Setting is everything...

I did a post talking about mechanics a few weeks ago, and how problematic they can be.  Mechanics are an important part of the game, but it is never what hooks me into one.  Don't get me wrong, there are mechanics in a game that I really like, but that is never why I want to play the game.  

But that is never what actually hooks me into a game.  First thing is always the setting.  I look at the games I have loved in my life, and the first thing that usually sticks out is the setting the game uses.

  • Call of Cthulhu.  Dark, gothic setting based on H.P. Lovecraft stories.
  • The Dresden Files Rpg.  Urban fantasy setting, based on The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Dogs in the Vineyard.  Set in the Old west, tumbleweeds going by, rough land and people.  
  • Dungeons and Dragons.  We played in the Forgotten Realms setting, which I love
And others that I may not have liked (or haven't playe)
  • Vampire: Dark Ages
  • Shadowrun
  • Dread
  • 3:16

So, to me, setting is one of the most important aspects of the game.  But there are a few types.  

There is a physical setting the is created from the ground up.  The Forgotten realms setting is like that.  They created people, places, gods, maps, etc.  So much information that you as the GM just have to find a place to start your adventure.  I am a big fan of this type of setting.  I love information about the world and it was the first rpg I ever played.

Then you have something similar, but a little different.  The Dresden Files RPG has a world of canon that if you have read the books, you are very familiar with.  Yet, you also get to create the city it takes place in, along with places, npcs, aspects, and characters.  Amazing stuff.  I love both of those, because they have so much information about the world.  I am an information junkie.

Then you have games where the setting could be entirely based on a time period or genre.  Spirit of the Century based on the 1920's, where you characters are pulpy.  Again the location of the game can be wherever you wish, but the setting itself is based on the pulp aspect of it.    

Then you have a game like Hollowpoint, where the setting can be whatever you wish.  But no matter what, you are a badass that has a job to do.  Kicking someone elses ass.  You can do all kinds of actual settings for this.  You can be renegade cops, starship troopers, assassins, knights of the crusade, or the seven samauri. The setting is inter-changable

The bottom line is this.  I love settings, and that is how I get hooked.  This is why when talking about our own game, I want to nail the setting.  We are creating a game from the ground up, which is a daunting task.  But one that I am excited for and I think it will be awesome.

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