View Full Version : DMing D20 Future

2007-03-18, 02:13 PM
So I was thinking of DMing my first D20 Future space-opera style game. My main concern is HOW to run it. I know it sounds like a strange question, but it's mostly to do with how much detail I'll have to give about the setting/actions/events/politics so on. With the normal D&D setting it is usually fine because of limits in communication/transport or just plain uninterest in politics. In D20 Future however I just get the vibe that players are much more interested in the setting they're playing in. Even on a realism scale it's easy to see how what with education, internet, long range communication etc.
So any tips on this kind of stuff, or indeed any other D20 Future things to watch out for?

2007-03-18, 03:28 PM
The starship rules, weapons in particular, are hideously bad. I direct you to Cyber-Dave's Starship Weapons (and semi-realistic space nukes) (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=698429) I understand the rest of Future is less bad but still substandard, so make sure you understand the consequences of things like subdermal heavy armour.

2007-03-18, 03:39 PM
Well, there are two ways to play it that work well with the setting and don't involve writing a 300 page manual on the campaign world to date.

The first is the nixon-friendly 'big brother is watching you' type of setting where even simple information requires either clearance and places you on a security list just for asking or a fairly skilled hacker to illegally find it on the government's website.

The other is sort of an extension of what we're seeing today with an overall apathy combines with an incredible information overload to where most of the PCs are used to tuning out 99% of what they see and hear on TV and the internet. Unless they specifically decide to find something out, which is very easy, they simple miss the forest for the trees. Signal/noise ratio and all that.

Basically, get a good general 'feel' for what kind of information that's available, enough to improvise details, and then just keep notes on what you told them. You don't even always have to be consistent. If you mentioned that the president was assassinated one day, have the VP come on the next day telling everyone it was just a hoax after the president came down with the flu. This kind of thing happens all the time in real life.

2007-03-18, 03:50 PM
The third approach is the semi-post-apocalyptic setting where some sort of a "fall" happened, and as a consequence "much of what was once known, is now lost."

Or in other words, there's all this cool stuff out there, but unless the PC's go out and spend time and effort on looking for it, they'll get squat.

2007-03-18, 04:35 PM
There are some other things you can do to reduce the amount of information you have to have ready:

- Fill your campaign setting with hostile states that aren't talking to each other. PCs in Mars Consortium territory won't be able to get news or information from Earth unless they arrange their own communication relays -- and if they manage that, they'll probably be arrested as spies.

- Don't make a galaxywide information network. It's even reasonable to forbid faster-than-light communication at all, or make it difficult and expensive and regulated by the military. Interstellar communication might depend entirely on the use of courier ships in some settings.

- Remember that you don't always have to give information in-character. For example, if a player goes to look up the names of all inhabited star systems, with major import and export products for each, you can simply say "You spend about an hour at your library console, and you now have access to that information". Firmly resist all requests to actually give them the full list.

PnP Fan
2007-03-19, 12:10 PM
Also, in many space opera type movies, there is a war going on. Typically the good guys are the underdogs, and thus they don't have easy access to the satellite relays that make near-light-speed communications possible. Everything is transmitted by courier. . ..And maybe that's a story hook for your pc's.

2007-03-27, 05:42 PM
This is quite an interesting question. D20 Fantasy has a generic default setting in Grey Hawk, but does D20 Future have some sort of equivalent?

Looking at the SRD, it doesn't seem to lend itself well to that. Still, I think that advice people are coming up with is pretty good. A generic default D20 Future setting would not be too difficult to come up with simply by stealing an already established setting, like Babylon 5, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Star Trek, Andromeda, Dune, Battle Tech, hell even War Hammer 40k could serve as a background to a D20 Future game.