View Full Version : Looking for a Sci-Fi P&P RPG : recommandations ?

08-08-2010, 05:27 AM

I'm sure you get that kind of question all the time, but having browsed these forums (and not being a native English speaker), I didn't find what I was looking for. Thus, I turn to you seeking for advice.
I'm looking for a pen and paper Science-Fiction RPG. I haven't been able to find much information on something else than Traveller, and that game did'nt really do the trick for me : to retro-futuristic, I don't like some of the game mechanics, and so on.

The kind of game I'm looking for would be something like the videogames Starcraft and Mass Effect : aliens, laser and machine guns, ships, huge space stations, personnal shields ala Dune, that sort of things, without the retro-futuristic look of a Dune or a Traveller. Warhammer 40K would probably be another example of the kind of setting I'm looking for, which brought me to consider buying the War40K official RPG, but the thing is, to me, War40K is a miniature game and nothing else. Its universe is interesting in itself, but has always felt a little to "commercial" to me and I don't think I would like to play a campaign in it.

Would you have suggestions for games that would match what I'm looking for ? Being French-speaker myself, it would be nice if these games were available in a French translated version, but they don't have to.

Again, I apologize if there is an obvious source of information that I missed, or if this isn't the right section to post, I'm kind of new here.

Thanks, have a good day.

08-08-2010, 12:32 PM
Well, you're probably going to have to get over the whole "commercial" issue. A game is a game and you can do pretty much anything you want to the setting once you've decided on the core mechanics. If you don't have a problem with the d20 mechanic, there are a number of campaign settings for the sci-fi genre (Stargate, Babylon5, Resident Evil, Starship Troopers, just to name a few I have). There are rumors that Gamma World is going to come back.

Here are a few more to Google:

Starcluster 3
Eclipse Phase
Full Light Full Steam
Star Wars - way commercial :)

Good luck.

08-09-2010, 01:42 PM
Eclipse Phase is the first one that jumped to my mind.

Lando The Archmagi
08-09-2010, 05:13 PM
What version of Traveller did you try? There are like 5 editions and a d20 version. Rogue Trader/Dark Hersey for the 40K universe are both very good RPGs. I love Rogue Trader a lot and GM it online. There are lots of scifi rpgs out there, some like GURPS - Space would let you make your own setting. Alternity and the like you could do it too.

For scifi, I own the following:

BattleStar Galactic
Traveller Classic
Traveller T20 (d20)
Gamma World
D20 Future/Space
Star Wars d6/Revised/Saga
Macross II
Mekton Zeta/Zeta+
GURPS - Space
and others..

08-10-2010, 06:06 AM
Thanks a lot to all of you for your replies and suggestions, that's gonna help me a lot in my research. Simply having names to Google is precious information.

I didn't "try" a particular version of Traveller, I've read reviews on different versions. The problem is that, here in French-speaking Europe, the only Traveller we have in a translated version is - I think - the original one, which I don't really like art-wise and gameplay-wise. Reviews I've read about it didn't convince me, either. I'll certainly give it a little further look, but it didn't appeal to me enough to make me rush to my gaming shop and buy it.

Dark Heresy seems kind of nice, I have to say. At first, I didn't really like the fact that it's an already-set-up universe on which I don't have a lot of control, but on second thought, I guess it's entirely possible for me to tweak some of the story/universe the way I like to, so that I end up with a world that is, more or less, my own (like, who knows, maybe I'm playing in a time where the Emperor is dead and the Eldars have taken control of the Imperium ?).
But my question would then be : is it possible to do this ? I've read here and there that a major issue of Dark Heresy was that it didn't focus enough on Xenos, and therefore my fear is that there is just not enough "stuff" in this game that would allow me to tweak it. For instance, if there is almost nothing in this book on Tyranids, Eldars or, say, Tau, it's gonna be difficult for me to create the gaming world I was talking about. Which brings me back to "this universe is not "open" as much as I would want it to be". Another potential problem is that as a player, you "have to be" an Imperial Acolyt. You can't chose to play a Tau, an Eldar, or a Chaotic Psyker. That's kind of an issue for me, and I guess my question basically is this : does this game shoehorn the player and/or the GM into a universe/characters/story that they cannot change very much to adapt it/them to their needs and desires roleplay-wise ?

Anyway, thanks again for the info, that's gonna give me stuff to think about.

08-10-2010, 11:38 AM
One thing you could consider is Star Wars Saga. Just hear me out first. If you like d20 system, this is a good route to go. Use the books and system as a starting off point and change the setting as you go. Don't want Jedi? You don't have to have them. There are enough droids, ships, weapons, and space stations, and planet descriptions to provide more than enough for a generic space campaign. Just change the names out and utilize the mini-adventures found in a lot of the specialized books like The Unknown Regions, Scum & Villiany, Galaxy of Intrigue, Galaxy at War, etc. But that is a lot of work, so depending on if you are the GM or the player, this would be something to consider. I personally love the system as it definitely improved as more books were available.

Besides that, Eclipse Phase seems to be a good way to go. Best off all the core book is available free as PDF on their site right now.

08-11-2010, 09:28 AM
Wow, Eclipse Phase looks awesome indeed. Deep, beautiful artwork... I'll definitely give it a try, with the PDF being free and all that. Probably more the kind of stuff I'm looking for background-wise, and the Creative Common License really makes me want to support these guys.

Since there's already a topic on this forum about this game, I guess I should use it from now on to look for further information about it. However, does any of you, maybe living in Europe, know if Black Books Editions' French version of this game is still scheduled ? According to their last message about the subject (on July 7th), it is, but their Pathfinder translation work, for instance, has suffered a number of postponings (if that's a word) that make me worry a little.
And second question, do you have a good trustworthy website where I could order the English version of the Core Rule Book for a reasonnable price ? Since I'm not living in the US, I probably can't afford to pay a lot of money for the shipping to Belgium...

08-11-2010, 01:53 PM
I picked up my physical copy of Eclipse Phase from Amazon... you might be able to find a copy from your regional Amazon.

08-25-2010, 04:24 PM
Fading Suns I would recommend.
It has the elements of Dune, Firefly, and Medieval style that I like.

Richard Littles
08-28-2010, 12:54 AM
I would recommend Star Hero by Hero Games. It's a book that showcases the entire science fiction genre and how to use the Hero System for sci-fi campaigns.

Crom on his Mountain
08-30-2010, 02:54 PM
I'd definitely recommend Alternity, and they even have a Starcraft setting.

Boxed Set (http://www.waynesbooks.net/si/GMBX02tsr11618.html)


09-25-2010, 03:42 PM
You could get Septimus. Its available for free, and will be supported very soon with supplements and what not.

09-27-2010, 11:17 PM
I recommend the setting and background from the free RPG, Metascape II - but you will need to convert it to a workable system. It is overbearingly, gratuitously crunchy.
Original defunct website: http://www.mentalwinds.com/
Blog for the redevelopment: http://metascapegame.blogspot.com/
My mirror of the game: http://www.curufea.com/Wikka/wikka.php?wakka=Metascape

09-28-2010, 07:27 AM
Fading Suns I would recommend.
It has the elements of Dune, Firefly, and Medieval style that I like.

I second that. Fading suns have a very deep immersion as it is very diversified and well documented. Although, there are numerous part of the world that is not described (which leave you room to be original).