I keep running into a problem in developing settings, and I think it's a general problem for speculative fiction.

For a campaign I'm trying to start, I have a published setting that briefly describes a city. The artwork and place-names suggest modelling it on late 18th to early 19th century Europe.

So, I can follow the obvious path, and oh look, another fantasy-of-old-Europe. Or I could try to bring in other cultural elements -- and risk walking backwards into an offensive trope.


The safest path seems to me to take the obvious route, and basically critique the world I know, try to open the doors a little wider, without pretending to do more than that.

But is that good enough?

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