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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    The most popular settings seem to be heavily skewed toward either medieval fantasy or futuristic scifi. D&D, Pathfinder, Exalted, and Star Wars* all have a big following. Among the modern or 5 minutes in the future settings we have d20 Modern, Shadowrun, and most Supers games. There are bound to be other definitions based on personal opinion and experiences, but I'd consider modern settings to be anything from ~1950 - 2050 settings or any sort of alternate world with similar technology levels and/or cultures. How many people enjoy these modern settings? What sorts of adventures do your characters have in these games?

    *I know it's "long ago", but their tech is akin to a potential earth future tech.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    Star Wars*

    *I know it's "long ago", but their tech is akin to a potential earth future tech.
    Star Wars technology is just the 1940s-50s but floating and/or glowing.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I'm generally not a fan.

    For one, "now, but with X" usually has the worst world building.

    For two, GMs feel that they have less obligation to explain things in a modern setting.

    Also, my experience with GMs of such settings is arguably worse than my experience with GMs in general. From denial of player agency / railroading, to meat grinders, to OP DMPCs, to incoherent settings and morphing rules, modern represents many of the worst offenders.

    And "modern, but..." settings have the greatest potential for loss of suspension of disbelief. We have ideas about how the world works, and we notice when the game doesn't conform.

    On a related note, humans are idiots, and their perception of "how the world works" is often blatantly wrong. Modern games kinda force you to deal with that.

    And there's not really much I'd want to do in a modern setting, except maybe "kill all the idiots". But, IME, my fellow gamers don't take it too well when they realize that they, IRL, fall into the category of people that my character is genocidally murdering, so... there's nothing to do in a modern setting.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    The longer I play the more I prefer modern and near future settings. I tend to run NWoD games with either hunters or changelings. I love alternate history so i enjoy the idea of building a modern world but darker and imagining what might have changed if a few things had gone differently. I've played timelines where the south won the civil war, where "abe lincoln vampire hunter" was actual history, did one where the soviets got the bomb first and won WW2 eventually conquering America and the players were part of an underground resistance movement. My favorite ever was taking the idea of the world from the RIFTS setting but playing through the modern era right when the apocalypse was starting and the rifts were first opening.

    The hardest part is adjusting expectations. Typical campaigns assume some level of anarchy and legal grey area for the party to run amok in. A more modern setting has more modern law enforcement, so running amok is generally discouraged. You have to be more subtle, but i like the way that opens up different sorts of stories.

    I dont mind doing the sort of "ripped from the headlines" stories that you see in cop procedural shows either. Stuff like that can allow players to really get invested in a setting assuming you have the interpersonal management skills to keep them from going off on each other IRL.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm generally not a fan.

    For one, "now, but with X" usually has the worst world building.

    For two, GMs feel that they have less obligation to explain things in a modern setting.
    Do you mean "now, but with X" as-in "like now, but magic has been here all along" or as-in "like now, but magic has just returned to the world"? Those strike me as two very different approaches.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Also, my experience with GMs of such settings is arguably worse than my experience with GMs in general. From denial of player agency / railroading, to meat grinders, to OP DMPCs, to incoherent settings and morphing rules, modern represents many of the worst offenders.
    That doesn't seem like something you can blame too heavily on modern settings.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And "modern, but..." settings have the greatest potential for loss of suspension of disbelief. We have ideas about how the world works, and we notice when the game doesn't conform.

    On a related note, humans are idiots, and their perception of "how the world works" is often blatantly wrong. Modern games kinda force you to deal with that.

    And there's not really much I'd want to do in a modern setting, except maybe "kill all the idiots". But, IME, my fellow gamers don't take it too well when they realize that they, IRL, fall into the category of people that my character is genocidally murdering, so... there's nothing to do in a modern setting.
    I'd agree that we all have ideas about how the world works, but you could say the same thing with regards to modern media - police procedurals, government agencies, crime shows, comedies, doctor shows, etc. We all have an idea bout modern life, but we can still lose ourselves in a well-crafted modern universe. See Breaking Bad, Justified, The Sopranos, M*A*S*H, and many, many more. It doesn't seem to matter if the setting is realistic or even matches how the world really works so long as it is consistent and adds to the show in some way.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by geppetto View Post
    The longer I play the more I prefer modern and near future settings. I tend to run NWoD games with either hunters or changelings. I love alternate history so i enjoy the idea of building a modern world but darker and imagining what might have changed if a few things had gone differently. I've played timelines where the south won the civil war, where "abe lincoln vampire hunter" was actual history, did one where the soviets got the bomb first and won WW2 eventually conquering America and the players were part of an underground resistance movement. My favorite ever was taking the idea of the world from the RIFTS setting but playing through the modern era right when the apocalypse was starting and the rifts were first opening.
    I can't believe I forgot WoD when I was listing modern games. It's probably the most popular of them all. When you play these sorts of games, how much does it affect the setting that Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was actual history? Does it lead to a federal bureau of vampire hunters in the US? Or do you tend to keep it pretty close to our world and just add that there are vampires and a masquerade, and so on?

    Quote Originally Posted by geppetto View Post
    The hardest part is adjusting expectations. Typical campaigns assume some level of anarchy and legal grey area for the party to run amok in. A more modern setting has more modern law enforcement, so running amok is generally discouraged. You have to be more subtle, but i like the way that opens up different sorts of stories.
    I agree with this. At the same time, it is up to the GM to remind the players about modern things, particularly if the players are used to playing low-tech games. "Do you want to try to get the security-cam footage?" or "The club is full of people with cell-phone cameras. Are you sure you want to draw on the bartender?"

    Quote Originally Posted by geppetto View Post
    I dont mind doing the sort of "ripped from the headlines" stories that you see in cop procedural shows either. Stuff like that can allow players to really get invested in a setting assuming you have the interpersonal management skills to keep them from going off on each other IRL.
    How does that work out? I'm fortunate that my group is similarly minded when it comes to politics and religion and we all realize it's a game so no one really gets bent out of shape.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    Do you mean "now, but with X" as-in "like now, but magic has been here all along" or as-in "like now, but magic has just returned to the world"? Those strike me as two very different approaches.
    Either.

    Note that I don't mean "what White Wolf put into WoD or (whoever) put into ShadowRun", but "what the GM put into their own custom campaign setting" or "what the GM understood of the published setting".

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    That doesn't seem like something you can blame too heavily on modern settings.
    I am... uncertain.

    See, if I had said, "Vampire has the most pretentious players/GMs" or "oldschool games had the worst meat grinder GMs", nobody would have batted a fang.

    I imagine that there is likely a reason that I have encountered the largest concentration of bad GMs / bad GMing traits running "modern" settings; I'm just not certain what that reason is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    I'd agree that we all have ideas about how the world works, but you could say the same thing with regards to modern media - police procedurals, government agencies, crime shows, comedies, doctor shows, etc. We all have an idea bout modern life, but we can still lose ourselves in a well-crafted modern universe. See Breaking Bad, Justified, The Sopranos, M*A*S*H, and many, many more. It doesn't seem to matter if the setting is realistic or even matches how the world really works so long as it is consistent and adds to the show in some way.
    I... am not sure which way to go here.

    So, yes, you've described yet another reason why I'd rather watch a movie than play in someone's dumb story. When we don't have to do the thinking for the characters, it's easier to accept the unreality of the situation.

    But when 3-15 people have to fill in the gaps / make plans based on their diverse and flawed comprehension of this world? It's not a pretty picture.

    Let me give you one simple example that a game store owner gave to me: a customer asks, "how much is this?". What do you know about the customer?

    I got this one right; the GM got it wrong, and looked baffled at the answer.

    This is the game that I play: extrapolation, human psychology, planning. In a "rules as physics" game, I can just point to RAW, and my plans work as designed*. In a "physics as people misunderstand physics" game, i have to waste precious brainpower fighting idiots (or, you know, at times, be one myself). This doesn't sound like fun to me. Does it sound like fun to you?

    * Within the limits of my understanding of the scenario, and the fickle favor of Arengee, of course
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-02-24 at 08:01 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I loved playing Dresden files Rpg

    And recently did a dnd 5e but think of magic tree house type thing
    Was a session where we were sent to the 1920's on a whim of a powerful wizard to sober up our drunken master monk XD was fun I liked it and we did a few sessions their before heading back

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I believe in immersion.

    I love a futuristic setting for an SF game like Traveller, or a modern setting for a modern game. I love Pendragon set in Arthurian England and Flashing Blades set in Paris of the Musketeers. [One of the great aspects of Flashing Blades is that it is clearly and unabashedly simulating swashbuckling movies and stories, rather than history. This is Dumas's Paris, not Louis's.]

    For the same reasons, I dislike some of the modern aspects of the D&D setting from 3.5 onward. The idea that magic items are bought and sold in a market ends immersion for me, simply because no such market exists in the worlds of Tolkien, Lewis, Leiber, Moorcock, Homer, or other writers of fantasy.

    In original D&D, where I started playing, the only magic items you would have would be what you found or were given, just as Frodo had no choice in the properties of his sword, cloak, ring, etc.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I've only played WoD (Vampire) in that time period and my god, is the world building done poorly at instances. No finesse, it's basically just: "See that historic landpoint/treaty/conflict or religion? Supernatural being xy did it." It ranges from plausible and fitting to absolutely overdone. Alternate history needs to leave some stuff intact and untouched else it feels very "video gamey" to me.

    To me and many players P&P is escapism, and there not much of that when you roleplay in your own time and world. And while I love some of my fellow P&P players I would rather be caught dead than arguing RW politics with them for more than 30 minutes. Arguing RW politics through an ingame avatar would be the worst.
    Last edited by Spore; 2019-02-24 at 10:59 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    To me and many players P&P is escapism, and there not much of that when you roleplay in your own time and world.
    Ah, thanks - I completely forgot that one. That's another reason to dislike modern settings.

    Speaking of, another thing I forgot is...

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I... In a "physics as people misunderstand physics" game, i have to waste precious brainpower fighting idiots (or, you know, at times, be one myself). This doesn't sound like fun to me. Does it sound like fun to you?

    I might even "lose" the fight against idiocy, and have the GM rule that rocks float, barns don't burn, and teachers make more than programmers.

    Yes, stupid can happen in any game, but I'd not only much rather it happen over the rules, where there's, you know, rules to point to, but "this world, but stupider" is kinda the opposite of escapism, IMO.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I love Delta Green, which is a Cthulu modern game where you play members of various law enforcement or intelligence agencies who have discovered that mythos stuff exists and are trying to fight it, but you get no official support from your organization so you are basically stealing government resources to deal with things.
    Last edited by Hackulator; 2019-02-25 at 12:17 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    I love Delta Green, which is a Cthulu modern game where you play members of various law enforcement or intelligence agencies who have discovered that mythos stuff exists and are trying to fight it, but you get no official support from your organization so you are basically stealing government resources to deal with things.
    Idk about you but I always love Lovecraft stories from the 1920s...a dusty old tome is far cooler than Necronomicon as an audio book even if one could be corrupted by the soothing voice of Sir David Attenborough.
    Last edited by Spore; 2019-02-25 at 02:16 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    The big question would be, what do you do in the present? The only things I can think of that could be gameable are Urban Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse. Both genres that don't do anything for me.

    The most contemporary things I can think of that seem fun are Pulp Adventures and Cyberpunk, but I think both rely significantly on not being like the present at all.
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    My personal preference goes to medieval fantasy. However, it's nice to have a break from time to time, and any setting can be interesting as long as it's well-built.
    I'll say this, though: I would take a medieval fantasy setting OR a modern setting OR a sci-fi setting anyday over a kitchen-sink that tries to do all three at once.
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    I can't believe I forgot WoD when I was listing modern games. It's probably the most popular of them all. When you play these sorts of games, how much does it affect the setting that Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was actual history? Does it lead to a federal bureau of vampire hunters in the US? Or do you tend to keep it pretty close to our world and just add that there are vampires and a masquerade, and so on?
    I've done it both ways, usually the creatures and magic are part of a secret underground society. Thats a little easier to manage. But I did one inspired by my at the time wife who was a huge fan of the TV show True Blood, so we did an "out of the coffin" setting where the various creatures were just coming out into the open and the society was trying to figure out how to deal with it. The players wound up being part of a special FBI task force that dealt with supernatural crime.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    I agree with this. At the same time, it is up to the GM to remind the players about modern things, particularly if the players are used to playing low-tech games. "Do you want to try to get the security-cam footage?" or "The club is full of people with cell-phone cameras. Are you sure you want to draw on the bartender?"
    oh yeah especially with people not used to a modern setting. You have to hold their hand a little at first. IME people pick up on it pretty quick though and wind up pointing out things to me that I might have forgotten to account for.



    Quote Originally Posted by Thinker View Post
    How does that work out? I'm fortunate that my group is similarly minded when it comes to politics and religion and we all realize it's a game so no one really gets bent out of shape.
    I've had a few players with very different points of view sometimes. The trick is to know when to pause the game, remind everyone that they are supposed to be looking at the issue as fictional characters, not as themselves and give everyone a 5 minute break. And to know not to get too dark or to keep the controversial stuff too common. I try to have 2 or 3 sessions where we keep things light in between every one that might go a little dark or heated. Arranging stuff where people hang out outside of gaming sometimes helps too. People who are actual friends are much better at dealing with differences of opinion then people who only get together for gaming.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The big question would be, what do you do in the present? The only things I can think of that could be gameable are Urban Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse. Both genres that don't do anything for me.
    Espionage. Special ops soldiers. Detective. Police street patrol. Bounty hunters. Superhero. Stargate-type science fiction. Leverage-style cons. Soap opera. X-files horror.
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    While I run plenty of modern setting games (when compared to other setting rpg's; about 1/3), a big pro about it is also a negative point: most setting knowledge is available. This makes running games easy when the setting is close to yourself or not too extensive to research. But when the setting is a few steps away from yourself, researching the game can get too much too fast. When I ran a Call of Cthulhu campaign set in my hometown in the current day, research was very light. I'm running a Night's Black Agents (spy/horror) game right now and knowing I can research every political movement, law enforcement, history, organized crime of a few Eastern European countries is both enticing and daunting. On the one hand, I know I don't need all that information to run the game, but I really want to make it realistic.

    Leaving that all aside, recruiting players for dnd is much easier than recruiting players for any other game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The big question would be, what do you do in the present? The only things I can think of that could be gameable are Urban Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse. Both genres that don't do anything for me.

    The most contemporary things I can think of that seem fun are Pulp Adventures and Cyberpunk, but I think both rely significantly on not being like the present at all.
    Horror, spy/thriller or supers can easily be set in the present day. Horror is the big one for me.
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Modern settings can be nice, but they need to be played as an entirely different game to dnd, or things come crashing down (I once had a dm with a literal final dungeon in a shadowrun game, unfortunately). In basics, modern games need to be far more open and sandboxy, because players will notice the invisible walls far more easily. They might accept the castle wall being fireball proof, but you won't be able to reasonably stop them from blowing up a wall if they have acquired or somehow made decent modern explosives, for example. I think this might be why quertus feels modern games are more rail-roady, because in a fantasy game a small amount if railriading us easily hidden, but that doesn't go for a real-world setting.

    The three archetypes that imho work best in a modern setting would be a heist/espionage story, a police procedural or a mystery in either ctulhu mythos style or indiana jones treasure-hunt style.
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I have ended up categorically refusing to run modern-ish games due to one specific thing: guns. Or rather, the fact that gun people are incredibly annoying. People who will not blink at flying dragons and kung fu dudes standing atop a feather suddenly want, nay, need absolute accuracy and a highly realistic outlook when it comes to models and effects of modern military equipment, and will complain endlessly when the superhero who shrugs off bullets gets knocked by a superpunch because physically speaking obviously guns are a lot more energy being imparted.

    And I do not give a crap about guns. Far as I'm concerned they're just elongated cylinders what murder people. So it gets really tiresome.
    Last edited by Drascin; 2019-02-25 at 11:25 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    I love things like Changeling, Mage and Werewolf.

    And I had the luck belonging to a group with a GM running a Call of Cthulhu game set in the 1980s that was epic. Late Cold War shenanigans with far-out CIA-style conspiracies in the jungles of Latin America and Eastern Europe, and using cocaine and heroin to momentarily feel better.

    New Wave techno and synth-pop clubs just works with CoC.
    Last edited by Schismatic; 2019-02-25 at 08:17 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randuir View Post
    modern games need to be far more open and sandboxy, because players will notice the invisible walls far more easily. They might accept the castle wall being fireball proof, but you won't be able to reasonably stop them from blowing up a wall if they have acquired or somehow made decent modern explosives, for example. I think this might be why quertus feels modern games are more rail-roady, because in a fantasy game a small amount if railriading us easily hidden, but that doesn't go for a real-world setting.
    That might be part of it. Thinking about it, I suspect that another part is where the game play occurs. In D&D, it largely occurs in "the rules". In a modern setting, it largely occurs outside the rules. If I've, say, done something IRL, but the GM is clueless, and doesn't believe it's possible, well, stupidity happens.

    I may not be able to say, "but IRL I've melted this kind of rock with my fireballs", but I can dang well say... Hmmm... actually, maybe I shouldn't admit to just what all I can dang well say from experience.

    But, yeah, that certainly makes rails far more visible, even if they masquerade as epic stupidity.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-02-25 at 08:36 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    That might be part of it. Thinking about it, I suspect that another part is where the game play occurs. In D&D, it largely occurs in "the rules". In a modern setting, it largely occurs outside the rules. If I've, say, done something IRL, but the GM is clueless, and doesn't believe it's possible, well, stupidity happens.

    I may not be able to say, "but IRL I've melted this kind of rock with my fireballs", but I can dang well say... Hmmm... actually, maybe I shouldn't admit to just what all I can dang well say from experience.

    But, yeah, that certainly makes rails far more visible, even if they masquerade as epic stupidity.
    I don't know. Modern settings can be pretty impactful because they force GMs to think about their players in a very clear social contract on the basis that we know more indepthly the weight of our actions in reality.

    In D&D you can be that magical, transient, homeless psychopath... that routinely is 5' away from a fireball doing 35 points of damage and thus totally fine.

    In reality, you're a soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq routinely exposed to overpressure events from mortars, grenades, close fire support, using/loading a recoilless rifle 5-6 per minute that causes accumulated damages and end up with longterm brain damage.

    And we know this messes people up and reality and the active use of the internet has dispelled the whole fire and shrapnel make explosions dangerous myth--as opposed to most people now knowing that an explosion that can pick you up off your feet with 25-40 kilograms of gear and dashes you across a wall is going to mess you up even if you 'appear fine'. Because force pressure is a thing and it feels like Mike Tyson with a haymaker the size of a minivan slamming into you is actually pretty dangerous even without multi-level injury from penetrative wounding or the like.

    And modern settings RPGs often have more complex injury systems, including psychological damage.
    Last edited by Schismatic; 2019-02-25 at 08:56 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schismatic View Post
    I don't know. Modern settings can be pretty impactful because they force GMs to think about their players in a very clear social contract on the basis that we know more indepthly the weight of our actions in reality.

    In D&D you can be that magical, transient, homeless psychopath... that routinely is 5' away from a fireball doing 35 points of damage and thus totally fine.

    In reality, you're a soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq routinely exposed to overpressure events from mortars, grenades, close fire support, using/loading a recoilless rifle 5-6 per minute that causes accumulated damages and end up with longterm brain damage.

    And we know this messes people up and reality and the active use of the internet has dispelled the whole fire and shrapnel make explosions dangerous myth--as opposed to most people now knowing that an explosion that can pick you up off your feet with 25-40 kilograms of gear and dashes you across a wall is going to mess you up even if you 'appear fine'.

    Because force pressure is a thing and it feels like Mike Tyson with a haymaker the size of a minivan slamming into you is actually pretty dangerous even without multi-level injury.

    And modern settings RPGs often have more complex injury systems, including psychological damage.
    That... sounds like you're strongly agreeing with my position, with the caveat that you've played games with more complete rules systems.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    That... sounds like you're strongly agreeing with my position, with the caveat that you've played games with more complete rules systems.
    Right, but more to the point D&D and Pathfinder can't play like that. A fireball isn't just like C-4. It doesn't have a brisance value. It is quite literally just a whole lot of fire that acts like an explosion but gets offset by things like Protection From Energy.

    And the internet basically killed the 1980s to mid 1990s action flick stupidity of 'diving from fireballs from explosions = not hurt'. Mainly because it's kind of on the nose when you have a 'Silver Age of Terrorism' and people dying in explosions at rates we haven't seen since the 1960s.

    That being said D&D past the wholesale use of the internet and omnipresence of 21st century 24hr news cycle still says Reflex = enough. Basically non-modern set games with magic already have to strain at universal metaphysics... whereas modern games are usually informed by the time of their creation.

    Because there's no real nuance-ability (to coin a word) where the world can treat a fireball as simply 'lots of fire yet acts like an explosion, only not, and simply protecting oneself from 'fire' is enough'.

    I'd honestly say non-modern settings rail way worst, if only because the metaphysics of their universe can't avoid oversimplification.
    Last edited by Schismatic; 2019-02-25 at 09:15 AM.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Either.

    Note that I don't mean "what White Wolf put into WoD or (whoever) put into ShadowRun", but "what the GM put into their own custom campaign setting" or "what the GM understood of the published setting".



    I am... uncertain.

    See, if I had said, "Vampire has the most pretentious players/GMs" or "oldschool games had the worst meat grinder GMs", nobody would have batted a fang.

    I imagine that there is likely a reason that I have encountered the largest concentration of bad GMs / bad GMing traits running "modern" settings; I'm just not certain what that reason is.



    I... am not sure which way to go here.

    So, yes, you've described yet another reason why I'd rather watch a movie than play in someone's dumb story. When we don't have to do the thinking for the characters, it's easier to accept the unreality of the situation.

    But when 3-15 people have to fill in the gaps / make plans based on their diverse and flawed comprehension of this world? It's not a pretty picture.

    Let me give you one simple example that a game store owner gave to me: a customer asks, "how much is this?". What do you know about the customer?

    I got this one right; the GM got it wrong, and looked baffled at the answer.

    This is the game that I play: extrapolation, human psychology, planning. In a "rules as physics" game, I can just point to RAW, and my plans work as designed*. In a "physics as people misunderstand physics" game, i have to waste precious brainpower fighting idiots (or, you know, at times, be one myself). This doesn't sound like fun to me. Does it sound like fun to you?

    * Within the limits of my understanding of the scenario, and the fickle favor of Arengee, of course
    So, part of your problem seems to be that you know too much about the modern world - you are well-educated and have a good understanding of physics and probably some understanding of chemistry, geography, tactics, etc. And from other posts I've read, I believe you also enjoy games where rules are firmly established for specific actions. Given that, for you to enjoy a modern-day game, you would need a well-codified rule system that closely matches your understanding of the real world. I don't want to put words into your mouth - correct me if I"m wrong. If I'm right, though, you probably would enjoy GURPS.

    That said, how would you feel about a different world with modern levels of technology? It could be a medieval fantasy world progressed to modern times - Internet, cars, machine learning, Cloud, cell phones, firearms, Netflix, etc. mixed with magic, orcs, goblins, and so on (maybe even dragons if they're not extinct). What about a lower-magic, but still Not Earth with modern tech and values?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The big question would be, what do you do in the present? The only things I can think of that could be gameable are Urban Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse. Both genres that don't do anything for me.

    The most contemporary things I can think of that seem fun are Pulp Adventures and Cyberpunk, but I think both rely significantly on not being like the present at all.
    I'd lump both of those things into being modern in the sense that you have a lot of modern technologies and cultural artifacts. Other than those two things, you can do a lot in modern settings - super heroes, police procedural, special forces, secret agents, paranormal investigation, PI, and most genres of movie or TV you can think of. The list grows bigger if you include aliens, magic, a hollow earth, war, global conspiracies, etc.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Urban fantasy settings are quite fun to play in (I've tried Fate Stay Night & Fate Zero, but I guess most similar anime would do the job). We were playing member of a kind of "secret aristocracy" of mages, hunting and catching mages doing dangerous stuff for the Mage's Association, while our-self trying to obtain more power in some doubtful way (including some secret collaboration between party members, and probably some back-stab and some PC becoming evil NPCs if we had finished the campaign).

    They tends to be put before the Internet era (so ~2000), because big conspiracy theories like "magic is real" are much more credible when you don't have peoples taking photos/videos and posting them immediately on the internet.

    The main problem with the modern world is that individual are not really significant, so every-time you build a plot, you need an answer to "why isn't the army / a group of expert doing the job instead of me, or at least doing 3/4 of the job and only letting me do the boring and safe parts?"

    Note that that kind of problem is even more present if you're trying a "realistic modern world", because reality is "boring": it hasn't be optimized to be entertaining to watch, nor balanced and fair to play within. (Which is why action films tends to take a lot of liberties when describing reality). Not even taking in account that a lot of players will instantly remark incoherent stuffs because they know well the modern world, while they will be able to ignore them in worlds they are not familiar with.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Modern fantasy settings are going to be done much better or much worse than your past/future settings because your players are going to be much more sensitive to things you do right or wrong.


    WoD works excellently when it's 'our world with some aspects exaggerated'. Vampires/werewolves/mages and so on are just caricatures of certain types of people, they're not really entirely different people. The conspiracy isn't really 'vampires did all this!' its more 'people did this, and some of them might've been vampires' because it's not about supernaturals, it's about how people'll do ****ty things when they have power.

    and It works better when things are close to the real world. I've had some people say 'british police use guns in my world' because they think that's a bad thing and they want to add bad things; I run it as 'british police still don't use guns, but oh boy can they be creative with a baton' because making real problems worse is just good satire (whilst inventing new problems is not good satire)

    and when you make up new problems in the modern world rather than just exaggerate them you'll get players saying 'hold on, British police officers wouldn't be carrying guns in this situation!' and you get a disconnect, you lose the omph, it's not a real problem so it's not interesting (yeah, you could say the same about vampires, but can you prove that vampires don't exist in the real world?) It's kinda like joking about national stereotypes; The accurate ones can bring merriment whilst the inaccurate ones always just come off as painful.

    I think the biggest issue of current WoD is that the hordes of freelance writers clearly state opinions of X being good and Y being bad... about real world issues. Nothing so much takes people out as being obviously wrong and objective takes at subjective morality are storytelling murder.
    An issue with Older WoD was that they sometimes used real people. 'Oscar Wilde is a vampire. But the moment someone acts with Oscar Wilde and he doesn't reach the perfection of what Oscar Wilde would act like in your head, people've mentally bugged out... it's not a good idea.



    Now of course, if you put yourself in an entirely fictional modern setting or a high-fantasy Alt-history, you can avoid most of these issues... most of them.


    People are to some degree analyzing your history and sociology. They might do it actively or it might be subconscious, but they do it.
    Take Bright for example;
    African Americans would never have been subjected to the abuses of the Triangular slave trade if Orcs (a far more easily justifiable slave race) existed. It's just lazy worldbuilding to treat everyting the same+Elf/Orc enclaves. Cue a billion video essays on why Bright was lazy.

    Also people are sensitive to their careers; are you getting them right? How much are you handwaving and contriving to get that 'this is how things are working in my game!'

    Zombie apocalypses only "work" because society is radically changed as a result of the outbreak. I think Zombie apocalypses are the works of hacks because they're so easily surmountable, but in a way they're not quite 'modern/modernish' settings.


    The further away from now you do the game, the less sensitive players are about how things work.
    This is a double edged sword. Obviously using the modern day means more things can go wrong, but it does mean that some things can go so very right.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randuir View Post
    Modern settings can be nice, but they need to be played as an entirely different game to dnd, or things come crashing down (I once had a dm with a literal final dungeon in a shadowrun game, unfortunately). In basics, modern games need to be far more open and sandboxy, because players will notice the invisible walls far more easily. They might accept the castle wall being fireball proof, but you won't be able to reasonably stop them from blowing up a wall if they have acquired or somehow made decent modern explosives, for example. I think this might be why quertus feels modern games are more rail-roady, because in a fantasy game a small amount if railriading us easily hidden, but that doesn't go for a real-world setting.
    Agreed. The core problem I think is that, well... the modern world has a crapton of options. Running for an imaginative party with a decent budget and black market contacts is like running a high-level 3.5 campaign with full casters. It's all 12th dimensional chess, finding the one thing your opponent forgot to take into account that completely unravels everything. Doubly so when someone in the group has a decent grasp on chemistry or engineering, at which point even limiting access to materials isn't enough-- we've all heard stories about groups where someone winds up making C4 out of common household ingredients. Or describes a series of clever google searches that tell them way more about an NPC than you thought they could find out. Or... well, you get the idea. That's why pulpy games usually work better than 21st century ones-- cars and pistols aren't different enough from horses and crossbows to disrupt standard RPG tropes, but computers and the internet sure are.

    Add that to the fact that everyone has a really good grasp on what the modern world is like, and a tendency for that to bring out pedantry and attempts at setting disruption, and you've got a recipe for problems. Either the rails come down hard, or the campaign spirals completely out of control. It's not that there's something inherently un-fun about modern games, it's just hard. That's why I think the most successful modern campaigns are the ones least connected to the "real" world. Superhero games, for example, bring in their own set of well-defined limits and expectations. Urban fantasy games (especially ones where the supernatural is hidden) tend to be played mostly within the bounds of the magical side of things. They define a subsection of the world to interact with, and the concentration of rules describing that subsection has the effect of focusing player attention on it. The modern world becomes a familiar backdrop, rather than an endless pool of possibilities.

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    Default Re: How do people feel about modern/modernish settings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schismatic View Post
    And the internet basically killed the 1980s to mid 1990s action flick stupidity of 'diving from fireballs from explosions = not hurt'. Mainly because it's kind of on the nose when you have a 'Silver Age of Terrorism' and people dying in explosions at rates we haven't seen since the 1960s.
    That's why you establish in session zero that you're playing with A-Team physics (if that is, in fact, what you're doing). Players can understand if the game is more cinematic than realistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    The main problem with the modern world is that individual are not really significant, so every-time you build a plot, you need an answer to "why isn't the army / a group of expert doing the job instead of me, or at least doing 3/4 of the job and only letting me do the boring and safe parts?"
    Somebody has to do the dangerous and exciting parts. You're playing those people.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
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