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Yora
2012-10-20, 04:05 AM
I am curious. Since sci-fi is all about the tech, most games I know are heavily detailed. But what good games are there that work well for sci-fi but don't bother with being too detailed and instead focusing on being easy to run? RPGs for sci-fi like Star Wars or Mass Effect 2.
Star Wars Saga is one that comes to my mind, but even though it's a drastically simplefied version of the d20 system, it's still a d20 game with it's steep level advancement.
I am thinking of something more like the AGE system or Mouse Guard, which of course would bring to mind Burning Wheel. Though I havn't really looked at that beyond Mouse Guard, so you might also tell my why the basic game would work for sci-fi games as well.

Griffith!
2012-10-20, 09:45 AM
In situations like this, I always recommend GURPS.

Inglenook
2012-10-20, 12:28 PM
GURPS would be wayyyyy too detailed unless Yora chopped off or altered pretty much all the rules.

The Glyphstone
2012-10-20, 01:01 PM
I've heard good things about 3:16: Carnage Among The Stars - a Starship Troopers-esque game about playing space marines, meeting vicious and dangerous aliens, and blasting them into gooey chunks.

prufock
2012-10-20, 02:08 PM
D6 Space (http://www.rpgnow.com/product/20447/D6-Space?it=1). It's free to download the pdfs. There are no levels to worry about, character creation is simple, in fact everything is pretty simple. It captures a sci-fi feel pretty well.

Silverbit
2012-10-20, 05:06 PM
Main Sequence (http://chaosgrenade.com/post/25851862775/main-sequence-a-free-space-rpg), based of Warrior, Rogue and Mage. Rather simple, but with cool rules for things like spaceships.

Jack of Spades
2012-10-21, 01:38 AM
The InSpectres variant InSpace runs on a make-things-up-as-you-go system, but it's a bit different from most RPG's game-wise (lots of player agency over where things are going).

JellyPooga
2012-10-21, 03:47 AM
GURPS would be wayyyyy too detailed unless Yora chopped off or altered pretty much all the rules.

This is one of the perogatives of GURPS; you use what you want to. Hex-based combat too complex? Don't use it. Psionics to weird? Don't use them. So on and so forth. I've found GURPS to be an excellent system for easy Sci-Fi, more so than Fantasy or even contemporary games, largely because it has got a rule for all the weird stuff if you get stuck and need something to fall back on when in doubt. It might seem counter-intuitive, but less rules doesn't necessarily make a system is easier.

To elaborate on why GURPS would be good for, e.g. Star Wars;
- The option for Force-like powers is right there availabe, no house-rules or anything.
- The wide variety of Rubber-mask aliens in the setting are easily represented by the modular nature of charcters.
- Vehicle combat, whilst complex, is there. However, I've always had the impression that, despite a fair amount of focus on it in the films, most of the work is done by computers and the tech you have rather than actually hashing out the details of skills, so you can probably ignore the over-complex vehicle combat rules and hand wave it based on tech (e.g. the Falcon is one of the fastest ships in the galaxy, so once it jumps to lightspeed, there's no need to roll any dice outside of extraordinary circumstances). The same goes for all the tech really; yes there are rules for a lightsaber-type sword, but in Star Wars, a lightsabre is far better (IMO) than the stats given in the GURPS book, so instead of worrying about how much damage you're doing, you can hand-wave any lightsabre attack to "you cut off his arm" or whatever, because the tech is just that good.
- GURPS is very cinematic, however many of the rules you're using. I don't know why, but I've always found it important for sci-fi games to have the cinema feel and GURPS achieves this admirably, I think.

GM.Casper
2012-10-21, 08:23 AM
Gurps also has a long list of sci-fi weapons and other items, sorted by tech levels. So no need for the GM to create stuff. Just let the player's shop directly from the book. The equipment is generic enough to fit almost any sci-fi setting.

Mark Hall
2012-10-21, 12:28 PM
Well, I've done a conversion of Mass Effect to Savage Worlds, though I haven't run it, yet. I'm a big fan of d6... simple to run, and mostly just adding for PCs.

BudgetDM
2012-10-23, 12:06 AM
Stars Without Number (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=86467&src=SNP_SWN_ImageLink&affiliate_id=323031) is fairly simple and the pdf version is free. Frankly I'd recommend downloading it even if you're going to use another game just for the (mostly) system free star system creation tables.

DJDeMiko
2012-10-23, 09:55 AM
My sweet, sweet love, Free Form.

hamlet
2012-10-23, 10:29 AM
It depends on what kind of sci-fi you're looking for.

I've found that "Thousand Suns" works fairly well for "Imperial Sci-Fi" if that's your bag.

Autolykos
2012-10-23, 01:55 PM
Incidentally, that's pretty close to what I'm trying to achieve in the system I'm building at the moment (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257656), and I've just finished the SciFi module. I'm handling most of the concepts in an abstract way (meaning I cut out all the fluff I could justify to), and only offer guidelines for the stuff you want to have in your game. With seven pages (in English, eight in German), it's still one of the biggest modules, and far from complete. Still I think I covered most of the important stuff found in lots of different works of Science Fiction that is still somewhat plausible. The only thing I left out on purpose is space travel, because any system that allows practical interstellar travel *has* to be arbitrary from a physics standpoint. I might make some suggestions in a later module, but that's rather low priority to me (and isn't in need of detailed rules anyway, IMHO). Just take the canon from any SciFi setting you like (Sword of the Stars does a great job, IMHO) and you'll be fine.

erikun
2012-10-23, 04:14 PM
Unless there has been a major expansion or supplement to Burning Wheel, I don't think it will suit your purposes. There is a lot of content and different systems in Burning Wheel, from skills to lifepaths, and they are all geared towards Medievalish-Tolkienish-fantasy. A sci-fi Burning Wheel would probably work out very well, but you would likely need to homebrew all the sci-fi components yourself.

Shadowrun comes to mind as being able to run sci-fi, although I'm not sure how well it runs without the fantasy or how simple it is. Eclipse Phase is another choice, although again I probably wouldn't call it simple.

HeroQuest can run you sci-fi easily, along with anything else, but my be too abstracted/simplified for your tastes.

Urpriest
2012-10-23, 06:41 PM
Unless there has been a major expansion or supplement to Burning Wheel, I don't think it will suit your purposes. There is a lot of content and different systems in Burning Wheel, from skills to lifepaths, and they are all geared towards Medievalish-Tolkienish-fantasy. A sci-fi Burning Wheel would probably work out very well, but you would likely need to homebrew all the sci-fi components yourself.



Isn't there a Sci-Fi Burning Wheel out there, called Burning Empires? I think I've seen Totally Guy mention it a few times.

rorikdude12
2012-10-23, 07:04 PM
GUUUUUUURPS

It's rather simple once you actually start playing, and stop just poring over the books.

erikun
2012-10-23, 08:39 PM
Isn't there a Sci-Fi Burning Wheel out there, called Burning Empires? I think I've seen Totally Guy mention it a few times.
It's possible; I've never taken a look at Burning Empires myself. I had the impression that it was more modern than sci-fi, but don't know for sure.

Milo v3
2012-10-24, 06:28 AM
For my Sci-Fi games I use "The Window (http://www.mimgames.com/window/rules/)" rules. Though it works for many other genres.

JediSoth
2012-10-25, 12:27 PM
Since someone already mentioned Stars Without Number, I'll mention Bulldogs! Sci-Fi That Kicks Ass (http://galileogames.com/bulldogs-fate/). It's a FATE-based game (there is an older d20 version but it is out of print and the FATE-version is the currently supported version). It focuses on the types of campaign you would have if you stuck with the seedy underworld of Star Wars or wanted to do a Firefly-type campaign.

The website has several free adventures for downloads.

ThiagoMartell
2012-11-06, 01:27 AM
I kinda like the Firefly RPG.

Totally Guy
2012-11-06, 05:47 AM
Isn't there a Sci-Fi Burning Wheel out there, called Burning Empires? I think I've seen Totally Guy mention it a few times.

It is the hardest game ever made. Certainly not for this thread.


I've heard good things about the 3:16 game.

I played "Final Voyage of the Selene" which was a very good structured freeform game. It had built in issues and agendas for the PCs to address in play and a set number of scenes until the conclusion in which some of the characters board escape pods and others die as the ship is destroyed.

DonEsteban
2012-11-06, 05:53 AM
Anyone here who played more than one of those systems and can actually compare them? That would be much more useful than just dropping names...

ThiagoMartell
2012-11-06, 11:24 PM
I've played some of those games. They are all complicated in some way. Sci-fi games usually are. Serenity is one of the most simple, because it's newer and it's less about the setting. d6 is deceptively complicated, while it does seem simple on the surface. GURPS is simple on the surface, but everything related to sci-fi in it is hard and complicated. Stars Without Number is very tied to it's setting, so I don't think it works outside of it.

The simplest I can remember is Danger Patrol, but it's nothing like Star Wars or Mass Effect, it's more like Flash Gordon.

Milo v3
2012-11-07, 02:08 AM
The simplest I can remember is Danger Patrol, but it's nothing like Star Wars or Mass Effect, it's more like Flash Gordon.

The simplest listed is The Window, which only takes a 2 minutes to learn.

DontEatRawHagis
2012-11-07, 04:48 PM
My recommendation is Tri-Stat system. It is free, since its out of print, and is on the wiki site for the system via wayback machine. All it has a bunch of basic rules, attributes, skills. Its not a d20 system, in fact they call it dX, because the system scales with how powerful you want your players to be. Want super soldiers? Try post-human d8 system.

At the same time, maybe some other system will work best because honestly I haven't seen a true SciFi RPG actually work as well as DND has for Tabletops.

ThiagoMartell
2012-11-07, 11:16 PM
Being out of print doesn't necessarily mean something is free.
Tri-Stat is in fact free, though. Pick it up from DivrThruRPG.
I dislike the system immensely, though. It's only saving grace was being simple and dX destroyed it completely. 3D&T is much better.