Although this might be a perpetual series of Grognardia links; I feel that these are topics worth rambling about.
James M recently posted a review of S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks; a personal favorite of mine due to its unconventional contents.
Here’s the thing. From a wargamer’s approach, S3 is within the bounds of balance. The controversy that surrounds a sci-fi adventure in D&D is due more to the original direction (and in my own personal opinion, mistake) taken in the writing of D&D. The fact is that TSR missed the boat in making D&D D&D.
The approach should have been the game concept that was defined by D&D, and not the fantasy milieu.
Whether you are taking 1d6 damage from a Goblin’s spear, from a Mutants Eye-Beam, from a Vege-Pygmy’s Laser Gun, or from a KGB Agent’s PPK should be irrelevant. The point should be that your character is in danger…that and nothing more.
Inspirations, influences and milieus be damned.
The point is that there are obstacles and threats to your character; overcoming those threats is your objective.
To quote Mr. Gygax:
“…the scope need not be restricted to the medieval…”
It is, after all, a game of dice, tables and decisions.
In other words, 6d6 damage from a Plasma Cannon is the same as 6d6 damage from a Dragon‘s Fiery Breath. That’s a wargamer’s outlook at least.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee