” It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.” – Rod Serling
Science fantasy (also known as Sci-Fantasy): a mixed genre within speculative fiction drawing elements from both science fiction and fantasy.
Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series is a prime example of this genre. Star Wars, with its quasi-mystical “Force”marginally qualifies. The Edgar Rice Burrough’s Martian series novels are in a subgenre of Science Fantasy called “Sword & Planet”.
Among roleplaying games there are numerous Science Fantasy RPGs or RPGs that have elements of Sci-Fantasy to them. I will mention a few of them
The Arduin Grimoire trilogy is one of the earliest RPGs to incorporate Sci-Fantasy. The Phraint (an alien insect warrior), Deodanth (amoral elves from the future) and Techno class are still fun to play. I was speaking with a fellow Old Schooler at the local hobby shop recently. He remarked how crazy it was to be in an Arduin campaign, because: “It was great to open a chest and have it start spraying machine gun bullets at you!” I then remarked: “Ahhh, the Lost Techno’s Treasure!” We both laughed, remembering a similar incident.
RIFTS is one of the best in this category and has a decent balance of both future Earth science and fantasy magic. Whether you were a power-suited Glitter Boy or a Magic Casting Ley Walker, a good group of RIFTS players knows how to make action happen!
Both Arduin and RIFTS are currently in print, so the Old School goodness can be experienced at will.
Gamma World had a flavor of sci-fantasy to it. The fact that TSR made the original version had it oozing with sci-fantasy hints. Shadowrun, though more Cyberpunk Fantasy, are other popular games that incorporate Sci-Fantasy to them. There are many others, but I just wanted to get the Gamemaster’s mind thinking of the Old School open-ended possibilities that existed and still exist in gaming. I love all things science fiction and fantasy – especially when it is both and their are dice involved.
The Multiverse is filled with many possible worlds… some real, some only dreamed of in the imagination… until you cross over into them!
[post edited and updated with video]