D&D 5E Thoughts on Divorcing D&D From [EDIT: Medievalishness], Mechanically Speaking.

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
The reason this thread is under the 5E tag is that I want to talk about mechanics and figure using the current rules makes the most sense from that perspective.

When I say "divorcing from medievalism" I mean building a D&D in a modern-ish assumed setting (not necessarily out Earth). Somewhere between the Industrial Revolution and WW1, technologically speaking. This doesn't have to be steampunk -- in fact, i would rather it weren't, but whatever. But remember in this thread I am more concerned with mechanical changes that help support this assumed setting than I am with thematic, lore or other fluffy changes.

First on the list, I think, is to greatly reduce or eliminate the focus on armor as a thing. Certain classes should be proficient in Defense (adding their PB to their AC).
Second is to add guns and decent firearms rules. Firearms should not be overpowered. Rather, they should be considered the standard weapons, from small and simple to heavy and complex. There should be a difference between a revolver and a bolt action and a tommy gun, etc. And they should not be the purview of any specific classes. Rather, there should be simple and martial firearms just like other weapons. other weapons should not be ignored, but they take a back seat to guns.
Classes would need a complete overhaul. Some, in their current form, would have to go completely (Bard, Paladin, Druid, Monk and Sorcerer) and others would have to be significantly changes (Cleric, Ranger, Warlock) to fit more modern themes. Rogue, Fighter and Wizard would need some tweaks to fit.

The idea is to maintain the same kinds of adventures that D&D does well, from treasure hunting to saving the prince from the dragon, but to move it completely out of the shadow of the medieval and into the recent (pre information age) past.

Thoughts?
 

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mellored

Legend
Also, historically speaking, once guns where common, melee weapons where not. You can't get into sword fights durring WW2. Your taking cover from snipers, flanking from 100', and calling in artillery from off the battle map.

That's why setting are mostly medieval or jump to science fantasy, where light sabers reflects blaster bolts, or dunes shields, of 5e's spelljammer. To bring back the sword fights.

Edit: or i guess superheroes that can just absorb bullets. 1920's Averages would work. Dr Jekyll could be a Barbarian
 
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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
D&D isn't married to medievalism in the first place. Hard to divorce it, then. There are no fundamental mechanisms for plague, (economic) class standing, or religious conquest, to give some examples.

As for pushing D&D into a more futuristic setting, it's much safer to append a firearms/health subsystem than to tinker with AC, because AC is hard-baked into the game. Mechanically speaking.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Also, historically speaking, once guns where common, melee weapons where not. You can't get into sword fights durring WW2. Your taking cover from snipers, flanking from 100', and calling in artillery from off the battle map.

That's why setting are mostly medieval or jump to science fantasy, where light sabers reflects blaster bolts, or dunes shields, of 5e's spelljammer. To bring back the sword fights.
Yea, that's probably the single most important decision you have to make whenever you want to port something D&D-like out of the medieval age. How do characters fight?

For most D&D-likes, players tend to be build their characters with an image of how they fight, so establishing the available and common weapons is pretty important.
 


payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Im not sure why certain classes you selected need to go when the wizard is included? Wizard casting opens the door to everything, IMO. I think part of the fun of this exercise would be making versions of all 5E classes fit the setting.

"Bard, Paladin, Druid, Monk and Sorcerer"

Bard could easily be a former unit leader or a journalist. Heralding the virtues of technology or telling tales of caution against its advancement in the world.

Paladin has largely been stripped of its old school restraints. Now its just a character with a strong code. Easily flavored to peaceful societal advancement, with Blackguard being the not so peaceful option.

Druid makes a lot of sense to me especially. A character focused on nature in a world thats reshaping it to its own will. A check on unfettered technology and war thats constantly a threat to nature. Tons of space there for interesting mechanics, IMO.

Monk brings the martial artist to the front of a world that is moving towards firearms. Keeping natural human capability at pace with technology advancement seems like a great aspect to have in the setting.

Sorcerer is the innate wizard which is an interesting position in a world thats developing tech at a rapid pace.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I generally do prefer to have firearms be at least somewhat more powerful than melee in modern and sci-fi games, both because it's more realistic to me and it encourages players to stick with the intended genre of play. Otherwise, the hit point system kinda craps all over modern warfare.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Im not sure why certain classes you selected need to go when the wizard is included? Wizard casting opens the door to everything, IMO. I think part of the fun of this exercise would be making versions of all 5E classes fit the setting.

"Bard, Paladin, Druid, Monk and Sorcerer"

Bard could easily be a former unit leader or a journalist. Heralding the virtues of technology or telling tales of caution against its advancement in the world.

Paladin has largely been stripped of its old school restraints. Now its just a character with a strong code. Easily flavored to peaceful societal advancement, with Blackguard being the not so peaceful option.

Druid makes a lot of sense to me especially. A character focused on nature in a world thats reshaping it to its own will. A check on unfettered technology and war thats constantly a threat to nature. Tons of space there for interesting mechanics, IMO.

Monk brings the martial artist to the front of a world that is moving towards firearms. Keeping natural human capability at pace with technology advancement seems like a great aspect to have in the setting.

Sorcerer is the innate wizard which is an interesting position in a world thats developing tech at a rapid pace.
The wizard stays because the turn of the 20th century hermetic wizard was a real thing.

A bard is skald or minstrel. A paladin in a holy knight. A druid is an archaic priest. A monk is a kung fu hustler. They don't fit.

A journalist, a dedicated hero, and a proto-environmentalist all have places in the implied setting, but not necessarily under those old archetypes. The monk can probably stay, though, given its actual inspiration in "old west chinaman".

I was uncertain about the sorcerer when i wrote that list, mostly because the sorcerer has no reason to exist with the wizard and the warlock both existing. I would replace it with an actual psionicist if I wanted the mechanical archtype.
 

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