Monday, 14 November 2011

Setting or no setting? {RPGs}

Up until recently I've been a big fan of setting-less games, such as Dungeons and Dragons and Tunnels and Trolls. I know there's a bunch of campaign books for the former and a loose historical and geographical setting for the latter, but by default both of these games are bare bones systems that you can weave your own world around. I love the creativity inherent in these games, allowing you to come up with whatever world you want, its societies, history and notable people.

The trouble is, while I think I'm quite creative, there's only so much I can come up with. Sure, I can constantly build on the mythology of my setting as the campaign continues, but things can get a little uneven and continuity can get a little screwed up. If you have a campaign world all packaged up for you with a nice nerdy bow on top then at least there's consistency in your game.

My sudden change of heart came from reading Shadowrun 4th Edition, which I picked up the other day. I drank up the setting like a cool cola on a hot day and loved every part of it. As I read I was constantly coming up with ideas for adventures, from the exclusive VR clubs you have to hack into to thwarting gangs of astral ninjas. Maybe it says more about Shadowrun as a game than it dos about general settings, but it definitely made me want to write a full on setting for Tunnels & Trolls.

So what do you guys like? Setting or no setting?