Today on his blog, Coyote discusses the blending of genres. In this instance, he means science fiction, science fantasy, and “regular” (sword & sorcery) fantasy. He wonders how we feel about mixing “science” and “fantasy” in games.

As you could discern from the post title, I don’t care for what I call “mixed media”. Give me science (real or fantasy) or give me sword & sorcery, but not together.

I recall how irked I was at the end of Might & Magic I. You reach the Inner Sanctum, and learn your world is actually…a spaceship! Yep, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, an entire magical world is created inside a spacecraft. Gaah.

This line played out across many of the M&M games, and usually something high-tech showed up late in play, like rayguns and robots. I considered that very jarring: going through much of the game in the usual fantasy fashion, then suddenly switching, for no really good reason, to “modern science”.

Ultima I had “science”, too. There, I wasn’t quite so annoyed, because time passed as the game progressed. You began with primitive weapons and armor; by the end of the game, you were flying in space shooting down enemies. For that matter, you had to use a time machine to defeat Mondain.

Obviously, the time compression in U I was really compressed, especially when you consider your character has hardly grown older between the stone age and the space age. Still, the high tech at the end made at least a little bit of sense.

That can’t be said about Wizardry VII: Crusaders Of The Dark Savant. Here your merry band is on an alien world, along with two competing alien races, the T’rang and the Umpani. Right from the start, magic and “science” (of a sort) are mixed together.

I particularly considered the Umpani ridiculous: here is a spacefaring race, and all they have are black powder weapons! C’mon. There’s no way I could believe that. Suspension of disbelief can only stretch so far.

Besides that, I was irritated at having SF in a fantasy RPG, period. I am annoyed (seriously annoyed) whenever “tech” rears its ugly head in what is supposed to be a sword and sorcery saga.

One of the things I enjoy about fantasy RPGs is getting away from the high tech world, even if I’m playing them on a computer. It’s a relief to enter a world without fax, cell phones, ipods, satellites and all the other gadgets of modern living. Without all the complications, too.

That doesn’t mean I’m against SF RPGs, whether the SF is science fiction or science fantasy. I just don’t want their elements slopping over into my fantasy games and taking the edge off my fun.

So yeah, I’m a purist. Keep the breeding lines separate! SF should stay in its own world (or worlds), and leave fantasy alone.

Science Fiction In My Fantasy on Coyote’s blog