This is an idea for a scene, rather than a setting. It should work in any setting that incorporates some sort of magic, although I would really struggle to add it into anything that is even vaguely hard science.
The scene takes place in a city that is frozen in time for some reason, but the PCs and NPCs are still active. It should provide an interesting, if somewhat surreal backdrop… It could work well for an over the top fight scene, or even a chase, as the participants hide behind frozen smoke, or stand still not to be noticed in a crowd of unmoving people…
If you want to expand the idea, perhaps time has frozen in the city a very long time ago, and another civilisation has risen in the city, around the elements of the old frozen time. So, people live in buildings, sharing their home with a family who sits frozen around a table mid-conversation. Perhaps an ma standing by the door is used as a coat rack, and there is a washing line strung between a child’s ball hanging in the air, and her mother calling her home.
This is an idea inspired by Michael Crichton’s novel, Airframe.
It involves the characters playing a team of air-crash investigators, who find something strange during their investigations. It would be best suited to a modern or near future setting, although it could work in space opera as well… Even Fantasy, in a setting that features air-travel.
For a system, I would use on that focuses on investigation, Gumshoe would be ideal, although really any system could work.
The are several ways to make the investigations more interesting, or perhaps use them to lead into a deeper story.
In a campaign focusing on air-crash investigators, you could start of with a “simple” crash, with no strange elements, but there are several ways you can take this.
A body of somebody not on the passenger manifest is found on the crash site
Several crashes have something in common, perhaps they all have a passenger with the same name, or happen at the same time of the day.
The crashes are due to a manufacturing defect in the plane model, and the company is trying to cover it up.
A crash is actually somebody’s attempt at covering up a murder
A plane crashes, but there are no records of it anywhere, no flight log, and none of the passengers seem to have any records, and the markings are in an unknown language… Where did it come from?
This idea is for a far future setting, and would work well with some Lovercraftian overtones.
Stellar Engines are theoretical ways to move a star around… So that got me thinking to how we could use them in a game, other than as a cool piece of scenery. Of course, entire campaigns could be run on one (perhaps as an alternative to a Dyson sphere setting)
In a first contact style-game, the first hint we have that we are not alone in the galaxy is when one of the nearby stars starts moving closer. Do we try and get somebody there, to say hi, or do we broadcast to them, hoping for a response?
For a more Lovercraftian twist, in a space opera setting, perhaps a group of well-funded cultists are tired of waiting for the stars to become right, and have decided to shuffle them into place, ensuring the rise of the old ones? The campaign could revolve about a group of workers working on building the Stellar Engine, who discover that the company doing the funding is actually trying to awaken the Great Old Ones.
In a similar vein, the game can take place once the star has already started moving. Or perhaps the characters are building a stellar engine in order to prevent the stars from ever aligning?
This is one of those ideas that prove that you can get ideas anywhere, in this case it is a monster inspired by contemplating beauty treatments.
The Beautifier looks like a giant worm. big enough to swallow a person whole. Its digestive system is not actually strong enough to wholly digest a person, instead its gut enzymes cleanse and rejuvinate the skin.
Since the trip through the digestive tract takes about an hour, a person needs to have some sort of oxygen supply while undergoing the treatment.
There are several ways to use such a creature, it could be a background detail in a SciFi Setting, or a focus of a mystery, as a person is found suffocated with extremely soft and clear skin (somebody whose air supply failed during the treatment, disposed of in order to avoid lawsuits)
In a more post-apocalyptic setting, some of the beautifiers have escaped, and now roam the cities, still trying to beautify people…
Finally, perhaps they are a naturally occurring organism, and the players are hired by a spa in order to catch a couple of them.
This is an outgrowth of a thread a read a long time ago on RPG.net (which I will not link to, since I cannot find it). It discussed what would happen if a bunch of High-level Player Characters from a typical fantasy setting somehow came to our world.
In my opinion, I think the result would be complete chaos, involving loss of life and property destruction on a massive scale (i.e. standard PC behavior)
So, we can use this in a game. This time the characters would be the people investigating these events, and trying to figure out how to deal with the superpowered troublemakers that have suddenly appeared.
For a more interesting game, you can do this with two groups, one playing the fantasy characters, and the other one the modern ones.
In this game, we have two GMs, each one trying to guide the party to a separate goal. Perhaps the GMs are representing feuding Gods? Or, they are just an abstraction, with one GM trying to help the party achieve their goals, while the other one acts to prevent them.
Of course, there will need to be some sort of currency expressing what each GM can do, and how often. Perhaps each has control over one aspect of the setting?
Anyway, this is just a rough idea, which would need to be expanded and detailed a lot to turn into a proper game, but I think it could be a fun experience.
This was an idea I had years ago, originally intended for the Buffy system, since I think it would fit in well with the Buffyverse… It could work just as well in other systems (I think Dresden Files might actually be a better fit)
The idea is simple, all the characters are friends at university, living together, and sharing a house. The only problem is, one of them is the antichrist, prophesied to doom the world, raise hell, that kind of thing. IF it was up to him, he would really prefer to just stay at home and play video games, since he is basically a good person at heart.
So, most of the game will be taken up with the character and his friends dealing with the forces of evil trying to recruit him, with the occasional do-gooder that has decided to kill him, since he is Eviiil. I think this could make a fun darkly comic game.
Like a lot of my other ideas, this one could either be truly awesome, or fail miserably when tried in practice.
The characters are all intelligent robots, dong something far away from Earth, perhaps setting the ground work for a colony on Titan, with no direct human supervision, and no little or no contact with Earth.
After a while, they realize that they have not had any updates, or requests for information from Earth for a long time, and their queries go unanswered.
Being independent AIs, they decide to investigate, and use some of the construction machinery to build a way to get back to Earth. There they find that humanity has disappeared.
The players are playing the robots, trying to figure out what happened to their human masters, as they slowly piece together the puzzle, the players will play through brief vignettes of the humans in the days leading to whatever happened to them.