Switching Systems

I've been running a campaign world for about seven, eight years now, and it's fairly well-developed. The technology level and the amount of magic in use makes perfect sense to me, but is hard to describe to anyone else - it works out around Renaissance, possibly even Early Enlightenment (he said, using loosely defined terms anyway). I've been using D&D 3.5 to handle the rules so far, and while it works well in and of itself, it comes with a package of expectations that's very difficult to break through - such that I've taken to called it "d20 Fantasy", rather than "Dungeons & Dragons". However, I recently got my hands on d20 Past, a variant on d20 Modern, and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a far better way to manage things.

For one immediate thing, it would get rid of the preconception problem, the one where people hear that it's D&D, decide to play a dwarf, and go ahead with the concepts attached to the Forgotten Realms, completely ignoring my own carefully developed dwarven culture. For a second thing, it would bring in the wealth system used in d20 Modern as opposed to the gold-piece tracking of D&D. While there's a certain value to the coin-by-coin tracking, it can be a damn nuisance at times, and tends to get in the way of better stories.

In addition, I'm very fond of the archetype-free beginning classes of d20 Modern. I love archetypes, but they can be set too early when you pick "Cleric" or "Paladin" or "Necromancer" from the first moment. I'd use those as prestige classes - or advanced classes, in terms of Modern, having let characters develop with a few levels of the basic classes.

I probably wouldn't do this with all my campaigns, though. Kingfisher's Way is set thousands of years before the "current" era, and the use of D&D and Arcana Evolved in it fits perfectly. Age of Legends, annoyingly, would work very well in the new terms, but some of the characters would be absolutely painful to convert. And The Big Easy could really do with the disconnect from stereotypes. Road to Hell, currently at very low levels, is running fine as D&D - but might it run better as d20 Past? I'll have to consider it further.

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Posted by Drew Shiel at July 26, 2005 3:14 PM

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