There are many genres of fiction and gaming (inc RPGs). Science-Fiction, High Fantasy, Horror, to name but a few. You can see some of the genres of writing in this list here on wikipedia.
Many times I see games that are set in or focused on just one genre. To be fair this is understandable. It can ruin your immersion to be playing in a low-fantasy genre game only to suddenly for no reason have things like guns appear.
But that there is the rub of it – things appearing without reason. Give it an acceptable or appropriate reason for something from another genre to appear in your game and it can liven things up and make your characters afraid just as they started to develop the “We’re basically gods now right?” complex that many characters end up with.
Using the classic fantasy genre game as a baseline for your campaign. Thins have been getting a bit stale , so you decide to liven it up a bit. After a feirce battle with a powerful wild mage, your characters are on their way home via a portal when in his dying breath , the mage you had captured casts a curse like spell on them. The portal goes wild and instead of ending up back home they land in an alternate universe, very much like the one they are used to but where science and technology reign supreme. To make things fai, magic still exists, but no-one really knows how to access it. This new world is similar to our own, with metal carriages, flying dragon-like creatures that roar overhead, rods that fire small projectiles. To begin with, the characters have an advantage known as magic. But as time goes by the world they are in starts to bring out the “big-guns”. This technology can be used by many more people. In comparison with magic and the divine powers they possess, which often require a lifetime of dedication to learn, technology in comparison takes very little time, a matter of weeks sometimes even less! There are literally armies of peoples with the powerful boom-sticks and if these don’t work then there are the bombs – Plus, assuming they can recharge their magic, they have to rest at some point – technology does not. Some technology might even be naturally immune to magic. There are hundreds of ways this could go – most of them not in the characters favor.
That was just one simple example of an arc that could be used to liven things up in a game – But be warned, some people don’t like sudden genre changes or any genre changes at all. Imagine if you were watching Game of Thrones and it turned out it was a Star Trek style holodeck or similar, how annoyed you would be. Check with your players first or make it obvious it might happen beforehand. Afterall, you are all here to have fun – don’t forget that!
I put a couple of other genre crossovers I can think of below – What others, if film and fiction, can you think of? Put them in the comments section!
- Sci-Fi and Horror (Examples: Aliens, Event Horizon)
- Fantasy and Romance (The Princess Bride)