Saturday, June 1, 2013

RPG Blog Carnival: A Quick Look at Kitchen Sink Settings

Well, look at that. End of the month already, and I've missed out on many posting opportunities.

So, for a last stab at Campaigns I'd like to run, I'll just quickly mention my series of posts on Kitchen Sink Settings, which is a term I use for RPGs and RPG settings that have been crafted in such a way as to allow the easy integration of many elements from books, TV shows, comics and movies in the same genre, and sometimes even across multiple genres.

The reason I want to run them? It's so easy to come up with adventure ideas!

Here are the three kitchen sink settings I've already done:


Lightspeed was a Fuzion-powered RPG whose major setting elements seemed to be taken from a universe that held Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Blade Runner, Cosmo Police Justy, Space Precinct and other science fiction properties in its core (with the numbers filed off, of course).

Rebel pilots, space police, exploration vessels, ultra-powered psychics, ship-to-ship battles and space marines all in the same universe! Plus a system that I could easily tweak or convert to D20 or Hero, depending on my mood. What's not to like?

Lightspeed Post List:

Kitchen Sink Expeditions: Lightspeed -- Part I (Background & Broad Strokes)
Kitchen Sink Expeditions: Lightspeed -- Part II (Federation, Empire, & Old Earth)
Kitchen Sink Expeditions: Lightspeed -- Part III (Espers, Races, & Ships)
Kitchen Sink Expeditions: Lightspeed -- Part IV (Default Campaigns & Strange Brews)

Code: Black

This is a horror genre RPG that calls to mind X-files, Call of Cthulhu, Silent Hill, Kolchak the Nightstalker, Supernatural, and perhaps even Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. The genius of the setting -- the interlocking extradimensional prisons that make up our Earth reality -- allows for multiple horror sub-genres to be tackled within the same consistent setting. Think Delta Green meets Esoterrorists meets Chill meets Kult meets The Laundry meets Wonderland, and you have a good starting point. The game system is EABA, but there's no reason you can't use the core source material and then finally crib from all the other Horror RPGs you've been meaning to play!

Code Black Post List:

Setting Expeditions: Code Black -- Part I (Overview & Inspirations)
Setting Expeditions: Code Black -- Part II (Good, Evil, The Brotherhood, & the Flawed Prison)
Setting Expeditions: Code Black -- Part IIIa (Inspirations, Adventure Spine, & Name that Movie)
Setting Expeditions: Code Black -- Part IIIb (Monster Hunters, Mythos, & True Reality)

The Hero System Universe

Did you know that the Hero System has / had its own universe setting? And we're not just talking superheroics and pulp heroes here.

There was a time & place for pirates and consulting detectives, for sword-swinging barbarians and blaster-shooting space mercenaries, and everything around and between -- starting from the dawn of time, all the way to the distant future and beyond! And there was an overarching meta-history (very much reminiscent of the DC / Marvel Universe histories mixed in with some good Wold Newton, and a mish-mash of Future SF timelines) that you may want to pick and choose from -- or just have ready when your players want to jaunt across time & space!

It was the grand vision of Steve Long, who actually came out with a multi-page document outlining this grand span of history, which I used, updated, and added to with my own ideas for campaigns and little slices of fictional gaming opportunities.

Hero System Universe Post List:

Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part I -- Pre-Cataclysm
Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part II -- Post-Cataclysm to the Medieval Era
Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part III -- Musketeers, Pirates, and Revolutions
Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part IV -- Cowboys and Victorians
Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part V -- Mystery Men and Super-heroes
Setting Expeditions: The Hero Universe, Part VI -- The Future

I'm a little bit sad to see this RPG Blog Carnival go -- but then again, it turns out that I've been posting about campaigns I'd like to run for a long while!


  1. My current favorite kitchen sink setting, even though I've never played in it, is Conspiracy X. This setting has secret government agencies, conspiracies, psionics, magic, two races of aliens, demons, ghosts, Atlanteans, *and* Bigfoot.

  2. Ah yes, Conspiracy X has caught my interest as well -- especially given the new Unisystem powered version. Makes it nice to tap all the Unisystem games for similar source material!

  3. Seems like any super hero game would by definition be a kitchen sink setting. Spacemen, gods from various pantheons, high tech wonders, acrobatic detectives, and wizards all rub shoulders on a regular basis.

    However, I've never liked the Champions Universe...always found it rather blah and derivative. But I wouldn't want to play in DC or Marvel's sandboxes either...I like the homemade stuff, it tends to be quirky and oddball in new and exciting ways.

  4. Well, what I liked about the Hero Universe is the homage to the DC & Marvel Universes -- and the Wold Newton project -- which is where they try to have ALL heroes in pulp, supers, fantasy, and science fiction in the same universe.

    Much like DC's Silent Knight being in the same universal timeline as Green Lantern and the Legion of Superheroes. Or Marvel's Kid Colt being in the same timeline as Hawkeye and Spiderman 2099

    1. Ah, I see, we have different tastes...I'm not a fan of the Wold Newton "let's squeeze everyone into the same world and make it all connected" thing. Roy Thomas did a lot of that in comics in the old days and from what I hear it's
      now common practice. To each his own! Not that I wouldn't play in your campaign, though.

  5. Yes, Unisystem ConSpiracy X, plus all Carella's Witchcraft stuff. Yummy.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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