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RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:17 AM
Hello all,

So I played a little of EVE Online, I love Star Wars, love Mass Effect, and recently watched through all of Firefly and Serenity. I've come to love the idea of an RPG in space, but my problem is that my group has really only played 3.5 D&D. I don't want to run myself, but I'd like to find a game system that isn't too far removed from D20, and is fairly easy to get into. Can anyone give any suggestions? I don't really know how to tell a decent RPG from the crap ;)

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:18 AM
Aw, poop. My polar bear died :(

I'll fix my avatar eventually.

Kuma Kode
2011-01-05, 06:23 AM
Well if you want d20, there's always d20 Future, an expansion for d20 Modern which I love, despite its sometimes glaring flaws. It's decent, so long as the DM has a good eye for balance and actually looks at the junk in the book.

It's designed for everything from hard sci-fi to soft sci-fi and everything in between, so allowing everything can cause a bit of a problem.

There's also a Serenity RPG based directly on Firefly, and a new one I've recently heard about called Eclipse Phase (http://eclipsephase.com/), but it might be a little too... techy... for some people's sci-fi.

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:24 AM
Am I admitting a complete lack of nerd cred if I ask the difference between soft and hard sci-fi? :smallredface:

Salbazier
2011-01-05, 06:32 AM
I expect to be swordsaged with better explanation, but hard SF sticks to the the known science & and feasible technology as much as possible. Soft SF, how to say it, have more far-fetched stuffs. Like say, FTL travel. eh, some sage can explain this better.

Anyway, what I want to say is thatthere is an RPG named Traveller, with many versions. I never give it more than cursory glance to be honest but it seems popular so you may want to check it. Of course there is The obvious Star Wars RPG, d20 (or was it d6, I actually forgot already) or the SAGA version.

The Rose Dragon
2011-01-05, 06:35 AM
An important question: dedicated or generic? That is, do you want any game that can be played in space (as long as it is good, so probably no d20 Future :smalltongue:), or does it have to be specific to space-based games?

In the case of generic, there is Mutants & Masterminds, GURPS or All Flesh Must Be Eaten (which does not require zombies, though it is encouraged), all three of which I can highly suggest.

Otherwise, my knowledge is fairly limited. There is HELLAS, which I have but never read; Star Wars SAGA Edition, which I don't have; Star Wars d6 Edition, which I read but don't remember; various Warhammer 40000 RPGs, which I don't know anything about but have various players around; Traveller, which apparently can kill you during character generation; Starblazer Adventures, which is based on Fudge so is probably good enough; d6 Space, which is free; Trinity, which is based on Storyteller so it probably a hot mess; Eclipse Phase, which I don't know if it even has space-based rules; Spelljammer, which I'm not sure even counts...

Another question is how hard you want to be on the sliding scale of sci-fi hardness. Considering your inspirations are mostly soft (and including one which isn't even sci-fi), you should probably go for more space opera-based products.

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:42 AM
OK, like I said, I personally want to play, not run, so maybe if I explain what I want to do in a space game this would help?

I want a ship. I want to shoot things with my ship. I would also like to make smart-ass comments whilst shooting things with my ship. I'd also be OK with sneaking aboot space stations or planetside with a gun.

And to clarify, TRD: which of my inspirations doesn't count as Sci Fi? Just curious, not arguing...

The Rose Dragon
2011-01-05, 06:43 AM
And to clarify, TRD: which of my inspirations doesn't count as Sci Fi? Just curious, not arguing...

Star Wars.

Kuma Kode
2011-01-05, 06:43 AM
An important question: dedicated or generic? That is, do you want any game that can be played in space (as long as it is good, so probably no d20 Future :smalltongue:) Admittedly, the starship combat rules in d20 Future are unforgivably terrible because they tried to make it as "easy to learn" as possible. Read: They made it the same as D&D character combat, with a 2-dimensional grid and omni-directional facing.

There is a reason I am reworking it from the ground up (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180050).

But yeah, where exactly do you want to be on the sci-fi hardness scale? Star Wars is ludicrously soft, with almost no concern for whether or not such things are even realistic or possible (single-terrain planets, anyone?) Mass effect is in-between, with softish stuff but at least a few hand-waves to realistic science and an attempt at internal consistency. Firefly is pretty hard (minus the artificial gravity), with realistic travel times, lack of laser weapons, and such.

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:45 AM
Well honestly, Firefly is what finally made me say "I want to do this."

I, personally, would like a universe with a logical internal consistency. I'd like for the science and all to make sense... but if that interferes with me blowing stuff up with a space ship, I'm willing to let it go.

Salbazier
2011-01-05, 06:46 AM
Star Wars.

Seems Sci-fi to me

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:47 AM
Ooh, just read a much better description of what I'm looking for. Sci-fi schmi-fi; I want to play a SPACE OPERA :D

The Rose Dragon
2011-01-05, 06:47 AM
It's Sci-fi

It's not. It's space fantasy. Except for being set in space, the movies have no consideration for the science part of science fiction whatsoever.


Ooh, just read a much better description of what I'm looking for. Sci-fi schmi-fi; I want to play a SPACE OPERA :D

Space Opera is sci-fi. Very soft sci-fi, to the point it almost stops being sci-fi, but it is sci-fi. Mass Effect is a great example of a space opera.

In which case, I suggest All Flesh Must Be Eaten + All Tomorrow's Zombies.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 06:49 AM
OK, like I said, I personally want to play, not run, so maybe if I explain what I want to do in a space game this would help?

I want a ship. I want to shoot things with my ship. I would also like to make smart-ass comments whilst shooting things with my ship. I'd also be OK with sneaking aboot space stations or planetside with a gun.

WH40K Rogue Trader might do- it has space combat (still 2-dimensional- for convenience) and plenty of room for roleplay as well.

Star Wars is sometimes called "Space Fantasy" thanks to "The Force" being awfully like magic (especially Sith Alchemy and Sith Sorcery).

But then, 40K is a lot like that too- a bit like a grimmer Star Wars where the Empire are one of the nicer factions- and all the rest are worse.

EDIT: Swordsaged on "space fantasy".

Might take a bit of work if you want to convert the rules to a more generic setting- but Rogue Trader might do for the "space opera" theme- a balance of diplomacy, trading, and shooting.

RoninFrosty
2011-01-05, 06:51 AM
So yeah, space being 3D is something I'm willing to handwave away in the interest of blowing stuff up with a spaceship. I'm willing to assume we're all on the same horizontal plane and play in 2D :P

But yeah, I'll check out 40K... I think a friend of mine has the books so maybe I could convince him to run it.

EccentricCircle
2011-01-05, 06:52 AM
on the subject of the slideing scale of Sci Fi Hardness check out this TV Tropes Page (Warning, Its a TV tropes Page...)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness.

Sci Fi seems to be one of those generas which doesn't have a single monolithic game that is everyones first stop, in the way that D&D, World of Darkness of Call of Cthulhu are for fantasy, horror and wierdness respectively.
i've played both D20 Modern and Star Wars. and would recomend both. both systems are D20 games so while there are differences from D&D, in that the classes and options are different it is still fundamentally the same game. its worth noting that it is entirely possible to run star wars in a generic space opera setting by cutting out the jedi class.
in addition to that, if there is a system that you know well then a great many of them can be adapted to a sci fi setting relativley easily. i've played D&D in Space (as a reasonably hard Space opera, rather than as Spelljammer, although that is awesome as well) all you really have to do is add in the futuristic weapons from the DMG and maybe refluf or remove some of the magic calling it psychic powers, nanotech, or warpcraft.

good luck getting your campaign off the ground, and indeed into orbit

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 06:55 AM
For less serious games, Star Munchkin D20 might be quite fun- parodies most of the space opera tropes.

Salbazier
2011-01-05, 07:15 AM
It's not. It's space fantasy. Except for being set in space, the movies have no consideration for the science part of science fiction whatsoever.


Hmm, I always put stories with non-magical spaceships in SF category. The movies doesn't have science lecture or even scientific accuracy indeed, but I think read some stuffs somewhere (and pretty sure its official material) that explain stuffs like planets and fauna in more 'scientific' manner. At any rate, I actually don't care much with the movies.

agentnone
2011-01-05, 07:48 AM
Well honestly, Firefly is what finally made me say "I want to do this."

There's actually a Firefly/Serenity RPG out there. I forget who by, and it's not d20, but I have the core book (I also want to say there's a few supplements out there somewhere) and it doesn't seem to confusing. Plus the book gives rules on both character combat and ship-to-ship combat, as well as a great deal of schematics and rules for the ships, the Serenity ship included. Google it. Or if you want to purchase it, check your local gaming store. If they don't have it, or can't get it, Amazon is a good place to look too. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this game yet. Considering where you got your inspiration from. lol But, at the same time, it's not d20. But it seems fairly easy and straight forward. I haven't played it myself yet, so I'm not entirely sure how the whole system functions. But give it a looksie and maybe it'll be just what you're looking for.

Eldan
2011-01-05, 08:07 AM
Hmm, I always put stories with non-magical spaceships in SF category. The movies doesn't have science lecture or even scientific accuracy indeed, but I think read some stuffs somewhere (and pretty sure its official material) that explain stuffs like planets and fauna in more 'scientific' manner. At any rate, I actually don't care much with the movies.

It does perhaps get a little better outside of the movies (I don't know that stuff, really, but there's at least long tables of technical data floating around), but in the movies? Horrible. Sound in space. Spaceships that move as if there was air resistance and gravity. Lasers slow enough as to be visible (and visible from the side). Space magic. And so on. That makes them either the softest of soft SciFi or fantasy.

Anyway. You should probably try the Serentiy RPG, it's pretty good and not too complicated.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 08:09 AM
. Lasers slow enough as to be visible (and visible from the side).

These tend to get retconned later as "particle bolts"

Eldan
2011-01-05, 08:13 AM
That's what I meant by extended universe: you can retcon almost anything back into something approaching science, if you try hard enough. I've also heard that the sound in space is actually simulated for the pilot's convenience, and that the way the X-wings move is due to strange effects from their drives, or something.

See also: "It's not magic, it's invisible remote-controlled nanobots influencing the space-time continuum via miniaturized quantum distortion generators!"

Ranielle
2011-01-05, 08:17 AM
Dark Heresy.


Heh heh heh.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 08:19 AM
That's what I meant by extended universe: you can retcon almost anything back into something approaching science, if you try hard enough. I've also heard that the sound in space is actually simulated for the pilot's convenience, and that the way the X-wings move is due to strange effects from their drives, or something.

Even with the retconning- there can be some odd stuff.
Like tank guns, with supposedly "multi-gigaton yields" (tank-mounted versions of starship guns) leaving only small holes in spaceships- in Attack of the Clones, when the central modules of the Trade Federation carriers, are being shot down.

There's quite a few places where the interaction between Star Wars tech, and physics- can result in odd conclusions- pointed out in places like Irregular Webcomic.

Most notably- Coruscant- the whole idea of a functioning planet-wide city.


Dark Heresy.


Heh heh heh.
Rogue Trader (same rules- but much more focus on space battles, and trading) is probably a better bet.

Kaje
2011-01-05, 08:23 AM
It's true, Star Wars is not science fiction. It is an epic fantasy with sci-fi trappings. Doesn't matter if it's got chainmail and longswords or spaceships and lasers, if it's fantasy, it's fantasy. Jedi are wizards, not just psionic swordsmen.

Note: This is not a bad thing. Star Wars is awesome fantasy.

Salbazier
2011-01-05, 08:29 AM
Most notably- Coruscant- the whole idea of a functioning planet-wide city.



What exactly? Or do you have any links?

king.com
2011-01-05, 08:30 AM
I would go with Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader and Im currently playing and enjoying Eclipse Phase (only got a couple of sessions and the universe itself is Eve Online meets Shadowrun).



Rogue Trader (same rules- but much more focus on space battles, and trading) is probably a better bet.

I disagree going straight into Rogue Trader, your starting much higher up the tree on what your players need to know about (though if they are WH40K fans it might not be an issue). Dark Heresy is much easier to control and slowly expose your players to different aspects of the universe which gives them the knowledge when they play Rogue Trader.

Drakefall
2011-01-05, 08:48 AM
There's a lesser known game out there called Fading Suns, which I will coincedently be playing my first session of at the end of the week. In my mind it is the absolute perfect old-school space opera. It has a very similar feel to Frank Herbert's Dune, except it takes place over many galaxies as opposed to a single planet. Hell there's even Atreides and Harkonnen analogues.

The game is very fluff and roleplay orientated and... well, my words can't entirely give it justice. So here's the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fading_Suns :smalltongue:

Unfortunately the system isn't the best. It isn't difficult, just somewhat unweildly. What it certainly isn't is d20, though you do use one. I have heard that a d20 rules conversion does exist somewhere, so if you like the look of the setting you could track that down.

Knaight
2011-01-05, 08:49 AM
Ooh, just read a much better description of what I'm looking for. Sci-fi schmi-fi; I want to play a SPACE OPERA :D

I reccomend Fudge for this. Its a free system, generic while very good at space opera and fantasy. It is different from d20 in a few respects, but has some key similarities, it is a roll and add system for instance, and while there are no classes it is reasonably easy to whip up templates.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 08:52 AM
I disagree going straight into Rogue Trader, your starting much higher up the tree on what your players need to know about (though if they are WH40K fans it might not be an issue). Dark Heresy is much easier to control and slowly expose your players to different aspects of the universe which gives them the knowledge when they play Rogue Trader.

True- the main reason for Rogue Trader- is that the goal is to have a ship- and shoot things with it. Dark Heresy has no rules for ships.

I suppose it could be handwaved though.

Dark Heresy focusses far more on the Inquisition- the party are minor agents of an Inquisitor- whereas Rogue Trader is more about exploration on the fringes of the Imperium.

king.com
2011-01-05, 08:58 AM
True- the main reason for Rogue Trader- is that the goal is to have a ship- and shoot things with it. Dark Heresy has no rules for ships.

I suppose it could be handwaved though.

Dark Heresy focusses far more on the Inquisition- the party are minor agents of an Inquisitor- whereas Rogue Trader is more about exploration on the fringes of the Imperium.

Well since Rogue Trader can be almost copy pasted to connect with Dark Heresy rules, you could simply have your Dark Heresy party be given a ship by the Inquisition. Nothing stops a part from going to the fringes of space, make it an Ordos Xenos campaign and your justified in going out there and taking a look from time to time.

Psyren
2011-01-05, 08:59 AM
Am I admitting a complete lack of nerd cred if I ask the difference between soft and hard sci-fi? :smallredface:

Nah, you're just missing out on some truly anal arguments.


Seems Sci-fi to me

Here we go...
(Also: no.)

The Big Dice
2011-01-05, 08:59 AM
Most notably- Coruscant- the whole idea of a functioning planet-wide city.
Coruscant is a cheap knockoff of Trantor, a planet/city created by one of the heavyweight champions of hard s-f, Isaac Asimov.

See any of his Galactic Empire novels, particularly Pebble in the Sky, and most of the Foundation ones, too.

Edit: Also, Star Wars is space opera, which puts it firmly in the category o movie sci-fi. It's heavily based on the old Republic serials, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and so on.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 09:01 AM
What exactly? Or do you have any links?

The list of Irregular Webcomic pages that explain problems with Coruscant:

http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/386.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/393.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/396.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/417.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/420.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/428.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/431.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/434.html


Well since Rogue Trader can be almost copy pasted to connect with Dark Heresy rules, you could simply have your Dark Heresy party be given a ship by the Inquisition. Nothing stops a part from going to the fringes of space, make it an Ordos Xenos campaign and your justified in going out there and taking a look from time to time.

If you wanted the ship stats and rules for space battles though, you'd need the Rogue Trader book.
At which point- might as well play as a Rogue Trader and his crew- since its more fun in certain respects. No more being so strapped for cash that one salvo of bolt shells costs your entire month's budget or more. Much less worries about "heretical" behaviour- since Rogue Traders get much more leeway.

Allanimal
2011-01-05, 09:06 AM
Anyway. You should probably try the Serentiy RPG, it's pretty good and not too complicated.

I just GMed my first session of the Serenity RPG last weekend for a bunch of people that have only played D&D 3.5. We all had a blast and look forward to the next session.

If your group is jeittery about learning a new system, there is a d20 version of Traveller. I haven't played it, but I did play the original Traveller back in the 80s. It's a fun game, with lots of supporting material out there.

Psyren
2011-01-05, 09:08 AM
The list of Irregular Webcomic pages that explain problems with Coruscant:

http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/386.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/393.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/396.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/417.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/420.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/428.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/431.html
http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/434.html

Clearly the Golgari exist in AGFFA.

(I really enjoy your posts btw)
/popcorn

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 09:13 AM
(I really enjoy your posts btw)
/popcorn

When I find info that interests me- I like to spread the info around. :smallsmile:

Eldan
2011-01-05, 09:16 AM
I love those. I mean, if you hadn't linked them, I wouldn't even have thought of thinking about the thermodynamics of a city planet. Perhaps the nutrient flow and the atmosphere (ecologist here), but I'd never have thought of thinking about temperature.

DrGonzo
2011-01-05, 09:48 AM
I advise using Star Wars SAGA. It's like 3.5, with 4th ed elements. If you're used to 3.5 it is very easy to learn. Also its very balanced.

Yora
2011-01-05, 09:51 AM
If you like the basic system of d20, Saga is probably the best d20 system there is. And it also works for other Sci-Fi settings, as it doesn't require people with the Force/Magic in the party. Just drop the entire Force thing and the rest still works perfectly without any adjustments.

hamishspence
2011-01-05, 09:52 AM
I'd tend to agree. It's probably one of the more handy D20 games.

Plus it wouldn't take too much work to create your own content.

Hmm- 40K-ified Saga might be an interesting variant.
There's probably a lot of other good space opera settings to apply the rules to though.

Zuljita
2011-01-05, 10:19 AM
If you like the basic system of d20, Saga is probably the best d20 system there is. And it also works for other Sci-Fi settings, as it doesn't require people with the Force/Magic in the party. Just drop the entire Force thing and the rest still works perfectly without any adjustments.

seconded. Saga makes for a very fun cinematic feel. Its D20 with lots of improvements over 3.5 and with a little multiclassing just about any character archetype you can think of from firefly and the like is quite possible.

NeNeko
2011-01-05, 12:24 PM
Traveller (Yes, with two L's.) is probably the greatest space game ever.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_(role-playing_game)

If you want to play "EVE Tabletop" this is the system you want to use.
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpg/series.php?qsSeries=51

One of the oldest RPGs in existence, there are a lot of resources.
Adaptations are available in GURPS and T20 and others as well.
http://www.sjgames.com/traveller/
http://www.travellerrpg.com/T20/

Seriously cant believe no one even mentioned this one yet. This is also the game where its possible for your character to die during generation.

ニャー

The Rose Dragon
2011-01-05, 12:26 PM
Seriously cant believe no one even mentioned this one yet. This is also the game where its possible for your character to die during generation.

We did mention it. Like three times.

Yora
2011-01-05, 02:48 PM
ニャー
ワン ワン
Yeah!

The Big Dice
2011-01-05, 05:44 PM
Seriously cant believe no one even mentioned this one yet. This is also the game where its possible for your character to die during generation.
Theoretically possible. If you go through enough careers in the military. Unlikely, though.

Bayar
2011-01-05, 06:54 PM
I'm sad that no one mentioned Alternity yet.

Yora
2011-01-05, 07:14 PM
Never really heard about it.

Please tell us more. :smallsmile:

NeNeko
2011-01-05, 08:10 PM
I'm sad that no one mentioned Alternity yet.
Alternity is also good, But for 'ship to ship' I would prefer Dream Pod 9(Jovian Chronicles) over Alternity, and Traveller over that. I feel that it flows much smoother.

...going back I did see mention of Traveller but obviously it didn't stand out enough!

(^-^)v

The Big Dice
2011-01-05, 08:23 PM
Did anyone suggest D6 Space yet? (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=20447&it=1)

Roland St. Jude
2011-01-05, 10:10 PM
Well honestly, Firefly is what finally made me say "I want to do this."

I, personally, would like a universe with a logical internal consistency. I'd like for the science and all to make sense... but if that interferes with me blowing stuff up with a space ship, I'm willing to let it go.

If you want to play in a Firefly or Firefly-like setting, I recommend the Serenity RPG. I've certainly had a lot of fun with it despite whatever failings people will come along to share with you about the underlying system.

If you want something very close to 3.5, maybe check out DragonStar (http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=1067), which I've had almost no experience with in play. But it was an interesting read.

Raum
2011-01-05, 10:10 PM
In which case, I suggest All Flesh Must Be Eaten + All Tomorrow's Zombies.This if you want something conceptually similar to d20. (AFMBE uses Unisystem which basically replaces the d20 with a d10 for the core resolution mechanic.)

If you're willing to go a bit further away from d20 (ok, a lot further), you might take a look at Diaspora. Even if you don't use the entire game, the space combat system works well for settings which don't cancel out inertia.

Gavinfoxx
2011-01-06, 12:04 AM
D6 Space. It's free! And it's the system, mostly, that was used for D6 Star Wars.

houlio
2011-01-06, 12:21 AM
Traveller +1

Not only because it uses my favorite way to make characters in any system, this will be what you are looking for. From my understanding, Traveller lets you do anything, as long as laser guns can be shamelessly pasted into the picture. The new Mongoose edition is pretty good, but Mongoose's Traveller publications usually have a hideous amount of typos and contradictions, which turns off a lot of people. It still is a good place to start, although if you run a game in the stock Traveller background of the Third Imperium, you'll want to buy some of the background material, as the main rulebook is very slim on fluff. Furthermore, the main rulebook is rather illogical in how it organizes many of its rules, IMO.

Anyways, Traveller is a great sci-fi RPG for almost anything because its subject material is rather generic, so you can theme things to be western like firefly, or age-of-sail British Empire, or what ever you want. Someitmes it can be frustrating for people coming form a system like DnD, where things like min-maxing are important and more-or-less rules-breaking. Especially with near random character generation (you want to to be a space pirate, too bad, now you're a police officer!), but there are a few ways around this (although I haven't used them myself, so I cant discuss it too much).

Matthew
2011-01-06, 07:43 AM
ニャー



ワン ワン
Yeah!

パオーン!

I would probably go with D6, or maybe BRP if I wanted a "harder" science fiction feel.

TheEmerged
2011-01-06, 03:00 PM
RE: Alternity. In some ways, you can see where this was probably a "playtest" of the conversion between 2nd Edition D&D and 3rd Edition.

It comes rather strongly recommended. It's long out of print but worth tracking down. It has an interesting dice mechanic. We played it for about 2-3 years and it is one of the group's favorite campaigns.

The vehicle rules are... above workable. You don't need a spreadsheet and hours to create vehicles or use them (I'm picking on you, GURPS) and the fights are enjoyable. They don't rise to the level of, say, Battletech for fun/variation however.

RE: Hard SciFi vs Soft SciFi. I think the sarcastic answer to this question is that the first one is very pretentious about having to change their facts every few years where the second one more often than not is just another genre happening in a "futuristic" environment.

Let's consider a theoretical (:rolleyes:) example. The story begins with a princess being captured by a black knight. Her loyal servants escape to try and find a retired knight, and are joined in their quest by a farm boy. The farm boy ends up being rescued from monsters by the old knight, who tells the boy his father was actually a knight and starts training him as a knight.

They meet a roguish ship captain and his "minority" companion (not the same race/culture as most other characters) who agrees to sail them to the black knight's castle. They end up rescuing her from the dungeon and escape, but the old knight is killed by the black knight. The end up returning and laying siege to the black knights castle. They destroy it thanks primarily to the farm boy & the rogue (with the seasoned soldiers dying futily, of course) but the black knight escapes to threaten another day.

Now take that story and put it in space. Does that make it science fiction? I don't think so. The internets will debate it forever and angrily, of course.

The Big Dice
2011-01-06, 09:50 PM
The difference between hard and soft sci-fi is quite simple. Credibility. If it's got credibility, it will get called hard sci-fi no matter what the subject matter is.

Out of these two, which one would you say is the hard and which is the soft sci-fi?

Two headed aliens, carnivorous space cats, things that look like a sentient cat o'nine tails and hyperdrive with a strict speed limit.

Well conceived and consistent (more or less) pseudo science, currently known or theorised stellar phenomena as scenery or plot devices, FTL drive that is a theoretical possibility.

That's right, the first one is hard sci-fi. Hard sci-fi because it's by Larry Niven and he let engineering and physics students run the numbers on his patented BDO, the Ringworld. Or his Book of Known Space as they are better know.

The second is, of course, Star Trek TNG. Which is probably closer to space opera. Which is yet another sci-fi classification, one that usually fits best for movie and TV stuff.

Though not too well for things like Doctor Who, Farscape and the various Stargate spinoffs.

Roland St. Jude
2011-01-06, 10:50 PM
Sheriff: Please take this soft vs. hard sci-fi discussion to Media Discussions, if you'd like to continue it. It's getting beyond mere tangent into truly derailing the OP's quest for advice and ideas.

Erom
2011-01-06, 10:56 PM
I've got a group running a Dresden RPG game, so I have been investigating other FATE system games, and Diaspora seems really fun. It's sort of GURPSish in it's "universal toolkit" approach to world building, but the game mechanics really blur the fluff-crunch line, and the rules for spaceship combat and squad firefights are both brilliant - tactical enough to have some real heft but still nicely streamlined.

Mark Hall
2011-01-07, 12:14 PM
EDIT: Whoops! Missed Roland chiming in... yesterday... to stop the soft v. hard discussion. Thus, it goes away.

For science fiction/space RPGs, my first suggestion is going to be d6 Space. It's free for download, and has a robust and flexible rules system. It's easily compatible with a wealth of d6 supplements for Star Wars, and there's a lot of available web resources for both (especially the Star Wars). We've been playing it with my "space nerds" group, and it's a lot of fun. We've also brought in elements of Shadowrun's wireless web, simply because it's easy to do so (while not directly compatible with Shadowrun, there's some similarities that make conversion doable).

If you want a lot of complexity, you might look at Eclipse Phase. It, too, is free for download (though I bought a printed book, because I like having them). It's heavily influenced by modern cyberpunk, very crunchy SF. My friend writes for them; he works for NASA and is getting his Masters in Space Habitation or something like that... it's got a good following amongst the spacey types.

If I wanted to go more space-opera-y, I'd probably go with Fading Suns. It has an OK system that heavily favors character specialization, a d20 conversion (that's not thought well of by fans of the original system), and a setting that draws a lot from Dune and Star Wars, with a good dollop of Babylon 5 and medieval Europe.

The Big Dice
2011-01-07, 11:39 PM
I mentioned this one in another thread where the talk is of different dice conventions. But Star Ore (http://www.arcdream.com/pdf/starore.pdf) is not only a fan made Star Wars game, but a great egine to drive all kinds of different genre games.