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Thursday, September 5, 2013

What is Your Most Disliked RPG Setting?


This is the opposite question of last night's topic, but I think it's just as valid:

     Which of the RPG settings that you've played in / run / read did you like the least?

For me, it's Council of Wyrms. I read this, so it as a power gamer's heaven (and a DM's nightmare) and promptly put it on the bottom of my gaming pile. Shit, I haven't cracked the box open since then.

Did ANYONE actually play this?

36 comments:

  1. World of Darkness. Or Dragonlance. Either one, really.

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    1. As fractalbat said below about Ravenloft, I like some of the individual pieces of the WOD (the Mages and mummies, for example). But taken as a whole, I agree, it's just too much. Plus I really don't like the Storyteller system.

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    1. Did you hate it prior to 1999? I find I now have to struggle to remember that there were once GOOD Star Wars movies.

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  3. Have to be forgotten realms. As originally released it was okay...kind of bland, but okay. Unfortunately the realms became the default dumping ground for every moronic idea and shameless moneygrab that TSR could dream up during the late 80's. And so it eventually became an insane themepark of excess, and not in a good way.

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  4. Ouch, hatin' on Dragonlance and the Realms over here! Well, if you ask me, both of those worlds at least took more imagination to create, or OVER-create for those who think so, than Mystara, which is my pick for most disliked setting. It gets a lot of hype but I've never really understood that phenomenon. It had some interesting ideas here and there, but overall it seemed uninspired. For one thing, even for a fantasy world, the geography and climates made no sense. For another, there was the barest of efforts to hide the fact that the Mystaran nations were directly ported over from real-world analogues. Really the only good thing ever to come out of Mystara was the Voyage of the Princess Ark series.

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    1. Princess ark i didn't like - i like the world never like name (a competition winner) - gazetteers great and plenty of room for dm to move unlike every other tsr world

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  5. Glorantha, I loved RuneQuest but the bronze age with everyone having magic and humanoid ducks was hard to get my brain around. Houseruled the heck out of the rules and transfered it to Hârn and I was happy.

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  6. Least favorite...

    If you break Ravenloft up into it's components I like it. Each domain taken individually is something I could see running a game in.

    Taken as a whole as presented in the box set? It's an excess of horror tropes that doesn't work. What makes the Hammer Horror Film thing work is its opposition to the mundane, but in Ravenloft it IS the mundane.

    When horror is all there is, it's no longer horror.

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    1. I agree strongly about Ravenloft and Hammer Horror. HH is based on Victorian horror tropes, darkness in the light. An intrusion of evil into Merrie Englande, or the Count's castle squirreled away on the edge of civilised Europe, or devil worshippers on Guernsey. Total opposite of the Gnostic setup of Ravenloft and Masque of the Red Death where evil is all-pervasive.

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    2. "When horror is all there is, it's no longer horror."

      I think this is a very common mistake where game designers (and authors, film makers, etc.) try to make their work relentlessly "dark" by omitting all humor, pathos, and positive emotions. What they don't seem to realize is that they thereby lose all contrast, and the effect is nil. You can't write in black ink on black paper and expect to convey any kind of message.

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    3. Good point about Ravenloft, with regard to making the horrific commonplace...

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  7. Is it actually power gaming if every thing you encounter is equal to or stronger than the party?


    Dragonlance has always sucked. Even the first three novels were terrible to try and read. Though they are high lterature compared to the Halfling's Gem, yeech!

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  8. There are too many terrible settings to count, but I think Valdorean Age (Hero System I think) was the most disappointing - cover advertises it as a wild Conanesque setting, inside is a 1990s fantasy city of Political Correctness and boredom.

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  9. I guess few settings beat that of Cyborg Commando for awfulness, though. :)

    As to D&D settings I dislike, well I really don't like Eberron at all, and Dark Sun takes away all the things I like about Sword & Planet romance (the 4e DS monster book would be great, though, for a John Carter type setting). But I'm willing to accept that's just personal taste.

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  10. I'd have to say Mage the Awakening. The new age occult just doesn't jive with the rest of the World of Darkness for me. It might be fine asa pure fantasy setting but when put aside Werewolf the Forsaken and Vampire the the Requiem it rubs me the wrong way. It doesn't help that I can't stand the formatting of the core book.

    I actually love Council of Wyrms. It's pretty much the only second ed setting I still play on occasion.

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  11. Forgotten Realms. Too much of a vanilla D&D kitchen-sink.

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  12. Dragonlance, the Ansalon part. Most of the clichés people ascribe to Tolkien actually originated here. All cultures present are boring. Kender are stupid. So are Tinker gnomes. I hate how the tinker somehow became the "standard" gnome.
    However, I really like Taladas, as presented in the "Time of the Dragon" boxed set. The descriptions in that set were a bit dry, but the world is awesome.

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  13. I used to hate the Realms, but in reality I hated the characters and the hype it got.
    There are a lot of things I hate about Dragonlance too (gully dwarves, kender and gnomes) but not everything.

    But in truth I do hate any of them or even dislike. The worst I can about a world it that it doesn't inspire me.

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  14. Even if it seems all too obvious-- Forgotten Realms, for all the reasons already mentioned.

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  15. Krynn. It's just way too cutesy for me, and what isn't cutesy is stupid or drenched in religious overtones. I really don't like Tracy Hickman's work in general, especially not his fiction. In fact, I blame him personally for the entire genre of gaming fiction, which is almost invariably horrible to read.

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  16. Hmm, for the longest time it was Harn, but I've changed my mind about it. I think any setting that is a book first then made into a setting. Like Kyrnn and Middle Earth. They just don't jive for me because they always seem desperate to stay true to the books even if makes the RPG experience suffer.

    That said, I love the Thieves World setting and the books. So I just contradicted myself.

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  17. Ravenloft. I've never understood why D&D should be used for a pseudo-Victorian setting.

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  18. Early Forgotten realms was an ok psuedo tolkien world with some nice bits to steal - i didnt mind some of the region books (Jaquay one works as griffin mountain add on) - last TSR product i got was undercity - wild magic and killing gods made me lose interest - just got worse and worse - TSR strange psuedo history phaze of early 90s did so many lame things like marco polo, terrible aztec products, central asia and stuff hopelessly inferior to real history books which i got into because it was cheaper and better - Herodotus was more awesome than any game book ever. Mystara and realms killed by lazy real world rip offs. Glaantri book with venice type city was inspired exception though. Names based on history embarrassing bad.

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  19. +Eric Tenkar, to your original question: Yes, not me but there is a very popular running on the setting over at roleplayinggames.net.

    As for person hated settings and I'm sure some people in the community will wish to kill me for this: Gamma World.

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  20. Da Realms. Others have given the basics: bland and meh but workable at first, then got every stupid idea TSR could muster. Throw in the creator's pet Elmunchkin and the fact that it's so big that it is hard to get a handle on it.

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    1. I solved the Bigness problem by simply halving all distances. :)

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  21. Forgotten Realms, because all of the extra baggage.

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  22. Love anything Gygaxian, not just Greyhawk but products from Necromancer Games and other serious gaming systems like Rune Quest (mostly) and Ars Magica.

    FR because the awesome artwork sucked you into a vomit of high magic and unending expensive inane products. A brightly polished money-grab.

    DL because of the Kender, and the Gully Dwarves, and every thinly obscured theft from other fantasy worlds and the real world.

    Eberron because it was simply a hack mash-up that had nothing unique about it. Except perhaps the Dragon Prophecy and that was a topic about which PCs were very unlikely to know or learn anything significant - ever. That and it was so PC (politically correct) that it made you want to puke.

    Anything 4th Ed D&D.

    The Battle Grid (3.x D&D) as it hamstrings everything fun or spontaneous about the game... unless you're a munchkin Rules Lawyer.

    And to answer your question: No, I never played CoW. The cover art was a sufficient warning for me to avoid it. Mystara too btw. Yes, there are so many games to hate on.

    But mostly I hate growing up, getting out of college (with degree in hand), and live-action role-playing being an adult. This world may suck the worst of all of them. Thank you al qaeda and all those groups of people not so very different from you. You make this world suck and blow at the same time.

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