Skip to main content

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admit to still owning most of the books for this and have considered running a few sessions for fun, including the outdated technology "of the future."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."


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A First Look at Prowlers and Paragons

For a long time I've been in the market for a new supers RPG.  Since running Marvel Heroic Roleplaying a few years ago, I've been looking at other games, including some that had been passed by the general public, e.g. DC Heroes Third Edition or Silver Age Sentinels.  This was based on the notion that supers RPG's are so niche and so under-performing as a general part of the RPG world that just because the game wasn't making a splash didn't mean it wasn't good.

Plus, I have my own tastes about what I like in a supers RPG, which I've touched on from time to time here, but to summarize I like a game that feels like a comic book, doesn't get bogged down in too much detail, but allows for PC growth and development in a tangible game-system way.  I also don't want to spend hours on character creation using a spreadsheet.  For that matter, it would be an added bonus if it could also accommodate a large number of players and didn't have glaring options…

Hexcrawling a City, an early look

One thing I've been slowly working on for the last year is another fantasy sandbox campaign.  My prior one was generally map-based, although a city featured prominently in it.  As time went by, it lost a lot of its "sandbox" quality and became more directed on my part.  In the process, I think it lost something.

So, after being away from fantasy for a solid year, it's time to get back to it.  I spent some of that last year thinking about cities.   Some fantasy RPG treat cities on a very detailed level, with maps of streets, etc.  But while that's fun "map porn" for GM's, how often would the players actually be seeing or using a map like that?  And how long would it take for them to just accrue that knowledge by exploring the city.  I've lived in my current city seven years, with a car, and I don't know how all the cities line up.  What I know are areas, neighborhoods, etc. some intimately, others not so much.  And if I was going to a new cit…

Large modular dungeon tiles

I made five 4" by 4" dungeon tiles, which is 80 square inches, almost twice my usual batch of tiles.  When added to what I've done already, this is how big a single room I can make:

14 by 14 squares, with four squares to spare.  That's a pretty big room (70 feet to a side).  If I wanted to mix it up, I could build something like this:

I'm probably going to take a little break from this project.  It has turned out well, but until I'm closer to doing a fantasy game I'm going to focus on the games I'm actually doing.
Speaking of which, it's game night tonight...