Paul Mitchener came up with a new writing challenge on role-playing games called “12 RPGs for the 12th Month” (see the full list of questions here.)
Question 3: 4th to 5th December
You’re building a fantasy setting for the RPG of your choice. Which ingredients do you put in? Which “standard fantasy” elements would you choose to leave out?
If we assume that “standard fantasy” means D&D-derived, then I leave out the “races,” the Vancian magic, the primacy of combat over all other forms of action, and the dungeon-crawling-to kill-monsters-and-take-their-stuff premise. Also the pseudo-European flavour, faux-medieval setting, and chainmail bikini.
What I do put in: either nothing but humans, or a variety of species that are not the D&D standards; diversity and a lot of different cultural influences, with probably a minority of the denizens being white folk; a little magic goes a long way; problems solved through technical, social, and mental challenges, not only through combat; player characters rooted in time and place, not just wandering murder hobos; start small and local, grow to world-spanning stakes; the setting should be disorienting at first and turn some unspoken assumptions on their ear.