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Saturday, March 24, 2012

On "Strange" settings

Some settings are just difficult to to grasp by your average gamer. Tekumel and Glorantha are probably near the top of the list. Both have exotic worlds, with lots of really strange, non-Western, aspects to them. It's very likely why neither is a huge commercial success. People get offended if you say this, though. Many hint at the player being "racist" or something, because he can't be bothered to learn about a proto-Aztec culture (or Mayan or whatever) that he's not interested in.

Yet both have large fan bases. Many of the followers of these settings own every single supplement for it, and often multiple copies of many of those supplements.


However, it's not just strange settings that get this treatment. Look at Harn. Just from glancing at it, it's a very Western setting. However, if you go onto the Harn forum or the various mailing lists, there are long flamewars about whether potatoes are natural to the world. Not to mention all of the various flavors of Agrikan chapters and how they get along with each other and the general populace. And the arguments about whether the population figures are a scale too low from a realistic setting.


For whatever reason, certain settings attract obsessive fans who really love to dig into the small details. Sometimes, I think they lose track of the big picture, forgetting that the setting is a game and not a real world.

2 comments:

David Macauley said...

I reckon this is an accurate assessment Dan. There are geeks and then there are Geeks.

StevenWarble said...

Are any of those arguments really any worse than "Ascending AC vs Descending AC", or "Is Elf a Race ar a Class"? Or (to go more mainstream) is Astro Turf a good thing or a bad thing? Is the Designated Hitter Rule ruining Baseball, or has it already ruined Baseball?

Every Hobby seems to have its more obsessive memebers.