D&D General Magitech and Science Fantasy are Fundamental to D&D

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It's kinda fun seeing the Fantasy purists desperately trying to wrestle the stick away from 'modern' fantasy fans, yelling t them about their magic robots and 'sci-fi' psionics and using words that sound 'too scientific' and all around desperately trying to ignore that the 'good old days' were when speculative fiction hadn't been sundered into sci-fi and fantasy by screaming nerds who needed definitive genres to fight over.

Or pretend one of the most popular sci-fi franchises ever isn't about space wizards and the most popular fantasy isn't about magic coinciding with the modern world.
I've come to terms with that fact. When I want to play without magitech I'm not playing D&D and certainly not 5E.


I was even thinking about how I would love to see something more like a science-fantasy version of Ravenloft or MtG's Innistrad. A futuristic science-fantasy setting, preferrably in the vein of the aforementioned '80s sci-fantasy, with supernatural horror elements like vampires, werewolves, undead, mad science monsters, etc. Is there a setting like that?
Someone needs to license Castlevania-- specifically the Nextflix anime version.


I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Im really picky about this. I prefer the magictech sci-fi in my fantasy to be an all out campaign and/or setting, or not present. It's really strange to me to have a traditional campaign with like a lone module about a crashed spaceship. It can work, but often its a weird distraction. I also feel this way about Cosmic horror in the vein of Lovecraft mythos.

For my favorite example of it done well, I'd point to the PF1 AP Iron Gods. I had a blast running that and it was the right mixture of sci-fi and fantasy for me.


Come on, that's not a fair characterization and you're kind of punching down on us here. We're simply lamenting from our position on the margins of the gamerspace that we can't find others of our kind to play with. Because, like you've indicated, space wizards and modern magic are more popular than low fantasy and mystical magic.

In the end we're going to play Dungeons and Dragons with the people we can find, and that usually means the party will consist of several powerful magically endowed characters and maybe one grumpy rogue wishing he could experience the dream of a low magic game.

We're already in pain, why do you gotta' beat down on us like that.

Because that's not my experience.

Instead, I see the wild and fantastic and especially any attempts to modernize how D&D works getting the stick.

Nothing can be fantastic without being in the form of discreet, wizard-friendly magic and god help you if you want some of the magitech the game was built on the back of. 'How dare you have robots and firearms! That's not medieval fantasy--the game MUST BE MEDIEVAL FANTASY! And psionics must be just another magic. Why are they bringing back Spelljammer? Why are they showing even a glimmer of support for Eberron? Why can't you just go away and play Star Wars and leave us to our Pure Wizard Fantasy where it's Earth with a thin veneer of magic painted on?


What are your favorite blurring of lines between sci-fi and fantasy in D&D?
In published D&D my first real published setting love was Mystara, which built on Dave Arneson's Blackmoor background and had a crashed starship from the "Federation" where the crew had used their advanced technology to dominate the locals. So I've embraced science-fantasy in D&D pretty much from when I started.

What kinds of science fantasy have you embraced in your games and campaigns? Where do you think D&D needs MORE science fantasy?
I've embraced all of it. D&D is built on a bedrock of science fantasy - and not just science-fantasy but actual science fiction. Folks often forget or don't realize that Blackmoor was the second expansion book published for the game and it had a plot directly ripped from Star Trek right there. And Empire of the Petal Throne was published by TSR as its first licensed setting and Tekumel was explicitly a science-fantasy world. It isn't like the founders of the game were all that precious about mixing sci-fi and fantasy together, because in that era the borders were much more porous than now.

I personally think that folks who want to play D&D with strict "no science fantasy" rules would be better served by the (sadly now no longer published) Adventures in Middle Earth game by Cubicle 7. That was a good version of D&D without the science-fantasy anywhere near it - maybe the Free League version that is supposed to be out soon will be as good. Or my actual personal favorite historical fantasy game, Ars Magica - I personally feel that both give a better "pure fantasy" experience than D&D, which really makes you fight back against the kitchen-sink approach if you want to keep it to just fantasy.


I'm the Straw Man in your argument
Advanced technology that existed long ago is a trope that I like to pull out of DM Bag o' Tricks every once in a while. Something that's intended to make players respond with "WTF?" and pique* their interest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

As I mentioned in another thread, I've used "Cavemen with lasers * * " The next adventure I plan to run in my DCC campaign is Crypt of the Science Wizard by Skeeter Green; which assumes that powerful magic and advanced science knowledge existed long ago, but was lost in a cataclysmic event. It combines Mesopotamian culture * * * Necromancy, and Magic Tech. The final battles involves Mummies that are powered by advanced technology.

* Or is it "peak their interest"?
** I don't think it really worked in this case. The players viewed it as just some anomaly and moved on.
*** Might by Egyptian

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