What do you look for in a game setting?

Hi all…

I’ve been pondering putting aside my dreams of an independent roleplaying game in favor of doing what I love to do most, which is world and adventure design. So as I ponder such thoughts, I wonder…

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    Image by Daniele Muscetta via Flickr

    What are the top three things you look for in a setting?

  2. What types of settings do you tend to look at or read most often?
  3. What are the best setting books currently out there and why?

From my perspective, I look for (1) interesting locations, historical significance, and crunchy problems like the world ending. For (2), I am a fantasy guy first and foremost, so I tend towards traditional fantasy (swords & sorcery) more often than not, but I also like urban fantasy and space cowboys (like Firefly). And as for (3) the best settings, I love the Palladium Fantasy world books. Those guys not only provide amazing backgrounds and locations, but the artwork is typically phenomenal.

I have two nearly complete fantasy worlds (one more traditional and the other not) and some ideas for an urban fantasy setting and even a Steampunk concept I want to explore… So I have many areas to dive into. Is there room for more setting/adventure materials in the already crowded market?

Curious minds want to know. 🙂

Thanks in advance for any feedback…


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4 thoughts on “What do you look for in a game setting?”

  1. If I am going to purchase or invest time in someone else’s setting, I generally look for the following:

    1) Ease of immersion – While the Talislanta setting (Originally from Bard Games) is fascinating, it is weird and while I may take the time to learn enough about it, many casual players may not. The Atlantean World (Also from Bard Games) is essentially, this world in mythical times is infinitely easier to immerse oneself in.

    2) Hooks – Little open ended links that can be used to entice adventurers to investigate or otherwise serve as the tip-of-the-iceberg or backstory to a larger situation. The original Forgotten Realms boxed set did this extremely well (TSR).

    3) Open Space – I like some room to manuever and be creative. If each and every structure and resident of a world is definited and catalogued, some of the magic can be lost. Also, the presence of a large body of canon material can set assumptions for players who are familiar with it….The later Forgotten Realms products have this issue…..as does roleplaying in Third Age Middle-Earth (The Fourth Age opens right up though with lots of new unknowns).

    Hope this is helpful,


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