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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » General Role-Playing

Subject: Sci Fi RPG Recommendation? rss

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SHAWN WHITE
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Hey, all.

A little board game adjacent, but my partner and I have been using some Sci-Fi RPG books for inspiration, and we're looking for something a little less fantastical, and seeking something that is very tech and science heavy.

We're particularly interested in, say, speculative technology, and gear.

Any suggestions?

Cheers!
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Peter Drake
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Traveller is a pretty good bet.
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Ben Vincent
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Try asking here:

https://rpggeek.com/forum/321703/rpg/general-role-playing
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SHAWN WHITE
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mundungus wrote:
Traveller is a pretty good bet.


Looks like it. I was unfamiliar with Traveller, though I'd seen the CCG they released based on the property.

Thank you. Have a copy on order.

Cheers
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Edmond Bass
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Battlelords of the 23rd Century has been a fav of my group for years.

https://ssdc.com/
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Derek H
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Have a look at RPG DriveThru store - some good descriptions of various system - the "hard scifi" section is: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?filters=0_0_520_0_0

I saw a scenario book that deals with "near future" solar system exploration - Orbital 2100 - and there might be others.
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Eclipse Phase is the first thing that comes to mind. It's got that spec-fic vibe where it feels like they took modern science and extrapolated from there instead of starting with an end-point and making up the part in the middle.

If you've seen or read Altered Carbon, it's heavily inspired by that. The basic premise is "What if there's nanotech, and both the best-case-scenario and the worst-case-scenario are simultaneously true?" There's a lot of cool nanite-based gear, you can download scans of your brain into new bodies (which you can modify and upgrade like gear), and there's a lot of great hard-sci-fi type stuff about our solar system.

The only thing that might be offputting to you based on your ask is that it wears some inspiration from games like Call of Cthulhu and has a cosmic horror element. Beings made of post-singularity nanotech are incomprehensibly inhuman, because the artificial intelligence that spawned them is fundamentally not human at all. There's enough absolutely top-rate speculative future tech and worldbuilding to run whole games in without even touching the TITANs if you want.

If you want a game that has multiple pages of plausible terraforming and exoplanet surveillance/exploration gear that's designed to be PC-accessible in one of the books, Eclipse Phase has got you covered. It's also got uplifted (and therefore sentient) sun whales, plausible post-scarcity economies, and PC AIs.
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Mike P
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Regarding Traveller, I always liked character creation more than the actual game. Lol.

I’d muster out in my 70s.
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Eclipse Phase is the first thing that comes to mind. It's got that spec-fic vibe where it feels like they took modern science and extrapolated from there instead of starting with an end-point and making up the part in the middle.

If you've seen or read Altered Carbon, it's heavily inspired by that. The basic premise is "What if there's nanotech, and both the best-case-scenario and the worst-case-scenario are simultaneously true?" There's a lot of cool nanite-based gear, you can download scans of your brain into new bodies (which you can modify and upgrade like gear), and there's a lot of great hard-sci-fi type stuff about our solar system.

The only thing that might be offputting to you based on your ask is that it wears some inspiration from games like Call of Cthulhu and has a cosmic horror element. Beings made of post-singularity nanotech are incomprehensibly inhuman, because the artificial intelligence that spawned them is fundamentally not human at all. There's enough absolutely top-rate speculative future tech and worldbuilding to run whole games in without even touching the TITANs if you want.

If you want a game that has multiple pages of plausible terraforming and exoplanet surveillance/exploration gear that's designed to be PC-accessible in one of the books, Eclipse Phase has got you covered. It's also got uplifted (and therefore sentient) sun whales, plausible post-scarcity economies, and PC AIs.


That does sound interesting, and I'm a fan of Altered Carbon (have yet to read the books). Thanks for the reco. And good timing. Looks like it's up for a second edition soon. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Cheers.
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GURPS sounds like a good fit for you.
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You might want to check out River of Heaven.
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Roger Hobden
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There was a thread quite recently about the best "hard" science fiction RPGs:

https://rpggeek.com/thread/2110323/qotd-dec-9-what-are-your-...
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Roger Hobden
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mundungus wrote:
Traveller is a pretty good bet.


I agree that Traveller is a good choice.

Traveller (Mongoose Second Edition) is the latest iteration.

Traveller (Mongoose 2nd Edition)

Their Starter Set came out recently and is of very high value.

Plus, if you buy the PDF version, it can be in your hands within minutes of reading this.

The best place to download this game is a site called "DriveThruRPG".

The link for the starter set is here:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/210198/Traveller-Starte...
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Roger Hobden
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The is also Cepheus Engine, which is very strongly derived from Traveller, and is also highly regarded.

The PDF is "pay as you want", and can be downloaded again at DriveThruRPG:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/186894/Cepheus-Engine-S...

Some scenarios that take place in our Solar system have been designed by Zozer Games, and look very cool. I would like to try one of those in the upcoming year.

More info here about Far Horizon, one of these scenarios:

https://rpggeek.com/rpgitem/217653/far-horizon
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I'm waiting for an RPG of the Honor Harrington series of books. Sigh.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6767/attack-vector-tacti...
Board game of the Honor Harrington type.
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Mallet wrote:


The is also Cepheus Engine, which is very strongly derived from Traveller, and is also highly regarded.


Seconded. Also, if looking at Traveller, 2300 AD is a really good one.

As for things that haven't been mentioned, Stars Without Number is a toolkit at its barest and can do a pretty hard sci-fi feel pretty easily. N.E.W. is also a toolkit that I'd recommend.
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Club Squirrel
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I think it depends on what you want out of the game. Some I like are;

Starfinder Core Rulebook - it's D20, so combat centric.

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook / Genesys Core Rulebook - FFGs system is great for more story based game.

D6 Space Rulebook - the old Star Wars system is still solid for sci-fi games.
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Carl Clare
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Traveller and Traveller 2300 are both great games and I recommend them highly.

Orbital 2100 is hard sci-fi (harder than Traveller) but I think it lacks the speculative sci-fi you're looking for.

Stars Without Number is a very open system and is well regarded.

I love Altered Carbon too and if that is what you are trying to emulate with your game then I'd say Traveller isn't the best choice. Traveller 2300 does have genetic modification and 'stacks' could be easily created in-game as a house rule. The Earth of Traveller 2300 is also much more akin to the Earth of the Netrunner novels than for instance to Star Wars. For me, the Netrunner novels are closer to Altered Carbon than many others in my library.
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mundungus wrote:
Traveller is a pretty good bet.
Traveller is pretty much hard space opera... but it's big breaks from reality are practical fusion, the jump drive, gravitics, the high-energy low-interaction short life meson , and psionics. It does presume earthlike life is everywhere, but that's tweakable easily enough.

Star Wars as a setting is space fantasy, but the engine is useable for harder space opera. Genesys is the generic version of the engine, and has more flexible (and less setting specific and less fantastique archetypes)

Starfinder is Space fantasy; science seems absent entirely. Not going to fit the request for grounded in science

Genuine sci-fi, not space opera, pretty much is dominated by Eclipse Phase (which I don't know except by rep) and Transhuman Space (for GURPS). Several space opera settings also have been done in GURPS, including Vorkosigan Saga, Ogre, and Commonwealth (as in Flinx series).

A few little known systems also do fairly hard sci-fi. Albedo, Justifiers, and High Colonies are fairly hard.

Jovian Chronicles is definitely hard sci-fi except for two big breaks - practical fusion and mecha... the latter breaks the hard sci-fi feel, but it can be easily ignored. Everything else is hard SF.
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aramis wrote:
mundungus wrote:
Traveller is a pretty good bet.
Traveller is pretty much hard space opera... but it's big breaks from reality are practical fusion, the jump drive, gravitics, the high-energy low-interaction short life meson , and psionics. It does presume earthlike life is everywhere, but that's tweakable easily enough.

[. . .]

Jovian Chronicles is definitely hard sci-fi except for two big breaks - practical fusion and mecha... the latter breaks the hard sci-fi feel, but it can be easily ignored. Everything else is hard SF.


So, why do you consider practical fusion a big break from reality? We do not have fusion power. However, there are many companies working on it. I believe ITER is going to build a test fusion reactor in France.

It seems plausible that in the future, fusion power reactors will be possible. Given that, it seems that it would qualify as hard sci-fi. I am just wonder why you discount something as hard sci-fi given that it seems at least theoretically possible with current technology meaning that in the future, it seems even more plausible.
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William Hostman
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SteamCraft wrote:
aramis wrote:
mundungus wrote:
Traveller is a pretty good bet.
Traveller is pretty much hard space opera... but it's big breaks from reality are practical fusion, the jump drive, gravitics, the high-energy low-interaction short life meson , and psionics. It does presume earthlike life is everywhere, but that's tweakable easily enough.

[. . .]

Jovian Chronicles is definitely hard sci-fi except for two big breaks - practical fusion and mecha... the latter breaks the hard sci-fi feel, but it can be easily ignored. Everything else is hard SF.


So, why do you consider practical fusion a big break from reality? We do not have fusion power. However, there are many companies working on it. I believe ITER is going to build a test fusion reactor in France.

It seems plausible that in the future, fusion power reactors will be possible. Given that, it seems that it would qualify as hard sci-fi. I am just wonder why you discount something as hard sci-fi given that it seems at least theoretically possible with current technology meaning that in the future, it seems even more plausible.


Key word is practical. That, plus a minimum size of 1 cubic meter. And no heat sinks, either, except in TNE and T4. (Even then, not entirely realistic radiator requirements.) In T4, there's also Piezo-Nuclear Fusion (also called "Cold Fusion").

Edit to add: ITER isn't anywhere near close to practical. No fusion that's publicly known is breaking even. Let alone generating 18 MW per kl
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Thank you everyone for all of the great input. I’ve already ordered two of your recommendations, and may be making more purchases. I should have clarified from the beginning that we’re NOT planning on playing any of these games, necessarily. While we do role play, my primary interest here is inspiration for a non-RPG story we’ve been working on. I’m interested in exploring tech, settings, military, etc in different worlds and universes.

Thank you again for all the great recos.
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Roger Hobden
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doodlezook wrote:
Thank you everyone for all of the great input. I’ve already ordered two of your recommendations, and may be making more purchases. I should have clarified from the beginning that we’re NOT planning on playing any of these games, necessarily. While we do role play, my primary interest here is inspiration for a non-RPG story we’ve been working on. I’m interested in exploring tech, settings, military, etc in different worlds and universes.

Thank you again for all the great recos.


In that case, I believe the GURPS material can also provide a lot of inspiration:

http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/

https://rpggeek.com/rpg/332/gurps-4th-edition

https://rpggeek.com/rpg/201/gurps-3rd-edition

https://rpggeek.com/rpg/883/gurps-transhuman-space
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Roger Hobden
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Also, Blue Planet is really amazing:

https://rpggeek.com/rpg/303/blue-planet-2nd-edition
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aramis wrote:
Traveller is pretty much hard space opera... but it's big breaks from reality are practical fusion, the jump drive, gravitics, the high-energy low-interaction short life meson , and psionics. It does presume earthlike life is everywhere, but that's tweakable easily enough.


It's a while since I read about it, but wasn't one reason for the prevalence of earthlike life a hyper-intelligent alien mutant called Grandfather messing with the entire region?
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