D&D General Settings with Story

Hussar

Legend
The release of Dragonlance has got me thinking about how I interact with certain settings. For me, and again, I'm not trying to make a broader point here, just stating my own feelings, some settings are indelibly linked to the story that comes with that setting. And, honestly, I'm not really interested in that setting beyond that story.

Take Star Wars for example. I love Star Wars and watch it pretty much when I can, probably like most of the people reading this. But, I am not really interested in a Star Wars RPG. The reason being, to me, if I was to play in Star Wars, I would want to play out the original trilogy but with our own characters. We would be the ones to defeat the Empire, or die trying. I've got zero interest in playing smugglers on the run from the Hutt. To me, that's not what I would want to use the Star Wars setting for. Space smugglers can be done in many, many SF settings without any real problem. So, why would I do it in Star Wars? Contrast to Star Trek where there aren't any single iconic Star Trek stories in the same way. I would have no problems playing or running in the Trek universe, set at virtually any time period, because there's nothing in the setting that shouts "THIS IS THE STORY OF STAR TREK!!" in the way that the original trilogy define Star Wars.

So, roll that back around to D&D. To me, I am only interested in Curse of Strahd because you get to deal with Strahd. The whole "domains of Dread" thing is of zero interest to me because the story of Strahd is so tightly linked to the setting in my mind. Or, again, Dragonlance. The War of the Lance is the only thing I'm really interested in dealing with in the setting. I don't care about Taladas. I don't care about the other time periods. To me, Dragonlance=War of the Lance and any DL campaign I want to play or run will feature the PC's directly dealing with the Dragonarmies. Playing a prequel where the PC's actions have zero impact on the outcome of the War is not something I'm interested in. I have zero interest in the setting beyond the War of the Lance.

How about other folks? Are you interested in storied settings for their own sake or only interested in the iconic stories from those settings or a mix of both?
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Complete opposite here. If I'm going to play in a setting, I want to do my own thing. I don't want to replace the heroes or only deal with the main story. I already know how that story goes. So to take Star Wars, I would assume that there's something just as important as the Death Star somewhere out there. Maybe not something that could destroy a planet in a few seconds, but something that's just as dangerous in another way.
 

I don't care too much about "The Story" of a setting to use it for a game setting. Though not using "The" Story, just makes it a generic setting. Once you go beyond the narrow story, it's not really "the setting" anymore. And if you tie it into the setting, it's a bit pointless.

The big problem is most fans only Love the story, not the setting. Play a Star Wars game set on the planet Pug, and every player will be like "where is the Empire? Can I be a Jedi? Can we have a droid R3D3 that can Du Ex Machinea out of everything always?
 

aco175

Legend
I kind of agree with @Faolyn where if I'm playing a character in the place of Han Solo I might feel that the DM is forcing things to happen to make the story work. There is no penalty for failure since there would be no failure.

I also see where a setting like Dragonlance is iconic to the War of the Lance since I read the books and they all had some part of the war in it. Take FR on the other hand, I liked the Drizzt books but never felt the world was tied to him or Elminster.
 

Oofta

Legend
If I were to do star wars, I'd use the core lore but set it in a different time period such as the one used for Knights of the Old Republic.

I don't really use modules except for mining ideas because I don't want a predetermined story arc. I have ideas of where things might, or would, go without PC intervention but it's all just an outline until it's revealed. Even then if it makes sense it could change if I can figure out a way to make it consistent with what's been revealed.

Which is probably why I wouldn't do Ravenloft, you know the only conclusion to the campaign is defeating Strahd or die trying.
 

Hussar

Legend
Note, there is something of a wider spectrum here between "follow the exact story" and "ignore the story completely". You can start with the basic storyline of the setting - defeat the Empire, defeat the Dragonarmies, escape Ravenloft - and still tell stories that are completely different from how the story unfolded in the actual movies/books/whatever.

Like I said, if I played in a Star Wars game, I would want to be part of the Rebel alliance (or perhaps go the other way and play the Empire) and be dealing directly with defeating the Empire. Otherwise, why am I bothering with using the Star Wars universe? To me, that's the whole point of being in Star Wars. Playing Andor would bore me to tears. I'm sorry, but, it would. While I love the show, I wouldn't want to play that as a game because nothing they do in the show will have any impact on the most important story in the setting.

Same as if I did a Knights of the Old Republic game. I simply don't care. As @bloodtide very correctly IMO says, I "only Love the story, not the setting." For me, that's 100% true.

Now, since something like Forgotten Realms doesn't really have an "iconic story", I have no problems setting any number of games there.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Note, there is something of a wider spectrum here between "follow the exact story" and "ignore the story completely". You can start with the basic storyline of the setting - defeat the Empire, defeat the Dragonarmies, escape Ravenloft - and still tell stories that are completely different from how the story unfolded in the actual movies/books/whatever.

Like I said, if I played in a Star Wars game, I would want to be part of the Rebel alliance (or perhaps go the other way and play the Empire) and be dealing directly with defeating the Empire. Otherwise, why am I bothering with using the Star Wars universe? To me, that's the whole point of being in Star Wars. Playing Andor would bore me to tears. I'm sorry, but, it would. While I love the show, I wouldn't want to play that as a game because nothing they do in the show will have any impact on the most important story in the setting.
I get this, but I think the problem is that the players will never be the ones to truly defeat the Empire. That's always going to be Luke.

And that may be cool for some groups, even a lot of groups. After all, few people go into a CoC game thinking they can kill Cthulhu. But it's one of those things where everybody really needs to be on board being second fiddles. Or, the GM has to be willing to create an entire Alternate Universe and let the PCs try to, and maybe even succeed at, destroying the Death Star.
 


Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
This is exactly why I have zero desire to play a game set in Hogwarts, Middle Earth, the Star Wars universe, etc. The story of note has been resolved, and anything I do is only going to invite comparison in my own head, because I know I'm stealing someone else's set-up work.

That said, that applies for me pretty much just to things like books and movies. Doesn't bother me at all to play in the Forgotten Realms, despite all the canonical heroics that have happened there.
 
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jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Honestly? For me, it depends on the story and how hard it runs roughshod over player character actions. I have, as Xamnam says above, zero interest in playing (or running) in a setting where THE story that matters has already been told or will be told by NPCs. Something like Murchad's Legacy*, however? Sign me up.

*Murchad's Legacy lays out a big story, but it assumes both sandbox play and that the PCs will be the ones driving the story when/if they interact with it.
 

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