A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

30 August 2011

Help Me Obi-Wan.... You're My Only Hope....

My friends, out there in the blogosphere, you are my Obi-Wan this morning. You all are my General Kenobi. I need your help.

Specifically, I'm looking for a Sci-Fi RPG. I love me my D&D for sure. However, sometimes I long for a little blaster-zapping, planet-skipping, alien-hunting fun.

The problem is, I just don't know where to go for that fun.

A quick search of the internet gives me a list of possible avenues. This past week, I've found the following random sample (in no particular order):
  • Astral Empires

  • Cosmic Patrol

  • Rogue Space

  • Star Frontiers

  • Stars Without Number

  • X-Plorers
My problem? Where to go? Where to turn? I'm looking for advice--pros and cons. I'm not sure even that there's a particular "style" I'm looking for in a game (retro, pulp, space opera, etc.) except that I want one simple enough to teach my kids yet complex enough to give some options. Star Frontiers is the only one I've really had any experience with, but I'm not sure it's the "answer."

I've purposefully left off the list the various Star Trek and Star Wars incarnations. Star Trek and Star Wars are too "established." There are certain expectations and certain characters and themes that are, well, expected. I played in Star Trek and Dr. Who games in high school and enjoyed them not at all. Look, I'll admit that one of my groups plays a game set in the Forgotten Realms. The nice part is: Elminster is always somewhere else. Drizz't is always somewhere else. Not only do the "name" NPCs never make an appearance, the DM established right up front, game night #1, that the histories of the Realms were fluid and nothing that took place in a novel, supplement, or magazine was ever guaranteed. It also helped that I'd never read a Forgotten Realms novel until after we'd started that first session. Star Wars and Star Trek are too much a part of my history and my kids' histories to take such a cavalier approach. Plus I want to show my kids that there is other Sci-Fi out there.

And no, keep your "Star Wars and Star Trek aren't 'REAL' Science Fiction!" arguments and screeds to yourself right now. That's beside the point.

I've also purposefully left off the Traveller incarnations, mostly for no other reason than I've heard tell of their legendary complexities. Shadowrun is off the table because... well, just because. I've never been too attracted or interested to that one.

Gamma World and Post-Apocalyptic entities are also off the table: I dabbled in Gamma World way back when and it was simply too "silly." If I want silly, I'll turn to Paranoia. A battered, broken toaster is simply not a treasure. Period. And the other Post-Apoc seem a bit grim. I want spaceships and aliens, not broken cityscapes and mutant goats.

So... Any advice?

EDIT: It looks like I need to add two more to the list for consideration:


Sine Nomine said...

As the author, I'm biased, but Stars Without Number is free in PDF at DriveThruRPG. If you know how to play D&D, you know how to play SWN; it's got the same bones combined with a light skill system. Rolling up a character takes about five minutes if you've got a concept in mind, and it's cross-compatible with most existing retroclones.

Even if the system turns out to be not your taste, I can suggest you look at the world and adventure generation sections as being system-neutral tools for ginning up interesting places in a hurry. The resource lists at the back can also be handy for creating NPCs, religions, businesses, alien ruins, and other bits and sundries.

Boric G said...

@ Sine Nomine: Actually, I appreciate the advice quite a bit. The fact that you would take the time to comment says a lot about you.

I'm still open to other comments and suggestions, but I'll certainly take a closer look at SWN on your recommendation.

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