Sunday, 25 January 2015

A follow-up observation

I’ve never set a game in Scotland in the long term. I’ve based the odd adventure here, often for conventions as they might have players visiting from elsewhere, but no series. I would generally set a real-world game in the US, somewhere else for specific history or ambience, or at least as far away as London. Modern action games need taller buildings than we have so you can leap from roof to roof and throw other people off them, and distance also lets me mess with geography without the players pointing out that the museum is five minutes walk away.

It might also make the fantastical elements stick out too much, I suspect. I know how weird Edinburgh can be, but it doesn’t seem all that weird on a daily basis.

(And in the classic World Of Darkness we also have no cities capable of supporting more than four vampires by Camarilla rules. LARPs routinely divide this by ten or so for obvious reasons. And for that matter, the local werewolves are the Black Spiral Dancers.)

A lot of my fantasy game ideas look like Scotland, though. When they don’t look like New Zealand, of course.

Do you set real-world games where you come from, or actively avoid it?


  1. I've run games based in Edinburgh whilst living in the city, taking the PCs to places the players knew better than I. e.g. picking a village at random from a map as a place of interest, only to find one of the players knew it intimately. In cases like that you just ask the player to describe the place rather than try to do it yourself.

    I've also run games based in Montreal, with local gamers, when I had only been in the city a year or two. In this case, the PCs were all out of towners, so they enjoyed playing the naïve in their own city.

    In both cases I was running classic era Call of Chtulhu, so the players and the PCs were separated by almost a century, which gave us both enough leeway to make mistakes.

    Also in both cases, I think the players enjoyed the familiarity of the setting. It gave them a level of buy-in that can be harder with some settings. It also makes them relax a little, which only makes it better when the CoC twist takes place.

    1. All good points - distancing by time will have a similar effect.