One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
The first choice of fantasy is if it is set in the real (primary) world or a fictional (secondary) world. This is sometimes described as low fantasy for the real world and high fantasy for a fictional world. Low and high are in relation to the amount of fantastical elements found in the world. A real world setting is expected to be more grounded in reality and contain less fantastical elements then a fictional world.
Real world world settings
Set in the real world in present time in which magic and magical creatures exist.
His Dark Materials
Secret World Fantasy
The same setting as contemporary fantasy but the existence of the fantastic elements is a secret to most of humanity.
The Vampire Diaries
Set in a historical time and place of the real world.
Often set in ancient China this is setting where martial arts heroes fight it out.
Sword and sorcery
S&S is about sword and/or spell-wielding heroes on exciting adventures. Romance, magic and evil supernatural powers is common. Unlike high fantasy the focus is more on the personal adventures of a single hero.
High Fantasy (aka Epic Fantasy)
This is fantasy set in a imaginary world. The stories are often epic in scope with grand struggle against supernatural evil forces. Large cast of characters and complicated plots that take multi-volumed works to resolve.
Fantasy with a dark, gloomy atmosphere or a sense of horror and dread.
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