If you're sick of the same old settings for your games, all you need to do ride that Reading Rainbow.
Variety is the spice of life, and while space stations and unspecified Middle Eastern warzones are all well and good, some days you want something different. Thankfully, your average library is stuffed to bursting with good ideas, and in Issue 281 of The Escapist, Saladin Ahmed suggests five new settings, plus a few choice tomes to get people started.
Nineteenth-Century New York City
The Game: A crime-oriented sandbox adventure. Players would start the game as one of New York City's innumerable street orphans, desperate to earn a crust of bread and a little respect. They would then choose one of several prominent immigrant or resident gangs to join, and rise through the ranks via murderous and larcenous missions. These illegal escapades would take them from "the Five Points" to Brooklyn and even across the river to spread their criminal empire to the villages of New Jersey. The main character would have to navigate alliance and treachery among the city's growing ethnic enclaves and deal with corrupt politicians and vicious cops, ultimately extorting and murdering his way to the top of the underworld food chain. The player strives to become Old New York's King of Crime.
Ancestors: The Grand Theft Auto series, Mafia II
Further Reading: The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury
From the streets of Georgian Britain to the step pyramids of the Aztecs, Ahmed shows that there's a wealth of new ideas just waiting to be tapped. You can read more about it in his article, "Fresh Frontiers."