I’m combining two role call questions into one post.
Role Call 19: In what pre-fab roleplaying setting have you had the most fun, and why?
I suppose that’s really a toss-up. On one hand, there’s Haven, a complete, detailed fantasy city that’s got so much going on that it’s largely unnecessary to provide scenarios that leave town. It was published (complete with a very DnD-like game system) back in the early eighties. The trick to the setting was that players were intended to be thieves. Yes, everyone. Since, the player group was assumed to be folks who weren’t very good in combat and didn’t have magic, the setting (and the scenario suggestions) focused heavily on intrigue, sneaky stuff, espionage, and lots of character interaction — NPCs were given detail descriptions of their personalities — their actual combat stats were included almost as an afterthought in an appendix at the back of each book — it made the whole setting wonderfully cross-platform. In short, it was decades ahead of its time in the roleplay supplement market.
I found the setting at the bottom of a friend’s box of stuff he was getting rid of in college and immediately fell in love. I ran a fantasy RPG campaign in the setting that I had a tremendous amount of fun with — very swashbuckling with lots of politics and social backstabbing. Good good stuff. I’ve tried to run stuff in that setting since then with mixed results, so I suppose at least half the success can be laid at the feet of the players I had.
Role Call 20: In what homebrew roleplaying setting have you had the most fun, and why?
I’m going to have to plug the Pulp Adventures game that Rey and I have been working on for about a year and change as a large-scale campaign 1930’s pulp era campaign that we run with upwards of thirty or fourth active players in the Denver area (and hopefully elsewhere soon). The rules are modified (simplified, I think) d20, but the premise is what we have the most fun with. It all came about while we were looking at the original rules idea and Rey said “yeah, it’s cool, but how do you logically get a mystic, a primitive hunter, an explorer, and a hoodlum — none of whom know each other — to actually work on a problem together and have the story be believable?”
When I came up with the answer to that, I realized that we had a really good setting on our hands.

Now, with all this said, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Amber. The only problem is I don’t know which category it falls into — on the one hand it’s completely prefab, but on the other hand every game setting is different, sometimes wildly so, and has nothing in common with any other Amber game but the names on about twelve commonly-used NPCs.

One comment

  1. HAVEN sounds like a lot of fun, and just the sort of thing I’m doing with my homegrown campaign, TALES FROM FISH-END. There’s great potential in single-type games (i.e. all thieves, all soldiers, all vampires, etc.), because the overarching theme forces players to go to the details rather than leaning on archetype.

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