Future (4e Sourcebook)/Dungeon Master's Guide

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These are notes for Dungeon Masters running a Future campaign.


Damage Types[edit]

Biohazard Sign by Willy Gregersen, on Flickr

These damage keywords were chosen to thematically distinguish this sourcebook from the fantasy elements of D&D and GW.

  • Compressive - Compression waves in a medium (air or water) that cause damage at certain frequencies or amplitudes. This includes the concussive blasts from explosions or the disorienting effects of sonic weapons. Compressive attacks cannot function in a vacuum.
  • Corrosive - Strong acids or bases which can cause chemical burns, in extreme cases dissolving away armor and flesh in seconds.
  • Ion - Caused by radiation and particle beams, ion damage can be catastrophic to cellular life and magnetic storage. Armor is often inaffective against Ion attacks.
  • Electric - High voltage contacts and beams cause various burns and neurological effects on living creatures, and can fry electrical equipment. They are effective against energy shields. Exotic magnetic attacks might also use this damage type.
  • Photon - Lasers, and more futuristic force weapons, use this damage type, and may also be a component of Ion or Electric attacks.
  • Physical - The default damage type for all weapon attacks; unarmed strikes, guns, melee weapons and falls.
  • Psychic - Bone fide psionic attacks to the mind, and effects that cause mental fatigue, confusion and other neurocognitive damage.
  • Thermal - This covers both extremes of thermodynamic energy. Examples include explosions, freezing rays, fire and flamethrowers or extreme wind chill. These are grouped together since if a piece of technology or a trait is insulating you from one, you will be protected from the other. Note that this is separate from the issues of surviving in hot or cold environments.
  • Toxic - Attacks that deliberately upset the functions of living organisms - diseases, poisons, mutagens. Artificial creatures such as robots are rarely effected by toxic damage.

Power Sources[edit]

Only three power sources are needed for Powers in Future:

  • Fusion - This is the assumed power source for all futuristic technology, providing high energy output in a compact form with clean emissions. It is used for all Powers that have a technological theme, from laser guns and power fists, to tanks and battle armor.
  • Bio - Mutants, aliens and dangerous animals use this power source for their natural attacks and powers, drawing from the creatures own internal energy.
  • Psi - Powers accessed through the mind: psychic interrogation, pyrokinesis, telepathy, and other weird effects draw from this extra-dimensional source.

Creature Origin, Types and Keywords[edit]

Replacing the humanoid, beast, magical beast and animate Types from D&D, Future creatures have one of:

  • Animates are things that aren't animals but move around anyway - mostly plants or robots. They don't need to breathe, eat or sleep.
  • Beasts are ordinary animals, or something close to them. Beasts that have Intelligence scores of 3 or lower act instinctively. Those that have Intelligence scores of 4 or higher approach (or exceed) human intelligence. But they still might eat you.
  • Humanoids are usually bipedal, intelligent tool-users. They're people, more or less.

Replacing aberrant, nature, immortal, shadow, fey and elemental Origins, Future creatures have one of:

  • Terrestrial
  • Extraterrestrial
  • Extradimensional

Creatures may also have a keyword:

  • Robot (animate)
  • Reptile (beast)
  • Insect (beast)
  • Plant (animate)

Difficulty Classes[edit]

Skills can be checked against an easy, moderate or hard DC.

  • Easy DCs are equal to level + 8
  • Moderate DCs are equal to level + 12
  • Hard DCs are equal to level + 16

Specific DCs[edit]


Gaining unauthorized access to a computer or comm link requires a Science check. It is an easy check if the target device is simple equipment; a moderate check if the target is average equipment; and a hard check if the device is advanced equipment. The level is equal to the target's level. For example, a field comm is an average level 2 piece of equipment, so hacking into one of its comm channels is a DC 14 task. Specialist equipment cannot normally be hacked into.

The hacker also requires a comm link or computer of equal or greater level.

Failing the check by 5 or more alerts the user of the target device, and they may immediately try to identify the intruder by making a hacking check against the hacker's device.


Future uses a generic unit of currency - the credit. It is assumed that all characters have an account to which they can deposit and withdraw credits at-will as a minor action. A character's credit card can only be used by it's owner. Physical tokens might be found of any value, are formed from pure energy, have zero weight, and do not have ownership. A credit card can create or absorb tokens which debits or credits the associated account accordingly. Tokens do not have any game effect other than for monetary transactions.

The purchasing cost of mundane items scales with XP and level - refer to the "Experience Point Rewards" chart of the DMG p. 120. Each piece of mundane equipment has a level from 1 to 10 representing its availability, and has a classification of "simple", "average", "advanced" or "specialist".

  • Simple equipment has only minor or routine benefits, and use costs for Minions.
    • Examples: timepieces, meals, small fusion cells, clothing, weapon mods with a minor benefit.
  • Average equipment has a single, moderate benefit, and use costs for Standard creatures.
    • Examples: kits that provide a skill bonus to specific tasks, weekly rental of a small location or single-person vehicle, ammunition cache for weapons of equal level, weapon mods that grant a property
  • Advanced equipment has a single, good benefit or several minor benefits, and use costs for Elite creatures.
    • Examples: weekly rental of a medium location or vehicle, weapon mods that grant an alpha strike.
  • Specialist equipment has multiple good benefits, and use costs for Solo creatures.
    • Examples: weekly rental of a location or vehicle with special functions, kits that provide a broad skill bonus, weapon mods that cause ongoing damage or conditions on an alpha strike or that have encounter powers.


Purchasing equipment of a level greater than the PC trying to aquire it requires a skill check. Each potential source has an associated skill, and the DC depends on the relative level of the item.


  • Conspiracy - Governmental or corporate sources.
  • Interaction - Black market or other hidden civilian sources.
  • Perception - Extensive searching through normal channels may be fortuitous.
  • Science - Educational sources, or sources accessed through computer networks.
  • Stealth - Stealing the item from a private owner, expending an amount of resources equal to the item's value.
  • Mechanics - Constructing the item yourself.


  • Player's level + 1 - Easy DC
  • Player's level + 2 - Moderate DC
  • Player's level + 3 - Hard DC

The PC may only attempt to aquire one piece of equipment per day with this method, and can only make one skill roll per attempt.

  • Success: The PC can pay the normal amount of credits to gain the item.
  • Failure: The item is not available. Other PCs may not attempt to acquire that item using that skill on that day.
  • Failure by more than 5: The item is not available, and no more attempts to acquire any item with any skill can be made that day.

Treasure Parcels[edit]

A treasure parcel might be:

  • Credits equal to the XP value of a standard creature of level equal to the encounter level. Example: A level 2 encounter yields tokens totalling 125 credits.
  • An ammunition cache. These should be awarded once every 2 to 4 encounters (that is, they are given about 3 times before the PCs level up.)
  • A Prototype.

As with D&D treasure parcels, however, an encounter may give no reward whilst others will have several parcels grouped together.

Equipment Costs[edit]

Where not specified, use this table to determine equipment costs in credits, based on their complexity and level.

Level Simple Average Advanced Specialist
1 25 100 200 500
2 31 125 250 625
3 38 150 300 750
4 44 175 350 875
5 50 200 400 1000
6 63 250 500 1250
7 75 300 600 1500
8 88 350 700 1750
9 100 400 800 2000
10 125 500 1000 2500


See Future (4e Sourcebook)/Equipment/Vehicles for generic vehicles. Some Prototypes may also be vehicles.

Future uses the vehicles rules for Gamma World, published at WoTC here.

Future vehicles are assumed to use fusion power cells that provide non-stop power for years, so all count as having the Fusion Power Kit augmentation. Specific settings might have a resource used for certain modes of transport, such as faster-than-light jumps.

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