- Fantasy 128
The writings of JRR Tolkien and to a lesser extent Poul Anderson have been so enormously influential as to have created a consensus about default fantasy that has lasted for at least forty years. Most fantasy fans and gamers assume unless they are told otherwise that a fantasy setting will have a temperate climate, feature people riding around on horses, staying at inns, and sporting a European range of facial features, skin colours, and so forth, dressing in mediaeval European clothes as reconstructed in Hollywood, fighting with European and perhaps Levantine weapons and armour, defending European-style castles, etc, etc. When there are non-human race these are usually dominated by elves and dwarves from European folklore (via Tolkien), and by Tolkienian innovations such as hobbits. Monsters conventionally include orcs, dragons, ogres, trolls etc.
A few different trends in fantasy survive from before the consensus of the '60s, such as Jack Vance's Dying Earth. And some writers have had success with fresh and original fantasy settings (such as Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea, where the people are small and brown and travel more in boats than on horses, and seldom meet monsters), or by setting fantasy in, for instance, an old-fashioned English boarding school. Inspired by such works and other sources such as Japanese films, some fantasy games are set in settings that are markedly unlike "mediaeval Europe but with magic".