Summer Skin (Re-Skinned Sci-Fi in Pathfinder)

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Lightly touched on in yesterday’s look at androids, there is often a sense of the otherworldly, alien or intrusiveness to the worlds of “classic fantasy.” This attribute can prove decidedly resilient even when these elements are skinned to be more appropriate to the genre in the current campaign or system. As the release of the Starfinder RPG grows nearer we can only expect to see more of these materials from  Paizo and the 3rd Party Community. Today we take a look at some Industrial Age to Sci-Fi concepts and re-envision them somewhat closer to the fantasy genre while giving GMs a delightful amount of alien to vex  PCs with (or maybe approve for play).

Sci-Fi to Fantasy Skins

Several concepts from Science Fiction, like androids,  have entered the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The development of these mechanics and elements can save a GM valuable time by subbing in for some similarly other concept. Lets consider:

  • Tinker – (Interjection Games) – Quite possibly THE mad-scientist supervillain of the Pathfinder set, this modular class and its constructs can be nudged quite easily to a flesh-golem making mad-alchemical genius. Each walking around with their own personal Adam ala Frankenstein.
  • Cyborgs – (Legendary Games) or Golemoind (Kyoudai Games) – Thiee class based system of implants can be reworked as a means for creatures like mi-go, demons or other flesh-crafters to twist and modify their victims into savage altered killers. Or instead take cleaner approach where the subject (maybe a PC) was fitted with eldritch crystals and magic items  that interact with their body.
  • Gearforged – (Kobold Press) or Ironborn – (Rite Publishing) – Already skirting the edge of the clockwork fantasy, these playable races can bend relatively easily to the  arcane with creation rites and secret orders rendering them a more living form of golem. Particularly well suited for armies of a great empire, Golden Armies… anyone?
  • Mechs – (Interjection Games) –  The adaptation of  these creatures as enchanted armor or crafted flesh golems can wipe away nearly all the shine. Projectile weapons can be become bone ejectors and grafted manticore tails.
  • Machinesmiths – (LPJDesign) – Similarly to the cyborg above or the mechs, a biological approach to this class can be fantasy appropriate. Imagine a living technology grown by elves or ghoran, plant-based constructs or living crystal weapons that evolve in response to the users needs.

While the concepts of Science Fiction do not have a place in every game, utilizing elements of the mechanics presented in these supplements can lend a truly alien sense to your fantasy games without filling the skies with flying saucers and laser beams.

Not quite ready for the future? You can try some of our rules expansion for something new for your fantastic! Pre-order the Book of Beyond WIP subcription or see our other products at: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

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