Homebrew Fifth Age: A hard science fiction 5e conversion
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  1. #1
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    Fifth Age: A hard science fiction 5e conversion

    I have just uploaded Fifth Age: A Hard Science Fiction conversion for 5e DnD to the downloads area.

    It is the dawn of the 24th century, and an interesting point in time for the human race. Fifth Age chronicles the dawn (perhaps more like early mid-morning) of humanity exploring the stars and getting into all manner of trouble, fraught with peril, excitement and drama. The science in this sci-fi is a little on the harder side than some might be used to and the adventure is a little pulpy, a perfect mix for the 5e DnD system.
    Name:  fifth age.png
Views: 20968
Size:  507.9 KB
    This release contains:
    • New Races
    • New Classes
    • New and expanded backgrounds (with mechanical relevance!)
    • New Skills
    • New Feats (along with rebalancing)
    • New Weapons
    • New Armor
    • Hi-Tech Gadgets
    • Downtime Shenanigans
    • Investments, Trading and Retirement Rules (Contribute to your retirement fund, or wind up eating catfood!)
    • Spaceship Rules


    Note that this is a work in progress, expect ongoing balance tweaks and new content.

    You can find the file here in the downloads section. Please use this thread for comments.

    Additionally here are links for what I have so far:

    Fifth Age (0.7).pdf
    Hazard Handbook WIP.pdf
    fifth age sheet char sheet 1.pdf
    ship sheet.pdf
    Fifth Age Spaceships.pdf
    ship builder.xlsx

    I have written my first Fifth Age adventure for general consumption, it is available here:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/rpgdown...le&fileid=5608

    or here:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9...mk3OUlGYkhKeXc

    I think it serves as a pretty good example of what a fifth age adventure can be, and I will be attempting to extend it out into a 12 adventure series to take characters from one to ten, as a good introduction to the rules-set and setting.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Capn Charlie; Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017 at 12:37 PM. Reason: patching
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  2. #2
    Just looking at the title of the thread the old game Dragonlance: The Fith Age came to my mind.

    Maybe you want to change the title of your work, just to avoid more confusion?
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  3. #3
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    That's a pretty good point, I was wanting a play on fifth edition, and Fifth Age sounded good, a new era of humanity and what not. But your suggestion is well placed. I will think about this some more and edit my post title here a bit to remove some confusion.

  4. #4
    Wow, Fifth Age. This is a very high quality pdf.

    The illustrations are beautiful and present an appealing setting.

    I havent looked at the mechanics yet, but if theyre using 5e theyll probably be good.


    Since the goal is to make this ‘hard’ science fiction, I have some concerns about how plausible any futuristic setting might be.

    Consider the acceleration of technology. (See Kurzweil, etcetera). It is literally impossible to imagine what the ‘far’ future might be like.

    By about year 2025, something comparable to our laptop will be as intelligent as a human. At this time, supercomputers will be even more intelligent. In our century, the 2000s, computers will become vastly more intelligent than our entire human species put together. The only way for humans to keep up, is for humans to use technology to enhance our brain, whether by implanting hardware, wetware, or genetic modification. In sum, by the end of this century, by the 2100s, a single human then will be more intelligent than our entire human species today put together.

    We literally cannot imagine what year 2100 will be like.

    This acceleration of intelligence makes ‘Star Trek’ scenarios impossible. By the time that humans have the technology to cross the galaxy, humans will necessarily be so intelligent, it is literally impossibly for us to predict, imagine, or even comprehend what they might be doing. Captain Picard certainly wont be worrying about whether he is bald or not.

    This makes any kind of ‘far’ future setting, by definition, the opposite of a ‘hard’ science fiction.


    Now looking at the illustrations in the Fifth Age pdf. The pictures suggest a ‘near’ future setting. Robots, cyborgs, ‘unmodified’ humans, and ‘synthetics’, all coexisting. For most images, I can imagine them happening within our century, the 2000s. Maybe sometime between 2030 and 2050? (I know, not far away!)

    The ‘synthetics’ probably have wetware deriving from human brains to achieve actual living, sentient, consciousness. I doubt humans will understand how hardware can artificially duplicate sentient life yet.


    The only problem I can see, is the spaceships. There is no way humans will invent space travel during our century. Therefore, by the time humans do invent it, humans will necessarily be ‘modified’, super-intelligent, and beyond the scope of what we can image.

    However, the aliens in the setting can provide the narrative solution.

    Suppose, when the Greys - the Greyliens - arrived on our planet, the Greyliens brought their space travel technology with them. So, we humans, in our century, are using their technology to travel thru space. We arent the ones who invented it yet. So us ‘unmodified’ humans can still sail around in space.

    Now, according to this narrative, these Greyliens also didnt invent this space travel technology. They seem as primitive as we humans are. But they are ‘scavengers’, and ‘resourceful’, and make use of the technologies from other alien species who are far more advanced than any of us.

    The narrative only needs a pretext to explain how Greyliens got a hold of this kind of technology. Maybe the advanced species that invented space flight, is benevolent. I suspect, the species must be compassionate to avoid destroying itself in the first place. So, in some context, this advanced species expressing goodwill, thought it was a good idea to give Greyliens a spaceship. Why? Who knows why? That advanced species would be so intelligent, we couldnt understand the reason why they did it anyway. But they didnt try to get the spaceship back. So maybe it has something to do with the technological species being compassionate - in some alien way.


    So, a timeline for this ‘near future’ ‘hard science’ setting seems possible.

    Somewhere around 2020, the Greyliens arrive on earth in their spaceship. In this decade, the spaceship itself knows how to reproduce spaceships. Humans develop a fleet spanning the solar system. Some are even spanning the galaxy. This is mostly sightseeing tours. Besides some mining projects, and a few biodome experiments, space colonization is brand new and modest.

    So, the setting takes place somewhere between 2030 (after human cultures are feeling the impact of superintelligent computers, cyborg technology, and synthetic life) and 2050 (before technology accelerates beyond the capacity of normal ‘unmodified’ humans to comprehend what is going on). Greyliens have a decade or two to fit into human cultures. Notably, during these two decades, there are already supercomputers who are doing who knows what!

    2030 to 2050.

    This is a very small window in time for this kind of setting.
    Last edited by Yaarel; Tuesday, 16th June, 2015 at 11:22 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Well, down in the bowels of the pdf is the fluff (mashed alongside what of my space combat rules are written down), and I address a few problems.

    For starters, it is hard sci-fi in that it more or less conforms to physics and has a minimum of junk, mostly just the ftl drive. As for hard sci-fi being impossible, you have to remember that the footing of all narration is coincidence. In this instance, humanity is just sort of dragged down by internecine fighting, as well as backpedaling conservatism. However, even with enough narrative elements to keep the setting feeling comprehensible, three of the four human subraces are transhuman.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Capn Charlie View Post
    In this instance, humanity is just sort of dragged down by internecine fighting, as well as backpedaling conservatism.
    It is impossible to slow the acceleration of technology. Wars and death cannot stop it. It is inexorable.

    This curve of acceleration has been going on since the dinosaurs - since microbes first squiggled on this planet. Our scrolls, books, and libraries were part of this increasing speed of intelligence.

    Only ‘near’ futures are comprehensible.

    Hard science can only describe near futures.

    Even just a decade away, 2025, we are entering the ‘knee of the curve’ of the acceleration.

    There is no way to go back.

    Tomorrow cannot be the same as yesterday.

    Forward and upward, indeed.
    Last edited by Yaarel; Tuesday, 16th June, 2015 at 09:02 AM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Capn Charlie View Post
    three of the four human subraces are transhuman
    Actually, I love these human subspecies. These transhumans - cyborg, spaceborn, and tubeborn - feel spot on. The kind of technology that modifies them - hardware, wetware, genetics, etcetera - seem within reach soon. Scientists now are already working out how to do it.

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  9. #9
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    I just grabbed something off of google that looked good, maybe popupblocker kept me from getting anything. I will attempt to upload here.

    edit: now available hosted from this site
    Last edited by Capn Charlie; Tuesday, 16th June, 2015 at 09:34 AM.

  10. #10
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    It looks neat! I'll check it out in greater detail, tomorrow.
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