🎨 Creative Really on the fence with two setting ideas (and the answer isn't both)

Kneller

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#1
I've been homebrewing games for group play for probably about 15 years. Up until now, I'd always design a system with a setting in mind, or come up with a setting along with the system with which I'd like to run it. For the first time, I've developed a system but have two setting ideas for application, and I'm really tossed as to which to run with. I want to go with one and only one for the sake of time and getting it to the table. I haven't pulled together a new group to run it (I recently moved to a new area), but I want to have it built before I even try.

A couple important aspects of the system. It works really well with a round robin style GMing. There are mechanics/rules to provide all players space without stepping on each other's toes. There is a tactical combat system, but it's extremely fast and simplified (like, not even a battlemap) and lends itself to an approach that isn't just trying to kill the enemies (i.e there are mechanics for simply defending a position, keeping an enemy at bay, or covering a retreat). Outside of combat, it's pretty rules-light but well-balanced in terms of characters, and oriented towards fast play,

Traditional Lovecraft, with a Twist. So, this is the classic 1920s jazz age prohibition era Mythos game. The twist for it is that there is no canon Lovecraftian mythos. This is largely inspired by the whole legal snaufu with the rights to the Mythos (at least here in the states) and Lovecraft's own philosophy that he wanted other writers inspired by the Mythos to create their own. The round robin GM toolkit can help with this to make creating the Mythos relatively easier and fun for everyone. So, while people may be familiar with the era, the actual Mythos will be completely new to them.
Overall, the system is a good (possibly better) fit for this setting, but tactical combat might be a little out of place. However, this aspect of the system is not a darling I want to slay.

Post-Apoc Cyberpunk Technoir. If you have ever read Roadside Picnic, it's a lot like that, except, instead of there being a zone affected by the event, the entire world has been affected and the last remnants of humanity reside in the last standing city, surrounded by a protective barrier developed using the technology discovered. The city is run out of an arcology to which most of the refugees in the surrounding area do not have access. Instead, they live in the sprawled ruins of the world past. The archology isn't entirely apathetic to the plight of the refugees, but resources are limited and a powerful criminal element permates the sprawl. Plenty of technology is available, but usually ill-gained. Playes will have the option of cyberpunkish fun in the sprawl, or exploring the world outside to discover powerful and valuable singularity objects that can be sold to the arcology for study.
I haven't fully fleshed out the hacking mechanics yet. I have an outline, and it's kind of it's own little minigame that the hacker can do while the rest of the team is doing other things (even combat to protect the hacker).

Anyway, these are the two directions I'm considering, and I can't really push myself in one direction over the other. I'm trying to think in terms of what I'd want to play, and I'm really feeling both equally. Anyone care to nudge? Thanks!
 

Shadow Captain

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#2
You don't need Cthulhu to utilize chthonic deities. In fact, one of the draws of Cthulhu is the incomprehensibility of its villains. GM-created deities are a welcome relief. They restore the feeling of unknown-ness to the game.

On the other hand, After the Fall of civilizations is always a fun scenario, whether playing in a FRPG or sci-fi.

For my preferences, it's a matter of the rules system. I'm not into pages of equipment, which rules out most sci-fi, even though I love the genre. The 1920s allows me to focus more on the character. I actually like the 1930s more. You get to bring in the rise of nazis, fascists, and communists. And then there's the flying boats. I love flying boats.
 

Alon

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#3
The first one, by a mile. The second one is an interesting setting for a novel or short stories, and maybe also conventional RPGs, but not roundrobin GM ones. Roundrobin GM requires everyone to have the same assumptions about the world, which means that it needs to be off-the-shelf. like Silver Age superheroes, or something set in a specific period. Any worldbuilding that can go in multiple directions and can't be handwaved as murder hobos going from place to place is risky.
 

Kneller

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#4
For my preferences, it's a matter of the rules system. I'm not into pages of equipment, which rules out most sci-fi, even though I love the genre. The 1920s allows me to focus more on the character. I actually like the 1930s more. You get to bring in the rise of nazis, fascists, and communists. And then there's the flying boats. I love flying boats.
I agree with you. Unless it's a full on wargame, I find most stat/equipment heavy systems to be superfluous. That's part of the reason I was thinking post-apoc frpg for this. The tactical system I've come up with is super light a math minimal, but still has room for combat style variety. I remember one of the last times I played D&D. It was a 3 hour session that was merely a single combat encounter, and it wasn't even the final one with the BBEG. I told myself, never again.
 

Xander

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#5
Hmm, the cooperative world-building may be easier to do with the post-apocalypse, if there's a city, ruins, etc for more design space.

I really like the idea of a Mythos game with a completely revamped and unknown myth, but it may be hard to create a unified theme/story with multiple DMs.
 

SorcererNinja

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#6
I really like the idea of a Mythos game with a completely revamped and unknown myth, but it may be hard to create a unified theme/story with multiple DMs.
Then again, I'm not sure how much things would need to be unified. Even Lovecrafts mythos has really had a lot of the unification applied after the fact - if you were setting out to do bleak cosmic horror from the start, would you throw in the Dreamlands? It could be fun to let everyone come up with stuff and then get really creative putting it together after the fact.

One option in regards to the round robin GMing in either setting is you could start with a session zero where everybody gets to decide some concrete rules of the setting that can't be violated, so there's a base of understanding for GMs to build on later on.
 

Kneller

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#7
Then again, I'm not sure how much things would need to be unified. Even Lovecrafts mythos has really had a lot of the unification applied after the fact - if you were setting out to do bleak cosmic horror from the start, would you throw in the Dreamlands? It could be fun to let everyone come up with stuff and then get really creative putting it together after the fact.

One option in regards to the round robin GMing in either setting is you could start with a session zero where everybody gets to decide some concrete rules of the setting that can't be violated, so there's a base of understanding for GMs to build on later on.
I actually do have a session zero (currently even called "session zero") where the group sets up some ground rules and neutral areas.

I never considered the Mythos to be all that unified. I figure, you could have the Cult of the Starry Wisdom doing their thing around town, Cthulhu doing its thing at the bottom of the ocean, the Dreamlands doing its thing on another plane, and they don't really overlap. This would have to be vaguely but explicitly addressed in session zero (i.e. Keepers revealing the broad direction their Mythos will take), but it's workable, I figure.
 

Faethor

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#8
As a long time CoC gm I vote... B (?)

Fact is, any gm worth their salt has been seeding their lovecradlftian games with their own monstrosities / stolen ideas since they started writing their own scenarios. Many good published scenarios do the same... and so has every mythos author post lovecraft. Lovecraft runs just fine without using the accepted mythos.

Besides, there's only so many times a stock creature like a deep one can surprise a player - rule of thumb is introduce new creatures or introduce new aspects / behaviors to old creatures to catch players off guard.
 
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