Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs


I’ve actually gotten a fair bit of the skeleton done for NGHB.  Way more than I figured I would, though its still pretty sketchy.

One thing that is really starting to hit me is that until I started to write I had unknowningly been designing the game to be played in the setting of Gundam Wing.  When conceptualizing the game, I never paused to think about the world in which the characters would find themselves.    I just assumed there would be at least two sides to the conflict, mecha would be basically high tech, and that would be that.  But if I do that, I pretty much rule out a whole bunch of other types of mecha anime that the game could probably support.  Perhaps steampunk mecha, animal bones mecha, mecha grown from plants, etc.

I think I’ve made the decision to take a fiat.  I am going to include a set of questions and guidelines for building setting and provide some boilerplate mecha models and character archetypes, but let GMs and players willing to put in some effort go wild with their bad selves.  I think this will take the sting out of setting creation.

The other option is that I craft a setting, sort of a setting which is to Gundam Wing what Burning Jihad (I think that’s the name) was to Dune.

Thoughts?  Is a settingless game good, bad or indiffernet?


December 29, 2007 - Posted by | Mecha


  1. I had this thought when it came to Mythender, and what I came to pretty much sums up as: people are smart enough change the setting around if they want. So make a kick-ass setting you want to rock in, so that to help those looking to not do a lot of work in making their own setting when they want to give your game a whirl.

    Mythender’s system is totally meant to be able to work outside of the setting, as long as the game’s paradigm is intact.

    So, given that those who would play your game are sharp folks, what do you want to do, Chris?

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | December 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. Well,

    Normally I would do settingless games. However, the game requires some work to really get the setting up and running.

    So I’d rather let each group come up with a setting they find evocative.

    Comment by commondialog | December 30, 2007 | Reply

  3. Settingless game = bad.

    I rarely play settingless games. There’s nothing grabby for me. I have no problem taking a game with a vibe already on it and tweaking it.

    Make this the most supreme anime mecha setting of all time. Draw form your entire library of evocative stories and merge them into a voltron of awesome.

    Comment by orklord | December 30, 2007 | Reply

  4. I guess it makes sense to anchor the awesome in a firm place. I do think I will leave in setting guidelines in case others want to do their own thang.

    That makes me the most happy.

    Comment by commondialog | December 30, 2007 | Reply

  5. It also occurs to me that a game called “Neoborn Genesis Honor Blade” would be disappointing to me if it lacked a setting.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  6. I’m going to jump on the make a setting band wagon. However the different kinds of mechs really grabbed me. You might want to do something like Fading Suns and say “Here’s the known universe, outside these borders are unexplored. Here’s some tips for making new cultures and mechs”

    Comment by jhimmelman | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  7. Yeah, the non-traditional types of mecha seem more grabby than my original setting. Such is life…

    Jeff, I like your idea. I’m going to give it some thought.

    Comment by commondialog | December 31, 2007 | Reply

  8. I’m going to go against the grain here and say stick without a specific setting. That doesn’t mean settingless. That means giving people the tools they need to design a setting and require that they do so as part of the series creation. You can constrain these choices greatly. For example:

    What kind of mecha?
    Tech only
    Animal only
    Plant only
    Mix 2

    These questions can imply a setting very strongly while also giving people the power to create and tinker at will. You can design questions that are extremely grabby (“What is the doom that will wipe out your children and your children’s children?”)! To me there are several massive benefits to group world creation of this type:

    1) Group buy-in: when groups create the world they are much more pleased with and interested in it and feel more personally invested.
    2) Variety (plant mecha, animal bone mecha, steam mecha)
    3) Variety without lasersharking: If you want to have your game have the ability to play with different kinds of mecha and tech levels and scienciness-vs.-flashiness, but don’t want it to feel like a flavorless grab bag, the questions can be designed to canalize input once a direction has been chosen.

    Group world creation. It’s what I live by.

    (That said, feel free to ignore me :)).

    Comment by robertbohl | January 3, 2008 | Reply

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