Apr 27, 2009

Looking for reccommendations - C'mon, you KNOW you want to give one :)


Fantasy role-playing, while holding a reserved place within my heart of hearts, my true passion is Sci-fi. I all but stopped reading fantasy novels shortly after high school. In their place, I discovered science fiction, and the literal universe it opened up before me.


With one of the fantasy campaigns I am involved in falling apart due to a number of factors, I was looking for a palate cleanser. Something new, yet somewhat familiar. Something with decent character development, interspersed with John Ringoish buckets of bug hunting gore.


Normally, I would default to Dragonstar, but honestly, I want total sci-fi this time, not just elves in space. Without going into boring details, I am looking for a good military science fiction RPG. Space opera is fine by me. It must have (in no particular order):



  1. Aliens. Lots of ugly, nasty, friendly, stereotypical, aliens.

  2. Guns. at least 50 ways to fling...bouncy balls of yellow light!

  3. Ship based and ship to ship options. I want to be able to let them travel the stars at will, and still be able to jump them with snub-fighters whenever the sensors guy is sleeping at the wheel. - This is BIG. Most of the systems I have dealt with so far failed miserably in this regard, i.e. dogfights were tedious and boring.
  4. A rulebook that won't cause spontaneous anheurisms.
  5. Did I mention the guns had to be REALLY big?
  6. Playable AI Robots. Humaniform, sentient dump-trucks, concubots, the whole shebang.

Optionally, Mecha and dragons (in mecha suits? hmmmmm.)

I have been eyeing Star Wars: SAGA edition, but haven't met anyone who has played it yet. Soooo, I figured I would turn to the geek elite and see what else is out there.

My concept is a Para-military privateer and "salvage" company helping to police the fringes of known space. Simple, and compelling, as they try to do their jobs in a changing political landscape.

As an aside, and possibly an excellent compromise, is anybody familiar with the CORTEX system? Firefly with a different name might be just what the Dr. ordered.

Or how about WH40K - Dark Heresy? Anybody have some first hand experience with that?

So how about it? What would you reccommend, oh wise and benevolent readers? What universe should my players roam for fun and profit?

Decisions...decisions...

9 comments:

rcarbol@home.com said...

Starblazer Adventures has a lot of what you are looking for. Alright, it could have a lot of what you are looking for. It's still mostly a toolbox, which might not be what you're looking for. Or maybe it is.

greywulf said...

3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. Hands down the goriest, funnest and most alien filled game, ever.

xero said...

Why "Firefly with a different name"? Why not just "Firefly"? Or rather, Serenity.

If I'm craving a Big Mac, I don't go to Wendy's and order a double cheeseburger; I go to McDonald's and get me a ruttin' Big Mac.

Donny said...

LOL! nothing against firefly at all!

Most of my players are fans of the show, and I want to hit them with something both new AND familiar.

Then again, firefly with a dab of starship troopers, plus a smidge of warhammer 40K might be just what the doctor ordered.

Then again...Dark Heresy?

Nikolas said...

Traveller is a good start. Its was the DnD of sci-fi, and just like dnd it inspired its own japanese novel turned animation (DnD's was Record of Lodoss war, Traveller was the legend of Galactic heroes- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_galactic_heroes). Just use T20 if you like to stick with a d20 or any generic game system. I'm a gurps nut, so I can make it an inter-stellar Rifts campaign, serenity styled western, a trekkie tribute or babylon space opera, or starship troopers bug squishing fest if I wanted.

MJ Harnish said...

Starblazer Adventures is very flexible and covers most of what you want. My biggest complaint about it is the book (which still isn't out in hard copy) is HUGE.

FATE itself would also work.

The Silhouette Core Rules v2 (RPG engine that powers Jovian Chronicles, Heavy Metal Blitz, etc.) are really good IMO and cover everything you want (including battle suits & ship to ship combat) except the aliens part. The game is systemless (but has guidelines for aliens, etc) and the Jovian Chronicles setting is hard sci-fi completely within our solar system.

Cortex (or specifically Firefly) would work although you might prefer the BSG since it has things like FTL drive which is lacking in the Firefly universe.

3:16 is a great game if you just want the "kill the aliens" type of missions but doesn't really do space combat. It's a very lite system designed to do one thing really well, in a really fun way.

David said...

I would also say that T20 wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Alternity has a very special place in my heart, and the Star*Drive setting in particular would be perfect for you.

Graham said...

@MJ Harnish -

FTL drive is the easiest thing to fudge, though. You generally don't need hard stats for it.

Player: "We go to FTL."
DM: "Okay."

The only mechanical thing it does is gives everyone a "Run Away!" button. So the only things you need to decide are:

- Is it instant-activation or does it take time to charge up/ready?

- Can this charging be detected?

- Can it be targetted or disabled?

And then you're ready to go.

Donny said...

Hmmm...so we have a pretty open field. I must research this further.