#rpgaday2015  
Favourite RPG setting

I’m gonna cheat yet again and call this a tie between M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel and Greg Stafford’s Glorantha. I’m all assuming that the topic addresses published RPG settings, and not setting types or home-brew settings.

I’m also sort of cheating because I have had very little actual play in these settings. I’ve played two sessions in Tékumel, one using Guradians of Order’s Tékumel: Empire of the the Petal Throne  RPG, and one using Barker’s home-brew rules as GM’ed by the excellent Victor Raymond. The only Glorantha proper session I’ve ever played was a fantastic HeroQuest event run by Ian Cooper at last year’s GenCon.

But! These settings have intrigued me since I was a wee lad. Both are so vividly realized and detailed, and both target various tastes of mine. In the case of Glorantha, it’s the Dark/Bronze Age Europe and western Asia feel, plus the rich mythology. In the case of Tékumel, it’s the heavy dose of India mixed with semi-classic-SF trappings — yet without feeling like a “kitchen sink” of swords and lasers and random stuff. Honestly, neither of these settings feel anything like others I’ve experienced.

And also, importantly, they feel organic — pure creations of their creators and the fandom they inspired. It could be my ignorance talking, but I don’t get the impression that any parts of these settings were created out of some business or marketing need. Maybe I’m a snob, but for me that makes them somehow “pure” or “genuine”; a product of the hobby, not the industry.

Runner-up for this category would be WotC’s Eberron. Yes, it’s sort the polar opposite of my winners above: a corporate artifact created out of a need to sell books. Despite that, I still think that Keith Baker managed to create one of the best D&D settings to yet see print, especially if we restrict ourselves to the original 3.5e setting book and ignore a lot of the supporting material that came later. I think it fits the D&D paradigm (especially the 3.5e paradigm) better than any other setting, and has lots of “situations pregnant with crisis” baked right in: the mystery of Cyre’s destruction, the status of the warforged, Five Nations politics, House politics, mysteries of Xen’Drik, etc. Sure, it has its issues (Xen’Drik-as-Africa and the tribal drow), but overall I think it’s pretty cool.

6 thoughts on “#rpgaday2015

  1. I’m with you on Eberron. Great D&D setting.

    I’ll go with my instinct and say Aberrant. It’s the best version of the X-Men universe I’ve ever seen. It also made sure to include characters who used their power for political purposes or professional purposes. It’s the best version of “How would the world react if 6,000 people suddenly became demigods?”.

  2. < ![CDATA[I'm with you on Eberron. Great D&D setting.
    I’ll go with my instinct and say Aberrant. It’s the best version of the X-Men universe I’ve ever seen. It also made sure to include characters who used their power for political purposes or professional purposes. It’s the best version of “How would the world react if 6,000 people suddenly became demigods?”.]]>

  3. The system didn’t hang together (surprise?), but the setting did do some interesting stuff with the rules. One NPC, for example, but all of his “power points” into skills. He looked like a regular guy (and I think he worked quietly as a technician somewhere) but he had five dots in every skill on the character sheet.

  4. < ![CDATA[The system didn't hang together (surprise?), but the setting did do some interesting stuff with the rules. One NPC, for example, but all of his "power points" into skills. He looked like a regular guy (and I think he worked quietly as a technician somewhere) but he had five dots in every skill on the character sheet.]]>