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Viking_Mage
2011-09-24, 02:13 AM
I have an urge to play a science-fiction campaign. The only system that I have that would also support such a campaign is Hero System 5th Edition. Buying a dedicated rpg is monetarily out of the question.

So, I'd have to create the campaign if I want to play in a game and most likely have to run it as well - that's not a problem at all.

Here is the problem I keep running into - what kind of science-fiction?

There are numerous types of science-fiction and the characters all have to be in a similar vein to run games together.

Example: the one time I did play a sci-fi game, each player created a character from a different type of sub-genre. I created a space marine, my dad created a ship's engineer, my uncle created a fighter pilot, and the GM created a Jedi as a GMPC. While a work of fiction could use all of those diverse characters in one cohesive plot, the limitations of a tabletop rpg leaves several players bored while one character takes the spot-light in any given scenario.

Obviously, it is the GM's responsibility to set the campaign situation in such a way that synergy is possible. But then there is the difficulty of getting players.

If someone wants to play DnD (or another established fantasy rpg), its easy enough to find a game, fantasy role-playing is the gateway into the hobby for most people.

Science-fiction? The only dedicated systems I can think of are Traveller and Star Wars. I've played the latter and there are some major balance problems inherent in the setting.

So, most GMs are running self-made campaigns using generic/universal systems.

They tell their friends/other players that they're thinking of a sci-fi game and then they have to contend with the immediate images that come in their audience's heads. Is it Star Trek? Star Wars? Starship Troopers? Blade Runner? It can go on for a long time.

Okay, I feel a bit better at my frustrations of setting up a sci-fi game. Thank you for reading.

Gamgee
2011-09-24, 02:19 AM
I think the core rules are free, the pdf that is. http://eclipsephase.com/

I've never gotten to use it, but one option.

Edit
Indeed it is under creative commons. Though getting the pdf file is up to you since it isn't on their site. Though they do think that you should pay for either the pdf or physical copy to support them if you like what you see. I couldn't agree more with that sentiment.

Xefas
2011-09-24, 02:22 AM
What about Free Market, Shock: Social Science Fiction, (the already stated) Eclipse Phase, Bliss Stage, Carnage 3:16, Paranoia - hell, that's just what I could recall off the top of my head.

Any genre or tone of science fiction, there's probably at least one game out there for it if you're willing to look.

edit: Misspent Youth, too, is good.

Reluctance
2011-09-24, 02:35 AM
If someone wants to play DnD (or another established fantasy rpg), its easy enough to find a game, fantasy role-playing is the gateway into the hobby for most people.

And then run into problems because one guy wants to play gritty fantasy, while another enjoys wacky races and spell interactions. Setting ground-rule expectations is a good GMing skill no matter what the game.


Science-fiction? The only dedicated systems I can think of are Traveller and Star Wars. I've played the latter and there are some major balance problems inherent in the setting.

Name five systems without major balance issues. To a certain point, it's the nature of the industry.

And you haven't mentioned what your idea of sci-fi is. Giving a few source materials should help narrow your search appreciably.

Xefas
2011-09-24, 02:42 AM
Name five systems without major balance issues.
I can probably name more systems that are superbly balanced than I can name ones with major imbalance. But, here are five: Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, Blazing Rose, Fiasco, and Free Market. And that's not even using lighter stuff like Primetime Adventures or In a Wicked Age.

Sith_Happens
2011-09-24, 03:49 AM
Are you actually looking for suggestions for a sci-fi subgenre to run? If so, I nomiate Space Western (Firefly, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, etc.).

Raum
2011-09-24, 09:17 AM
Science-fiction? The only dedicated systems I can think of are Traveller and Star Wars. I've played the latter and there are some major balance problems inherent in the setting.

So, most GMs are running self-made campaigns using generic/universal systems. There are a lot of SciFi games out there. Diaspora, Bulldogs, and Starblazer (FATE based); Daring Tales of the Space Lanes, Slipstream, and Necropolis (Savage Worlds); Firefly (Cortex); and a bunch with dedicated systems including Shadowrun, Blue Planet, Transhuman Space, Jovian Chronicles and a lot more.

There are a lot of games out there!

Tiki Snakes
2011-09-24, 09:24 AM
Example: the one time I did play a sci-fi game, each player created a character from a different type of sub-genre. I created a space marine, my dad created a ship's engineer, my uncle created a fighter pilot, and the GM created a Jedi as a GMPC. While a work of fiction could use all of those diverse characters in one cohesive plot, the limitations of a tabletop rpg leaves several players bored while one character takes the spot-light in any given scenario.

Sounds like the average Rogue Trader crew, actually.

awa
2011-09-24, 10:20 AM
i think what he was saying is the setting says Jedi are awesome and every one else is terrible. In dnd the setting says fighters are equal to wizards. now the mechanics might not agree but i think were talking about the setting not the mechanics.

Viking_Mage
2011-09-25, 01:22 AM
Thank you all for your recommendations. I'll look into those systems when the money comes, though that's more of an 'if' right now.

Awa is right about the Star Wars thing. In that universe, playing a non-force user means you can't do anything well. At least in DnD, there are Wizards and Clerics and Artificers and Druids all sitting at tier 1.

I'm thinking military/espionage sci-fi of some sort. I'm planning on taking a little bit of Halo, spicing it with Ender's Game, and sauteing it with a little bit of Battlestar Galactica. I want to stay away from psychics.

king.com
2011-09-25, 01:56 AM
Sounds like the average Rogue Trader crew, actually.

Only missing a religious fanatic....

Mark Hall
2011-09-26, 06:55 PM
My suggestion would be d6 Space (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=d6+space&x=0&y=0&quicksearch=1&search_filter=&filters=&search_free=&search_in_description=1&search_in_author=1&search_in_artist=1). It's free, fairly simple, and can be adapted to pretty much any setting.

The trick is, though, set limits. With Rifts, I learned to tell people "We are playing this kind of game. Come up with a character who fits into that." If you don't set limits, you get a wide variety of characters who may or may not fit usefully together.

Knaight
2011-09-26, 06:57 PM
My suggestion would be d6 Space (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=d6+space&x=0&y=0&quicksearch=1&search_filter=&filters=&search_free=&search_in_description=1&search_in_author=1&search_in_artist=1). It's free, fairly simple, and can be adapted to pretty much any setting.

The trick is, though, set limits. With Rifts, I learned to tell people "We are playing this kind of game. Come up with a character who fits into that." If you don't set limits, you get a wide variety of characters who may or may not fit usefully together.

For that matter, get the players to all create characters together. The Fear The Boot Group Template (http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/wp-content/uploads/resources/2_GroupTemplate.pdf) should help with that.

Kaun
2011-09-26, 08:32 PM
The trick is, though, set limits. With Rifts, I learned to tell people "We are playing this kind of game. Come up with a character who fits into that." If you don't set limits, you get a wide variety of characters who may or may not fit usefully together.

Yeah +1 to this.

It isn't that much of an issue with a generic dnd game because people know what to expect.

Layout the intention right of the bat, if your thinking military espionage type game let them know before character gen.

For a game like that i would often tell them things like;



- Useful skills for this game: Combat - computers - social - stealth.
- Decent skills: Piloting small craft - medical - knowledge based skills.
- less useful skills - Piloting large crafts - creation/art skills - area knowledge outside "x" region.

You will be fighting for a decently equipped but underdog space trading corp.

some combat skills for all characters advised.

JediSoth
2011-09-27, 09:50 AM
The trick is, though, set limits. With Rifts, I learned to tell people "We are playing this kind of game. Come up with a character who fits into that." If you don't set limits, you get a wide variety of characters who may or may not fit usefully together.

I find this is necessary with most RPGs in general, otherwise you get a boatload of released slaves who are suppose to have bonded during slavery and want to stay together, but one character is an assassin who must draw blood once a day and usually hunts down children to do so because they're easier prey and chooses to work with the bad guys who are behind the campaign's metaplot; not because she wants to be contrary to the other PCs, but because she has NO reason to actually socialize with them. This character usually tags along with the group because the player doesn't want to have solo adventures--really, the justification was that thin.

Oops. That was really tangental. I find the different sci-fi RPGs are all pretty good for different things, depending on what kind of game you want to run. Heck I even keep two version of Star Wars around for that very reason: WEG D6 for low-Force/Dark Times campaigns and Saga Edition if I want there to be a lot of really effective Jedi in the party.

I have Bulldogs in case I want to run games in the vein of Firefly or Han Solo's Corporate Sector adventures, Eclipse Phase for those times when I want to mix in cosmic horror and transhumanism, Star Frontiers for action-movie law enforcement-style games, Rogue Trader for Grimdark Space Pirate games, Doctor Who for time-travel and multi-genre Sci-fi, and Savage Worlds for everything else.

turkishproverb
2011-09-27, 07:38 PM
For that matter, get the players to all create characters together. The Fear The Boot Group Template (http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/wp-content/uploads/resources/2_GroupTemplate.pdf) should help with that.

*Yoinks*

I also recommend d6.

Maxios
2011-09-27, 07:40 PM
I've been working on making a sci-fi rpg based on the non-existent rules presented in Darths & Droids. Once I finish it, I'll turn it into a PDF and post it on MegaUpload,