Genre Blending in D&D

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Hello there.


The D&D campaign I am about to run is based on a huge planet (many times the size of earth) where some of the continents are so far apart that they live in completely different eras of technology, cultures vary wildly and the environments are drastically different from one another. The continent the campaign starts in and serves as the PC’s home is in the middle (Although far away from) a number of other continents, who other the last few thousand years it has come into contact with. It is about to leave the traditional “Medieval fantasy” era and is developing into various different kinds of technology (SteamPunk, Magitek, Digital, Industrial to name a few) and the continents around it represent various different setting types (Steampunk, Western, Gothic Horror, Modern day, Futuristic, Oriental… the list goes on.) Basically, the main continent is having all various kinds of cultures and technologies thrown into it and blending together.


D&D is most often seen as pure, traditional fantasy and some think that is all it should ever be.


However, how has your experience in D&D been when you take a campaign that takes place in a setting or genre that is not supported by D&D (Such as one of the ones above?) or has blended many different genres types together?


Did this work well? Or was some kind of unrecognizable mess?


I’d like to hear your opinions on this.

Magic makes all things possible. Someone from an oriental setting wielding magical powers has just as much of a chance against someone who uses technomancy as their primary source of power. In this, yes, I would see it working well if the cultures are well defined enough to be unique in story presentation.

I actually have a minor mishmash world like this as my homebrew, so I can say it's pretty fun to have cowboys shooting spells at flyingships XD
In my setting the gods are effectively all robots that're merely the moderators put in place by some other entity. I guess you could call it actually a monothesiastic setting, but few know of the gods' creator(s).

The key to having it work nicely from a story telling or 'feeling' sort of way, is to describe it fantasy terms still. A robot is still a golem or construct. A  computer probably won't be called a computer, I usually use the word terminal or station. A gun can still be called a gun (since guns arent that advanced relative to medival period) 


Its especially easy to blend with 4e, as its trying to tell a story more than being 'realistic'.


If you play 4e, you may want to look into Ultramodern4, my group has been using it for a few purely sci-fi games, but they seem like they'd play well enough alongside normal classes.
First of all, I question the viability of a Jupiter size planet because there is too much to keep track up, too much dead space in the world, etc.

That said.

I have each "Region" in my world have different levels of technology and magic as well. First of all, culture is everything. Culture, history and ethnic background of a region can help justify the technology level, magic level, worldview of magic and technology and even conflicts around that. Surely, there will be occasional troubles between some nations with very different outlooks.

I also have a space station with a mega city on it, a moon with its own list of species and 1 planet in space travel range.


How does it work out then? I would say pretty well, but it takes practice. Each culture has different reasons for living the way it does, and bringing that to the players is important. Why doesn't the "high tech space age" kingdom steamroll over the primitives? wouldn't it be to SOMEBODIES benefit? In my region, there is a "Compact" enforced by the "Overcouncil", somewhat of a United Nations. Some factions have pull in multiple regions, and influence that with their politics.

The laws of the compact are bound. The story is that the great leader of each region signed The Compact (A soul-bound contract) to protect the world from extraplanar and extraterrestrial threats, and to establish Casus Belli of war between nations. As the Godswar ended, the Celestial and Abyssal factions retreated from the mortal realm.

According to The Compact, any being whom enters the moral world becomes mortal during their visit. Thus, the Gods minimize their time in the mortal realm. Each nation must have its leader sign The Compact. If the leader refuses, that nation will not be protected by The Compact. As such, The Undercouncil opposes The Compact. Some claim it disenfranchises smaller tribes or nations, others claim that "Joining the United Nations shouldn't be a requirement to lead my nation" and others claim unfit tyrants could sign the compact and be protected from war.


This offers a pretext for one advanced nation to not overrun a lesser neighbor. I have designed a world economy, factions, guilds, etc. Everything is woven in a way that many of the higher technology nations are dependent on lower technology nations for some types of resources.

One of my nations uses fairly modern technology, psionic technology, and has access to the Space Station. Venus Project type of city; However their city is on a Mesa, and they have little to no contact with other nations. The area around them is still prehistoric because they haven't wrecked the environment. One of the flaws of these people is they get sick easy from being around foreigners. Another flaw is they don't understand Magic.

Within; Without.

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