Sunday, June 22, 2008

Arduinian Afterthought

James posted an inspirational bit of Dave Hargrave earlier this week.
"Some purists do not like to introduce any character types or monsters into their game world unless they have a medieval or "Tolkienian" flavor or base. This really limits their play possibilities as far as I am concerned, for what better world to accept aliens than ones that already have a myriad of other strange and weird creatures as residents?"
As folks pointed out in the comments to that post, going at genre mash-ups willy-nilly isn't for every DM nor every setting. Laser rifles and bug-eyed men from Betelgeuse are maybe not the best fit for Hyboria (Maybe. I'm unconvinced of this. Considering Clarke's third law and Conan's many battles against tyrannical foes whose power is upheld by forbidden and forgotten knowledge, I feel like Conan vs. killer robots is as thematically appropriate as Conan vs. demon snakes. Cf. Thundarr. But I parenthesize.).

But what occurs to me is that what Hargrave is really proposing is setting as sandbox: Not only the plot and pace of the campaign can be determined by the interests and actions of the player-characters, but details of the setting itself! So again, not something that works if you've got very specific ideas about the gameworld you're creating.

But maybe you can leave in a bit of wiggle room. Cowboys and six-shooters don't fit the guild-ruled metropolis at the heart of your pseudo-medieval setting? Hargrave again: "If [ideas] don't fit what you feel is what the game is all about, don't just say, 'NO!', whittle on them a bit until they do fit." Perhaps there's a wide open space on your map (to the west, natch), where gauchos with bolas and crossbows can guide cattle herds across the wild stretches between a few rough and rowdy frontier towns...

MP3: The Illuminoids, Lugosi's Mongoloid Loser

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