Favourite RPG settings and why

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zanshin

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So following on from the favourite modules thread I thought we might want to discuss our favourite settings for an RPG game and why they do it for us.

I'll kick off with Glorantha. This scores in so many ways for me. A world in which magic is widely available and used by most people. Where the Gods are a real and active presence and to be part of society is to follow them and offer them your power. A world with many genuinely strange beings, with their own myth framed identities, both from earth mythology and truly original. It also has a brilliant variety of settings and concepts- Pavis & the Big Rubble - politics and dungeoneering a plenty; Prax - bronze age wild west; Dragon Pass - bronze age Star wars battle between the rebellion and the evil empire; Dragon Pass - bronze age battle to preserve civilisation and progress against barbarism; Chaos - the ultimate enemy, Moorcock style with a dose of Lovecraft; Chaos the unhealed wound that only the most illuminated can learn from.

What other setting has something like the Morokanthi? Intelligent tapirs that farm and eat human looking (but non sentient and grass eating) herd men, and while disliked are accepted as part of the Praxian cultures ecosystem.

Elves that are more plant than flesh, tied to their woodland at an organic level.

Dwarves that are cogs in the world machine, highly specialised and narrowly focused. No scottish accented ale drinkers these.

Trolls that eat the flesh of sentient beings, are the stuff of darkness and nightmares, but a sometime ally because of their fierce battles against Chaos.

A network of myth that is tied to different cultures and interpreted in their own ways.

So much to explore and enjoy. My longest ever campaign - ten years of play with RQ2 and we only scratched the surface.
 

monsmord

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I've preferred stepping away from Tolkein-esque/high fantasy, so gravitated toward things like Dark Sun, Planescape, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, et al. "Weird" stuff. Sadly, my group were reluctant to do anything outside D&D (unless it was Marvel FASERIP), so I barely got to explore these published settings, let alone any provided by other systems. Of those I sampled, Ravenloft tickled my affection for gothic horror (I was raised on Poe, Hammer films, Corman's Poe stuff, etc.), and Dark Sun my interest in how fantasy could be twisted into something new-ish.

Sure would have been nice to spend more time with CoC, Shadowrun, 7th Sea, Ars Magica, WoD, Amber, Feng Shui, Space Opera, Traveller......anything.
 

Klibbix!

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Though I've never played an RPG game set in it, The Old World of WFRP and the tabletop game has been a constant influence on me. When was a kid I would spend hours pouring through the army books, White Dwarf and the various novels and I loved it.

I'm sure most people here know of it, but Acrozatarim's Shadow of the Sun campaign journal (https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/warhammer-fantasy-2e-the-shadow-of-the-sun.421186/) really opened my eyes to what you can pull off with the setting.
 

Fenris-77

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I like setting with evocative details, and I'm less concerned about depth of premade information. Ultraviolet Grasslands is a good example of this, as is Yoon Suin. I want details the fire my imagination and spur me on to make it real at the table. Mork Borg is another excellent example. That's all on the fantasy side of course.
 

Klibbix!

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I like setting with evocative details, and I'm less concerned about depth of premade information. Ultraviolet Grasslands is a good example of this, as is Yoon Suin. I want details the fire my imagination and spur me on to make it real at the table. Mork Borg is another excellent example. That's all on the fantasy side of course.

I keep seeing Yoon Suin when people ask the favourite setting question....making me think I should take a look.
 

Fenris-77

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I keep seeing Yoon Suin when people ask the favourite setting question....making me think I should take a look.
It's really good and a very engaging read. It's also a very interesting text from a design perspective in how it both describes and provides tools to build the setting. It's one of a couple of models that I'd use if I were to attempt a similar project.
 

Picaroon Jack

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I really like the setting for Symbaroum. Here are my top reasons:
  • Elves are inhuman and adversarial.
  • The frontier economy is based on exploring ancient ruins.
  • Lots of factions with special interests and plot hooks.
  • There is a dark force spreading and mutating people/animals in the forest.
  • Magic is dangerous.
  • The forest is dark and gets more fantastical/dangerous the deeper you go into it.
  • The humans are either barbarian nomads on the edge of the forest or the displaced empire who has moved into the region.
 

Bunch

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Talislanta is up there for me. It has a nice overlap between the familiar and strange. It has a light enough level of detail that you don't have to delve extensively into canon or worry that what you're doing conflicts with what's in print while providing enough to guide your start on developing a region.
 

David Johansen

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Traveller's Third Imperium is such a big, open sandbox. It's easy to put in things from just about any science fiction you want to borrow from. There's lots going on but you can still get in a rickety old freighter and sell wooden novelty toys to tentacle aliens.
 

Picaroon Jack

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That detail of Symbaroum certainly makes me want to know more.

Any more details forthcoming of Ultraviolet Grasslands or Yoon Suin? I see there is a Mork Borg thread floating around.
Here's a link to a free quickstart to the game with setting information.

Also, here is the free intro for the Symbaroum 5E kickstarter that has a lot of the setting described in it.
 

Savage Schemer

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I somehow managed to drop my contribution in the wrong thread:

 

AsenRG

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1. Historical settings. Preferably non-magical, but I'm willing to put up with some magic, too.
Yes, the Mythic settings are right up my alley, and wuxia games are a staple of my RPG diet:tongue:!

2. In no particular order: Exalted's Creation, Glorantha, Tekumel, the Hyborean Age, Moorcock's world of Granbretan, ERB's Amtor and Barsoom (I slightly prefer Amtor, TBH), Gor*, Lankhmar, Steven Brust's world, Sapkowski's world, G.L.Oldie's Oikumena, The Third Imperium.

*Yes, I'm the guy who reads it for the setting, and before you ask, I've read Playboy for the articles, too. Sue me:shade:!
 

Voros

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That detail of Symbaroum certainly makes me want to know more.

Any more details forthcoming of Ultraviolet Grasslands or Yoon Suin? I see there is a Mork Borg thread floating around.

Yoon Suin will be getting a second edition which is good as while excellent the original's layout is mediocre for layout-and -fontnerds. Some more art would be cool too, I really like the little you get in the original though.

Lots of settings I love: Mystara/The Known World (particularly The Principality of Glantri, The Republic of Darokin, Karameikos); Darksun; Planescape and Sigil; Skullport; Erelhei-Cinlu; Spelljammer and the Rock of Bral; the settings of Glorantha, CoC, Dracula's Dossier and Unknown Armies; and OSR settings like Slumbering Ursine Dunes and Qelong.

But I'm going to pick one I don't think gets enough love: Carl Sargent-era Greyhawk.

I had Gygax's GH boxset as a kid but it was Sargent and Nile's The City of Greyhawk that made me fall in love with the setting, followed by From the Ashes boxset and modules like The Night Below, City of Skulls, Vale of the Mage, Greyhawk Ruins, etc.

His version of GH is weird but heroic, with a prominent use the underdark, demons and devils, devasting wars and conspiring factions. It feels of a piece with the GH that TSR UK suggested in their modules and the recent Ghosts of Saltmarsh does a good job of capturing that feel I think.
 
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ffilz

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Hands dow
So following on from the favourite modules thread I thought we might want to discuss our favourite settings for an RPG game and why they do it for us.

I'll kick off with Glorantha. This scores in so many ways for me. A world in which magic is widely available and used by most people. Where the Gods are a real and active presence and to be part of society is to follow them and offer them your power. A world with many genuinely strange beings, with their own myth framed identities, both from earth mythology and truly original. It also has a brilliant variety of settings and concepts- Pavis & the Big Rubble - politics and dungeoneering a plenty; Prax - bronze age wild west; Dragon Pass - bronze age Star wars battle between the rebellion and the evil empire; Dragon Pass - bronze age battle to preserve civilisation and progress against barbarism; Chaos - the ultimate enemy, Moorcock style with a dose of Lovecraft; Chaos the unhealed wound that only the most illuminated can learn from.

What other setting has something like the Morokanthi? Intelligent tapirs that farm and eat human looking (but non sentient and grass eating) herd men, and while disliked are accepted as part of the Praxian cultures ecosystem.

Elves that are more plant than flesh, tied to their woodland at an organic level.

Dwarves that are cogs in the world machine, highly specialised and narrowly focused. No scottish accented ale drinkers these.

Trolls that eat the flesh of sentient beings, are the stuff of darkness and nightmares, but a sometime ally because of their fierce battles against Chaos.

A network of myth that is tied to different cultures and interpreted in their own ways.

So much to explore and enjoy. My longest ever campaign - ten years of play with RQ2 and we only scratched the surface.
Hands down, Glorantha is my favorite setting. It is the only one I have consistently used. I'm not so into the network of myth, and I dislike the official Mostali, so I have now decided that they are more like "D&D" dwarves as implied by the original write-up in RQ1. One thing I really like is how the cults work, providing "classes" in a classless system. Since I started playing with just the RQ1 book, Balastor's Baracks, and Apple Lane, my Glorantha is more "D&D like" but it obviously has lots of elements implied by the rules and the cults. Also, ducks...

Beyond Glorantha, I love Wilderlands of high Fantasy and Blackmoor, but primarily the maps. I've struggled to make sense of the Wilderlands and Blackmoor as mostly been used as a map with interesting places on it, with some inclusion of bits from First Fantasy Campaign and the DA modules (also two Different Worlds issues had modules but I haven't actually used them in any way yet. Blackmoor was the setting for one of my two big college Cold Iron campaigns and we also used it for some Burning Wheel play.

Beyond those, I really have made limited use of commercial settings. I have tried running Cold Iron in Talislanta and Tekumel, both didn't do well. I tried a Yoon Suin campaign but found it hard to actually turn the generated stuff into a moving campaign. All three of these settings have the disadvantage of being very non-Western...
 

Jan Paparazzi

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Though I've never played an RPG game set in it, The Old World of WFRP and the tabletop game has been a constant influence on me. When was a kid I would spend hours pouring through the army books, White Dwarf and the various novels and I loved it.

I'm sure most people here know of it, but Acrozatarim's Shadow of the Sun campaign journal (https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/warhammer-fantasy-2e-the-shadow-of-the-sun.421186/) really opened my eyes to what you can pull off with the setting.
Yep, played first edition. A grittier D&D. Probably played a lot like Runequest. Percentile system, quite deadly. As teenagers we didn't do a lot with the setting. It always becomes a bit hobo murder style of roleplaying.

Setting that have a big appeal on me are Fading Suns and SW Hellfrost. Especially the last one is a perfect setting imo. Broad and just the right amount of depth. Never played it though.
 

Caesar Slaad

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Lessee...

Planescape
Most D&D worlds are "realistic Earth like worlds painted over with fantasy elements", and people rail against alignment as a personality mechanic when it's really more of a setting mechanic. Well Planescape gives you a world that is clearly not a physical world like our own, and the fact that alignment is a setting element is writ large there.

Scarred Lands
This one is a bit more traditional D&D fare, but it takes the "history of legend" stuff that is the substrate of most D&D settings and puts it in your face. The war between the gods and titans was not millenia ago, it was something your great grandparents may have seen... or closer relatives if you were an elf or dwarf. And the scars of this war linger on and shape the world in very palpable ways.

Numenera
This is more an instance of "someone writing a published fantasy setting the way I write homebrew mine". Numenera does a "far future fantasy"/"science fantasy" thing that hearkens back to the likes of Dying Earth and Zothique, with a heaping dash of post-post apocalyptic vibes.
 

ReluctantGM

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Wilderlands of High Fantasy was my first game world. Greyhawk was next. I will always love both and will happily play both.

Glorantha makes for good reading but I don't really feel the pull to actually play it. Its so evocative and beautiful that I can just pore through the coffee table sized Guide to Glorantha for hours.

These days I'm always doing a custom home brew world for every game so I haven't much call to check out other campaign settings.
 

Ossian

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I really enjoy the World of Aihrde setting by Troll Lord Games (makers of Castles & Crusades). It’s pretty vanilla, but hey, I love that flavor!

I enjoy it because it has very detailed history and lore, full of great deeds of the heroes of old, but there are no current famous heroes or advancement of the timeline. The dark lord ruled Aihrde for 1000 years of winter’s dark, and was just recently defeated. The world is now rebuilding.

My preferred style of play would be to play the heroes in a dark world, and Aihrde fits that like a glove.
 

Endless Flight

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Hyboria - D20 Conan: It’s Robert E. Howard, the greatest writer ever. Of course it’s awesome.

Mystara - D&D Rules Cyclopedia: Like it all, including the under appreciated Thunder Rift.

Hyperborea - Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperboria: It’s like Asgard and Hyboria mixed together.

Freedom City - Mutants & Masterminds: It’s a kitchen sink setting for supers. Steve Kenson put a lot of love into this.
 

Simlasa

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Among published fantasy settings I particularly like Aarklash, which is the setting for Cadwallon and several other games by Rackham.
Its flavour is a mix of WFRP and Warcraft... and a touch of old school Disney.
On the surface it is very 'vanilla fantasy' but it gets weirder and wilder the deeper you dig... with lots of open-ended mysteries for a GM to put their touch on.
 

Lessa

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Glorantha because it's the nearest to a "what if the ancient earth cultures religious views were true?" that I've seen. It's fantasy is really a coat of paint to disguise what is really our own human world. Because of this, it's the greatest achievement in world building to come out of the hobby, IMHO.

Planescape, and Sigil, because I love it's multiverse-philosphy-power of will concept and the possibilities it allows. But also because the videogame made a hell of a job in portraying it to an audio-visual medium and making it even more thought-provoking than the books. "What can change the nature of a man" and all that.

Shadowrun. It was my first game so I'm totally biased. But its earlier editions' imagery by Bradstreet, Laubenstein, Auliso, etc. painted a world so exotic with it's dystopian tech, fantasy and amerindian mix that I forgive my 11 yo brain for being completely mesmerized. I dare anyone to look those 2nd edition archetypes and tell me its not cool as fuck. The funny thing is, I'm sure if someone told me the Shadowrun concept before I met it as "you know, this mix of fantasy and cyberpunk" I would have dismissed immediately as a silly idea. But as a friend likes to say, "its not what you do, but how you do it", and SR how is amazing.
 

Stevethulhu

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For me, it has to be Rokugan. But the earliest iteration kf it, as presented in 1st edition Legend of the Five Rings. Specifically he core book and the first seven Way of of Clans books.

Perspective was everything, how you were brought up affected how you saw the Empire. There were mysteries, hints at a dark underbelly. But there was enough room left blank to add your own spin to things.

Night City. For my money the best city sourcebook ever put in print. A prop, an endless source of setting detail, hooks and scenario seeds. An absolute classic.

Titan, the Fighting Fantasy world. Its completely gonzo, with a real kitchen sink feel to it. But also has so much scope for adventure. And of course, it harks back to those early Fighting Fantasy books that got me into the hobby in yhe first place.

The Old World. Stupid name, great setting. It reay has a sense of a place with dirt under its fingernails. Grimy, grubby and you can totally see why people turn to the promises of Chaos to get ahead.
 

b9anders

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Hard to pick - there are many strong influences for me. Greyhawk*, Talislanta, Dark Sun*, the Known World, Birthright, Fighting Fantasy, Dragonlance*, Forgotten Realms* and Wilderlands of High Fantasy all hold a special place for me.

*Here, I am referring mostly to their early presentations. The over elaboration in supplements and the tendency towards worldshaking events in these leave me cold.

Shout out also to Palladium and Midgard as settings that inspired me.

For sci-fi, nothing beats original Traveller universe. Shadowrun's version of cyberpunk is wacky, but somehow just works so much better for me than regular cyberpunk. Turns out that yes, I do want troll street samurais and dwarf shamans in my cyberpunk.
 

finarvyn

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Blackmoor. It was the first RPG world and it has a great mix of magic and technology. I like to dust off Arneson's "First Fantasy Campaign" and re-read it when I want inspiration on making my own RPG worlds. FFC almost always has some hidden gem I hadn't noticed or had forgotten about. A shame that it hasn't gotten decent treatment through WotC.
 

Mankcam

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My Top Four all-time rpg settings:
  • The Hyborian Age
  • Glorantha
  • Middle Earth
  • Lovecraftian Mythos
I also like Titan, The Old World, The Third Imperium, Cyberfutures (eg Shadowrun), Lankhmar, The Young Kingdoms, Forgotten Realms, Talislanta, Cyradon, Shadow World /Kulthea, World of Darkness, Krynn, Barsoom, stuff like that. I am also quite interested in running a dark version of a Grimm Faerie Tales homebrew, something along those lines.

Some interesting more recent settings that are starting to capture my interest:
  • Eana
  • Trudvang
  • Symbaroum
  • Hubris
  • Dolemwood
  • Ultraviolet Grasslands
  • Bastionland
  • Neverland (revisited)
:thumbsup:
 
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zanshin

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Glorantha because it's the nearest to a "what if the ancient earth cultures religious views were true?" that I've seen. It's fantasy is really a coat of paint to disguise what is really our own human world. Because of this, it's the greatest achievement in world building to come out of the hobby, IMHO.

Planescape, and Sigil, because I love it's multiverse-philosphy-power of will concept and the possibilities it allows. But also because the videogame made a hell of a job in portraying it to an audio-visual medium and making it even more thought-provoking than the books. "What can change the nature of a man" and all that.

Shadowrun. It was my first game so I'm totally biased. But its earlier editions' imagery by Bradstreet, Laubenstein, Auliso, etc. painted a world so exotic with it's dystopian tech, fantasy and amerindian mix that I forgive my 11 yo brain for being completely mesmerized. I dare anyone to look those 2nd edition archetypes and tell me its not cool as fuck. The funny thing is, I'm sure if someone told me the Shadowrun concept before I met it as "you know, this mix of fantasy and cyberpunk" I would have dismissed immediately as a silly idea. But as a friend likes to say, "its not what you do, but how you do it", and SR how is amazing.
That's very insightful about Glorantha. I know Campbells Hero with a Thousand Faces was a significant influence for Stafford.

I have never played Planescape outside the Computer game, but it is a really intriguing setting. I do like the eternal war in particular.

Agreed with Shadowrun. I am old enough to have got on it with 1e. A really fun setting at a time when cyberpunk was the big new thing.
 

johnmarron

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I'm going to buck the trend a little bit. I used to be all about the super detailed, intricate settings like Glorantha. My first RPG was Empire of the Petal Throne, so Tekumel was the first RPG setting I was exposed to and I thought that was what one was supposed to be like. But these days, I much prefer stripped down settings that give me just enough info to be evocative, without weighing me down with canon that I have to memorize.

Some of my favorites:

Krevborna - This is a gothic horror fantasy setting that I think is a master class in how to present RPG setting material. Brief overview of the setting, more detailed 2 page descriptions of some major locations, factions, and NPCs, tons of adventure seeds, and lots of random tables to generate encounters and adventures. Everything in the book is designed to inspire adventures and provide the GM tools to create content that will actualy get used in play.

The Gloam - This is another dark setting (that's kind of my thing), presented as a 10 page gazetteer accompanying an "adventure toolkit", which is a situation generator with lots of evocative tables. The setting itself is a pulpy, Lovecraftian gunpowder fantasy in which Humans have nearly wiped out Elves and Dwarves in a war a few centuries ago, and in the process weakened supernatural wards that kept a horrible darkness out of the world. Again, just enough detail to inspire, and only info that is actually usable at the table.

Yoon-Suin - others have mentioned this one, but it really is worth checking out. Manages to present a fairly exotic, detailed setting purely through random tables. I had a better feel for this world, it's nuances, people, and daily life simply by rolling up a starting situation randomly than I usually get from reading massive setting books for other worlds.
 

Lofgeornost

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1. Historical settings. Preferably non-magical, but I'm willing to put up with some magic, too.
Yes, the Mythic settings are right up my alley, and wuxia games are a staple of my RPG diet:tongue:!

2. In no particular order: Exalted's Creation, Glorantha, Tekumel, the Hyborean Age, Moorcock's world of Granbretan, ERB's Amtor and Barsoom (I slightly prefer Amtor, TBH), Gor*, Lankhmar, Steven Brust's world, Sapkowski's world, G.L.Oldie's Oikumena, The Third Imperium.

We have similar tastes, I think. I'm a big fan of historical or history-derived settings as well, and I'm more intrigued by Moorcock's Tragic Millennium (Hawkmoon) setting than by Elric's world. Out of curiosity, why do you prefer Amtor (Venus) to Barsoom?

In terms of published RPG settings, some of my favorites are:
  • Tekumel especially the more sword-and-planet approach from the original Empire of the Petal Throne and the first two novels. It seamlessly unites fantasy and science-fiction and there is room for as much anthropological and historical depth as you want. Perhaps because I'm less familiar with the source material Barker used, it seems less a pastiche of terrestrial history and cultures than Glorantha does.
  • Middle Earth. Tolkien's work gives a great deal of depth, both historical and thematic, to the setting. Also, at this point, it's one of the few settings with elves, dwarves, dragons, etc. that I have any interest in (besides history-inspired settings, that is). I remember having a lot of fun with the ICE publications back in the day, and I've been impressed by The One Ring/Adventures in Middle Earth approach.
  • The Dying Earth. I've never been able to get a group to play the Pelgrane version, but I love the stories and books and the Pelgrane modules provide a lot of useful information, enough for years of gaming, I would think. Lately I'm more attracted to the more serious and darker Turjan-style campaign rather than the more picaresque Cugel one. What I'd really like, I think, is an adaptation of Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique stories that captured the imaginative qualities of the originals, but that's probably a pipe-dream.
Over the years, I've made multiple attempts to get into Glorantha. I once owned essentially all of the Runequest III Glorantha materials, I've read King of Sartar, and I even collected some of the fanzines in the 1990s. But somehow it just didn't work for me. The latest version sounds lovely, and since I am a big D100 fan I imagine I will acquire some of it eventually. But I doubt I'll ever play in it.
 

Fenris-77

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Have any of you Tekumel fans used Arrows of Indra? I own it but have only really glanced at it. I did read somewhere that there's some shared DNA, or zeitgeist, or some shit. Anyway, just curious.
 

zanshin

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I'm going to buck the trend a little bit. I used to be all about the super detailed, intricate settings like Glorantha. My first RPG was Empire of the Petal Throne, so Tekumel was the first RPG setting I was exposed to and I thought that was what one was supposed to be like. But these days, I much prefer stripped down settings that give me just enough info to be evocative, without weighing me down with canon that I have to memorize.

Some of my favorites:

Krevborna - This is a gothic horror fantasy setting that I think is a master class in how to present RPG setting material. Brief overview of the setting, more detailed 2 page descriptions of some major locations, factions, and NPCs, tons of adventure seeds, and lots of random tables to generate encounters and adventures. Everything in the book is designed to inspire adventures and provide the GM tools to create content that will actualy get used in play.

The Gloam - This is another dark setting (that's kind of my thing), presented as a 10 page gazetteer accompanying an "adventure toolkit", which is a situation generator with lots of evocative tables. The setting itself is a pulpy, Lovecraftian gunpowder fantasy in which Humans have nearly wiped out Elves and Dwarves in a war a few centuries ago, and in the process weakened supernatural wards that kept a horrible darkness out of the world. Again, just enough detail to inspire, and only info that is actually usable at the table.

Yoon-Suin - others have mentioned this one, but it really is worth checking out. Manages to present a fairly exotic, detailed setting purely through random tables. I had a better feel for this world, it's nuances, people, and daily life simply by rolling up a starting situation randomly than I usually get from reading massive setting books for other worlds.
That's all brilliantly described, thank you. I want to know more of them now...

So many great roleplaying settings - never enough time.
 

zanshin

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Several people have talked about Glorantha being too much to engage with. I would say if you do fancy playing it, drill down and choose your corner to play in.
Pavis/Prax/Big Rubble is one of the most popular. There are also some really good modules from the RQ renaissance that let you explore the world at an adventurers pace - River of Cradles/Sun County/Shadow on the Borderlands/Strangers in Prax. That lot sustained our RQ campaign for years.
 

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Another older and quirky setting worth mentioning is Skyrealms of Jorune, an interesting sword-and-planet offering with some cool aliens and cultural bits. Unfortunately it's out-of-print and largely unavailable, as far as I know.
 

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Earthdawn and Shadowrun.

Shadowrun because I was looking for something different after 20 years of D&D but still looking for fantasy themes. The blend of Magic, Man, Machine was just perfect at the time.

Earthdawn because it was the first game I had come across that made sense of all the fantasy tropes within the setting. It could be played as the post-apocalyptic high fantasy as intended, but because of the Horrors, it could also be played in a very Lovecraftian way if desired. Making sense of fantasy tropes was a big thing after coming from D&D to the point people often say Earthdawn is what D&D wants to be when it grows up.

The connection between Earthdawn and Shadowrun was also a big draw and that fact that both were system and setting.
 

ffilz

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I'm going to buck the trend a little bit. I used to be all about the super detailed, intricate settings like Glorantha. My first RPG was Empire of the Petal Throne, so Tekumel was the first RPG setting I was exposed to and I thought that was what one was supposed to be like. But these days, I much prefer stripped down settings that give me just enough info to be evocative, without weighing me down with canon that I have to memorize.
Heh, for me Glorantha actually fits just fine there... Why? Because I missed the mailing list and zine craziness of the 90s. Plus, my Glorantha started to take some shape even before Cults of Prax, and even with that, yea, I read Biturian Virosh's Travels. And then I continued running Glorantha as a "D&Dish" setting. Yea, Cults of Prax, Cults of Terror, and Trollpak all inform my campaigns, but I make no attempt to follow all the canon. If something new gets released that I think I can use, I'll buy it, and then probably not use it as presented...

But obviously I'm some odd curmudgeon, heck I even still run RQ 1e... :-)

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I did go on a binge of buying Gloranthan materials, in part fueled by having missed Pavis and the Big Rubble. But after gorging myself on supplements, I realized I didn't like the new Glorantha. I put most of that material up for sale and returned to MY Glorantha. I don't care what others do. And there's plenty of folks happy to play in my Glorantha with those retro 1e rules...

I actually got more stuck with canon with Tekumel because by the time I got into it, it had already exploded...

But stripped down is why I so often pull out the Blackmoor map. The amount of setting detail in The First Fantasy Campaign is pretty minimal.
 

AsenRG

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We have similar tastes, I think. I'm a big fan of historical or history-derived settings as well, and I'm more intrigued by Moorcock's Tragic Millennium (Hawkmoon) setting than by Elric's world. Out of curiosity, why do you prefer Amtor (Venus) to Barsoom?
Several reasons, really:
1) More water and greenery. Banal, but feels good to the eyes, even if those are mind's eyes:grin:!
2) More disparate cultures between cities. Barsoom feels exactly like what it is, a world that was old, and unified, and now is getting some dissenting voices, but Red Martians overall live like Red Martians, and so on. Conversely, Amtor is a world that is now learning to spread its wings, unity is not even a pipe dream in most places, and so is cultural unity unheard of. This would also be better for gaming purposes!
3) A host of superstitions, mistaken knowledge, and no real understanding of what space is. It's always funny.
4) Chicks don't lay eggs there, AFAICT:tongue:. This always seemed kinda worrisome, and coupled with the telepathy and stuff present in Barsoom, and the general closeness between planetary romance and S&S, I can easily spin it into a premise for horror adventure. But such overtones are actually totally unsuitable for Sword and Planet, IMO.
5) It has the sterling advice of "never argue with anyone who can seriously advice you to multiply stuff by a square root of minus one":devil:!
6) The description of the rocket sent by Earth reminds me of Jules Verne's "From Earth to the Moon", which is another book I like. Conversely, Barsoom fliers seemingly fly on unobtainium. Not a major source of irritation, but it is one nonetheless.
7) I find the main character more compelling and reasonable.
8) There's less military engagements in the Amtor books I've read. Which I like.
9) There's no 2d20 version of Amtor:devil:.

And of course, keep in mind all of the above might contain traces of humour and/or be mistaken. I haven't read all ERB books yet!
 

K_Peterson

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Another older and quirky setting worth mentioning is Skyrealms of Jorune, an interesting sword-and-planet offering with some cool aliens and cultural bits. Unfortunately it's out-of-print and largely unavailable, as far as I know.
That's a setting I've always wanted to check out, ever since I saw ads for the 2nd edition in Dragon Magazine back in my teens.
 
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