Today, I’m going to dip back into GM advice, because occasionally I get reminded that the world needs a lot more GMs who are skilled, willing, and aware that the game is a shared story, not a case of GM vs players.
Today’s topic is the presence of official secrets in game settings, and when having them can be, if not a bad thing, something really obnoxious. This isn’t the regular small mysteries that provide room for games, mind, but when a developer has a secret or a mystery which comprises a significant chunk of the setting.
All too often, when characters get generated for a game, we end up with a group of relatively valiant but paranoid murderers, ready to go for their weapons at the first sign that their suspicions about pretty much everyone might be accurate. We have a derogatory term for the worst of these, the people whose first, last, and only method of resolution is killing anyone that might be a foe, but less so for the less extreme versions. And yet these are the heroes of the game, most often.
So today I’ll be taking those three themes I picked out yesterday and be assembling the loose framework of a personal campaign setting out of them – this is largely to show how those same themes that intrigue me in officially published settings can give rise to something different in the hands of anyone with the necessary mental energy and time to invest.
Following up on yesterday’s entry about why playing in established settings is starting to bother me, today I’ll be picking at the various settings I’m familiar with, both to describe the themes I see in the setting and why I’d rather use those themes in a different and more personal creation.
So today I’m going to talk a little about the settings of D&D that I’m familiar with and why, despite my familiarity and the depth of material, I’ve discovered I’m not much interested in playing in the settings that other people write anymore.
So today I’ll talk a bit about some of the lore I’ve recently learned from Blizzard’s Diablo video game series, and how it has an interesting twist compared to most fantasy cosmologies. We’ll allow that it’s a video game series without a steady set of developers, and that both the specific cosmology and details change a bit from game to game; these aren’t the points that are particularly interesting.