Ikoma wrote:I have more trouble with the "that's not how Vulcans behave" kind of thing in true homebrew settings than I do in published settings.
Game story time: My buddy wants to run a game. It's going to be set in a homebrew setting. He emails all us players a 15 sheet or so setting document. I read the whole thing and decide to play a archer/ranger from this tribal nomadic elven society on the plains - think elves as native americans. One of the things I noted is that elves in this settings take their names from concepts they want to emulate. So I name my character True. As in his aim is True. GM wants me to change it to Honesty or something. I explain I am not aiming for that kind of Truth. He's not happy as my idea doesn't fit his conception of these tribal elves (my guy is too practical and not philosophical enough). So I change the name to something else (that I don't remember). I DO remember that he was constantly (ok, really only two or three times a session) stopping me from roleplaying and saying, "no, that's not how your character would react, the elves would look at this situation this way." To the point that after the fourth session I was looking for a way to have my PC go out in a blaze of glory and then I would drop the game. To be fair, this is something this friend has a problem with naturally. He's killed game momentum as a player by telling another player, "that's not how i think your character would react." I could go on (I even typed up about another paragraph before realizing that's not the point I'm trying to make).
I can see why published settings could allow this kind of problem as well. Because an expert in the setting can point out any observed contradictions. But it's also a problem in homebrew because there is no way for the players to know what setting details they don't know. This is one of the reasons why I think not all media settings make for good game settings. They need a certain level of scope and flexibility to work. Star Wars is great. I don't think Dune would be as good (although I am sure someone has played in a good Dune game, all generalizations are, well... general.)
For something like Greyhawk, Battletech, or Forgotten Realms I don't really see it being much different from a homebrew for most players in the case of knowing the setting. What I mean is I don't expect anyone to read those books or know that setting unless they are running the game. It just seems like more work to read up and study them than to just create on my own. That might just be the players I have played with. I don't expect them to own any of the books(though Dawn usually does buy them) or to read any of it. For me specifically it seems like more work to use a setting.
Now if we are talking something from other media like Dresden, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc that is a completely different story.
The first real question for me is why are we playing this particular game. If the answer is because the players love a setting tied to it well then I want to give the players a game that feels like that setting and honors it. If it is because the mechanics of the game are cool then I want to just come up with the world and tailor the game to the mechanics. More often though it is a game idea pitch for setting and genre then pick a system that fits that.