View Full Version : Help with a New Setting

2016-11-01, 10:27 PM
I have been running a homebrew system that I myself created in a homebrew setting that I myself created for quite some time now.
I have put a lot of work into both things. I want to keep using the system itself (it's not perfect, but it is still fun to play).
However, the setting to me is getting....messy. There's too much going on. Everything is too "set in place" and I feel I cannot touch what is already solid.
In a world where it seems "Everything" is possible, it is beginning to feel like Nothing is possible.
Have any of you encountered the same problem?
I have been trying to mix things up a bit with the setting, to make it more interesting, but every time I try this it just makes things worse.
The setting has become stifling to think about. I need something fresh, and new.
So, what do you think, guys? Should I keep trying to make this current setting work, or should I start anew?
I was thinking if I did start a new setting, I would make things more free and open to improvisation, keeping things simple, focused, and ambiguous rather than having everything be so set in its place, untouchable.
Consistency is a good thing, but I think FUN is more important when it comes to a game.
The system and setting I have been using is medieval fantasy (sort of a D&D knock-off) with guns included, but not modern guns, they're more like Wild West level guns.
Any ideas for this new setting that might be cool? I would appreciate feedback from you.

2016-11-01, 10:44 PM
1) Would be better posted in the World Building subforum.

2) If you like the setting but feel it's too set in stone to do anything with, break it. There are two main ways to do this. First, metaphysical breakage, where you strip away everything but the core essentials and rebuild from scratch. You get away from not wanting to remove any particulars because you're washing away everything, and incidentally dodging the issue of interconnectivity. The second is physical breakage, where you hit your setting with a meteor, see what survives, and build organically off what's left. Then you can force yourself to get rid of stuff and return to a state of freedom because you have to be able to justify why any given thing would survive.

3) Where to start with something new? Well, that's so open, all I can ask is, what is your homebrew system like, in more detail than "D&D knockoff"? I'd love to help you build something based on the mechanics; it usually works much better than trying to cludge the mechanics into a pre-given setting, after all.

2016-11-01, 11:10 PM
The Lamentations of the Flame Princess game, the rules of which are mostly ripped-off from based on old D&D has some good adventures and settings (http://www.lotfp.com/store/), but be warned they often have cringe inducing art.

Castle Falkenstein had a wonderful fantasy 19th century Europe setting that I'd like to explore, and

the 7th Sea RPG has a grand fantasy 17th Europe setting, that would be one of my top setting picks.

2016-11-02, 06:17 AM
How new do you want it? Still within the basic D&D paradigm or something radically different, like sci-fi or modern?

As for what to do with your carefully crafted world, if you want to keep it pristine, write it down and lock it away. Even writing your own, un-PC-soiled stories set in it will start to change it, sometimes to the point of breaking.

If you want to keep your setting somewhat intact, you could try if not throwing everything out, just ignoring it. Start with one area with a limited scope and semi-limited options. As the PCs grow and move about and their goals and stories evolve, you can gradually bring in other bits as needed. Just remember to ruthlessly rewrite or discard anything that gets in the way of the game flow and (most importantly) fun. Don't worry too much about having everything make sense and work beforehand. Just use what works right then and there, and if something doesn't seem right you can handwave it away as characters getting wrong information.

2016-11-04, 09:36 PM
Nothing says "new setting" like a Cataclysm.

The Heroes have united, broken into the enemy fortress and found the Grand Cannon which the Bad Guys™ have planned to use to destroy the Moon. After an epic duel, the Heroes stand triumphant, the Cannon is deactivated...

And then the Moon erupts into a thousand pieces as the Cannon was the ultimate red herring. Rocks fall, everyone dies.

Or many people.

Now you have a dying/ruined world, or a chunk of one. What happens next?

Your new setting, that's what. :)

2016-11-04, 09:46 PM
What you made sounds like what White Wolf did with Exalted - create a setting of supposed incredible wonder, then describe absolutely everything in it so tightly that you can't squeeze a needle in.

Too much description (as in, setting in stone everything about every location, NPCs, dungeons, and so on) strips the wonder away. Sounds like the best way for you to go is to create a new setting altogether.

And for the new one, deliberately keep some things vague. Have the frame of it set up, and work on tidbits you find interesting and think will come up in the game. But don't work on absolutely everything. Instead fill them up when they become relevant, or when you foresee they will become relevant in the game soon and want to prepare in advance.

I agree that fun is more important than consistency. It's good to have both, but when it's either or, the former is better.

2016-11-05, 01:50 AM
Nothing says "new setting" like a Cataclysm.

Came here to say this. :)

Also, how much of what is "set, and can't be changed" is known to the players as incontrovertible truth, vs what's in your head that the players have hints of, and they've interpreted a certain way. I've re-worked big chunks of a setting by carefully setting down what I'd actually explained as the Word of DM, and thus really couldn't change, vs stuff they'd worked out, but I'd never confirmed, and stuff that was in my notes, but hadn't come up yet.

Eventually though, a campaign really is done. At that point my gaming group would historically move to a very different setting: fantasy to steampunk to "strange contemporary" to SciFi to different fantasy. Keeps things fresh. Even a change between late-medieval high fantasy to low-tech (maybe stone age), low magic fantasy can be refreshing.

ETA: To emphasize Herobizkit, one way to transition a campaign to a clear away a lot of what's "set" (without starting over) is to have the bad guys win, and almost destroy the world. The PCs can be instrumental in saving something, instead of preventing the disaster. But the world the emerges is fundamentally transformed.

2016-11-11, 05:36 PM
Yes, thank you.
I have considered the Cataclysm idea before, and in some cases, have already utilized it. But it still feels the exact same just with some different names.
No, I want an entirely new setting, one that has no connection to the old one whatsoever.
As for that system I mentioned, I have ditched and given it away to a friend, who seems to like it more than I do.
So, I'm starting over completely fresh, new system, new setting and everything.
I already have some cool ideas that I am going to go with, but I can tell it is far from complete, definitely not even playable yet.