Sci-fi and modern settings in a DnD game?

in #roleplaying3 years ago

I am a terrible GM. I don't have that much experience with being a game master. So I am posting this here in hopes that someone could actually help me with my situation in the game I am running.
The deal is this, my players have embarked on a journey to defeat the great trickster who has their very souls in his hands. To do that they need to travel many a plane and therein lies the problem, I can't suspend my disbelief and say that all the planes they need to travel are medieval fantasy worlds. So from the very beginning of the campaign, I was sure that at some point they would find themselves in a more modern setting.
That is easier said than done though. A modern setting would be vastly different, they would use rifles and handguns instead of magic missiles. But how to incorporate that within the rules of the game?
I figure I have a few ways I could do it:

  1. Homebrew all the modern weapons into something believable and that is it. This is the easiest option, but it has some flaws. A modern setting might not have any magic at all, so the creatures there could be either very vulnerable to it or very strong against it. There would have to be a GM ruling on every corner.
  2. Use a complimentary rule light system for the modern parts. That has some appeal, instead of obsessing about mechanics just pick something like Fate and have the players focus on the roleplaying for the modern parts. I am not sure whether this kind of choice would be fun or absolutely horrible though.
  3. Assume DnD characters are supermen and modern guns are a minor inconvenience at best and don't even bother with a proper fight unless they are fighting against something supernatural. This could be fun but is less believable.

Those are the choices I came up with for now. Had anyone experience with combining DnD with a more modern setting or a setting with a different system of magic? Please share about how you dealt with it.

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I haven't personally, but it's been done, with D20 Modern.

Frankly, I would have gotten far away from D&D long before now – but that pretty much sums up exactly my position on gaming at this point, "as far from D&D as I can get."

But if I'm stuck using what I can only assume is a 3.5 version inheritance, and I know the characters are going to want to go across the multi-verse and I need to be able to cover it, let's consider the options.

  1. You are going to have to decide how the world works from scratch, then try to keep those rulings consistent, then watch them traipse through and ignore most of what your going to do anyway, and it's a lot of dead weight.

  2. Go pick up Wushu (which is absolutely free and worth every penny of it), spend the 2 to 5 minutes that it would take to translate every single one of your characters into Wushu mechanics, let the hyper-cinematic fast action fall where it may come and then watch them nearly beg you to run your basic D&D game using the Wushu mechanics.

  3. That solution is really only interesting if you really want to run a superheroes game. As reasons to run a superheroes game goes, that one is perfectly reasonable. But less interesting.

  4. If you're going to get start playing D&D anyway, you might as well use the right tool for the job: D20 Modern, which has rules and guidance for all that sort of thing.

Personally, I would take that group down the Wushu path without even a blank. That is always going to give better role-play than pretty much any of the competition.

I would second this. You can try bringing D20 Modern into your campaign, but it won't work as well as running a general system that was designed for more diverse settings. As a "low budget" option, you can also just re-skin D&D mechanics with minor modifications: a suit of Full Plate at AC 18 becomes Heavy Body Armor at AC 18, a flamethrower can be represented with the appropriate breath weapon, a sniper rifle can be implemented as something like a crossbow with +1 die to damage, +3 damage, something like that. Spells can be re-skinned too, or you may want to create homebrew ones with unique flavors for your various settings. If you want to go the "high budget" route, pick up a general-purpose system for this kind of campaign; doing so will require some investment from the players, but I trust the recommendations of lextenebris for finding a fun one to run. He knows his stuff.

I would loathe picking D20 Modern since the multiverse is vast and I kinda want the freedom to go from modern Tokyo with magical girls, to Warhammer 40k kind of setting. I still want the characters to use DnD skills and combat in those settings, since their power is tied to that part of the multiverse.

Anyway I will checkout Wushu.

DnD 5e, is basically DnD lite.
It also has conversions in the DMG for modern weapons, as well as alien weapons.
5e breaks it down to its easiest form, for play.
Combat lasts about 2 to 5 rounds, and you can do several encounters a night (depending on how long you play).
We generally play from 5pm to 11pm, and we can squeez in at least 6 to 10 battles/encounters.
Anyhoo, everything you need for modern stuff is in there.
As for how things work in your world...
Determine the power level. As a new DM, you may want to go low power, in order to maintain balance and the ease of control (that doesnt mean you get to throw in your awesome big boss with HIGH POWER, and totally wreck the heroes...lol, but you can push them to the limit :-) ).
Magic can be a rare commodity, and sought after. If you have a player that wants to play a magic user, you can say hes one of the few who has studied, and most people dont even believe that magic exists. So, you force the hero to be careful not to cast magic out in the open, for fear of being branded as a heratic or a witch.
Then, that can create an antagonist for a plot hook. A wizard slayer is seeking him out to exttact his ability to perform magic. (Or whatever).
Youll do fine, just be confident, plan, and set your ground rules at the beginning of your campaign. Ie...houserules on things that you will make rulings on. ie..how you want death to work, casting into melee, or anything else you want to rule on (if certain rules are unclear).
Its your world, bring it to life, and let it roll :-)

I mostly have idea how my world should be, I am just not sure what dice my players and I will need to roll :)