The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Legacy of Dragonholt
The Starship From Hell
Realms of Terrinoth
Swordthrust
The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild
Fate Core System
Player's Handbook (D&D 5e)
The End of the World: Wrath of the Gods
Wet Hot American Summer: Fantasy Camp
Being a role-playing game on the topic of the High-Flying adventures of Beatrice Henrietta Bristol-Smythe, DBE, daring Aviatrix and accomplished Exploratrix, and her Gentleman Companion, who for a Modest Fee, accompanies Beatrice ... [truncated]
The Final Bug
Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game
Mutant: Year Zero Core Book
Lone Wolf Adventure Game
Starfinder Core Rulebook
Starfinder Pact Worlds
Dark Terrors
Ruins of Matolo: Discovery
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Middle-earth Role Playing (1st Edition)
Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
Star Trek: The Role Playing Game Second Edition
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space – The Roleplaying Game (10th Doctor)
Cthulhu Britannica: Avalon: The County of Somerset
Mini Six Bare Bones Edition
Numenera
Horror on the Orient Express (2nd Edition)
Strategy Guide
Out of the Abyss
Leagues of Gothic Horror
Tales from the Yawning Portal
Tales from the Loop
Adventures in Reasoning: Communal Inquiry through Fantasy Role-Play
FateShoe
Players Handbook (AD&D 1e)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness
One of the Living
AMBER Diceless Role-Playing
Omlevex
Road Hogs
Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition
Old World Bestiary
Dread
Chivalry & Sorcery: Warfare & Wizardry in the Feudal Age
Thieves' World
Paranoia (Mongoose Edition)
Book 38: Vault of the Vampire
Adventure 09: Nomads of the World-Ocean
My Life with Master
The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo
Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

RPG Design Study #1: The Most Resonant Fantasy Settings

Chris Flood
United States
Richmond
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What settings in a fantasy world are most familiar to or popular with gamers? These are the places that every fantasy world seems to have, especially those "kitchen sink" ones that try to appeal to everyone. The main differences are geographical, demographic, and so on, but most importantly plot-related. Each setting has a different type of story structure attached to it, which is why we find them pop up so frequently. Reviewing popular publications, I've come up with five catch-all categories.

The Town with a Secret is a popular choice for low-level starter adventures. PCs follow up on various leads to uncover some hidden agenda and then face down the hidden enemy in a climactic battle. Examples include Bogenhafen and Orlane.

The Outpost by a Hinterland is also popular for introductory scenarios but seems to have more legs for sustained play. PCs explore the hinterland, frequently dotted with ruins or remains of a forgotten civilization. The outpost itself might feature some intrigue, but it's primarily a home base for the PCs. Examples include Keep on the Borderlands and the West Marches.

The Faction-Filled City--every setting has one: Waterdeep, Ptolus, Sigil, Middenheim...the list could go on. PCs get wrapped up in inter-factional conflict and politics, complex hidden agendas, alliances and betrayals, and so on.

The Lair of Evil is where some dark power has been brewing for ages. PCs might have to unravel some of its mystery before getting there, but eventually they must enter the stronghold and take on a powerful foe. Examples include Ravenloft and Castle Wittgenstein.

The Exotic Locale Requiring a Lengthy Expedition provides similar opportunities for exploration as the hinterland but PCs lack the safety of a home base. They have to plan for extended travel and danger. The inspiration for this category was the "Underdark," which seems to pop up somewhere in most fantasy settings, but I think it's functionally the same as, say, the "Frozen North," the "Lost World" Island, and so on. But maybe each warrants its own category.

From this forum discussion, I've procured another one:

The Well-Traveled Path like a road or a caravan route is another common setting, particularly for introductory adventures. Movement is easy, and exploration of exotic locales is low. Possibilities for social interaction are high, but not as high as they would be in a populated area. There might be some regional politics the players would get involved in, but it's not nearly the same scale as the factional stuff you get in cities. This setting is particularly conducive to mercenary-style, adventurers-for-hire play, as PCs travel from one place to the next picking up local missions. The foremost example from a top-rated game is the river in The Enemy Within Campaign Volume 2: Death on the Reik, which affords the PCs high mobility and relative safety.

What do you think? What have I missed?
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Subscribe sub options Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:02 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}

Subscribe

Categories

Contributors

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.