From: "Kelly St.Clair" <kstclair@????.org> Date: Sat, 11 Mar 1995 12:51:45 -0800 Subject: Re: Lasers in Spelljammer?
As the recent CLAVRUC posting and the reactions to it show, there's an on-going conflict between paradigms on this list. Some people went Spelljammer to be much like their favorite science fiction (or, in the case of Trek, science fantasy), with real astronomical objects, laser pistols, and so on, but with magic substituting for technology. Others (like myself) prefer the fantasy aspect of the setting, where gravity is binary, stars actually burn, and magic can create effects impossible in our universe. It's safe to say that many of those who play or run Spelljammer have some background in modern science fiction. We've all grown up with Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. We live in an age when the frontiers of knowledge about our own universe are being pushed back by scientists and telescopes and space probes. The problem comes when we have to try to put all that aside and think about the heavens as a medieval scientist might... or, more difficult yet, the inhabitants of a world where magic affects every aspect of life. Spelljamming societies bear even less resemblance to our own history than the typical groundling campaign. As a result, players and GMs are often left in a vacuum (no pun intended), and have to draw on what they 'know' spacefaring societies should be like. Another part of the problem, I suspect, is that magic is SO common in the Spelljammer setting. With all these high-level wizards and magic items both major and minor floating around, people start talking about 'magitech' very quickly. Perhaps a sage named Clarke has observed that sufficiently advanced Magic is indistiguishable from Technology? Personally, I've never been fond of 'fantasy' settings where Continual Light spells light every home and people walk around with wands at their belt as sidearms. I prefer to keep magic more... well, magical. Which means less common, among other things. It's not that I dislike high-magic campaigns, just the all-too-modern mindset that creeps in around the edges when inventive players start thinking of new applications. PS: Oddly enough, I enjoy "Castle Falkenstein" (by R.Talisorian Games), where magic and technology often mix. I think it might be the very non-modern feel of the semi-Victorian genre that makes it work. ---------------------- Kelly St.Clair kstclair@????.????.org