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
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: