Game Setting Detail – RPGaDay 2022

The question is: Share an intriguing detail from a game setting you enjoy.

I enjoyed Impossible Landscapes, written for the Delta Green game but adaptable to a number of games that deal with agencies battling the supernatural and unknown.

I’ve run it once and I can see incredible potential for the diehard GM to engineer a multitude of callbacks, memories, flashbacks, recollections, mis-recollections, repetitions, parallels and similar. It could work in any game designed to cause disquiet. The moments I managed that weirded out the players worked so well. With the greatest care in record-keeping — best achieved through the recording of sessions — a GM could achieve so much more.

The book contains a lot of guidance and ideas, but the GM has an opening to do so much more if they choose. Handouts are great, but a lot of the gold can be mined from ephemeral elements that pass purely in description or conversation.

It didn’t need to be overworked. Like overworking the dough when making bread, you can spoil things — the whole thing becomes a tough old slog, an outcome that’s heavy and unappetising. The ideal should be light and as natural as possible. Indeed, if you can the good stuff should almost pass players by and then hit them a moment later when they have a chance to ponder on it.

I don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone who might be thinking about playing this adventure — which is effectively a setting within itself in some aspects — but it was a great campaign to run and seek to engineer moments that left the players bewildered, perplexed or alarmed.

What compounded the strange sensations that made up the experience of the game is that the book itself can be strangely unsettling to read. It isn’t the disturbance of graphic horror, but the subtle disquiet of the surreal and cosmic. For a while, I think the campaign seeped into my dreams and kept me awake at night.

I would be staggered if some achieved an experience that can best Impossible Landscapes for this potential to unsettle.

RPGaDay is a prompt-driven experience in tabletop roleplaying, initiated by Dave Chapman of Autocratik, and powered by me and you.

The prompts for this year are as follows — and you can find out more on Dave’s website.


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