Friday, August 21, 2015

RPGaDay 21: Favorite RPG Setting

The trick to this question is that I feel like I have to avoid the licensed products.  Star Wars is not an RPG setting, it's a movie series in which an RPG has been made.  A setting that was specifically developed for an RPG?  Two come to mind....

The rules might be a dog with fleas, but I have always found the setting for the Rifts RPG to be strangely compelling, mostly in their "everything but the kitchen sink" approach.  Actually, I would not be surprised if the Kitchen Sink OCC might be somewhere in the Rifter magazines.  The fact that Savage Worlds has somehow managed to pry the Rifts license from Kevin Siembieda's MDC grasp might just be a sign of the Apocalypse.

Close runner up:

Cyberpunk 2020.  Take a variety of cyberpunk movies, novels, etc. and frappe' them into a single world that has enough touch points to make fans happy, and you've got Mike Pondsmith's RPG setting.  I've read that Pondsmith really wanted an RPG that focused more on character and the pathos of the genre but instead saw the game tack towards the "caper" end of the spectrum (which then informed FASA's Shadowrun).  It is a classic case of design intent vs. gamer reality, but the world oozed early 90's cool.  I'll freely admit to still owning most of the books for this and have considered running a few sessions for fun, including the outdated technology "of the future."


  1. The reason you didn't choose Star Wars is the very reason I chose Star Trek. It's a well developed, familiar setting with lots of cool elements that a lot of people know, and like.

    Who the heck knows Greyhawk unless they've gaming 20-30 + years? If you haven't read more than one or two Forgotten Realms books, do you give a fig about Forgotten Realms?

    If you're into it, you're into it, no judgments from me. If your players aren't all that familiar with it, make your own setting.

    I just find that most settings don't fit my groups exactly right unless we build them ourselves. Unless they're from IPs we like of course. Then we build our characters to fit the IP.

    1. It's funny. I don't mind some established settings from movies, TV, etc. What I don't like is established RPG setting that a game designer made. Rifts is wild enough to mess with easily. Cyberpunk is generic enough in its own right to be massaged into whatever you want. Greyhawk? Forgotten Realms? I'm not a huge fan of playing in someone else's playtest world.

    2. That's exactly how I feel.

      It's like this - If you made a game that gives me the tools to create my own world, I will.

      "Thank you, you've done a great job. No, I don't need your world. Didn't you hear me? I said you did a great job with these tools. I can take it from here, thanks."