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    Default Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Hey Folks,

    Though were only about halfway through the current campaign of The Session Tapes, I'm laying the groundwork for the next campaign, and I'm looking for some advice.

    I'm a bit burnt out on pure Fantasy, and was looking at doing a multi-century time jump into the future of my homebrew setting. The concept is essentially "what would happen if a high-fantasy setting developed futuristic technology?"

    I'm just at a bit of a loss for what is the best engine to use for the setting. I've had Numenera recommended to me, but it seems really setting-specific and also a bit too "fantasy with some science bits". The tech/society level I was looking for was something more like Destiny or Star Wars, and less like a John Carter/Flash Gordon/Dune sort of Mythic Sci-Fi. Essentially hard tech but with some magic (which could just as easily be super-advanced science in the spirit of Clarke's 3rd Law).

    I was circling around Starfinder, the only worry I have is that it seems a bit less setting-agnostic than Pathfinder was; so I had a few questions:

    1.) How hard is it to make Starfinder fit a non-Pact Worlds setting? Does the game suffer as a result?

    2.) Other than Starfinder, are there any similar "hard tech with fantasy tropes" systems out there? Someone recommended Stars Without Number to me, but I was a bit underwhelmed.

    3.) Was there ever an official "Space Opera" update for Shadowrun made? I can't find anything, but that might just be because my Google-Fu sucks.

    Thanks for any help you can give!
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    I feel terrible, because the only thing that pops to mind is only sorta setting-agnostic and I don't actually care for the mechanics, so once you pull the setting elements out you have a mess.

    (Rifts, for the curious. )

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Easiest and cheapest way: Stars without Number.

    But to the actual question: Some classes might need refluffing, but Starfinder should work at elast as easily in other (more or less standard) SiFi Settings.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    Hey Folks,

    Though were only about halfway through the current campaign of The Session Tapes, I'm laying the groundwork for the next campaign, and I'm looking for some advice.

    I'm a bit burnt out on pure Fantasy, and was looking at doing a multi-century time jump into the future of my homebrew setting. The concept is essentially "what would happen if a high-fantasy setting developed futuristic technology?"
    Dragon Star is basically this exactly, mind you the setting is D&D 3E with sci-fi stuff bolted on.

    I'm just at a bit of a loss for what is the best engine to use for the setting. I've had Numenera recommended to me, but it seems really setting-specific and also a bit too "fantasy with some science bits". The tech/society level I was looking for was something more like Destiny or Star Wars, and less like a John Carter/Flash Gordon/Dune sort of Mythic Sci-Fi. Essentially hard tech but with some magic (which could just as easily be super-advanced science in the spirit of Clarke's 3rd Law).
    FATE? GURPS?

    I was circling around Starfinder, the only worry I have is that it seems a bit less setting-agnostic than Pathfinder was; so I had a few questions:

    1.) How hard is it to make Starfinder fit a non-Pact Worlds setting? Does the game suffer as a result?

    2.) Other than Starfinder, are there any similar "hard tech with fantasy tropes" systems out there? Someone recommended Stars Without Number to me, but I was a bit underwhelmed.

    3.) Was there ever an official "Space Opera" update for Shadowrun made? I can't find anything, but that might just be because my Google-Fu sucks.

    Thanks for any help you can give!
    Starfinder can be stripped of its default assumptions pretty well.

    I mentioned Dragon Star already, but that's more a custom 3PP setting.

    If you can find Alternity.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Mutants & Master minds covers pretty much every setting if you do it right. It may not be a perfect fit if you want something more lethal and gritty.

    Dark Heresy is a great system but you would have to cast off the Warhammer setting. That's not a particularly difficult feat as my group has done it many times before (we don't really jive with the setting).

    I also made a huge collection of equipment, guns, armor, mods, & cybernetics for a sci-fantasy game using pathfinder as a foundation. I can post if interested.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Well, Savage Worlds and d6 Space pop to mind.

    d6 Space is a slight improvement of the system used to run the old WEG Star Wars RPG, and combines well with d6 Fantasy (naturally). I believe the new owners are working on an updated ruleset for their upcoming Zorro game.

    Savage Worlds is a more modern system, which just had a new edition come out. Older editions are fairly compatible, and there's Fantasy and Sci-Fi companions for older editions.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    You could use classic Traveller and just make psi powers more common and accepted.

    I can't really conceive of Starfinder being sci-fi. It plays much more like Pathfinder 1.5 with science words pasted on.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Numenera, perhaps?
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    The only thing that really sticks to the Pact World setting is the races and specific monsters. The classes, gear, and basic rules are much more neutral.
    Starfinder is probably the closest to a generic Science Fantasy game out there, without going to a true generic game system.
    There is Rifts, but I am not sure that is actually playable. Amathyst is about the struggle between magic and science, not blending them. Dragonstar has a lot of great ideas, but it is a campaign setting for 3.0 D&D, rather than a standalone system. Esper Genesis is a sci-fi version of 5e D&D. Almost any anime rpg will have both sci-fi and fantasy elements, and I will include Dungeon the Dragoning as one of these. Any of the Warhammer 40k games could be adapted to what you want, but they are rather tied to the setting. Stars Without Numbers is unabashedly old school in design, but it has some real good information, especially in its supplements.
    Coriolis lesser known science fantasy game, with a middle eastern feel to its fantasy side. Not gotten to play it, but it is worth looking at. The same company got the licence for the new Aliens RPG, which uses the same basic system.
    Fading Suns is a space fantasy game, but fairly tied to its setting. It also uses an odd mechanic. Roll a d20 under you stat+skill rating, but a higher number is better. If you roll exactly on the target it is a critical success. It kinda reminds me of how 2e D&D psionics were done. The setting itself is basically WH40k lite.
    You could use one of the Star Wars games. Other than Jedi and lightsabers, they are fairly generic pulp sci-fi, although with the force elements they do have a magic quality. I have considered using one to run a game in the Mageworlds universe, but not had it happen yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Murikumo View Post
    I also made a huge collection of equipment, guns, armor, mods, & cybernetics for a sci-fantasy game using pathfinder as a foundation. I can post if interested.
    I don't know about anyone else, but I am always interested in such. Especially interesting cybernetics, which are rarer than you might expect.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    I wouldn't call Starfinder agnostic or generic. It is very strongly built around the PCs having the right wealth per level and the right gear per level, the spaceship stuff is part of the setting, level appropriate encounters are of built in to the bonus/hp/damage scaling, and they couldn't deal with spaceships being worth money so they're tied to party level.

    Esentially the PCs and what they fight are completely divorced from anything resembling economics. Everything beyond WBL and "can't buy higher than +1 level gear" is hand-waved.

    Space combat is a board game where your class skills usually determine what you do. Not having your class skills maxxed is actively punished by the system with its +1.5 * level DC scaling. There are spaceship weapons that deal damage to crew, but no rules or information about how to apply that to spaceships with 100+ unstatted crew members.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Two systems spring to mind.

    Stars Without Number is a one book solution and works pretty darn well for most things, though you may have to kit bash it just a bit to make it fit.

    Alternity, with a goodly bit of pre-work, will work great. If you get the original system, pick up a copy of the FX (basically, magic and/or superpowers) book and it essentially covers what you need for that even though there's some basics in the main books. It's a little wonky to most folks today, but once you get past the learning curve, it's really a good system I think.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Mongoose Traveller. Wonderfully agnostic. I have used it to run a Starcraft campaign and it fit like a glove. I´m running it now on a homebrew world and yet again it fits like a glove. Stars without number operates on the Traveller OGL, and has cool rules for world/system generation.
    Along with the most fun character creation i´ve ever done. and my group agrees

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    They've already been mentioned, but I'll second the suggestions of either Alternity, or d6Space/d6Fantasy.

    I don't recommend Starfinder, not because it would be difficult to separate it from the setting (it wouldn't be, the setting can be dropped and replaced easily), but because the system itself doesn't work very well. It's filled with ideas that sound great, but the execution just doesn't work very well. Full disclosure, I've only played in one campaign with it, and we only went to 7th level. If the system works better after that, I don't know about it. But low-level wise, it has ... issues.

    The newer Star Wars system might work well mechanically, but it's pretty difficult to pull the setting elements out of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    1.) How hard is it to make Starfinder fit a non-Pact Worlds setting? Does the game suffer as a result?
    The biggest setting hurdle I think would be Drift (Starfinder's mode of FTL.) If you're not using Pact Worlds, you have a couple of options:

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    1) Modify Drift to fit your own setting's form of FTL (the concept of being able to shift your ship and its inhabitants to another plane where time and space work differently to get places faster isn't new after all, Star Wars "hyperspace" works similarly.)

    2) Come up with an entirely new form of FTL and make that fit within the mechanics (you could adapt something like Mass Effect's element zero and relays without too much trouble, and even modify Solarians' gravity-based powers to be biotics.)

    3) Use a setting where true FTL is less important (e.g. The Expanse (until recently) takes place in one small part of a solar system, so they haven't needed a big focus on how everyone gets places within human lifetimes.

    4) You can even combine all these, as with Cowboy Bebop's Astral Gates. Keep something like Drift, but require that you can only enter it at fixed points that end up being hubs of transit and commerce. Naturally, this discourages the sort of open exploration feel that Starfinder is trying to capture, but if your setting is more geared at political intrigue in a smaller geospatial area than discovering new worlds, this might be fine.


    My other watch-out would be mechanics - since space opera is what you're after, make sure that Starfinder's space combat is what you want. It's designed to be a hybrid of Star Wars' dogfights and Star Trek's bridge-focused "everyone has a role to play" approach, and I can't say how well it succeeds at translating either, but if it's not to your liking then the game will fall apart quickly.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Fate, GURPS, and Savage Worlds spring to mind.

    You could probably find an Apocalypse World that's reasonably close to what you want and hack it appropriately as well.

    Probably something BRP-ish.

    Any of those should work, depending on what you want the feel, tone, and general playstyle of the game to be.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Shadowrun would probably work pretty well. The mechanics cover the science fiction and fantasy sides of things pretty well. Only problem is the absence of rules for starships, which isn't necessarily a dealbreaker, depending on the exact kind of story you're trying to tell, or if you're willing to plunder some from elsewhere. You could also try filing the serial numbers off one of the Star Wars games instead of Starfinder.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Thanks everybody! I had given a passing glance to a lot of these, but none really twisted my tentacles before now. You all have given me more to think about, so I'll look into these!

    I've also had Genesys recommended to me by people on some other forums; anyone have any experience with that system who can shed some light on it for me?
    Last edited by TheSessionTapes; 2019-12-06 at 08:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Genesys is a ...weird system.

    It doesnt do anything particularly well, and a few things quite badly, also it is rather "Theme connected" (very gamey) if I remember right.
    Its a rather gimmicky system overall, that people tend to love or hate, which is why I would never recommend it if someone is looking for a "generalist System".

    Clearly a "worse" recommendation than most offered here, if you ask me.
    Last edited by GrayDeath; 2019-12-06 at 09:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    Thanks everybody! I had given a passing glance to a lot of these, but none really twisted my tentacles before now. You all have given me more to think about, so I'll look into these!

    I've also had Genesys recommended to me by people on some other forums; anyone have any experience with that system who can shed some light on it for me?
    Going to give a slightly less negative review of Genesys than GrayDeath did, with the note that I'm also not actually a huge fan of Genesys.

    Genesys is a system that is designed to produce somewhat narrative results, while still operating in the framework of a traditional RPG.

    The core dice system is pretty elegant, but requires either unique dice, a unique dieroller, or a whole lot of looking things up on charts. Essentially, you have dice of varying sizes, and you roll a pool of dice based on your abilities and external factors, against a pool of 'difficulty dice' based on threat level and external factors. Good dice have Successes and Advantages on them, and bad dice have Failures and Threats. If you get more Successes than Failures you succeed, and if you get more Advantages than Threats you get good side effects. Conversely, getting more Failures than Successes causes you to fail, and more Threats gives you negative side effects.

    The result of this is that you're more likely to succeed with drawbacks or fail with advantages, but if you're really good at things you get increasingly likely to succeed with advantages.

    The actual system uses attributes, skills, and special Talents; for sci-fi, there's a generic version of the system, a class-based Star Wars version, and a cyberpunk version based on FFG's Android games. Combat is mid-tactical, with the ability to spend Advantages on critical effects or tactical bonuses for future rounds, and while main characters are pretty tough, they're not immortal. There's a 'plot point' pool that players can use to adjust their chances or create narrative coincidences, and when they do, it gives points to the GM to do the same back to them later. Equipment is very important, and there's a percentile critical table that I kind of hate.

    I've found that the people who really take to Genesys are people who want a mid-crunch tactical setting with a little bit of narrative engine sprinkled on top. Anyone who either dislikes narrative engines or isn't a fan of crunchy tactical stuff can bounce off it hard.

    There can also be an issue for players who have trouble distinguishing various symbols; I have known players who hate the system simply because it takes them a minute and a half to count up their dice results whenever they roll. This is a valid concern.
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    If you're willing to invest a bit of time and effort adapting it to your world I'd recommend Lancer.
    It's strongly mech based, but that can very easily be changed once you have a grip on the rules. There's enough Sufficiently Advanced Technology already present (space and time manipulation, invisibility, energy swords) that it's super easy to reflavour the system to fit a more fantasy themed world.
    Honestly, there probably isn't anything that'll scratch your specific itch OP, I suspect you're after the same sort of thing I've embraced with my most recent campaign which has pretty much had to be built from the ground up. Depending on how deeply you want to dive in, it might be easy enough to create/update stuff like vehicle rules, ranged weapons, and atmospheric/terrain effects (which can totally be interacted with via spells or tech as well as or instead of being natural).
    How advanced do you see the technology being for your new campaign? Is anti-gravity and dimension hopping the norm or is it more that mechanisation and electricity have been invented?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Going to give a slightly less negative review of Genesys than GrayDeath did, with the note that I'm also not actually a huge fan of Genesys...
    See, to me that sounds just like what I'm looking for. I love tactical combat/interactions, but I'm not a huge fan of "a rule for everything" hard-crunch rulesets. I like there to be a bit of narrative wiggle and player/narrator interpretation in an engine. Thanks for the info!

    Quote Originally Posted by BadJoss View Post
    Greetings,

    Cool idea. I spent some time thinking about exactly that... Advancing my fantasy home brew into sci-fi. Hey, orcs in space right!

    The Adventure System is designed for exactly this type of setting. It includes rules for fantasy and magic if that will advance in your setting and the rules for sci-fi.

    Any questions, let me know.

    Enjoy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onos View Post
    How advanced do you see the technology being for your new campaign? Is anti-gravity and dimension hopping the norm or is it more that mechanisation and electricity have been invented?
    The basic gist of the tech-level is this:

    1. What if arcane magic existed, but it was actually just another type of science that we (IRL Earth) haven't discovered yet?

    2. Imagine a world which developed, from the Neolithic/Bronze Age until the present, with access to magic to shortcut a lot of the tech advances we have made over the millennia.

    3. Finally, imagine what a hard sci-fi setting would look like in this world, which has access to things like Psionics, Arcane Magic, and point-to-point teleportation, but never developed relatively simple concepts like the Internal Combustion Engine and refined petrochemicals.

    I have a really complex magical science I've developed, which uses natural laws (just like Astrophysics and Quantum Mechanics) to put boundaries on the "Wizarddidit" stuff, so that even magic has limits. My goal in the setting is to make magic and science complementary forces, rather than in opposition as frequently seems to happen in Sci-Fantasy, Mystical Steampunk or Modern Magic settings.

    For example: Gunpowder was not developed in the Late Middle Ages in this setting. Instead, a clever inventor realised that if an arcane rune was used to generate a bolt of force in an enclosed space, it could be used to propel a projectile over a long distance. This was the basis of the firearms revolution. Chemical explosives were developed, but it was only much later, and their use was limited to systems were it would be too expensive or wasteful to use rune-tech to power the system. (For example, guided missiles or iron bombs).

    Mechanisation and electricity have been invented, but it was an inverse of how it happened in our world. Golems and elementals were used by wizards to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks, but their cost was prohibitive and limited their practical application. Robotics developed to replace the pure-arcane golem tech with a more easily-replicable system. Electricity originally developed as a way to mimic arcane effects but without the need for complicated runic networks; rather than needing multiple runes to perform a list of tasks, you only need one rune (to generate the power) and the rest is taken care of by much cheaper and mass-produceable electrical circuits and actuators.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    The basic gist of the tech-level is this:

    1. What if arcane magic existed, but it was actually just another type of science that we (IRL Earth) haven't discovered yet?

    2. Imagine a world which developed, from the Neolithic/Bronze Age until the present, with access to magic to shortcut a lot of the tech advances we have made over the millennia.

    3. Finally, imagine what a hard sci-fi setting would look like in this world, which has access to things like Psionics, Arcane Magic, and point-to-point teleportation, but never developed relatively simple concepts like the Internal Combustion Engine and refined petrochemicals.

    I have a really complex magical science I've developed, which uses natural laws (just like Astrophysics and Quantum Mechanics) to put boundaries on the "Wizarddidit" stuff, so that even magic has limits. My goal in the setting is to make magic and science complementary forces, rather than in opposition as frequently seems to happen in Sci-Fantasy, Mystical Steampunk or Modern Magic settings.
    Well the first question of such a thing to me is, how much convenience do you allow for psionics and magic to give people without needing materials or tech, and do you want that much convenience? because the main advantage of magic powers is that you bypass the need for many of the tools we invent to do this or that. sure one could replicate the other given enough time, but the main reason you have magic is so that you have a method to do this or that without needing get a cumbersome piece of equipment to do it and even if you use magic to get something like an enchanted item or golem, your still bypassing the process of manufacturing that normal items take.

    the more convenience you can give people without tech, the lower the tech the civilization is going to be outwardly. for example, why bother developing aircraft when you have a spell to fly on your own power and could just teach people how to fly themselves?
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    The W.O.I.N. engine might work.
    Specifically its sci-fi variant N.O.W. as a basis and adding the fantasy version O.L.D. for extra magic rules.
    It's OGL, uses only (heaps of) d6s, and PDF available on DTRPG.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    See, to me that sounds just like what I'm looking for. I love tactical combat/interactions, but I'm not a huge fan of "a rule for everything" hard-crunch rulesets. I like there to be a bit of narrative wiggle and player/narrator interpretation in an engine. Thanks for the info!
    Glad to help, and I hope you like it! I'm in an odd place with regards to Genesys - everything I like about the system is broad, and everything I dislike is a little thing that is easily changed, but there are enough little things that go against my personal style that I can't quite get into it.

    (If you're curious to listen to how it plays, the Campaign Podcast has done a full campaign using Edge of the Empire, and is currently running a more generic Genesys campaign that isn't sci-fi. Might give you an idea about game flow, although they're also all professional comedians so both games veer silly a lot of the time.)
    If you like my ideas, why not take a peek at my Patreon? New RPGs and campaigns on a constant drip!

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Well the first question of such a thing to me is, how much convenience do you allow for psionics and magic to give people without needing materials or tech, and do you want that much convenience?
    Magic is anything but convenient in the setting. It's not one of those high-fantasy settings were everybody and their brother has some sort of magic sensitivity. Magic (true powerful magic) is a pretty rare thing. Even among exceptional, hero-level characters, magic is relatively rare. And arcane magic (the stuff which is being replicated by technology) can only be wielded by a narrow subset of extremely well-practiced wizards. Divine magic is a different beast entirely, but it also can't be channeled into tech the same way Arcane magic can.

    I'm basically using the Longbow analogy to explain the tech/magic balance in the game: In every way, an 80-120 lb longbow outperforms a 15th or 16th century gun. The difference is, the gun takes minutes to learn, and the longbow takes months if not years. Which is why you don't find archery regiments in modern armies (though that would be badass). Magic can duplicate, or in some cases improve, on every advance that technology provides; but that magic takes decades to learn and is prohibitively expensive.

    So TL;DR answer... Magic is inherently inconvenient in the setting. Occultech was created to replicate the effects of Magic, but minimise the number of actual magical components required AND make those components able to be mass-produced.

    I waffled a bit, but does that answer the question?
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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    In brief my recommendation would be Shadowrun, or something softer like FATE or Savage Worlds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadline View Post
    I don't recommend Starfinder, not because it would be difficult to separate it from the setting (it wouldn't be, the setting can be dropped and replaced easily), but because the system itself doesn't work very well. It's filled with ideas that sound great, but the execution just doesn't work very well. Full disclosure, I've only played in one campaign with it, and we only went to 7th level. If the system works better after that, I don't know about it. But low-level wise, it has ... issues.
    I second this. Starfinder is a mess.

    In particular you need to carefully exponentiate the PCs' wealth to match the game's ludicrous wealth-by-level curve. This makes no sense for the vast majority of stories you might want to tell in a space opera setting. Ship-to-ship combat also not only becomes gradually impossible to make checks for as the PCs gain levels, but is boring even when it does work right. Pretty much the equivalent of multiple people controlling the same swing-and-pass fighter for an entire combat. It also has no answers or else just says 'no' to many of the things one might want to do to make a spaceship battle more interesting. Teleporting aboard the enemy vessel, spacing people, or firing your ship's weapons at anything that isn't also a starship are all some degree of a no-go by the written rules.

    You can divorce it from the setting without all that much trouble but you'll never undo all the terrible design decisions made for it. If you're interested just for the incredible breadth of mechanical character-building options that Pathfinder has to offer then rest assured, that has also been gutted. The designers seem to be under the illusion that their game is balanced, and character build options are much more restrictive to "keep it balanced". It is more balanced than Pathfinder, for what little that's worth.



    Given that space operas often work on rule of cool, logic like "that's just crazy enough to work", and other heavy usage of tropes, FATE or Savage Worlds seem like a good fit. Those tend to fair better in intrigue-heavy campaigns where important people take reasonable precautions to ensure that powerful opposing forces can't easily reach them. Keep in mind that explosives or crashing a ship into something is always an option in Sci-Fantasy. Pulpy D&D-like systems where it would otherwise take a whole bunch of hits to bring the enemy down can make kills like that feel very cheap.

    Shadowrun also sounds like a close fit, thematically, to what you're looking for. Though I've never personally played it. I've heard from a friend that the combat is very deadly and fast-paced. That might match more realistically with how high-tech combat with laser rifles would actually play out on the scale of a small group of people. It makes tactically planning a fight out beforehand just as important or moreso than the actual combat, which can feel good if you're trying to match the movies. It also gels with settings like Star Wars where a single full-on unarmored hit on someone with a blaster is a serious deal and not just a flesh wound. Finally the magic in that system isn't too prevalent. I've heard that the biggest downside to the system is that hacking means that everyone else at the table gets to twiddle their thumbs while the tech guy plays.


    Finally, Pathfinder has the homebrew system known as "Gramarie" if you're looking to quickly drive yourself insane with overly-complex magitech.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Yew View Post
    The W.O.I.N. engine might work.
    Specifically its sci-fi variant N.O.W. as a basis and adding the fantasy version O.L.D. for extra magic rules.
    It's OGL, uses only (heaps of) d6s, and PDF available on DTRPG.
    Forgot about that one. Its also the base system that runs the Judge Dredd and The Worlds of 2000 A.D. RPG (so loads of weird science/magic mash ups available).

    It has super awesome support on EN World.

    Shadowrun also sounds like a close fit, thematically, to what you're looking for. Though I've never personally played it. I've heard from a friend that the combat is very deadly and fast-paced. That might match more realistically with how high-tech combat with laser rifles would actually play out on the scale of a small group of people. It makes tactically planning a fight out beforehand just as important or moreso than the actual combat, which can feel good if you're trying to match the movies. It also gels with settings like Star Wars where a single full-on unarmored hit on someone with a blaster is a serious deal and not just a flesh wound. Finally the magic in that system isn't too prevalent. I've heard that the biggest downside to the system is that hacking means that everyone else at the table gets to twiddle their thumbs while the tech guy plays.
    Shadowrun has a delightful meta-plot and is full of cool ideas. As a system it's kind of a mess. There are separate subsystems for combat, hacking, astral combat, shaman magic, hermetic magic, kung-fu magic, hacking magic, magic hacking, vehicle combat, using combat vehicles in combat, and drones. None of them interact especially well, and some of them are an absolutely slog to get through.

    If you can get everybody using the simpler to use systems, say combat and any one of the four types of magic, then you're okay. As soon as you involve anything that doesn't require the physical presence of a character then it drags because suddenly two of six players are doing anything (the GM and the hacker).
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2019-12-13 at 07:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Agnostic Sci-Fantasy Engine?

    I don't see any Scum and Villany on here. I'd you're looking for a Fireflyeaque game it run into the Blades in the Dark engine which is itself based on the Powered by the Apocalypse engine. So pretty streamlined and focused on the narrative

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