Focusing on Science Fantasy
When we started working on Hyperstorm back in 2015 we had an idea of a heroic dungeon crawling RPG in space. The high-level concept was solid and we started thinking about all the details like setting background, technology, and the visual style. Our starting point was the space opera genre. It is a broad genre, but we had a vision of what kind of space opera we wanted Hyperstorm to be. For three years we iterated this concept and framework, but as we worked on the setting we started to feel like something was not quite right.
The setting did not have a certain space dungeon crawling feel to it and it was missing the sense of wonder, mystery, and epic proportions. Also, we felt like we wanted to do something the other 5E compatible sci-fi adaptations – well, not that many RPGs in general – had not done yet. We decided to do a bit more drastic adjustment to the setting and after some consideration, we decided to redefine and focus the genre to science fantasy.
We decided to use the familiar fantasy races and creatures, but reimagine (or re-skin) them into their sci-fi counterparts. We also decided to include magic in the setting, but with the idea that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. This said we are not going to explain what magic in Hyperstorm actually is. It is just something that is beyond the understanding of most civilizations while a few can learn to harness its power.
At first, this felt like a huge change, but after thinking about this for a while, and studying some reference material for ideas, we ported the characters to SRD classes it felt like a surprisingly natural choice to make. Suddenly all the players had a better understanding of the setting and its atmosphere. Our campaign was set in a world with sorcerers, wondrous techno-arcane artifacts, god-like creatures, and feudal empires, mixed with space ships and pulse blasters. Sounds a bit like Thor: Ragnarok or Dune, right?
Of course, some adjustments and additional rules need to be made, but we feel like now Hyperstorm has found its focus. It’s a science fantasy RPG of epic and galactic scale. It has ancient cultures that have ruled whole galaxies and even created artificial dimensions ages before the known history. They have left magic and worlds full of life as their legacy for the younger cultures to find. In general, Hyperstorm is going to be a balanced mix of science, technology, magic, mythology and heroic adventures, and