What companions for science fiction?

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What companions for science fiction?

#1 Postby MDC » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:07 pm

I posted a question about this on BGG and someone has recommended I give SW a try. I have played 1 game of SW using Super Powers Companion. And, I own the Deluxe Explorer's Edition of the base rules. So I figured I would post here for more details on what SW has available.

I am sure I am being too vague about this but I was looking for some system that has a good amount of material that could cover all kinds of things. Whether it is just setting material (a grim, dark future or anything futuristic) or actual rules (space combat). Maybe even something that covers horror or sanity (like Call of Cthulhu but not as devastating).

I am comfortable making my own setting, creating planets/universe, etc. But when a system lacks rules for something I am not so good at how to make things work.

I have seen Interface Zero from Gun Metal Games which looks like it would cover the cyberpunk area. Maybe Realms of Cthulhu to give me the horror/sanity aspect? What about the science-fiction part, though? Slipstream sounds like it may be too pulp-ish for what I was thinking.

Thanks for any input as I investigate what to run.

Last edited by MDC on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Postby ogbendog » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:21 pm

There are the SciFi toolkits, which I own, if you want to make your own.

there is Savage Space, which is a fee download. There's a thread on it, a search should find it for you.

There are also a fair number of fan conversions of Star Wars, BSG, Farscape, etc floating around.

There is High Space which you have to pay for.

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#3 Postby JackMann » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:22 pm

Sounds like what you need are the Sci-Fi toolkits, which can be found and purchased here. There's no Sci-Fi Companion (yet), but this is the next best thing (and when they do come up with a Sci-Fi companion, it will likely draw heavily from the tookits). They have pretty much everything you need to create a science fiction game.

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#4 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:36 pm

It's worth noting that the Core Rules have a lot of sci-fi stuff, including advanced armors, laser weapons, and hover tanks. It is thin, being mixed in with all the other genre notes (medieval, age-of-sail, old west, and modern) but useful stuff.

The Horror Companion will cover your sanity-destroying needs, and has a wonderful xenomorph stat block.

I've heard good things about High Space, but I can't give direct testimony.

The previously mentioned Sci-Fi Toolkits are good. Dated, sometimes clunky, but good.

The Slipstream settings is very space-pulp - lots of Flash Gordon inspirations throughout.

The upcoming Nemezis setting has a lot of sci-fi potential. But it's now out yet (:() so I can't give you a link to it.

Best of luck!
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#5 Postby Locke » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:00 am

I haven't actually tried them, but Mystical Throne Entertainment has a couple supplements out you might want to look into. [url='http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/101783/Judgment-Day-%28Expanded-Edition%29']Judgment Day[/url] has what look like some good "monster hunter" resources, and [url='http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/101059/Mercenary-Breed-(Expanded-Edition)']Mercenary Breed[/url] looks like a good resource for space opera. MB might not be as crunchy or "hard sci-fi" as you're looking for, but each of those books is only $6, so you wouldn't be out much to give them a try.

They've been high on my wish list for a while. :)

I can also definitely recommend Realms of Cthulhu for your horror. The Horror Companion is a great resource, but I feel like RoC gives you a more Lovecraftian feel. Plus, the book gives you options for how gritty and dangerous you want the game to be, both on the physical and the mental health of your characters.

Anyway, there are my two cents. Take them for what they're worth. ;)
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Re: What companions for science fiction?

#6 Postby Maine » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:08 pm

It really comes down to what you feel it lacks, and how deep you want to go. Unless something is a core mechanic of your setting and something that should come up multiple times per session, I wouldn't go beyond the core rulebook, or at most use a lightweight system. Remember the mantra: Fast! Furious! Fun! Detailed and heavy mechanics tend to slow down gameplay and hinder creativity, rather than help it, and often special mechanics aren't even necessary to handle things.

Triple Ace Games has done a wonderful job keeping to FFF with their various Daring Tales lines, by only adding rules and features that will be a frequent presence in games set in those settings, and then they go on to present a lightweight rule-set. I'd start by reading the free rules for both Daring Tales of the Space Lanes (DTSpace) and Daring Tales of the Sprawl (DTSprawl).

Alien Races - Deluxe core rules should be fine, but Slipstream may give you more inspiration.

Space combat - I think the Deluxe rule set works fine, but if you want something a little more tailored, the system in DTSpace is good. I also was intrigued by the dogfight mechanics in Weird Wars II. The way you want to run the game will vary greatly if players are in small fighter-craft, a small craft for a handful of people (Serenity, Millennium Falcon) or large craft with a small crew (Moya [Farscape], Lexx), senior crew of a large vessel, or are they even crew of a ship at all (Going for a cruise on Flohston, perhaps?).

Vehicular combat/mecha/etc - Give a long hard thought to how prevalent this will be in your setting. I've never had a problem with core rulebook and winging it when I've had to, and my players can be very creative and resourceful... You probably don't need anything more than Deluxe and make up some numbers, even if vehicle game mechanics do need to be used extensively in your setting.

Cybernetics - May or may not be present in your setting. I really like the lightweight system from DTSprawl where you buy increased Wild Dice for specific attributes/skills; I'd tweak advancing on the assumption not everyone is going to have/want them. It's light, simple, lets the players create the flavor (anything that shifts a creative burden to players is a plus), and gets the job done.

Psionics - Core rulebook AB:Psionics, use No Power Points optional rule if desired, and you're set. Alternatively, Super Powers Companion using a restricted power set.

Horror/Sanity - Unless this is a VERY core mechanic/feature, I would simply use Guts. Otherwise, look to Realms of Cthulhu.

Finally, keep in mind you don't need to fully flesh out all your rules/details ahead of time - you can add/flesh out things later when it actually matters for the game, and work with your players to come up with the details.

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#7 Postby kronovan » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:15 pm

If you're looking for space opera and space pulp, there's all that's been mentioned so far - so actually quite a lot. What there isn't much of is hard SciFi. If you looking for a SciFi with harder edge and are comfortable homebrewing adventures/campaigns, you can get quite a lot from the SciFi toolkits which despite being out of date are easy to update and most of the content is usable as is.

Chaosmeister's Savage space can be used as a foundation for creating spaceships in a more of a hard SciFi setting. For a hard SciFi Mecha setting you'll want to check out the Savage Battletech thread in the Homebrew forum for the link to the doc. It does however require having at least the introductory Battletech rules and having a basic playing knowledge of them. Once the new Golemmech design guide is out for Interface Zero it could scratch that itch too, but it isn't out yet. :(

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