21st: Favorite RPG Setting
Another “I don’t have one”, maybe, but let me knock this around a bit…
As popular media settings go, I love playing supers games in the Marvel or maybe DC comic book universes, as long as there’s room to change things up a bit. I love Star Trek, especially the original series, and have played in or run quite a few Star Trek games, but none of them have lasted long. Star Wars has the big advantage of an easy buy-in, so I’ve played in and run that some.
I’ve done some games set in Middle-earth, and as a big Tolkien fan I’m always interested in that.
I’ve played in a few of the D&D settings, but an Eberron war-forged is all I can remember.
See, I’m not a fan of pre-made worlds in general. Partly it’s the time and effort required to familiarize myself with a published setting – not just to read through but to really understand the flavor and tone of the setting. If I make up my own setting, I naturally have an innate sense of the details and tone, so I just find that a lot easier.
That’s the advantage of the popular media setting mentioned above: I know the tone, I know some or a lot of the details, and so do a lot of other people, so those settings have the advantage of an easy buy-in.
So…favorite? I guess I’d have to say “Middle-earth“. It has the combined familiarity of pseudo-medieval fantasy, Tolkien’s fiction, and the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit film adaptation trilogies. Trouble is, Tolkien’s world is a pretty specific sub-genre, and in particular the way that magic works is pretty far afield from what players are used to in a standard fantasy rpg. Still, there’s a lot to like there, and Cubicle 7’s The One Ring, for example, does a good job of capturing the flavor of Tolkien’s stories.
Hmm…I may have to call this a tie, though, between Middle-earth and the Marvel universe.
Thing is, I don’t think I would want to do a lot of gaming in either setting unless the game experience was top-notch: invested players who are at least fairly familiar with the source material and tone, and a GM who knows how to capture that flavor and make it last.