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D&D 3E
Lost Technology 
23rd-Jan-2006 04:54 pm
A common rote in fantasy video games is the presence of an ancient, alien, or forogtten technology that is usually so advanced as Arthur C. Clarke put it, "to be indistinguishable from magic".  This has led me to reimagine a number of high progress-level goodies from d20 Future as ancient tech for a D&D game.  However, I know that there are lots of players out there who prefer their roleplay experience to be a bit more pure fantasy, my own group included, and thus I find myself being sneakier and sneakier with it.  A robot becomes a golem, a mecha is some ancient construct armor and a blaster might be some oddly designed form of superwand.  Has anyone else considered this in your games?  How have you handled any such situations if so?
23rd-Jan-2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
When I used to roleplay (which must be now over two years ago :/ ) we met with "technology" fairly often - although it was generally more obvious (if not to our characters). We once ended up trawling through a crashed spaceship, and another time actually hitched a ride with elder in a D&D/Games Workshop crossover. I have nothing helpful to say in regard to your question, but from a player's point of view it was quite fun trying to work out what our characters would make of this "technology" - and yes, we generally considered it to be some form of magic!
24th-Jan-2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
There was an old 1st edition (earlier?) module that dealt with just that: a crashed spacecraft that the PCs get to wander around through and interact with. I forget the title, though.
24th-Jan-2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
May well have been the same module! This was second edition, but it's quite possible that our GM adapted it!
23rd-Jan-2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
I've been the player in such a situation. Fantasy isn't sacrosanct in the gaming group in question so over time the GM started to narrate little snippets of archaeologists digging up the remains of an advanced culture. We wondered what it had to do with our game until the final couple of episodes.

The downside is that the "not magic" items loose some of their panache. There's no way you can get a "superwand" to work again by meditating on the mountain peak during the eclipse. Nor will the wand refuse to work in the wrong hands (lest, of course, you pull some dna scan trick). The risk is that if players cotten on to what's going on that their characters will stop trying to use their 'toys' in arcane ways. It's bad roleplaying but a risk.

You also have to watch character creation and, often, disallow all magic magic types. You may otherwise get grumbles from the mage players who feel that their SpecialThang has been ruined and shared with anyone who can point and shoot.

By and large, though, I love this trick and your sneaky angle. I took it to the extreme in one game and had the entire world set in a giant science experiment of sorts. Dome, I called it, and all before the Truman Show too! :)
23rd-Jan-2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
The gig with high tech stuff is that it has its own cost and is limited in most of the same ways magic items are. A "magical" laser gun might be usable by everyone, but you'd need a feat for proficiency and you still have to hit past armor. It would likely infringe on the archer more than the mage.
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24th-Jan-2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Also smacks of Fallout and Fallout II
24th-Jan-2006 12:55 am (UTC)
I always saw Chrono Trigger as a good example of this sort of thing. I'm suggesting it now as a reference for this sort of thing.
24th-Jan-2006 01:18 am (UTC)
That came to mind as I was thinking of this, but all the future tech from that game is actually found in the future, and not some reflexive relic from the past.
24th-Jan-2006 01:25 am (UTC)
Think of further back, the city that was on the floating island. The tech there far exceeded even what was in the future.

Hell, Marle's medallion was even tech from that period of time.
24th-Jan-2006 01:31 am (UTC)
Ah yeah, I completely forgot about Zeal. That's actually a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
24th-Jan-2006 01:34 am (UTC)
Happy gaming!
24th-Jan-2006 08:54 am (UTC) - Showing my age
Heh. This just reminded me of the conversion rules for Metamorphosis Alpha in the old 1st Edition DM's guide and the Expedition to the Barriers Peak module. Both of which, when done right, were pretty fun.
24th-Jan-2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
Well, in the game I play in, the whole world is homebrew. It's been running for almsot eight consecutive years, since the later years of 2nd Ed.

In this world, there used to be a society that had ridiculous tech, but they got blown into their base atoms. Their subject societies branched off on their own, some having more tech, others less. One of the old PCs found relic firearms and reverse-engineered them. Now, only one country has these weapons. They're available to buy, but you have to go to Caladosia to get them/ammo for them.

Alos, in some dungeon, one of our PCs found a pnumatic, steam-powered spear, a relic from a bygone day.

Jsut be creative. Remember, though -- Tech works without magic, and is then encanced by magic.
25th-Jan-2006 12:32 am (UTC)
You could have your entire fantasy world be a giant video game/simulation where the players were all killed, and the computer generated characters continued to evolve for centuries after the game creaters died off.
25th-Jan-2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
I definately incorporate the future into my campaign settings, and it works out well in the one I'm running, because it's high psionic with devices powered by a person's inner energy--by expending a power point, you can make an elevator move, or make an astral construct fly. Several of my players are not capable of psionics, which makes it all the more mysterious.
26th-Jan-2006 12:01 am (UTC)
Damn, that sounds cool!
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