Scale in RPGs

Large-Scale or Small-Scale

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I kinda want to get people’s opinions on whether they prefer large-scale or small-scale stories in games. Do you like to save the whole world, or just your hometown? Grand adventure, or personal quest?

I, for one, prefer smaller-scale stories. Saving the world is great and all, but it’s kinda been done to death already, and I get bored when the story goes into world-saving territory. Smaller, more personal quests suit my tastes far more.


Staff member
Pathfinder: Kingmaker starts low-key, with your character being no one. No special heritage or destiny, and everything that happens in the future depends on your actions.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a very good example of a small-scale story. Probably that contributes to why I like that game a lot. You're just Henry from the village.

Disco Elysium, which I consider one of the best narrative experiences I've had, included a personal story, not world-saving, that's for sure.

But I've voted for "Large" still. Pathfinder: WotR's story grabbed me faster and its premise of your character being Special One was better executed than Kingmaker, but I know @Serg_BlackStrider prefers the first game, for example.

I think BG2's beginning is one of the most memorable moments (still) for me. And the epicness of Dragon Age: Origins was always something I enjoyed. And The Witcher trilogy, especially the third installment. That game showed that even a world-saving adventure can include dozens of personal stories.


Really difficult question, I can't decide. I guess it depends on the genre. Large-scale stories about the forces of good vs evil, saving the world, etc., are more of a High Fantasy type of thing, i. e., The Lord of The Rings, Dragonlance. Small-scale stories are more of a Sword & Sorcery thing, like Conan the Barbarian.

I don't know, I can't vote, lol.


Well, I literally just finished watching the last episode of Attack on Titan a few minutes ago (talk about a large scale story!), but I'll try not to let that skew my response. :)

I suppose I'm a person of extremes. I like something that starts small and grows to something huge. But, I also like a lot of independent movies that really delve into the individual characters and stay there. If I had to pit Lord of the Rings against Wristcutters: A Love Story, I'd have a hard time choosing one over the other.


Staff member
It really depends on the kind of story being told. If it's the epic path of how Joe Nobody saves the universe, then I expect to travel halfway around the Universe and talk to hundreds of people.

If it's the story of how you saved your village from cultists, I don't expect to go to hell after the unholy stone of summoning or something like that....


Staff member
Definitively small scale! I can enjoy larger scale games as well, but the whole schtick about being a god, a dragon in humanoid shape yada yada is just not my favorite. Like Antimatter brought up, I found PKM to be an interesting take on the genre in that regard. A good mix, start small but gain scale as it goes. In many (most?) RPGs with more large scale stories, I tend to always find smaller quests that hit the perfect tone anyways so it works too.

IMHO Arcanum have one of the best, if not the best, take on "the chosen one" charname. You wander around the game not knowing yourself, neither your character or you as the player, if you are or aren't the one! It's goddamn brilliant.
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