- Apr 28, 2018
- Reaction score
Yeah, this.My go-to is Jorune. You get the setting, you're a starter adventurer. The default is to start your Tothis but you're not pressured into it. It's just assumed. You could do the entire game without getting a single mark on your challis. (how about that for jargon). (I'd add that the BPN system in SLA Industries has a similar function although that's really just about the money for ammo. And I've lost my love for Nightfall).
Well, that's hacking the game to do something it wasn't meant to. Can you do that? Sure, I have. But lately, I prefer starting with a game that's closer...if I realize in time I'm changing it too much.I mean there's nothing wrong with hacking the new Blade Runner to allow less binary choices. And nothing wrong I guess with being Cornish brigands in Pendragon.
And if I don't, I end up running...oh wait, my current Celtic Myth/Hollow Earth/Ninja Turtles/Delta Green (powered by DG) mix is the perfect example, isn't it?
Yeah, that's part of it for me as well.I think personally I like a defined raisin d'etre - and that's why D&D has never really interested me. I'm literally an "adventurer". And that's a thing. And the economy is based around this? Well, okayyyyyy.
The newer micro games (and I'm actually including the 300+-page monsters I've found while researching the "light and narratively focused" PBTA definitely seem to be micro-specific on the niche you're meant to play. Like very little wiggle room.
Sure, that's just a different preference - and I do sometimes indluge in it as well. But usually I don't, and even when I do, it ends up veering aside. Like my "noir investigators" game where the whole party never threw a punch or shot a gun. Wait, maybe there was one occasion. Oh, and we were using A Dirty World.I lean the other way. I find it much more useful when a provides a compelling "this is that the party does" concept rather than the travelguide style "there this kindgom here and that kingdom there" write up. Whether I intend to play or run a game, the key part of the pitch that will sell me on or off is not "you are in Ancient Rome/terraformed Mars/modern day Cleveland", it's "you play occult investigators/bungling gang of thieves/superpowered rebels hunted by the state".
But bottom line, it turns out the game designers simply can't please us both, right?
A setting is never "about" anything. If it is, it's not a setting, it's a premise for a narrative game...Yeah, one of the biggest issues I have with a lot of settings is when they go off on the details about this land I'm supposed to care about, but don't tell me what I'm supposed to do with it in terms of "WTF is this setting about".
Which, admittedly, is how I see settings focused around a single activity (dungeoncrawling included).
That, on the other hand, is perfectly reasonable and I welcome it - but please, don't make it all "this is what your game is going to be about, say crime, so here are the ideas... and they all pertain to crime". Leave that stuff for the "Cops" supplement.And I don't mean that in a railroady sort of way, but rather give me some campaign ideas or adventure seeds of what sort of stuff gets done in this place, what is the focus or "point" of it.
In such cases I find it useful to start from the bottom up: this is how people in the setting live. Conflicts are resolved in these ways. These areas have potential for conflict, see the previous point.Overwhelming with a bunch of details about this land that isn't even a known IP from an established franchise is just gonna make me go crosseyed, cuz I have no frame of reference for it.