I'm starting up a group with my son and his friends. Basically, the players have zero tabletop RPG experience. I know what I have in my mind and have communicated some of the setting to them during character creation. What they bring to the table remains to be seen.
Many fantasy RPGs that I am familiar with seem to focus on some sort of pseudo-European setting. Even LotFP, which I really like, is stuck in a "real" Europe. I am an American and know little about evoking European fairy tales. I decided to use the North American continent as a starting point. Next, many fantasy RPGs have a "points of light" focus; I used western films to inform my take.
One of the first influences in my mind was Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It also provided some answers to using all the settings in which I was interested. So I began laying out my canvas geographically:
-Canada = Hyperborea from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
-Northeast/North US = Vornheim
-South/Southeast US = ???
-Western US = Athas from Dark Sun
-Mexico = Carcosa
After the release of Qelong, I'm not sure whether to put it in Baja or south of Mexico.
I wanted the traditional fantasy RPG races, but I wanted to bring them more in line with Dark Sun races. To the north, High elves ruled; to the south, the Dark elves, who had more in common with Athasian elves than Drow. Dwarves were a race created by the elves as slave labor and halflings were an aboriginal race like in Dark Sun.
This has turned into more of a tangent on setting than influences; quickly, I don't directly conceive of the world as postapocalyptic. Instead, the magic of the elves has fractured reality with the "thinnies" of the Dark Tower books. Each setting area can be conceived as a bubble and where the bubbles touch, that is a thinnie or way to cross over. The southeast area is as close to "vanilla" as I could get it. I've been using the Lesserton & Mor setting to inform my players. We've had one session so far, and hopefully will be able to pick back up again soon.