Many fantasy series begin as an Epic Fantasy in which a Land is founded or defended or taken over by a Hero (or heroine). For diverse reasons, this tale is often extended into a series, during the course of which the hero dies or becomes a Sleeper Under the Hill, the Land turns into a template Fantasyland – usually conceived on medieval lines – and many years pass. The hero's descendants now rule, and begin to squabble; or are suborned by the Dark Lord who was seemingly defeated by the founding father. Fantasy novels focusing on these conflicts can fairly be called DFs. With their necessity for continuity, DFs tend to avoid Metamorphosis, either of characters or in the fabric of Reality, which remains a stable backdrop for the adventures taking place stage-front.
David Eddings's long Belgariad sequence clearly demonstrates the typical shift from epic fantasy into DF. [JC]