Monday, January 18, 2010

Science Fantasy and Us

So I mentioned here that TFC is working on a Science Fantasy supplement for use with one of the retro-clone rules sets.  While we are still trying to refine exactly what that product will look like, including such basic things as specific content to include, page length, art, etc., we thought that we'd post some of the things that are bubbling in our minds.

The product, initially codenamed Dragons & Deathrays until we realized that "D&D" was already taken, will include material for players to bring sci-fi characters into a fantasy realm and guidance for DMs for including technology and "science" in his or her fantasy setting.  It will include:
- At least three sci-fi themed character classes.  (One will be a Psionicist.)
- At least three new character races.  (One of those races will be robots.)
- A large section detailing weapons and other technology for use by the characters.
- Rules for the inclusion of computers in the game, both as artifacts and as NPCs.
- A large bestiary of sci-fi creatures.
- Ideas for different types of campaigns making use of these new materials and advice for the DM on how to run each.

The science and technology present in the supplement will not match "hard sf" or current sf but will harken back to the pulp sci-fi from the first half of the 20th century.  The supplement will draw from previous greats, such as Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, in formulating some of the material, but a good bit of it will be brand new, pulled from the recesses of our minds.

I think that the general scope of this product bears discussing: The materials will not be such that an entire sci-fi game could be run using the retro-clone rules.  The scope is to support that DM who wants to include elements of science fiction in his own campaign world, from just a few artifacts here or there all the way to having the sci-fi aspects be a major plot element in his game.

I will occasionally post snippets from the writing to gather feedback (should any be forthcoming) and clarify in my own mind where we want the project to go.

Ultimately, we would like to contribute to this small niche in the OSR.


  1. In the previous post (linked above), I think you are spot on: Avatar will give Science Fantasy a big boost this year. I'm really amazed at how much 'steampunk' material has floated on the web over the last year or two.

    Your mention of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks brings a lot of nostalgia... I remember wishing that D&D Characters could migrate to a broader game system with that one. I loved the rules for using the technology at the end of the module.

  2. @ sorcerersofdoom:

    Until you commented on that, I hadn't really thought of Avatar as a science fantasy at all. Funny--to me Star Wars is all about science fantasy (now--I certainly didn't think that when I was a kid), but Avatar didn't strike me as such. Something for me to ponder...

    Expedition was an interesting one to me. I liked the sci-fi elements and how they applied them (including the technology-use flow charts that I think you are referring to) but I wasn't a big fan of the adventure itself. Maybe it shouldn't have been an adventure at all and just a fuller collection of rules.