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Author Topic: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?  (Read 1013 times)

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Online SainTopic starter

Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« on: December 20, 2015, 03:22:52 PM »
I'm looking for something that'll allow me to have characters throwing fireballs and spells while their friends hack and slash with scifi weapons and there is blaster/solid projective fire everywhere. Preferably also inbuilt  space combat or at least something that'll allow skill challenges or something similar. Any sort of houserule packets for D&D 3.5, pathfinder or D&D 5th would be cool too if anyone has experience with those or seen good ones around or if you have time then help me brainstorm a 5th ed adaptation that fits my needs :)

FATE I know could be adapted nicely for different kind of things, but I'm not looking for fate experience here, but rather something more akin to Shadowrun or D&D, in combat/problem solving style. Fate could be modified I guess, but that would take a lot of work...

I've also checked Numenera, but it too would need me to pretty much create custom classes for everything and rewrite most of the crunch, which I really can't be arsed to do.

Open to suggestions. Thank you in advance.

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Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 04:48:03 PM »
If you don't mind a bit of handwaving the magic aspect, Star Wars has the Force for supernatural abilities and the Warhammer 40,000 RPGs have psychics (and some magic, but also increased risk of having a deamon eat your face).

GURPS does everything, you just have to find the right books.

I think RIFTS is kinda similar, but I honestly don't know enough about it to be certain.

TORG had multiple genres, though its a long time out of print, so finding it could be tricky.

Right now, I'd say either GURPS or FATE is probably your best bet.

Online SainTopic starter

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 04:53:03 PM »
Thanks.

I found something called Stars Without Number (pay what you want pdf on RPG drive thru), but it this doesn't fit I'll have a look at GURPS.

Offline TFcommando

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 01:46:49 AM »
Try Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition.  It's a (vaguely) D20 based supers system, but its character creation system and power level setup can let you adjust it from supers to just "highly talented heroes" and since it's effects-based, you can mix magic and sci-fi weapons freely with a good degree of balance.  Has some vehicle rules as well.

Offline Cassandra LeMay

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 02:11:05 AM »
If you want something akin to Shadowrun, why not just use those rules?

An alternative to Shadowrun could be Cyberpunk. The "Night's Edge" sourcebook by Janus Games has rules for psychic powers in Cyberpunk (plus Vampires), and those psi powers could easily be dressed up as magic abilities.

Offline wander

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 07:08:55 PM »
I'd recommend using Dungeon World with the 'Dungeon Planet' supplement. DW is a rules-lite sort of D&D fantasy styled game which has no real setting (you make up your own for it) and Dungeon Planet transcribes old pulpy scifi into that game, giving a John Carter/Flash Gordon feel to it. Again, the things in it are kind of like a toolbox, you can pick and choose what you like for both to make your setting as you like.

I'd also recommend Mongoose Traveller for some inspiration... It doesn't have magic, but it does function in a similar way to D&D, has space rules, ship creation and tech levels for planets and gear, which you can fiddle around with, including ray guns and cyberware at higher TLs. Oh and planet generation rules too!

I made Wander Worlds (check the thread in my sig) as a Dungeon World setting which has space stuff involved in it. I didn't include cyberware or high-tech guns, but I could have. I used Traveller to help generate the planets and decide the cut-off point for technology. Because I built it to function with Dungeon World, I got to have magic in there along with space travel.

Hope that helps. :)

Online SainTopic starter

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2015, 06:08:53 AM »
Thanks for the replies everyone. A lot of reading has been done.

Shadowrun would be mechanically very nice, but on the other hand it is so tedious to GM properly that I didn't even consider it :D

Dungeon world does seem like it could have potential. Only problem with Stars Without Number was that there wasn't much variety for races or cybernetics/augmentation nor was making your own in anyway easy to balance. For Dungeon World are those also detailed in the Dungeon Planet? I'll have to procure that Dungeon Planet book to see how it can handle space combat, but at the moment I think it has to be dungeon world. It handles gear and advancement like I want and is still lite enough that it's easy to balance and modify :)

Offline wander

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 05:47:58 AM »
Hia Sain,

No those things aren't really mentioned in Adventures on Dungeon Planet (the full name of the book). It really glosses over the rules of space combat too, basically treating it like normal combat and is very lite. On the bright side, if you wanted narrative ease, it's great for that.

If you're after cybernetics and space combat, I recommend Mongoose Traveller and buy the Central Supply Catalogue supplement with it. The corebook has ship creation rules and space combat rules (the supplement High Guard gives more options for both, frankly I use High Guard every time I need to make a Traveller spaceship design). CSC has a whole bunch of cybernetics, not as huge a list as say, Shadowrun does... But a good choice nonetheless. One reason I like Traveller is also down to how technology is split between 'tech levels'... You can choose exactly how low-tech (caveman planets are out there) or high tech you want your planets to be.

As for science fantasy, there are rules for Psionics in the corebook and an expansion book called 'Psion'. Just refer to psionics as magic, add your own lick of paint for setting (Traveller has very little setting) and you should be good to go. :)

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Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 05:47:02 PM »
I hope I'm not late. I mastered a game like this using normal D20 system, then used house rules to balance the destructive power of the mordern weaponry.
Laser guns could only be possesed by the army, light sabers cost some limbs(pun intended), and a character couldn't pilot a spaceship without years of training.

Offline Tairis

Re: Science fantasy, what system would you run it with?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2016, 11:05:02 PM »
How do you feel about re-fluffing and minor tweaking? Because Star Wars Saga is my personal pet system and I've found it works very well for easy to use and lots of variety. The Force Powers are easily used as scaleble magical spells.