GM Help: RPG setting ideas
One of the strengths of the D20 systems is the wide range of settings it can be used in. Between Dungeons and Dragons, Modern, Future, Cyberpunk and the Past supplements just about any setting can be run fairly effectively. I’ve so far ran a Time Travel Fantasy game, a Steam Punk/Victorian Era game, and a near future high tech space game with this system. Here’s a list of some other settings that I think would make a great game.
Torchwood – United States
A new rift has opened up in whatever major city you’re most familiar with. Captain Jack is in town to check it out and see how big it is. Unfortunately he finds that it needs a 24/7 team to watch over it. This is where the PCs come in, they can either be drafted or coerced by Captain Jack, or be members of a secret military organization or even private company dedicated to such things. This could be a Bureau-13 type setting with aliens, time-travel, and unexplained monsters, along with the very occasional siting of the good Doctor. Having this be over seas from the main part of Torchwood gives the characters the ability to get some occasional help or specialized equipment when needed, but not be totally dependent on them.
Based on the book of the same name by Roger Zelazny, Roadmarks is the story of a couple who travel a road through time. Characters can be police from some where in the future tasked with patrolling the road. Or they could be hapless travelers from any era who turned off on the wrong road and ended up here. Perhaps they’re looking to just get back, or possibly they’re trying to make a profit off the road by (illegally) running artifacts from the past to the future. Or possibly providing modern guns to participants in ancient wars.
This was a game system from the 1980’s that had a great background, but wasn’t too popular for some reason. The discovery of liftwood allows the building of ships capable of space flight. This fueled further colonization of not only Earth, but Mars which was essentially a Colonial-era Africa in Victorian times. Using the D20 Past rules, some various D20 Steam Punk settings, and a bit of research into Victorian eras a great game could be built.
Zombies have risen, and are eating brains. Use D20 Modern and a basic Zombie template. The Zombie outbreak could be a localized event or a world wide event. This would be a great setting to play boringly “normal” characters who have been trust into an extraordinary situation. The area of conflict can be an entire town, or an office building, mall or school. Characters have to use makeshift weapons and depend on whatever supplies they can find. This could be a one off game, or an entire campaign as the PCs explore and father clues to find out how the got Zombies started.
As can be seen, most any setting can easily be created in the D20 system. So go take advantage of it! And have fun!