Blue Rose: collectivist new-age utopia.
Deadlands: The Confederacy survives, but then ends racism immediately.
WW's Old WoD: science, technology, and western civilization are inherently bad.
The real tragedy with these three is that the choice of heavy-handed absolutism on the part of their authors made the settings much poorer than the possible alternative. A Deadlands where the Confederacy are still vicious slave-owning racists opens up the possibilities for PCs getting involved in the underground railroad, and sets up confederates as awesome bad guys (and if you really wanted, you could still have anti-slavery confederates with profound personal moral conflicts between their patriotism and their beliefs; there were a few of those in real life after all). A Blue Rose game where non-collectivist thinking isn't automatically evil would make a game where players are part of a kingdom struggling to be as good as possible far more palatable, as well as opening up the whole question (which is instead already pre-answered with a hammer-heavy deus ex machina in the default setting) of "what is the best way to create a good society"?
A WoD game (particularly thinking of Mage as an example here) where opposing paradigms fight each other both having a valid claim to wanting to create a better reality is far more interesting than the bullshit manichean crap that the setting actually consisted in.
What other games can you think of that end up failing in a similar because of heavy-handed partisan assumptions built into the setting? And what would the more interesting alternative have been?
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti oversize + H&H's Beverwyck
(originally posted July 22, 2013)