When someone says “epic fantasy” there is a general idea of what it will entail: woods and forests, elves and dwarves, adventurers and magicians and fighting and quests. All in a medieval-style setting. Possibly with dragons. 🙂 Tolkien is much to blame for this. But he isn’t alone. Book after book after book falls into these same cliche’d storylines. Often, it is the plot that we blame. We say it is poor storytelling. But beyond plot, another way that we promote fantasy tropes and cliches is in our very worldbuilding. Medieval setting? Elf land, dwarven mountains, major port city, a desert land occupied by nomads…all are things we have seen over and over. So perhaps, the best place to start when addressing cliches isn’t in the story, but the world itself.