Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More thoughts on The Wild Frontier

Take me home to the Isle of Dread
As usual, one of my half-baked theories (from last post) was challenged by Trey and it forced me to refine the idea further (thanks brother!).  Regarding Points of Light and Wild Frontiers - a frontier setting could definitely be presented as a Points of Light sub setting; however, it's the presence of a large civilized land (a huge swath of light) back in the settled areas that lets people zoom around the world and get out to the frontier in the first place.

For instance, X1 The Isle of Dread could be considered a Points of Light setting; there' s a single settled area (the native village  of Tanaroa) and everything else on the island is a wilderness hex crawl.  However, a party isn't even reaching the Isle of Dread (a good 700-800 miles across the Sea of Dread) without a degree of civilization back home that postulates large sailing ships available for purchase - shipyards, commerce, navigational technology, the whole thing.  Luckily, the Isle of Dread was part of the "Known World" setting, Mystara, which was a highly civilized, human centric campaign with a technology level of the Renaissance (and a high level of magic, too).

I think it would be pretty fun down the road to make a Wild Frontier campaign - Renaissance, post-Renaissance, or Age of Sail.  There could be politics, duels, and intrigue back in the civilized lands, and monsters, looting, and plundering ruins out on the frontier.  Throw in pulp action in far away lands - pyramids in the desert, forgotten ruins in the jungles, lost worlds filled with dinosaurs.  It'd also be easy to run this type of setting with some Gothic Horror, and put all the black and white 1930's era movie monsters in "the Old Country".  …Must… avoid… the… attention deficit…. disorder.

Quick idea for a poll - what historical era does your fantasy game *most* resemble?  I'm wondering just how common are Renaissance style ships and long distance ocean travel in folk's games?