d20 Future Tech provides you with gadgets and gear to add to that which you can find in the d20 Future supplement. Intended for use by both players and Gamemasters, d20 Future Tech expands upon d20 Future by presenting even more options for a futuristic campaign. More than just lists of equipment, though, this book presents guidelines for developing futuristic societies, generating nonstandard heroes (such as robots), and conducting combat using the kinds of weapons and vehicles available in high-technology settings. The excerpts below provide you with the contents of the book, some of the introduction for the book, expanded crew actions, new mecha combat rules, and statistics for the bomber, the sledgehammer, and the reaper.
For more excerpts, please check out the February 2006 Previews!
Contents and Introduction Segments
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
The best use of d20 Future Tech is as a menu for outfitting a campaign. Once the GM has selected the Progress Level of the setting (see below), she can then establish the limitations of what is and isn't available in the campaign, and what constitutes a cutting-edge technology.
Though much of the information presented here relates specifically to equipment -- and thus can enter a futuristic campaign at any point -- some of it also affects character creation. Feats, in particular, should be available from the very beginning, and if the GM decides to allow robotic heroes, the players should also have access to the chapter on robotics early on in the campaign planning process.
As explained in d20 Future, Progress Levels (PL) indicate the state of technological advances that exist in any given civilization, whether that civilization is located somewhere on Earth or on some distant world. Progress Levels are generally homogenous throughout a civilization, especially after communications technology goes global at PL 5 (the Information Age): Anyone, anywhere in the world, can share in the scientific progress of other cultures on the same planet, or at least close the gap. Similarly, a society that has mastered space travel might journey to a world that has just developed the steam engine, and in the same solar system visit another world where the natives are testing their first spacecraft.
Progress Levels aren't necessarily the same for various aspects of technology, however. A society might be at PL 5 for vehicles and communications, but only at PL 4 for space travel. A common convention of science fiction is one or two fields of technology that are greatly advanced over all others. Having a society develop teleportation technology instead of space flight might be a setting's defining characteristic. Other works of fiction posit the existence of rapid interstellar travel, but rule out the possibility of personal laser weapons.
Each Progress Level beginning at PL 1 is briefly described below. For more information, see d20 Future.
PL 1: Bronze/Iron Age
When a civilization learns to create bronze from copper and tin, it has advanced to the Bronze Age, which allows it to advance to working iron, an even more durable metal. Settlements grow from small villages to large ones and eventually to small towns, fostering trade, which in turn leads to larger and larger settlements, right on up to the first small cities.
PL 2: Middle Ages
The hallmark of this Progress Level is the first real mass-communication system: printing. The ability to create and share multiple copies of books enables architecture, commerce, metallurgy, and mathematics to make great strides. At the same time, the populations of Bronze Age nations begin migrating toward cities, making urban areas more important than the surrounding farms for the first time in history.
PL 3: Age of Reason
The Age of Reason supplants faith- and superstition-based logic systems with scientific experimentation and systematic research. The study of chemistry, medicine, biology, astronomy, and even electromagnetism all thrive -- aided by the invention of the first crude telescopes and microscopes.
PL 4: Industrial Age
The Industrial Age is characterized by the invention of the steam engine and electric power, and the development of the assembly line, all of which combine to create a boom in commerce and industry. Communication also leaps forward with the telegraph, telephone, and primitive radios.
PL 5: Information Age
Computer technology and electronic devices define the Information Age, and internal combustion engines replace steam engines. Borders between countries gradually fade away as corporations establish what amount to miniature embassies in every developing nation.
PL 6: Fusion Age
The Fusion Age is named for the most common renewable source of energy developed in this period. At the same time, artificial evolution through genetic manipulation becomes feasible, and ranged energy weapons begin to appear.
PL 7: Gravity Age
Gravity induction engines replace fusion engines, ushering in this age. Hovervehicles and interplanetary drives revolutionize transportation, and telecommunications link not just continents, but planets.
PL 8: Energy Age
Civilizations begin to miniaturize induction engines, allowing anyone to carry a limitless power supply. This paves the way for the development of personal force fields, practical one-person starfighters, and city-sized space stations.
PL 9 and Higher
Few civilizations advance beyond the Energy Age, and those that do are generally isolated worlds or species as yet undiscovered. At this stage of development, scientists rewrite the laws of physics, manipulating matter at a subatomic level, traveling through time, and adjusting space itself to literally shorten distances traveled, rather than the time taken to travel those distances.
WHAT YOU NEED TO PLAY
d20 Future Tech builds upon the rules in the d20 Future supplement, which in turn uses the rules in the d20 MODERN Roleplaying Game. You'll need both of those books to get full use out of this one. In addition, you might find d20 Cyberscape useful -- particularly if you want to include a heavy focus on cybernetic limbs and computer netsurfing.
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