D&D General Settings with Story

I can use races, monsters, some characters and parts of plot but the setting would be an alternate continuity or a mash-up where everything is possible, even intercompany crossovers. Other reason is in alternate timeline the players shouldn't be too safe about what will happen in the future.

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"Lost in Austen" is a fun action-live romantic comedy where an "isekai" goes within Jane Austin's novel "Pride and Prejudice", and the female main character knows the plot totally (it was her obsession), but she accidentally alter it causing a lot of troubles she couldn't imagine, for example one of the sisters marrys the wrong husband.

Usually the worlds created for speculative-fiction franchises are for the main characters, without space for possible spin-off.
 

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Vaalingrade

Legend
See now the Alien franchise I’d have no problem with. All we have is one encounter with the Aliens - Ripley’s story. But since Ripley do any actually resolve anything beyond that very local encounter in each movie, there’s no problem in having more.

Heck simply setting it after the fourth movie would be easy enough.
As long as you don't have a superfan there to 'but akshually' everything, seeing as the extended universe has pretty much accounted for every xenomorph from their coming into being to the last movie in the timeline.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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 think KotOR managed to thread this needle in a pretty elegant way. It was technically set in the Star Wars universe - there were Jedi and lightsabers and droids and wookies. But it was set in a different time period, in which the setting was significantly different. No empire, no rebels, no storm troopers, no Death Star. It was a significantly different take on the setting, which retained many of the trappings of the original setting, but also left itself plenty of room to breathe. A fan of Star Wars could find a lot familiar with KotOR, but (at the time) they would also have some unfamiliar elements to familiarize themselves with (for example, “sith” being a political faction rather than a synonym for dark Jedi). It also, crucially, told a new story that still played with the same themes, mood, and tone, of the original. For me at least, this is how you have to go about running a game in a setting associated with an iconic story. Transform the setting enough that it’s fresh without being unfamiliar, and craft a new story that hits the same chords that the iconic story did, without making it a straight re-telling. A tricky balancing act, particularly in an RPG context, but not impossible.
 

pemerton

Legend
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.

<snip>

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?
Here's a belated response to your question:

I agree that some stories are more closely linked to particular stories than others. And in the past, perhaps influenced by Gygax's well-known editorial explaining why there was no good RPGing to be had in Middle Earth, I would have thought they weren't good settings for RPGing.

But I think I've changed my mind, based on the fact that over the past few years I've had an enjoyable time GMing Marvel Heroic RP and a LotR/MERP game using a Fantasy-flavoured version of the MHRP system (Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy).

In the MHRP games, players have played iconic PCs - Wolverine, Nightcrawler, War Machine, Ice Man, etc. In the Middle Earth game I wrote up pre-gens - Gandalf, an Elf, a Dunedan, a Dwarf, a Hobbit. The tropes and themes were what one would expect for the settings and characters, but the events and the character development were dictated by the players - so eg in our Middle Earth game (set between The Hobbit and LotR) the PCs ended up entering Moria well before Balin and his fellows, and Gandalf ended up being much closer to Saruman in his behaviour!

I don't think it's a coincidence that this particular system produced these happy experiences. Upthread Umbran posted this:
I liked the Cortex-based Marvel Super Heroic RPG system, but didn't play it beyond a couple of tests because the support beyond, "Play this iconic storyline with these iconic characters" was basically non-existent.
But my experience is quite different - I think the system provides excellent support (through the Milestone system in particular, but also with effective use of Scene Distinctions and Complications) for taking iconic characters (in the supers case, and Gandalf) or iconic character types (in the Middle Earth case) but putting them into new situations where new possibilities and unexpected character developments take place.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
...for taking iconic characters (in the supers case, and Gandalf) or iconic character types (in the Middle Earth case)...

My issue was lack of support for things other than the iconic characters/types. The character creation system amounted to, "Meh. Make something up," which was egregiously unsatisfying.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
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.
See, I love Star Wars, but I don't value it so much that all the other stories set in the Star Wars universe become meaningless. It's a big story, but far from the only one. Same with Dragonlance, certainly the same with Ravenloft.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
See, I love Star Wars, but I don't value it so much that all the other stories set in the Star Wars universe become meaningless. It's a big story, but far from the only one. Same with Dragonlance, certainly the same with Ravenloft.
It's not that I feel there's no room for any other story. I just don't feel like mine, with the benefit of the chaos of the dice, is going feel satisfying when the point of comparison is so inescapable. Especially because it's rarely the world alone that would sell me on a setting. The narrative is the reason I'm attached to that setting in the first place, so there's no way I'm going to able to put it out of my mind.

Now, Ultraviolet Grasslands, there's a setting compelling all on its own, without a ur-story that brought me in.
 
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Clint_L

Hero
I don't like my campaigns to be about secret princesses and Chosen Ones and stuff, so there's no temptation to try to replay the story of Star Wars or anything like that. I like to keep my campaigns as sand-boxy as possible, so that the players have a lot of control over where it winds up going, and I have plenty of plot threads out there that have never been unraveled. Right now, I am using Exandria as a setting but I stay well away from any of the major plot points in Critical Role.

I get the OP's point re. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Star Trek was written to be episodic, which naturally lends itself to a more expansive setting, and that would naturally give more freedom to someone else playing in it. Star Wars has always been focused on long-form stories, and one central family story (though as a fan of the comic while growing up, the universe feels a lot broader than what you see in the films and TV shows). It's no secret that Star Wars has been a bit constrained by the Skywalker saga. Yet I think Andor pretty definitively proved that there are other rich stories that can be set in that universe.
 

pemerton

Legend
My issue was lack of support for things other than the iconic characters/types. The character creation system amounted to, "Meh. Make something up," which was egregiously unsatisfying.
I've written up plenty of characters in this system. I don't find it hard or unsatisfying. I do find it intriguing.
 

Hussar

Legend
I don't like my campaigns to be about secret princesses and Chosen Ones and stuff, so there's no temptation to try to replay the story of Star Wars or anything like that. I like to keep my campaigns as sand-boxy as possible, so that the players have a lot of control over where it winds up going, and I have plenty of plot threads out there that have never been unraveled. Right now, I am using Exandria as a setting but I stay well away from any of the major plot points in Critical Role.

I get the OP's point re. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Star Trek was written to be episodic, which naturally lends itself to a more expansive setting, and that would naturally give more freedom to someone else playing in it. Star Wars has always been focused on long-form stories, and one central family story (though as a fan of the comic while growing up, the universe feels a lot broader than what you see in the films and TV shows). It's no secret that Star Wars has been a bit constrained by the Skywalker saga. Yet I think Andor pretty definitively proved that there are other rich stories that can be set in that universe.

See I love Andor. Fantastic show and I’m so looking forward to the next season. Heck I like Mandalorian and I didn’t hate Book of Boba Fett.

But I have zero interest in a game campaign based on any of them. Ultimately, Andor doesn’t really matter to the setting. We know how it will end.

Heck we know exactly how Andor’s story ends. And Mon Mothma. And Kenobi’s. And so on.

These are fun to watch, but not to game. For me anyway. There’s no real point in playing a game when you know exactly how it’s going to end before you even start.

It’s why I lost all interest in the new Dragonlance module. Who cares? All the interesting stuff that actually resolves the issues in the setting happens somewhere else. Nothing you do in the module makes the slightest difference.

No thanks.
 


pemerton

Legend
Hooray for you, then. Have a good time with it.
No need to be rude. You asserted that the character building system was egregiously unsatisfying. I don't agree that it's an unsatisfying system. It's a very good system, I think, for writing up characters painted in broad and bright brushstrokes, with the inherent thematic trajectory of their milestones.

The absence of a points-based or "one from list A, one from list B" sub-system is in my view a virtue of the system. There's no need to try and fit the character concept into a pre-given mould.

For me, the main issue with the system - which I think betrays its supers origins - is that the PCs it delivers up tend to be able to sport bigger dice pools in physical conflicts than emotional or social ones.
 

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