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

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Ostensibly, the PCs have access to that kind of power because their adventures will lead them into conflict where that sort of power is needed to succeed, and not into conflict with regular folks. It is like playing a supers campaign where the players decide to stop fighting villains and start exerting control over normals.

And even if those normals are "bad" that is still villainy.
So are you seeing your game as a superhero campaign then?
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
No. Talking about superheroes is the most direct expression of the disparity you seem to be concerned about, though.
I'm not sure how what you're describing is all that different from superheroes though, just mostly reskinned from medieval/Renaissance trappings (with modern sensibilities) to early 20th century ones (with modern sensibilities).
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I'm not sure how what you're describing is all that different from superheroes though, just mostly reskinned from medieval/Renaissance trappings (with modern sensibilities) to early 20th century ones (with modern sensibilities).
That's a very broad definition of superheroes, but sure: extraordinary people doing extraordinary things outside the purview of the vast majority of normal people.

You started this tangent by expressing your dislike for that sort of thing in your own games. I'm not sure what you are aiming at in getting me to explain multiple times that I do like that sort of thing.

I like the protagonists extraordinary, but with very human concerns and personalities. Maybe it's all those years of Teen Titans comics.
 

Thinking of possible class examples from the time period.

Artificer - Philo Farnsworth, Nikoli Tesla
Barbarian - Hell-Cat Maggie, William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting [Hard to say]
Bard - Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Nellie Bly, William Walker
Cleric - Saint Damien of Molokai [Tough one]
Druid - John Muir [Tough one]
Fighter - Allan Pinkerton, Sir Richard Burton
Monk - Wong Fei Hung, Jack LaLanne
Paladin - T.E. Lawrence
Ranger - Jack London (Bard?), Percy Fawcett, Roald Amundsen
Rogue - Ma Barker, John Dillinger, Jesse James, Charles Peace
Sorcerer - Gerald Gardner
Warlock - Alistair Crowley
Wizard - Helena Blavatsky

Edits as I think of more...
 
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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Thinking of possible class examples from the time period.

Artificer - Philo Farnsworth, Nikoli Tesla
Barbarian - Hell-Cat Maggie, William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting [Hard to say]
Bard - Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Nellie Bly, William Walker
Cleric - Saint Damien of Molokai [Tough one]
Druid - [Tough one]
Fighter - Allan Pinkerton, Sir Richard Burton
Monk - Wong Fei Hung, Jack LaLanne
Paladin - T.E. Lawrence
Ranger - Jack London (Bard?), Percy Fawcett, Roald Amundsen
Rogue - Ma Barker, John Dillinger, Jesse James
Sorcerer - Gerald Gardner
Warlock - Alistair Crowley
Wizard - Helena Blavatsky
I might be inclined to return the cleric to its non-medieval inspiration: van Helsing.
 


Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Working with some fellow indie publishers and freelancers, a plan is starting to form. It centers on the aftermath of the Martian Invasion (from War of the Worlds) serving as an inflection point, where the hermetic societies of the world realize they must do something to protect the world from cosmic threats, even while other supernatural forces reawaken and "normal" people try and bend the abandoned Martian tech to their own will.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
Working with some fellow indie publishers and freelancers, a plan is starting to form. It centers on the aftermath of the Martian Invasion (from War of the Worlds) serving as an inflection point, where the hermetic societies of the world realize they must do something to protect the world from cosmic threats, even while other supernatural forces reawaken and "normal" people try and bend the abandoned Martian tech to their own will.
Any of the D&D mage classes can make sense, if magic is real within a 1900s alternate history: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, and Psion.

If wanting to make the magic more subtle, go with the part casters instead: Paladin, Ranger, Trickster, Artificer, and Psi War. But present these as modern mages in a mysterious world, rather than as dabblers in a high magic world. Consider how well the Paladin can represent Tolkien Gandalf. The part casters can do the heavy lifting to represent the magic of the setting.

In any case, I would curate subclasses with setting specific flavor and mechanics, and only allow these subclasses in the setting.

I would normally make it this an all-Human setting, but the Martians introduce at least a second sapient species that might be playable. And of course, the Martians would be a subterranean species, living below the planetary surface. When on Earth, they probably created underground colonies.
 


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