Designing a Setting for Maximum Conflict (part I)

On Monday, we learned that you need conflict for a game to be interesting to play. What does this have to do with setting?  Everything.  Your characters are going to be defined by the setting, so your setting needs to help the players create conflicts.  I’ll show you how.

Tigers Fighting by Tambako the Jaguar

What would be the most boring possible setting for a roleplaying game?  Probably a utopia, a perfect society without fear, hunger, or want.  You can see this if you’ve had the misfortune to read any classic utopian literature – it’s terrible.  Why?  No conflict.  If everyone can get whatever they want, there’s no stories to tell.  Good living tends to make bad gaming.

How can you build a roleplaying game setting to have lots of juicy, interesting conflicts in which player characters can get embroiled?   Continue reading