Cool RPG Settings

Elfgore

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So I'm a big enough nerd that I read RPG setting books for fun, yes even those I don't play. So I want to know what settings ya'll have found out there that are unique, interesting, or fun? Any genre, any setting, anything. Show me what you got!

I'll start! The company Free League has some amazing stuff on it.

We have an Alien RPG


What sounds like space adventures in a secluded, mostly untamed galaxy, with Lovecraft influences in the form of Coriolis.


Then the Forbidden Lands, that's giving me Mad Max vibes with some fantasy and magic thrown in.
 

Chimpzy

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I've always had a soft spot for the Spelljammer setting. It's all the classic D&D mainstays like orcs, elves, wizards and mind flayers, but instead of boring, its swashbuckling in SPACE, flying around in wooden ships that look like marine animals.
They made a sort of spiritual successor in Starfinder, basically Pathfinder in space, but it's more science fantasy than "high fantasy but in space and awesome", so it doesn't really hit the same spot.
 

Elfgore

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I've always had a soft spot for the Spelljammer setting. It's all the classic D&D mainstays like orcs, elves, wizards and mind flayers, but instead of boring, its swashbuckling in SPACE, flying around in wooden ships that look like marine animals.
They made a sort of spiritual successor in Starfinder, basically Pathfinder in space, but it's more science fantasy than "high fantasy but in space and awesome", so it doesn't really hit the same spot.
I don't think I've ever seen someone try and replicate this, which is baffling. Like you said, it's still magic, swords, and bows. Just now you get to travel around space. It's like a dream for a DM since every other session can be a new planet, with new challenges and monsters for it. I'm dying for a 5E setting book for this.
 

Fat Hippo

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If I was gonna play any "weird" RPG settings I'd be curious to try out Planescape, since I only know it from Planescape: Torment, as I suspect many do, but it always seemed really interesting, and you can chuck basically anything from the D&D "extended universe" in there since everything connects to it.
 

Elfgore

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If I was gonna play any "weird" RPG settings I'd be curious to try out Planescape, since I only know it from Planescape: Torment, as I suspect many do, but it always seemed really interesting, and you can chuck basically anything from the D&D "extended universe" in there since everything connects to it.
I think Placescape, Spelljammer, and Dark Sun are so popular specifically because they spit in the face of traditional fantasy by mixing things up. With two of them moving away from a singular fantasy world to insanely massive and infinite settings. The other decided Mad Max should be in D&D, except with life-sucking magic and psychic powers.
 

Chimpzy

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I think Placescape, Spelljammer, and Dark Sun are so popular specifically because they spit in the face of traditional fantasy by mixing things up. With two of them moving away from a singular fantasy world to insanely massive and infinite settings. The other decided Mad Max should be in D&D, except with life-sucking magic and psychic powers.
Nah, gotta do the Forgotten Realms. Again. Now I don't have anything against classic tolkienesque fantasy, but D&D had so many fun settings in 2nd/3rd Ed. Sadly, only ones that consistently get support are Ravenloft (yes) and Eberron (barf).
 

Elfgore

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Nah, gotta do the Forgotten Realms. Again. Now I don't have anything against classic tolkienesque fantasy, but D&D had so many fun settings in 2nd/3rd Ed. Sadly, only ones that consistently get support are Ravenloft (yes) and Eberron (barf).
I wouldn't even call Ravenloft's support. They got one adventure. I do have to disagree on Eberron, at least it has something interesting going on with magitek and halflings are different.
 

Anti-American Eagle

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I'm personally a fan of Numenera, a world set so far in the future after things have broken down so many times that the world is an unrecognizable mess with explanations for what things are or resemble being references to what they're regarded as by reference.
 
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Elfgore

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I'm personally a fan of Numenera, a world set so far in the future after things have broken down so many times that the world is an unrecognizable mess with explanations for what things are or resemble being references to what they're regarded as by reference.
There was a kickstarter recently from the developers for that system to get this setting into 5E. I'm really looking forward to it.
 
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SckizoBoy

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I'm part of a few campaigns at the moment and they're all cross system.

Notably, using IKRPG rules in the Rogue Mistress campaign, and DnD5e in Mordheim (and given the multi-race nature of the party, the hijinks is very real in this). Unique in their own take, former is more interesting definitely while the latter is pure dumb fun.

I've played a fair bit of IKRPG within the actual setting in the past and it's a very good setting (well, pre-Oblivion off-the-rails stuff notwithstanding) and the mechanics and gameplay tie in to Company of Iron and the parent game pretty neatly, especially if characters bring their own jacks/beasts, but it's a pity it's not more common to do that.
 

davidmc1158

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I fell in love with the Palladium Rifts setting years ago. It had everything: magic, science-fiction tech, and psychics. Hell, you could play a dragon hatchling if you wanted to. It was also set up with the same rules system for all of the Palladium games, so you could bring in just about anything you pleased (Robotech, super-heroes, fantasy creatures, etc.). I just wish Bruckheimer had made the damn movie he optioned for.

Back when I played D&D (2nd ed for me), I rather enjoyed the Forgotten Realms setting, but also played around with the World of Greyhawk. I was rather pleased with how they shook up the Greyhawk world with the From the Ashes boxed set. Cry havoc and unleash the hordes of the Abyss! We ran a short campaign that was started with the players going out and trying to rob the enemies of their homeland (Nyrond) so they could send as much money back home to prevent the nation from going bankrupt. Sadly, the players ended up heading in their own separate ways and the game ended.

Currently, well before the whole virus lockdown thing at least, we were playing a fairly long-running game of Exalted. I rather enjoyed the setting. High-flying over-the-top anime-style combat and OP characters trying to determine the fate of the world. It was fun. Hope we pick it up again after this whole mess finally is done with.
 

Gethsemani

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I'll always have a soft spot for Skymningshem: Andra Imperiet (Dusk Home: The Second Empire). It is a take on sci-fi manga/anime in which firearms were never invented and humanity settled among stars centuries ago. In the setting there's the search for the original homeworld, ruins of the First Empire, an evil race of lizard aliens, a race of genetically engineered furry humans and plasma weapons that also double as fighting staffs and have a low rate of fire and can't hit anything within 15 feet, so everyone is running around with close combat weapons like Katanas.
 

Chimpzy

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plasma weapons that also double as fighting staffs and have a low rate of fire and can't hit anything within 15 feet, so everyone is running around with close combat weapons like Katanas.
Kind of reminds me of Dune, tho with the major difference that in that settings everyone fights in melee because everyone wears personal shields which stop anything faster like a bullet, and the energy weapons are rarely used because hitting one of those shields makes both parties blow up like a small nuke.

Also, feels like Dune would be a neat setting for a tabletop rpg. Probably something that's more focused on political intrigue than fisticuffs.
 

Thaluikhain

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I don't think I've ever seen someone try and replicate this, which is baffling. Like you said, it's still magic, swords, and bows. Just now you get to travel around space. It's like a dream for a DM since every other session can be a new planet, with new challenges and monsters for it. I'm dying for a 5E setting book for this.
The idea was good, but there were serious problems with Spelljammer. Though, in part that's because they weren't allowed to playtest and the editor was hopeless. Some of the problems are inherent to the concept, though. Give players the ability to fly wherever they want, and you start needing to come up with multiple planet sized planets full of interesting and different things, for example.
 

Chimpzy

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The idea was good, but there were serious problems with Spelljammer. Though, in part that's because they weren't allowed to playtest and the editor was hopeless. Some of the problems are inherent to the concept, though. Give players the ability to fly wherever they want, and you start needing to come up with multiple planet sized planets full of interesting and different things, for example.
I suppose you could solve that by employing the Planet of Hats trope. 's how Star Trek does it. And Star Wars. And 40K. Pretty much all sci-fi I can think of right now, actually. But yeah, that is kind of a pickle, tho it does also exist in regular D&D once you have a spellcaster in the party with access to Plane Shift and/or Greater Teleport. Arguably even easier since casting a spell costs little to no resources and a smart player will leave a high level spell slot open for utility purposes.
 

Elfgore

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I recently discovered Iron Kingdoms through TvTropes and I'm really liking what I'm seeing. Might have to start picking some of them up.
Never heard of Pallidum Rifts, but going by what I'm seeing, it's pretty rad! Thanks, man! As for the Forgotten Realms, it can be a bit generic sometimes, but the amount of sheer information and work put into that setting is insane and I have to love it for that.
The idea was good, but there were serious problems with Spelljammer. Though, in part that's because they weren't allowed to playtest and the editor was hopeless. Some of the problems are inherent to the concept, though. Give players the ability to fly wherever they want, and you start needing to come up with multiple planet sized planets full of interesting and different things, for example.
I could see that being a problem. Probably not helped since it looks like the setting books for Spelljammer are so few. Hope you're good at improvising!
 

Thaluikhain

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I suppose you could solve that by employing the Planet of Hats trope. 's how Star Trek does it. And Star Wars. And 40K. Pretty much all sci-fi I can think of right now, actually. But yeah, that is kind of a pickle, tho it does also exist in regular D&D once you have a spellcaster in the party with access to Plane Shift and/or Greater Teleport. Arguably even easier since casting a spell costs little to no resources and a smart player will leave a high level spell slot open for utility purposes.
Which is more or less what they did. But even with 40k, any planet they develop has different areas in there. Macragge is known for it's mountains and forests, but it's poles are arctic like the Earth's are, Armageddon has jungles and deserts and more arctic wastes with seas in between etc. There's plenty of un-developed single biome planets, though, of course. But interplanetary flight loses a lot of the magic if you are going from the forest bit to the snow bit exactly as if it was international flight.

Also, if your players can land literally anywhere on the planet (or on another planet), you might need to railroad them a lot to get them to land where you want them to.

Having said that, I still like the idea of Spelljammer, it's just that the problems are formidable and need a lot of work done.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Torment: tides of numenara is quite impressive for being so far out in the future of civilisations upon civilisations there's almost no point of reference for recognition. The best kind of creative fantasy imo.
 

SckizoBoy

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I recently discovered Iron Kingdoms through TvTropes and I'm really liking what I'm seeing. Might have to start picking some of them up.
Cool! I recommend starting with Full Metal Fantasy (RPG Core Rules), then going from there. That's the original steampunk setting plus associated rules with warjacks (stompy), while the more smashy warbeasts comes in Unleashed, providing expanded setting with lore to accompany it, more character classes equipment etc.

You could get both or either one and it'd be fine as its duality matches the tabletop skirmish game(s) (Warmachine for the steampunk, Hordes for the beastpunk, I guess you could call it). They have slightly different mechanics, but their rules are compatible. Both have expansions as you'd expect (Kings & Nations/Wild Adventure etc. etc.).

One pretty much unique aspect of the IKRPG is the damage system as all major characters (players/bosses) will have damage spirals as opposed to just plain HP, and knocked out spirals will have varying debuffs on the character's performance. I really like that about the system.
 

Kae

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I'm personally a fan of Numenera, a world set so far in the future after things have broken down so many times that the world is an unrecognizable mess with explanations for what things are or resemble being references to what they're regarded as by reference.
I like it too, besides since the game world was designed as a spiritual successor to Sigil The City of Doors from the Planescape Setting of D&D they made sure that the possibilities of what can happen are infinite, which makes for a very interesting game as adventures are very varied.

As for my own entry, I'm personally a huge fan of The Expanse and after reading the Tabletop RPG I think it makes for a fantastic RPG setting, though admittedly I haven't had the chance to play it, but basically it lends itself to intrigue really well due to the complex political relationships of the factions, it lends itself well to action due to skirmishes & Space Pirates, Heists work great there too and so does exploration of the new Frontier through the Ring, not to mention that things can get pretty weird due to the Protomolecule, and if you want to do a Cyberpunk style campaign you could easily do that with Eros Space-Station or Earth so it's quite flexible.
 
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