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December 6, 2011 / Wythe

RPG Milieux

Here are thoughts towards a very simple list of milieux for roleplaying games, each of which can have attendant pre-generated bad guys, suggested skills, weapons, armor, transport, other gear, pets, political alliances, etc.  My main point is that some things (gun vs. sword, skills) are determined by milieu, so coming up with a few samples may help flesh out rules in some new ways, not necessarily typed to character archetype (fighter, wizard, thief, tech/priest, etc.):

  • Low Fantasy – Conan.  Swords, no guns.  No PC-magic (villain-magic only, and low-level magic at that).  Dinosaurs, barbarians, pirates, deserts, jungles, caves, Lovecraftian beasts (very rare).  Most characters get skills in Bushcrafts.  Academics is rare.  Medicine is crippled by superstition.
  • High Fantasy – Legolas, Drzzt (sp?).  Swords, no guns.  Hell of magic.  No dinosaurs, but pretty much all other baddies.  No Lovecraftian beasts.
  • Historical – Various, generally “more realistic” than either fantasy. E.g.:
    • Historical—Ancient – Sparta, Rome.
    • Historical—Medieval – The Black Plague, Genghis Khan.
    • Historical—Early Modern(1700–Queen Vick)/Gaslamp (1890) – Napoleon/Holmes.
    • Historical—Twentieth Century – WWI, WWII.
      All share:  Swords or guns by era.  No magic.  No monsters.  Sorta like Conan, skills-wise, until about 1800.
  • Old West – Man with no name.  Guns.  No magic.  No monsters.  Must take place in 1860s–1890s American West or similar setting (candidates include the Pampas, same time, or the Kalahari or Mongolia after WWII, etc.).  Skills all about stuff you could do in the West.  No computing.
  • Weird West – Will Smith.  Guns.  Magic.  Monsters.  Skills same as Old West?
  • Steampunk – Holmes… in a flying airship.  Swords, guns.  Limited magic?  Some monsters.  Skills include more mechanical stuff?
  • Lovecraft – You’re fucking dead.  Skills per CoC.
  • Grindhouse – You’re fucking dead… but it’s funny!  Tarantino, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie.  Skills contemporary, d20 Modern.
  • Contemporary – Bourne, Call of Duty: MW.  Per d20 Modern.
  • Post-Apocalypse – Mutants.  Skills
  • Space Opera – Star Wars, Star Trek.
  • Space Dystopia (post-opera) – Warhammer 40K, Dune.

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