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Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:06 pm
by starspawn85
I am super pleased with basic fantasy rpg. I have been recommending it to my friends and family. That being said I would really like to see a basic scifi rpg. I would do it myself but I don't know the ends and out of how writing, illustrating, and marketing works. Is that something that you guys would be interested in of should I just stick to Stars without Number?

Re: Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:18 pm
by teaman
I know Solomoriah has written several other rules sets, and I think one that could be used for scifi is at:

Re: Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:46 pm
by Solomoriah
The biggest problem with a sci-fi RPG is the assumed or default setting; unlike OSR fantasy games, there is really no accepted "default" as most science fiction is associated with a major property like Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, etc. each of which has its own assumptions and features. Traveller was set in the only "default" that ever really existed, i.e. the humanocentric galactic empire. Examples of this setting abounded prior to the appearance of Star Trek, which began the process of killing the genre; Star Wars largely finished it off. There really aren't any major current science fiction properties set in such a universe.

Personally, I'm a fan of Jack Vance's sci-fi galaxy, as depicted in the Demon Princes novels as well as Araminta Station (and maybe more, I haven't really researched it yet). Asimov's Empire is, of course, another such setting.

Re: Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:30 am
by Clever_Munkey
Personally I love SWN, and I would love to see a Basic Sci-Fi RPG, but as Solo said, there aren’t really any default sci-fi settings. In fantasy it’s pretty easy to modify the default by removing things (yes things get added and changed, but people are more likely to accept elves, dwarves, hobbits, and monsters in their fantasy world, than aliens in their sci-fi). With sci-fi, the basic assumption is “there are humans,” and everything else has to be added. The question quickly becomes what classes do I make? Are there any major roles that I’m forgetting? What is everyone capable of doing, and what takes special training? It gets even worse with alien races. And then you have to decide on the “physics” of the world, which basically boils down to “Which technologies are advanced, and how advanced are they?” And if you deviate too much from the “Basic” framework (say by replacing classes for a skill system), it stops being the same kind of game.

In my opinion, SWN probably gets the closest to answering these questions in the sense that after the space apocalypse anything can happen. I think most attempts at trying to make a setting neutral OSR style sci-fi game will end up close to it.

That said, I’d love to see what you come up with. I think a lot of these questions can be answered by providing templates and a framework for players and GMs to quickly and easily write their own material, but again that’s kind of what SWN has already done. I still want to see it though.

Re: Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:18 am
by Solomoriah
Sci-fi has a much broader coverage than fantasy, in some ways. Oh sure, there's stuff in the fantasy realm like Amber that is nothing like Tolkien, but nobody really expects that... fantasy games are inspired about equally by Tolkien and Howard, with infusions from some of the other old masters.

You can create a nicely generic space opera game built around the Traveller model, which actually models the most common pre-Star Trek/Star Wars space opera fiction. I'm talking about the humanocentric galactic civilization, of course. Asimov's Foundation series is set in such a universe, as are many of the science fiction books of Jack Vance (and while I love Asimov, Vance's sci fi is just fantastic). What makes such a fictional universe "generic" is the fact that the galaxy is HUGE. You see this in Vance's novels... the Oikumene of the Demon Princes and the Gaean Reach of the Cadwal series are huge areas of space with many, many stars, yet they are so far apart that it's barely apparent they're connected at all. (The mention of the mad poet Navarth in both series is the best evidence that they go together.)

But Star Wars and Star Trek brought us universes full of aliens, with Star Wars presenting a lot of very non-human types; once you involve aliens in this way, you end up with "flavor" that defines the fictional universe. Klingons and Romulans, Hutts and Caminoans, they have a feel that makes the universe they hail from unique... and uniqueness is the enemy of generality, obviously.

Re: Probably been asked before about basic scifi rpg

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:03 pm
by teaman
Another thing to consider is that a lot of sci-fi properties like Star Trek and Star Wars are more cinematic. In reality, all those laser pistols should be vaporizing PC's left and right, yet our heroes make it out alive.

Now, there may be ways to tweak OSR systems to better model that. But just something to consider.