Medieval fantasy (typical D&D setting)
Modern fantasy, light (Magic, think Harry Potter)
Modern fantasy, mixed (superheroes, psychic powers)
Modern fantasy, dark (vampires, etc)
Modern spy story (think Mission Impossible, etc)
70’s spy story (think Bond, Avengers, etc)
Older spy story (mob, gumshoe, etc)
Victorian, Western, etc
Future, space colony/exploration
Future, light (Paranoia)
Made-up fantasy worlds (Pern, etc)
Fariy tales (Grimm, Prince Charming, etc)
Anything I’m missing? What types of settings can you think of from your favorite stories?
* Horror (which can be broken down into numerous subcategories)
* Cross-Dimensional/Time Travel
* Flat out Surreal (something like Puppetland)
* Steampunk (More broadly – Historical Sci Fi)
* Historical Fantasy
* Animals (Watership Down, Bunnies & Burrows)
* Future – Super-tech (Iain Bank’s Culture novels)
Dunno. Further distinctions depend a lot on perspective.
Re: More RPGs
There’s the Feng Shui/HK action arena as well. Pseudo-modern, movie
Posted by space_parasite
There’s always the ‘randomly select two GURPS worldbooks and combine’; iterate over all selections of two (and maybe three; four is probably too many) worldbooks and there’s your semi-complete list. :)
On a more serious but not entirely unrelated note, it probably really is more useful to consider game settings as points in a space of several dimensions. (Admittedly, these probably do tend to clump, but you’ll find the new and different and interesting ones between the popular clumps.) Real world/plus magic/plus advanced tech/plus both, gritty to cinematic, scale of setting (“modern” defaults to the whole world, while “historical” defaults to a single country or maybe continent and space opera defaults to many planets), historical/projected future/alternate historical/completely different world, which historical time/place for historical or cultures stolen from for ahistorical, degree to which PCs can diverge from human (really a vector, not just a distance), etc, etc, etc.
But explaining that the solution set is really very large isn’t much like solving the problem. :)
More specifically, hm. I like the new SF subgenre of “transhuman space opera”: the result of cyberpunk, early Vinge, etc, being devoured and digested by the rest of SF. Examples are Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, Ventus by Karl Schroeder, Paradox and To Hold Infinity by John Meaney, and of course most recent Vernor Vinge.
Humorous SF like the Retief books can be good if done well. I don’t know if you would class this with Paranoia or not.
Swords & Sorcery as distinct from D&D (see my rant on Ron Edward’s rant on the matter).
“Ancient Earth” settings like the Dying Earth RPG and my own Age of the Black Sun stuff.
Old School space opera, like the James Schmitz stories that have been/are being reprinted.
Fairy-tale (as distinct from most other sorts of fantasy).
Christian-mythos modern fantasy (angels and demons, modern setting, like much of Gaiman’s work).
30s pulp, either SF (spacefaring or not), fantasy (Cthulhu mythos!), or just two-fisted.