Monday, April 30, 2012

Your Default Setting


Lately I've been thinking I'd like to build a default setting for simple gaming.  We have a ton of kids in the neighborhood, and summer is fast approaching - the time when my son usually pesters non-stop to fire up another kid's game for the summer.  Since the adult game has featured a few weeks of Cthulhu (no kids allowed in that one), the cries for a kid's game have intensified.

Kids approach fantasy gaming with a different set of eyes.  They're not burnt out on fantasy tropes - this is the first time they're encountering "high fantasy", unless they've read The Hobbit or seen The Lord of the Rings movies.  I don't event think the grade school kids in the neighborhood learn medieval or ancient history these days until junior high or later.

So I've been thinking about sketching a simplistic setting as the go-to place for pick-up games and kid's games.  It'd be friendly to the tropes and stereotypes of medieval history and fantasy, and home to a simple megadungeon.  When I sang out my Ode to Karameikos a little while ago, I rediscovered how simple and classic is that place, and figured it was time to have my own default home brew setting.

I'm still working on The Black City, but that place is strange (a little too weird and horrible for the neighborhood kids), and The Colonial Hexcrawl is super interesting, but perhaps too rarified a taste (and also filled with horror).  My reading list for it is great fun, however.

I've been orating The Once and Future King for my oldest son (10), and was thinking a chivalric setting that mashes TH White with The King of Elfland's Daughter and Three Hearts and Three Lions would make for a classically themed default setting, great for a kid's game.

The idea has generated a couple of quick questions for readers - One, do you have a default home brew you've written that you return to again and again in between other games, and what's it like?  Two - what are your thoughts on getting kids involved, go with a classic fantasy approach, or would you pull out the stops and mix ray guns, robots, and orcs in a sci-fantasy mash up or similar fantasy niche?