So I had an idea for a setting for a D&D game. Basically it would be a world with all of the standard high fantasy D&D elements, elves and magic and such, but with a level of technological and social progress fitting the mid 20th century in the real world. I’m thinking of an amalgam of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. This would be a different world, with it’s own history and geography, so things wouldn’t be identical and wouldn’t have to match real world chronology, but it would be exploring real life social and political issues from these decades through the lens of D&D style fantasy.
So first of all this world would be engulfed in a global armed conflict similar to World Wars I and II, with tanks, aircraft carriers and blietzkreig-like air operations, but with magic and stuff. Imagine Normandy with dragons flying overhead! Yes, the dragons are involved in the war, and both sides have dragons fighting for them! Also, among the soldiers would be wizards, clerics, and other spell casters launching magic missiles and cones of fire while machine guns are going off and bombs are dropping. I think it’d be pretty epic.
One of the more powerful nations in this war is developing a bomb that releases large amount of very powerful and unpredictable magic. This bomb can be really devastating, but the technology behind it could also be used to power cities efficiently. This gives us an arms race and a debate similar to what we have regarding nuclear power.
Meanwhile, away from the front lines, matters of inequality are being addressed in at least one of the world’s super powers, perhaps the same one with the magic bomb. Certain races that have long been considered evil, orcs and goblins for instance, are beginning to demand better treatment under the law and to be more accepted in society. A civil rights movement. All of this against a backdrop of new technology drastically altering the way people work and live, leading to people re-evaluating their place in the world and the nature of government and things like that.
So I don’t have all the details, but I think there’s potential here. An orc civil rights leader telling people about his dream of equality, and perhaps a goblin leader refuting the orcs tactics of civil disobedience in favor of more drastic action. Halflings abandoning their nomadic lifestyles to live in suburbs. Tanks driven by gnomes. And did I mention dragons over Normandy? Tell me that wouldn’t be awesome!