Game Feel

( ⇪ Campaign Setting )

Hyperion Voyages uses a number of variant systems (some of which are heavily inspired by other sources) that are pervasive to this campaign setting and should not be removed. Exceptions and clarifications to each imported variant are written into their descriptions to fit in with rebalancing and so that they mesh well with eachother and the setting.

How it Feels for the GM

The GM must be willing to adapt their gamemastering style to the cold hard reality of how caster-archetypes work in D&D 3.5e.

First, your world must recognize that caster-archetypes (magic, psionic, or otherwise) are dangerous much like someone with a concealed and loaded military-grade automatic assault rifle is dangerous in the real world. They could be anywhere, and in some cases they can’t be truly disarmed. NPCs should generally feel uneasy around caster-archetypes, and even podunk local law enforcement should have caster-archetypes in their equivalent of SWAT teams and patrol squads.

Every NPC must have grown up learning as common sense that if you’re fighting a group, take out the caster-archetype’s first and as quickly as possible, preferably before the casters can unload their first volley or start healing their friends. Counterspelling healing spells is a basic but effective NPC tactic. NPCs must use line-of-effect and line-of-sight to their advantage in the same way that having cover matters in modern first-person shooter games. Access to caster-archetype classes may in some cases be thematically restricted (but not forbidden from PC use) and monitored by law in the same way that mutants were “registered” in the X-Men franchise.

Second, your quests must be designed to give the party a sense of urgency in their task, or everything you as GM do to balance the game will be for naught. The largest design flaw in D&D 3.5e is a concept called the “15-minute work day”. Many RPG groups run their party until the caster-archetypes drain their metaphorical batteries (which takes roughly 15 minutes of work in “game time”) and then they all stop and sleep for the “night”. This would have terrible in-game implications, as in reality everyone (especially the villain) has a timetable of plans that they’re working to bring to fruition as soon as possible. They won’t screw around, and neither should the PCs. You must — through quest design — force the prepared-type casters (wizards, clerics, druids, etc.) to feel like they have to leave spell slots open (decreasing how many spells are at their immediate disposal) or pick more versatile and underpowered options, or otherwise they risk becoming near-useless later on.

How it Feels for the Players

If you’ve played D&D 3.5e before, this will almost feel like you’re learning an entirely new game system that just happens to be compatible with everything written for D&D 3.5e. If you’ve never played D&D 3.5e before but have played 5e, imagine that the proficiency bonus was split up into two-dozen specialized bonuses, and you had to upgrade each one individually, and you’ll get D&D 3.5e. Then on top of that, imagine D&D with superheroes, hackers, corporate espionage, and space-travel.

Unlike normal D&D 3.5e, Hyperion Voyages forces a more “realistic” approach to rolling and information control. Getting stacking temporary bonuses is more important in this setting than getting small permanent upgrades, and you’re given tools (bennies and action points) to spend on yourself and on the other PCs to give those bonuses, on top of your own creativity for finding them.

You have a lot more options to customize how you accomplish an action, but if your character couldn’t know the result (like for a Hide check), the GM rolls it instead. However, you roll some of the things the GM would normally roll, and your rolls are less swingy (unless you want them to be swingy) so you can rely on getting at least rolling an 8-12 on every roll. The thrill of rolling a natural 20 will happen less often, but the frustration of botching will also happen less often.

It’s a bit of a gritty setting, but not too gritty. Remembering to “double-tap” will sometimes be very important. Having a medic handy (or at least a doctor who gives you a discount) is vital for survival, but healing magic isn’t quite as important. If you’re playing a game with licensed “Adventurers”, it’ll feel like you’re The Avengers (although far less powerful than them). If you’re a spellcaster, NPCs will treat you like an oppressed and feared minority (because of your immense mystical power), and if you’re a psionicist then people will look up to you as a paragon of Hyperion society. There will be times where your character becomes so stressed that they can’t handle the situation.

Regardless, you’ll almost-always feel like you’re in a rush to save a princess or stop the villain. Villains will feel more nuanced because they consider themselves to be the heroes, and they’re in a rush too. You’re going to feel like bad-asses with guns and power armor, the exceptional ones called in to do what no one else can. You have so many defenses and benefits working in your favor compared to normal D&D 3.5e that smart play is rewarded handsomely, but the game is still pretty lethal.

Adventuring Variants

These variants apply to everyday adventuring and are the bulk of what makes this game feel the way it does.

Click here for elaboration on the Adventuring Variants…

Character Building Variants

Characters are built a little differently here.

Click here for elaboration on the Character Building Variants…

Magic Variants

All things non-mundane have had a major overall.

Click here for elaboration on the Magic Variants…

House Rules

It is highly recommended that you use certain house rules when playing with this setting.

Click here for elaboration on the House Rules…

Game Feel

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