D&D General Iron Gods/Expedition to the Barrier Peaks: What Sci-Fi theme would you go with?

Voadam

Legend
I am running a 5e game of Paizo's Pathfinder 1e adventure path Iron Gods where the PCs are in a Mad Max/Thundarr the Barbarian type land set in a mostly typical fantasy world but there is an ancient crashed giant space ship and high tech remnants and aliens. A lot like Expedition to the Barrier Peaks but extended over six modules for a campaign.

The AP uses their Pathfinder Technology guide and specific aliens they developed and I could just adjust to fit the general sci-fi tech suggestions from the 5e DMG and various 5e Sci-Fantasy or Sci-Fi sourcebooks out there.

I keep envisioning though options to theme the sci-fi stuff with references to existing sci-fi stuff that Paizo could not for IP reasons.

I could have the security door passcards be Paranoia color coded. I could have the AI's be Paranoia style "The Computer is your friend."

The ship has a dome saucer which suggests going all Star Trek with phasers, and tricorders (are elves secretly vulcans?).

I could go with Shadowrun decker and cyberware aesthetics and incorporate a lot of their specific tech gadgets such as monowire weapons.

The giant space ship immediately suggested Warhammer 40K to me which led to thoughts of D&D giants as being connected to Astartes space marines and PCs eventually recovering power armor and bolters.

The aliens who took down the ship originally could be Dr. Who Daleks or Cybermen.

The android theme of generating artificial people who integrate into society suggests the reboot Battlestar Galactica cylons. The robot gearsmen could be old style 1970s silver knight Cylons who say "By your command.'

What would you come up with or go with for a D&D and Sci-Fi mashup?
 

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Doppelgangers with limited lifespans, a la Blade Runner. "I've...seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack zeppelins on fire off the shoulder of Avernus. I've watched mirrors glitter in the darkness off the Medusan Gate. All these...moments will be lost in time, like...gas spores in storms."

In Star Wars, the Jedi have magic swords that could be taken and wielded by the party, with the 'blaster-repelling' turning into a protection from normal missiles and the like. (Also recall that while only a Jedi can make a lightsaber, anyone can use one...) They also have psionics ("These are not the adventurers you are looking for"), which you could reskin as enchantment/charm magic.

Rick and Morty travel through so many bizarre alternate universes they could easily make a cameo in your universe. (There was even a licensed Rick and Morty product.)

Call of Cthulhu monsters have been converted to Pathfinder, and could easily be converted to 5e I imagine.

Powered by the Apocalypse is basically Mad Max 2 (plus its many derivative works) but is very different system-wise and hard to convert. (There is a D&D-in-PbtA game, Dungeon World, which you could look at it you since you'd be trying to basically run the reverse conversion.) You could pillage it for ideas. If you look around you can find Fallen Empires, which is a Dark Ages setting.

Transformers are essentially giant intelligent iron golems. They would be very powerful opponents. We can only wait until Starscream tries to raise rust monsters to spring on Megatron, or tries to join the Zhentarim.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are tortle monks, and even carry medieval-style weapons. Donatello might learn a little magic, or Raphael multiclass as an assassin.

I'm too old to stat up the Crystal Gem powers from Steven Universe, but I'm sure someone here can help out.

Honestly, since this is not for public consumption, flat-out copyright infringement will probably be a lot more fun.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I've been watching a lot of Stargate SG1 lately, so perhaps that can be considered for incorporating Replicators (or Borg) as those behind the crash (and perhaps searching for the ship to loot). The gou'ald (and their jhaffa) would also make interesting alien threats - especially if you want to go the "hidden villain" route.

D&D-wise there's also the likes of Tale of the Comet that you can draw from, as well as the old Star Frontier game including races such as Drasalite (sentient amoebas), Yarzarian (monkey men), Vrusk (space-faring Thri-Kreen) and the Sathar (space-faring Psurlons).
 



Voadam

Legend
Call of Cthulhu monsters have been converted to Pathfinder, and could easily be converted to 5e I imagine.

Lots of 5e options here such as Sandy Petersons Cthulhu Mythos 5e and 5e Lovecraftian Horrors.

Transformers are essentially giant intelligent iron golems. They would be very powerful opponents. We can only wait until Starscream tries to raise rust monsters to spring on Megatron, or tries to join the Zhentarim.

That would be fun for the changing sound effects from the original cartoons. Though Beast Wars might be a better conceptual fit with with manticore and chimera transformers. T-Rex Megatron would work.

Honestly, since this is not for public consumption, flat-out copyright infringement will probably be a lot more fun.

That is a big opportunity for fun personalization whether you would want to go 1980s Buck Rogers TV, Isaac Asimov Robots with three laws, or something else that catches your fancy.

Just picking one for a lot of thematics would probably work best or a couple defined ones for specific aspects.

In mine for the area itself I've already introduced it with descriptions of Mad Max, Thundarr the Barbarian, and Mage the Ascension Void Engineer aspects, which the players have riffed on with Tina Turner in chain mail with her hand crossbow and Master Blaster references. So of course I renamed one of the places Barter Town.
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Bupp

Adventurer
My homebrew World of Eska starts as a Mad Max/Thundarr, but I have a bunch of Star Wars influence in it. Rock gnomes ride around in their crawlers selling off warforged. The drow I've reskinned as Dathomirian Nightsisters. It also features an ancient aliens level of unkown gods called the Vril.

 


Voadam

Legend
I've been watching a lot of Stargate SG1 lately, so perhaps that can be considered for incorporating Replicators (or Borg) as those behind the crash (and perhaps searching for the ship to loot). The gou'ald (and their jhaffa) would also make interesting alien threats - especially if you want to go the "hidden villain" route.
I enjoyed the original movie a lot and in my gothic horror campaign one of the PCs was modeled on the archaeologist alien theorist Daniel Jackson character. I never watched the series, but a lot of friends of mine really liked it. I know there was a d20 RPG for it.
D&D-wise there's also the likes of Tale of the Comet that you can draw from, as well as the old Star Frontier game including races such as Drasalite (sentient amoebas), Yarzarian (monkey men), Vrusk (space-faring Thri-Kreen) and the Sathar (space-faring Psurlons).

Star Frontiers was a lot of fun, and at least some of the races also made it into D&D. In the first 2e Spelljammer Monstrous Compendium they had Yazirian and Vrusk as Hadozee and Rastipedes. All three PC races showed up in d20 Future and Sathar showed up in a d20 future web enhancement. 3.5 brought back Hadozee in the sea sourcebook Stormwrack.

I remember Star Frontiers having some neat tech as well like the Vrusk needler guns.
 
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Voadam

Legend
My homebrew World of Eska starts as a Mad Max/Thundarr, but I have a bunch of Star Wars influence in it. Rock gnomes ride around in their crawlers selling off warforged. The drow I've reskinned as Dathomirian Nightsisters. It also features an ancient aliens level of unkown gods called the Vril.

Very neat ideas and cool blog. Reading over your influences I had forgotten about Blackstar but that name and the half sword stands out in my memory for some reason. There was a lot of cartoons in the 80s.
 

Voadam

Legend
I'd go weird and strange. Dying Earth.

From the little I've read the Science Fiction aspects are pretty subtle and backgroundy. And the Vancian magic is not really a weird twist for D&D :)

Wait, did one of the stories involve an ancient flying car?
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
Imo the best sci fi fantasy crossover campaign Ive seen (&run) is Evernight from savage worlds. The party starts as standard fantasy adventurer types off in a dungeon in the mountains - the ground rumbles, small earthquake. When they return to the city it has been “nuked“ and there are aliens with lasers and psionics rounding up the villagers. That’s when it starts to get weird.
 

darjr

I crit!
From the little I've read the Science Fiction aspects are pretty subtle and backgroundy. And the Vancian magic is not really a weird twist for D&D :)

Wait, did one of the stories involve an ancient flying car?
I think so.

oh! Do a metamorphosis alpha, if you think your players would be OK with it.
 

Bupp

Adventurer
Very neat ideas and cool blog. Reading over your influences I had forgotten about Blackstar but that name and the half sword stands out in my memory for some reason. There was a lot of cartoons in the 80s.
I'm also adding in lore and artifacts from Magic: The Gathering. Ancient Vril items (magic items), run on powerstones. I'm starting up a new campaign right now, starting at 3rd level, and at 5th level I'm going to introduce a version of infernal war machines from Descent into Avernus, except they run on powerstones instead of souls.
 

Voadam

Legend
Imo the best sci fi fantasy crossover campaign Ive seen (&run) is Evernight from savage worlds. The party starts as standard fantasy adventurer types off in a dungeon in the mountains - the ground rumbles, small earthquake. When they return to the city it has been “nuked“ and there are aliens with lasers and psionics rounding up the villagers. That’s when it starts to get weird.

I got Evernight in a big charity bundle a while ago but have not delved into it. From the drivethru description I thought it was a vampire world apocalypse, not aliens. Interesting.
 

Voadam

Legend
oh! Do a metamorphosis alpha, if you think your players would be OK with it.
That would fit in fairly seamlessly on a conceptual level. I never played or owned any of the editions but Metamorphosis Alpha in concept was a tragedy caused a 50 mile long colony ship to go haywire with the majority of crew having died and generations later there are tons of weird aliens and mutations throughout the ship and so you play post apocalyptic sci-fi.
 
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darjr

I crit!
But one way to play is “fantasy” that the PCs don’t know they are in a ship in an apocalyptic future. Though hiding it from your players requires they trust you and are good for that kind of thing.
 


Voadam

Legend
Doesn't the first officially-published dungeon include a space marine in power armor? :) Steven the Rock?

At first I thought you meant Dungeon Magazine #1, but there he is in 0e Blackmoor with power armor (and it is Stephen). The later art I remembered did not jump out at me as Warhammer though.

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Which brings up Temple of the Frog (or the d20 version) and City of the Gods (which also has a d20 version) as other classic D&D meets Sci-Fi modules where this discussion could be relevant.
 

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