong enfasi on progression of some kind, like the one in wuxia or xianxia, but in a western framework. Honestly tough i think of those as litrpg too in my mind.

RE: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#2
4/23/2018 8:45:18 AM Wrote: [ -> ]But there must be something genre defining, witch make the reader think "i'm reading a litrpg!" or "this is bad/good/weird. But definitely not a litrpg, i've been lied to!"

What do you think it is? There are no wrong answers, the genre is young and every  reader and author are part  of the process.

I for one, think litrpg as having strong enfasi on progression of some kind, like the one in wuxia or xianxia, but in a western framework. Honestly tough i think of those as litrpg too in my mind.


I should probably start out by saying that I've only been paying attention to LitRPG novels for the last several months, so I'm not exactly a huge expert on the genre just yet. And I know almost nothing about wuxia or xianxia. (I've heard of them, but I don't think I've read English-language translations of any of the most popular examples of those genres.)

But I'll try to describe what, based on recent experience, I usually expect to get when I use my Kindle to read a book that's been labelled "LitRPG." 

I expect the main character (or characters, if it isn't all from one guy's point of view) to be living in a world which has an awful lot in common with an MMORPG. For instance, he can easily bring up a copy of his own "character sheet" (or whatever it's called) to refresh his memory of what his Strength is, his Intelligence, his Hit Points, his Mana Points, and so on and so forth. If he's thinking of investing in a new Skill or a new Spell or whatever, he can see a window listing all of his alternatives, with text descriptions of what each item could do for him if it became part of his regular bag of tricks. 

Also, he tends to get lots of pop-up messages whenever anything "significant" happens to his character. As I recently said in another thread, this can get really silly. For instance: 

Quote:Congratulations! You have successfully dug your first posthole! Your proficiency with the Common Shovel has just gone up by 5 percent! All your future postholes will be dug 5 percent faster! :) 


If that sort of thing happens a hundred times in the course of a single novel, I'm going to start feeling that there's a lot of spam in the text -- but maybe that's just me?

Notice something: I did not say that a real LitRPG novel must be taking place in a Virtual Reality MMORPG. I only said that the world should strongly resemble that sort of gaming environment! For instance, I recently read the first few volumes of Aleron Kong's "The Land" series. Early on, the main character is told that he has just been transported between worlds. He has gone all the way from the VR MMORPG he was playing on Earth to a different planet which the game was modeled upon. Here, the natural laws are different from what he learned in school. Magic really works, and you can look at pop-up messages about your own status, and about other people and objects, and so forth. But you can't just pinch yourself and wake up from it, because this is really happening and getting killed really hurts! 

Because of all those pop-ups and statistics and things which the hero has to refer to, every day from then on, in order to track how well he's doing, and to plot strategy for future activities using all available resources, I call this "LitRPG." (And so does its author.) But we are told loud and clear that it is not a "game world" that only exists as a digital simulation inside some supercomputers, where programmers could simply rewrite the Land's "natural laws" at any time if they felt the urge.

RE: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#3
I'd pretty much agree with that. I'd also add (although not absolutely necessary) as likely components some type of Quest or Quest-like structure to whatever the protagonist does, some impossible, but game-like mechanics (like an inventory or auto-map...) and most likely a difference in agency between the protagonist and other characters (ie player vs NPCs; or "monsters").

However, again, I wouldn't say that any of that is specifically necessary. I'd say theoretically somebody could write a litRPG about a racing game with no stats, quests or anything. I'm not sure what the point would be, and the genre-title wouldn't really fit since of course it wouldn't be about a RPG, but in type of literature I'd put it in the same genre (as long as playing the game is the central topic of the novel).

Re: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#4
Let's start with something simple first. 

1. Have a character sheet. Do it in anyway you want; AD&D style, MMORPG style, mashed it up, or randomly create one. But as a rule of thumbs, some stats are considered canon to a character sheet. 

2. Multitude of skills. This, I can't stress enough. This is what breaks and makes your story . Is your MC blesses with one of a kind skills that let him win every time etc. or maybe he had super uber skillsets? Skills moves everything within the story.

3. Player Character and Non Player Character roles and types. In other words, classes, jobs, races, species etc.

4. A little of worldbuilding to support it. The lore, the history etc. It can be anything to fantasy, steampunk, medieval, futuristic, intergalactic, or an totally unknown universe or even mixing it all up.

5. Last but not least, status screen. You know the little blue boxes in RRL that annoys the feck out of everyone that was made by authors who seems either not able to control their urges spamming it every 3 paragraphs or not using it at all. These are the screens you will normally get once you had accomplished something.


There you have it. If you have those 5 above, I could safely assume that you are 99.99% are GameLit/LitRPG (whatever the term you fancy). The other aspects, like questing, solving puzzles, meeting new people, etc. are not genre defining for me at least. You could have GameLit where the MC's journey to find the best fishing spots and catch the legendary fish or something.

Honestly, GameLit are not for everyone though it caters anyone. Some readers will like something more than the others. I.e. the intricacies of stats versus its usage. Or the skills, classes, jobs etc. Or the quests. Or meeting new people and romance. Some wants plot that could defeat Alfred Hitchcock's novel. For me, I don't care all those. I write what I fancy and according to my whim. If it doesn't make sense, I'll just leave it be because most things in GameLit already did not make sense in the first place. But of course, being in the middle would be a better ground for all.

Re: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#5
I'm pretty interested in knowing at least what the consensus definition of what LitRPG is. That's because I tagged my fic with it, because it uses a few aspects of video games, namely quests and classes, but it doesn't use stat sheets, or blue box status screens. Which means it really only ticks 2, maybe 3 of acederequiza's checklist. So I've been wondering all this time if I should strip it off, since I don't want to give the readers the wrong expectations going in.

RE: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#7
5/14/2018 11:36:02 PMtanemrin Wrote: [ -> ]I'm pretty interested in knowing at least what the consensus definition of what LitRPG is. That's because I tagged my fic with it, because it uses a few aspects of video games, namely quests and classes, but it doesn't use stat sheets, or blue box status screens. Which means it  really only ticks 2, maybe 3 of acederequiza's checklist. So I've been wondering all this time if I should strip it off, since I don't want to give the readers the wrong expectations going in.


A question: Just what do you mean by saying your fic uses "quests"? Is the "quest" described in the text as acting like a game mechanic, where the hero suddenly knows he has accepted a quest, and he can feel the clock ticking in his head, because he only has, let's say, "30 days, 6 hours, and 5 minutes left" in which to complete the necessary conditions before it's too late? 

Or is it just a "quest" in the sense that there's a goal which one or more characters are determined to achieve, by any means necessary? (Which happens in lots of stories, in every fictional genre.) 

For instance: in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," Frodo Baggins and several other characters formed a group called "The Fellowship of the Ring," and they all committed themselves to work together in a mission to travel hundreds of leagues to reach Mount Doom in Mordor, and to destroy the One Ring when they got there. So there was a "quest" at the heart of plot -- but I've never seen anyone accuse "The Lord of the Rings" of being "LitRPG" or "GameLit."

RE: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#8
5/16/2018 1:00:51 AMLorendiac Wrote: [ -> ]A question: Just what do you mean by saying your fic uses "quests"?


A quest in that there is an Adventurer's Guild that hands out quests with a reward, quite literally modeled after the mechanics in RPGs, but not necessarily represented as such (there is no visible status window with a timer, but there is, after all, an agreed deadline - like a normal job).

RE: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#9
I don't think that's enough. There's other fiction - like Spoor's Wild Hunter series - that does the exact same thing, including a Reward scheme and "Levels" for difficulty of mission, but it didn't make the series feel any more like a litRPG or anything. 

After all, it's perfectly possible to establish such a system in the real world, if anyone felt like it. It's not happening because it's not practical for many reasons, but not because you need some "game" background for it.

Re: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#11
Even though this is old, I would still like to express my opinions.


LitRPG is a very special genre for me. This genre is literally (and I mean it) the reason why I got into Writing & Literature in the first place. So this may be a bit biased.
What I like about the genre is that (for me personally) features no other genre could provide. I've really been a huge fan of MMORPGs, and really RPGs in general so I was really excited that something like this could ever exist.
What I don't like is that this genre has become some kind of placeholder for Overpowered Main Character archetype and it has become really hard to truly find a good LitRPG nowadays. Of course, there is nothing wrong about OP MC's, I myself like it, especially epic moments where the villain is absolutely trampled without them even knowing it. But as the saying goes, "Too much of a good thing is a bad thing" and it is especially true to this genre.

Thanks for reading whoever you are, I hope you have a good day.

Re: Litrpg. A think tank about the genre and it's conventions.

#12
rizk Wrote: Even though this is old, I would still like to express my opinions.


LitRPG is a very special genre for me. This genre is literally (and I mean it) the reason why I got into Writing & Literature in the first place. So this may be a bit biased.
What I like about the genre is that (for me personally) features no other genre could provide. I've really been a huge fan of MMORPGs, and really RPGs in general so I was really excited that something like this could ever exist.
What I don't like is that this genre has become some kind of placeholder for Overpowered Main Character archetype and it has become really hard to truly find a good LitRPG nowadays. Of course, there is nothing wrong about OP MC's, I myself like it, especially epic moments where the villain is absolutely trampled without them even knowing it. But as the saying goes, "Too much of a good thing is a bad thing" and it is especially true to this genre.

Thanks for reading whoever you are, I hope you have a good day.


I realized I may have left a review instead. But still whoever read that, props to you.
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