You got chocolate on my peanut butter !


Homebrew and House Rules


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I wonder if anyone here is old enough to get that reference .

Injecting sci-fi into D&D (I really should start saying Pathfinder at some point eh ? ) is a long standing tradition that I've never been a fan of . Expedition to the Barrier Peak and all that never did it for me . I'm not sure why my brain can accept a shirtless dude with a +3 greatclub bludgeoning a 90 foot dragon to death but somehow a knight with a sword fighting a robot is "silly" .

I remember specifically when Tale of the Comet came out in 97 I turned up my nose at it with ALL the disdain possible by a college freshman - which is rather a lot as you know . It was enough to turn me off D&D for a while (plus Vampire the Masquerade was clearly so much more mature - trench coats and katanas for everyone ! )

The Iron Gods campaign path is one of the better written and well done paths (to me) but I just can't get into it .

However the other day while I was farting around online I came across a short story someone had written about a NASA astronaut landing in fantasy town and for some reason it really intrigued me .

I think I'm going to try and talk my players into a shortish campaign where NASA invades generic fantasy world #10 . It's not something I want to put a ton of effort into so I think I'll re-skin the Ironfang Invasion with NASA drones and deadly rovers and whatnot . And of course the atmosphere will be deadly so the NASA people so they'll be in their spacesuits all the time . When they're not in their Moonraker style bases anyway .

I acknowledge that this is a fairly silly idea but I think we can have fun with it for a dozen sessions or so .

To prevent this from being a completely self indulgent "here's my campaign idea" post I ask you good people of the internet - how do you feel about the old "space ship crashes into D&D" trope ? Love it ? hate it ? It's complicated ? Enjoy it in small doses ? Tried it once in college but didn't inhale ?


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I happen to feel sci-fi and fantasy are two great tastes that taste great together.


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I think this requires an obligatory "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That is to say, I'm not sure fantasy-land would even notice. NASA will probably freak the @#$% out as people create matter and energy from nothing but NASA "shooting metal pellets or burning light beams" are already standard spells. So I guess what I'm saying is that this works best as a twist to the players, not the characters. It's certainly a fun one, especially if the first person to discover it can keep up the charade.


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While it's never been to my personal tastes, the adventure where the PCs happen upon an ancient crashed ship or some other cache of technology seems like a classic to me. I could see it being interesting for the fantasy world if the technology is very dangerous and easily usable by anyone. I can imagine a group of nobles, or even wizards, who are very upset that a bunch of peasants have armed themselves with laser guns.

Explaining these strange "golems" that don't seem to be powered by bound elementals could be intriguing for an artificer character.


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WithoutHisFoot wrote:
While it's never been to my personal tastes, the adventure where the PCs happen upon an ancient crashed ship or some other cache of technology seems like a classic to me.

Well, it is. Specifically, Expedition to Barrier Peaks.


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Olives and chocholate


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Now, for the real oldsters out there, you want some sci-fi/fantasy mix? Thundarr the Barbarian.

The 1e DMG even had rules for converting/mixing D&D with Gamma World (and Boot Hill), so the idea was even on the mind of the OG (Original Gygax).


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I love it. It's not something I want to see in every SF or F setting, but I'd be very sad if there weren't settings and adventures with this lovely mix.


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The original Blackmoor setting for D&D was a mix of fantasy and sci-fi.

Dark Archive

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Old Jimmy Legs wrote:
To prevent this from being a completely self indulgent "here's my campaign idea" post I ask you good people of the internet - how do you feel about the old "space ship crashes into D&D" trope ? Love it ? hate it ? It's complicated ? Enjoy it in small doses ? Tried it once in college but didn't inhale ?

I grew up reading books like Fred Saberhagan's Empire of the East and the Witch World series, which had some stream-crossing sci-fi/fantasy goodness (ditto the Dragonriders of Pern books, or some of Zelazny's stuff), so Expedition to the Barrier Peaks didn't strike me as any odder than the typical AD&D module (and far less so than stuff like Dungeonland or Castle Amber...).

Empire of the East, in particular, is a great read, that somehow manages to tie demons into nuclear weapons, without being at all silly or unserious. It might help get you into a 'peanut butter in mah chocolate' sort of mood. It's also a neat look at some of the formative ideas that went into D&D, such as the long-forgotten distance distortion spell.

The (so so bad, and yet charmingly so) movie Krull also has the unique premise of a fantasy world attempting to fight off an invasion by aliens. That sort of concept is a neat one that can be carried forward into 'the movie Aliens, but the colonial marines are replaced with roman legionnaires, or 'Predator, hunting a Viking war party,' or explored in a more traditional AD&D / PF game with xenomorph-evoking concepts like the kaorti or the Dominion of the Black.

Being also a fan of comic books, where a space future team of Legionnaires might have a member called 'the White Witch' who prepares her spells every day (a clear AD&D shout-out), or Dr. Strange might end up part of a team of Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc. confronting Galactus, I'm probably also a bit spoiled in that vein as well. Teams like the Defenders could include someone like the Silver Surfer (very much a sci-fi) teaming up with Dr. Strange (about as fantasy as it got), and the Justice Society / All-Star Squadron did the same with people like Robotman or varies gizmo-using 'science heroes' on a team with mystical characters like Dr. Fate, Johnny Thunderbolt and the Specter.

It was only later in my adult years that sci-fi and fantasy got 'big' and successful enough that someone could be a fan of one and turn one's nose up at the other.

Shadow Lodge

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I'm of the belief that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just told differently.


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Dragonborn3 wrote:
I'm of the belief that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just told differently.

"I must say, you cast that Open Portal spell effortlessly."

" ... I just opened the window."


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Dragonborn3 wrote:
I'm of the belief that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just told differently.

Fantasy is a huge possibility space of all the worlds and stories you could possibly imagine. In one relatively small corner of this space you have science fiction, which is the worlds and stories that hold together by a certain set of rational principles. (Though exactly what those principles are is not an argument that will ever end.)

If you zoom in on that science fiction corner, there is one really tiny dot in it which is stories set only in the world we actually have or a very close facsimile. This is mimetic fiction.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
I'm of the belief that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just told differently.

Fantasy is a huge possibility space of all the worlds and stories you could possibly imagine. In one relatively small corner of this space you have science fiction, which is the worlds and stories that hold together by a certain set of rational principles. (Though exactly what those principles are is not an argument that will ever end.)

If you zoom in on that science fiction corner, there is one really tiny dot in it which is stories set only in the world we actually have or a very close facsimile. This is mimetic fiction.

That's Speculative Fiction. Science Fiction is one sub-category of that, Fantasy is a different one, and for that matter Alternative History is one other part of it.


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Old Jimmy Legs wrote:
To prevent this from being a completely self indulgent "here's my campaign idea" post I ask you good people of the internet - how do you feel about the old "space ship crashes into D&D" trope ? Love it ? hate it ? It's complicated ? Enjoy it in small doses ? Tried it once in college but didn't inhale ?

This is pretty much exactly "Iron Gods" the campaign written by Paizo.


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For me, it depends on how it's done.

For example, I love the way the Final Fantasy and Star Ocean games mix magic and technology.


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NASA invading a fantasy world?

I'm intrigued, at the very least. Is this fantasy world circling a different star? They'd need much better spaceships than they have right now, which I feel ruins the feel of modern humans vs a fantasy world . . . but I guess that might not be the feel you're going for. Or is the fantasy world accessible only by magic? (A portal or something?)

I'm also curious as to NASA's motives for seizing a planet by force. Is this the same NASA that's made of curious scientists who want to understand the universe? I can easily imagine a modern army murdering their way across a land of elves, dwarves, and dragons, but NASA? I also don't know that NASA has enough manpower for a boots on the ground style invasion . . .

And, most of all, the question we've all been asking ourselves, what is SpaceX doing? Leaving the planet exploring to the government? Launching their own invasion? Launching peace missions? Trying to sell electric cars?


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Star Ocean: Till the End of Time treated this concept well. You’re on an interstellar cruise when the cruise ship is attacked by pirates and you crash land on an Iron Age planet. You eventually crash land on a more advanced Magic Renaissance planet where most of the game plays out. I really liked the mix of magic and technology, until, it turns out, you’ve been a character in a video game all along. Now, THAT’s a trope I'm getting tired of.


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Old Jimmy Legs wrote:
To prevent this from being a completely self indulgent "here's my campaign idea" post I ask you good people of the internet - how do you feel about the old "space ship crashes into D&D" trope ? Love it ? hate it ? It's complicated ? Enjoy it in small doses ? Tried it once in college but didn't inhale ?

In school I was taught that fantasy is pseudo-historical fiction with dragons and magic and whatnot, and science fiction depicts futures that could happen. Now there's a lot of gray space in there so it ain't that simple, but that's still essentially how I think of scifi v. fantasy and why I don't like mixing them. Even with something like Star Wars I'm a solid 'meh,' because it's basically fantasy with a scifi veneer.

And with only occasional exceptions -- such as Harry Potter -- I'm not a fan of 'the real world, but with fantastical elements' stories either. I like fully fictional fantasy worlds.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Howard Taylor's Version


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I can think of at least three borders between SF and fantasy; stuff that has underlying science-fictional reality but people in that universe approaching it from a fantasy mindset, like Rosemary Kirstein's excellent Steerswoman series; stuff that jams furniture from both into one setting, like Stephen King's Dark Tower books; or things that treat magic as being science and behaving as such, which a lot of things sort of wave at but very few do solidly enough for my taste - Walter Jon Williams' Metropolitan and City on Fire would be my favourite examples, set in a planet-spanning city where magic is a utility that is managed much like electricity in real life (except for having more complicated failure modes when things go wrong). All of those make for workable campaigns, to my mind; examples would be Numenera, Iron Gods, and some of the quasi-Tippyverse settings floating around on the internet like Uberstadt, respectively.


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Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:

NASA invading a fantasy world?

I'm intrigued, at the very least. Is this fantasy world circling a different star? They'd need much better spaceships than they have right now, which I feel ruins the feel of modern humans vs a fantasy world . . . but I guess that might not be the feel you're going for. Or is the fantasy world accessible only by magic? (A portal or something?)

I'm also curious as to NASA's motives for seizing a planet by force. Is this the same NASA that's made of curious scientists who want to understand the universe? I can easily imagine a modern army murdering their way across a land of elves, dwarves, and dragons, but NASA? I also don't know that NASA has enough manpower for a boots on the ground style invasion . . .

And, most of all, the question we've all been asking ourselves, what is SpaceX doing? Leaving the planet exploring to the government? Launching their own invasion? Launching peace missions? Trying to sell electric cars?

NASA will be represented as close to the real world NASA as your average fantasy setting is a representation of the dark ages/medieval times/renaissance/whatever kind of hodgepodge D&D was birthed from . So mostly modern (probably even back a few decades) but also you know , Moonraker bases and laserbeams. Basically GI Joe from the 80's .

I'll probably mix in a little NASA magic , like they have "occult" experts that at least understand that magic is real but they got to fantasy town via a "stable" wormhole or somesuch .

The reason for the invasion is that Earth is under threat from whatever , some kind of Cloverfield monster , asteroid , whatever was happening in Core , too many movies with the Rock at one time , etc. and only some resource in fantastyland can save the day and the only way to get it is by some ecologically ruinous extraction method . And there's no time to trick the backwards screwheads that live there into letting them do it .


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Old Jimmy Legs wrote:


NASA will be represented as close to the real world NASA as your average fantasy setting is a representation of the dark ages/medieval times/renaissance/whatever kind of hodgepodge D&D was birthed from . So mostly modern (probably even back a few decades) but also you know , Moonraker bases and laserbeams. Basically GI Joe from the 80's .

I'll probably mix in a little NASA magic , like they have "occult" experts that at least understand that magic is real but they got to fantasy town via a "stable" wormhole or somesuch .

The reason for the invasion is that Earth is under threat from whatever , some kind of Cloverfield monster , asteroid , whatever was happening in Core , too many movies with the Rock at one time , etc. and only some resource in fantastyland can save the day and the only way to get it is by some ecologically ruinous extraction method . And there's no time to trick the backwards screwheads that live there into letting them do it .

have you read Charles Stross' Family Trade series? The later books go in a similar direction to this, and might be worth your attention.


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Wait, who doesn't like Reese's?


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Some of my favorite books/games/shows involve a fantasy setting that's actually a post-apocalypse setting, and rediscovering the lost tech is part of the storyline.

Bonus points if the fantasy party actually gains a robot as a party member.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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I was against it for the longest time. I've been warming to it.

But you are right, it is silly to say that using a wand of fireballs to take down a dragon is believable while a ray gun that shoots exploding fiery bursts to take down a dragon is just too far fetched.


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Some rpg games like the Final Fantasy saga mix very well technology and magic.

While I like the special flavor it gives, I don't like it in D&D/Pathfinder games.


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The most recent Zelda does it very well.


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That's in part due to the fact that the technology is ancient and lost and not really capable of being reproduced though.

It it was everywhere, Breath of the Wild would be a very different game.

Liberty's Edge

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I felt the same way for a long time. I still don't really like firearms in Pathfinder. But my dislike for the mixture has diminished greatly, especially with the mental picture of my nagaji paladin scaring hill giants off with a +1 keen chainsaw. "You be smart giants now. You run away!" (Revs chainsaw for effect.)

I am old enough to remember Don Most (before he played Ralph on Happy Days in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial.

Grand Lodge

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Having grown up with Bionicle which merged the two through a intriguing and mysterious mythos, I am very much a fan of this trope in general.

However, I would say that I much prefer when the connection is an explored and inherent part of the world, rather than one inserted into the other. I prefer sci-fi to build on fantasy as fantasy builds on sci-fi far more than the idea of giving Conan a chainsaw, or more relevantly giving a cleric a laser-sword and calling him Obi-Wan (and no, midichlorians DO NOT help; the world is pure fantasy and that's not inherently a problem that needs fixing).

Still, lasers on Golarion is very fun, and Brigh seems to have fun with it; I'd just like to see a RP system where biomechanical mages mess around with the fundamental balance of nature as a matter of course.

Dark Archive

Nitro~Nina wrote:
Still, lasers on Golarion is very fun, and Brigh seems to have fun with it; I'd just like to see a RP system where biomechanical mages mess around with the fundamental balance of nature as a matter of course.

GURPS had some interesting technomagical stuff in one of their sourcebooks (3rd edition era, GURPS Technomancer). Spells on datachips that you would insert into your port, allowing your cybermage to have a different selection of spells depending on which chip he had slotted, for instance. Magical 'nukes' that created a necromantic dead zone (and raised the corpses of those killed as radioactive zombies!). Clunky batteries that could store arcane power to fuel magical effects and rituals. Funky stuff like that.

I'm sure lots of other games had similar stuff, like Shadowrun or Rifts, but I didn't play those particular games.


scifi and fantasy can really work well together, i just find pathfinder does so poorly. there is no reason why i should need ammo for my sword, or any other melee weapon for that matter. Ammo is for ranged weapons, and charges are for wands and it should stay that way.


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Lady-J wrote:
scifi and fantasy can really work well together, i just find pathfinder does so poorly. there is no reason why i should need ammo for my sword, or any other melee weapon for that matter. Ammo is for ranged weapons, and charges are for wands and it should stay that way.

Wouldn't that depend on the melee weapon? A taser-style mace, a chainsword, an energy blade, or a vibro-weapon are obvious examples of a melee weapon that would use "ammo" of a sort.


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Bluenose wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
scifi and fantasy can really work well together, i just find pathfinder does so poorly. there is no reason why i should need ammo for my sword, or any other melee weapon for that matter. Ammo is for ranged weapons, and charges are for wands and it should stay that way.
Wouldn't that depend on the melee weapon? A taser-style mace, a chainsword, an energy blade, or a vibro-weapon are obvious examples of a melee weapon that would use "ammo" of a sort.

yes they do but they shouldn't they are not firing projectiles they are melee weapons from an advanced society one that should have no restrictions to how much you can use it much like how in starwars there's no limit to how long or how many times you use a light saber you don't see jedi swapping out kyber crystals during or even after a fight why should my fighter with their lazer sword


Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I was against it for the longest time. I've been warming to it.

But you are right, it is silly to say that using a wand of fireballs to take down a dragon is believable while a ray gun that shoots exploding fiery bursts to take down a dragon is just too far fetched.

For most that dislike the mix it isn’t a matter of ‘believability’ but that it doesn’t give them the ‘feel’ they look for when playing ...


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Lady-J wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
scifi and fantasy can really work well together, i just find pathfinder does so poorly. there is no reason why i should need ammo for my sword, or any other melee weapon for that matter. Ammo is for ranged weapons, and charges are for wands and it should stay that way.
Wouldn't that depend on the melee weapon? A taser-style mace, a chainsword, an energy blade, or a vibro-weapon are obvious examples of a melee weapon that would use "ammo" of a sort.
yes they do but they shouldn't they are not firing projectiles they are melee weapons from an advanced society one that should have no restrictions to how much you can use it much like how in starwars there's no limit to how long or how many times you use a light saber you don't see jedi swapping out kyber crystals during or even after a fight why should my fighter with their lazer sword

Just because you don't see a Jedi doing those mundane actions during the course of a movie doesn't mean they don't have to. It just means that the writer of the screenplay doesn't think it's necessary to the telling of the story.

Also, Star Wars is barely sci-fi. It's more of a fairy tale or morality play that happens to be set in a futuristic environment, but hardly touches on anything science related at all.


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The technomancer is really cool for this concept. The kaorti were brought up, that is always fun. They have a good xenomorph feel to them.

I don't see NASA invading anything, really. Crashing, sure. Solar storm sends the space station into a cosmic rift and it appears in a low decaying orbit over whatever pathfinder world you want this to take place in. Maybe the space station has a group of space marines that immediately open up on some open up on the first non human they encounter, because everyone on the space station has only seen humans. Metal tower appears in the sky and comes crashing down, bunch of humans come charging out with guns blazing. Have the marines weapons be the only guns this world of magic have seen. Your party could be tasked with preventing war, or starting it, or ending it.


Saldiven wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
scifi and fantasy can really work well together, i just find pathfinder does so poorly. there is no reason why i should need ammo for my sword, or any other melee weapon for that matter. Ammo is for ranged weapons, and charges are for wands and it should stay that way.
Wouldn't that depend on the melee weapon? A taser-style mace, a chainsword, an energy blade, or a vibro-weapon are obvious examples of a melee weapon that would use "ammo" of a sort.
yes they do but they shouldn't they are not firing projectiles they are melee weapons from an advanced society one that should have no restrictions to how much you can use it much like how in starwars there's no limit to how long or how many times you use a light saber you don't see jedi swapping out kyber crystals during or even after a fight why should my fighter with their lazer sword

Just because you don't see a Jedi doing those mundane actions during the course of a movie doesn't mean they don't have to. It just means that the writer of the screenplay doesn't think it's necessary to the telling of the story.

Also, Star Wars is barely sci-fi. It's more of a fairy tale or morality play that happens to be set in a futuristic environment, but hardly touches on anything science related at all.

unless the kyber crystal gets damaged(ie the light saber being cut were the crystal is) there is no changing them its one crystal for the entire life span of the weapon, and because its sci-fi there should be ways to keep the weapons powered for an absurdly long time


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Lady-J wrote:
unless the kyber crystal gets damaged(ie the light saber being cut were the crystal is) there is no changing them its one crystal for the entire life span of the weapon, and because its sci-fi there should be ways to keep the weapons powered for an absurdly long time

So current canon actually has a small power cell in the lightsaber powering it. Before you blame Disney, old canon had the exact same thing with an added "and the old ones used to have a giant power pack and a cord on the lightsaber". It just doesn't run out or get changed often because it only uses energy when the blade actually connects with something. To be fair, blasters are basically the same. A standard blaster pistol was good for 100 shots with the standard equipment. Other (usually stronger types) would have less shots, certain older (and usually weaker) ones never ran out at all.

But those are refined products, decades (centuries?) old. In order for Pathfinder to work the same way then everyone has to have been using laser swords (and exclusively laser swords) for pretty much the entire game's history, building on them, researching and perfecting new technologies. That's... well, Starfinder. Don't get your hopes up though, it still uses charges for your fire sword. It just has bigger and better fire swords. Anyway, the point being that Paizo wants Pathfinder to be a swords and sorcery setting which makes high technology: rare and exotic, found instead of made, kinda sucky, and broken a lot of the time. If any of those are changed the setting changes significantly. And while "Every king must pilgrimage to Numeria to find their Glow Belt to ensure their invulnerability to their enemies and their Fire Sword to cut down those who oppose them" can be a fine setting that's a world setting, not a local one. Since Paizo is going for fantasy kitchen sink (to offer as many settings as possible) one setting which completely overrides all of the others is a bad idea.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

I was against it for the longest time. I've been warming to it.

But you are right, it is silly to say that using a wand of fireballs to take down a dragon is believable while a ray gun that shoots exploding fiery bursts to take down a dragon is just too far fetched.

RDM42 wrote:
For most that dislike the mix it isn’t a matter of ‘believability’ but that it doesn’t give them the ‘feel’ they look for when playing ...

That's a better way of putting what I was trying to say.


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Go for - bonus points for incorporating a miniature giant space hamster.


All this being said, I don't even really enjoy firearms in my D&D. I think it taints the vibe of the game. Personal preference, I suppose.


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I'm a bit mixed about this one because... Well I have multiple opinions on this one.

1: The idea of straight up sword fighting with robots is a bit strange, but not bad
2: The idea of the technologist mad scientist like Spheres of might did is cool
3: Sci-fi with magic is cool
4: I ADORE MAGITEK

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