What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trends in Settings and Storylines

The past few days, I have allowed myself to become immersed in the world of Dragon Age.  Not the pen and paper RPG adaptation but the actual video game itself.  I'm having quite a bit of fun with it too and while the story and setting makes for interesting backdrop, there is really nothing that takes me a back as I explore this realm of fantasy.  The last time I had fun with a video game like this was when I was playing a lot of Guild Wars.  I suppose there is something that draws us to a scenario or setting where doom looks certain but you are part of the few battling against a dark tide of evil.  I mean, the Lord of The Rings is pretty much the same sort of thing isn't it?

Time and time again, we look to explore a darker and grimmer fantasy (or sci-fi) but always with a slim hope of driving the forces of darkness at bay.  The trend I've noticed is that there seems to be more of a focus on a period in history coming to a close and the turmoil that either brings it about or simply is accompanying it.  Or... in a world of darkness, there are points of light represented by small pockets of civilization in a sea of darkness.  While some foolishly ascribe this to WOTC and their setting approach with 4th edition, it is hardly a new concept.  The Wilderlands of High Fantasy can be very much be described in the same way.  The only difference between these concepts and those presented in a game such as Dragon Age, is how unified that 'darkness' seems to be.  Invariably, there is a tendency to steer some games towards the 'epic' storyline.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that as a backdrop and once in a while, it's perfectly ok to save the world.  Sometimes though, it's nice to allow the heroes to do something for themselves.  Scrounge up some money to setup that inn or tavern they've always dreamed on having.  Fighting to secure some land to set up a farm.  Better yet, what might be some of the challenges they would face given once those goals are met and chaos ends up finding them?  Owning an inn in a region that has become engulfed in war and turmoil?  Imagine, a party of good friends scrounges up a living through adventuring as a sure way to get their dream up and going and retire from that life... only to have events around them suddenly change.  Low levels adventuring to achieve some goals... mid-levels to fight for what they've worked so hard to gain... and possibly one big quest at the end of that character's career if there is a need for that campaign to end with a big finale.


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