View Full Version : [3.5 Setting] When the Bow Breaks (Bueller?!)

2009-08-02, 02:56 PM
I don't know if this has been done before but I was thinking of creating a pseudomodern setting. I stole the idea from the Magic Time series by Marc Zicree.

The basic idea is that the game would take place in our world, identical in every way until one day theirs a cataclysmic even that causes the laws of physics to break down. Technology just stops munitioning, cars no longer run, watches stop, guns don't fire even incredibly simple machines like steam engines stop working. Food spoils, human civilization as we know it breaks down. To make matters worse people start changing. Thuggish brutish types start outwardly resembling their mannerisms, people shrink and glow and fly, grow scales and breath fire warping into creatures of myth. (Essentially normal people start becoming fantasy races.)

I had a few different ideas on how to run the game but would like feed back from people, as to what they would do or how they would run it.


-My first idea was to use mystery damage. It's kind of a headache, but I'd keep track of the players hit points. I like the level of realism it adds to a game, when you tell a player that "your gushing blood" or "it hardly scratched" rather than "you take x points of damage". The drawback being that it's a hassle and more suspicious players might think I was fudging numbers to get the outcome I wanted.

-My second idea was to have the players submit a character background, but not a sheet. Based on their background I'd create a first level character for them using a d20 modern character. From that point on they could take levels in whatever dnd class they wanted. The problem is that I'm not that familiar with d20 modern and I'm not sure how well the two mix. I'd just give the character a level on npc class to start out, but the difference in capability of a 1st level commoner and a 1st level warrior is immense. I could give someone 2 levels of commoner instead of 1 of something else but then advancing the character later might be difficult. I could let them swap out the npc classes of pc classes later but I'm not sure exactly what would be the best way to work it.

-The last idea was to have characters sacrifice a feat to be able to mystically use a type item no longer functions. For example a character might be sacrifice a feat so that he can still use computers, or his electric guitar, or get cars to start. I like the idea because it think it would be cool for one of the characters to be able to drive a semi-truck into that pesky dragon. The problem with this is that I'm not sure how to balance it since the ability to say use a flashlight would be useful, but no where near as useful as being able to drive a car.

Any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated.

2009-08-03, 09:41 PM
Also if anyone has suggestions or plot ideas based around the collapse of society due to the cataclysm that would be great, like: "People trapped in the subway tunnels of New York begin falling prey to ...." or "A satanic coven takes controll of the Library of Congress in order to..." that sort of thing.

2009-08-05, 07:51 AM
You might want to check out some of the Post-Apocalyptic sources for d20 Modern. It also helps to define what caused the "cataclysmic event." Was it a singular event or person or the result of many smaller events? Was this a natural or man-made disaster or the work of aliens? Is there a person to blame (a politician, cult leader, etc.) or a corporation (CEOs never really act completely alone because they need the Board of Directors approval and shareholders can be easily swayed by promises of money).

Religious cults usually spring up around a charismatic leader who has something to offer his followers -- a better life, a better future, a sense of community, etc. People who are desperately unhappy will follow such leaders because they have such unfullfilled needs. I suspect it is related to Stockholm syndrome, but without the kidnapping.

You might want to check out an older game called Dark Conspiracy just to get some ideas.


2009-08-05, 07:04 PM
The idea was that the event itself is undefined, things just abruptly stopped working for no understandable reason. Maybe there was an earthquake/storm/unusual lights in the sky type phenomena that coincided with the event but it would be a side effect not a cause. Nobody, or at least none of the player characters, knows what happened. The players could potentially figure it out and fix it.

It could have been aliens, corrupt corporate business practices, government experiments, or a natural phenomena. I was planning on leaving it up in the air until the players actually start investigating, assuming they ever do.