10 Best Sci-Fi TTRPGs (That Aren’t D&D)

Dungeons and Dragons has exploded in popularity over the past five years or so, introducing a host of new players to the joy of tabletop role-playing games. after playing J&D for a while, some gamers may notice that it does not provide enough material for them to create interesting games outside of the fantasy genre.

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A remarkable domain J&D lacks sci-fi, as even the most sci-fi-like settings of Eberron and Spelljammer are still firmly rooted in fantasy. Luckily for gamers looking for a fun futuristic or space adventure, there are plenty of other TTRPGs that focus specifically on the genre and do a much better job than J&D.

10/10 Only war is a suitably sinister meat grinder

Cadian soldiers attack in Only War TTRPG.

Warhammer 40,000 enjoyed a similar spike in popularity to J&Dand although there are a few TTRPGs defined in the 40K universe, only war from Fantasy Flight Games really stands out. The game places players in the role of soldiers of the Astra Militarum. Unlike the genetically enhanced Space Marines, the iconic children of 40Kthe characters of only war are mostly normal humans bumping into impossible odds.

Gamers looking for a serious change of pace Dungeons and Dragons will find it in only war. Instead of being epic heroes with supernatural powers, players will constantly be in danger of dying in the trenches of a distant alien planet. It might not be everyone’s idea of ​​fun, but it perfectly captures 40K your and will give J&D players a new kind of experience.

9/10 Dune: Adventures In The Imperium rewards hardcore roleplayers

Cover of Dune Adventures in the Imperium.

For anyone who doesn’t know Frank Herbert Dunes series, it’s a bit like game of thrones in the space. The focus is on themes like politics and religion, and people have to be very careful who they trust. All this is very well translated into Dune: Adventures in the Imperium by Modiphus Entertainment.

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Dune: Adventure in the Imperium includes a ton of knowledge in its RPG material to help players immerse themselves in the complex world of the books. Players can perform stealth spy missions or engage in large-scale combat. Similar to books, players need to think about what they do and say to stay safe.

8/10 Cyberpunk Red has both style and substance

A crowded Night City street of Cyberpunk Red promo art.

Forget the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077; Night City is alive and well in cyberpunk red. This updated version of the classic Cyberpunk 2020 is set in a new era, but with similar themes of shallow culture and corporate greed to the original.

cyberpunk is a great game for players who want to play in a more grounded and speculative future, as opposed to something more fantasy like Mass Effect. Night City characters are all about looking cool and making a name for themselves, so players who like playing big personalities will love this game.

7/10 Shadowrun mixes science fiction and fantasy

A crowded arena watches a band perform in Shadowrun.

shadow run is great for J&D players who may not be ready to completely give up playing in a fantasy setting. shadow run provides a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements, creating a unique game world.

shadow run is essentially cyberpunk, but set in a world populated by fantasy races like elves, dwarves, and orcs. It has a fairly complex game system, so new players may struggle a bit with it. shadow run. However, for players who are up for the challenge, it’s a lot of fun in a really cool setting.

6/10 Lasers And Feelings is the perfect starter RPG

Art of a spaceship from Lasers and Feelings.

Players looking to get into TTRPGs will appreciate the simplicity of Lasers and sensations. The game features one of the easiest character creation methods of any RPG, allowing players to jump straight into the action and see if this type of gameplay is right for them.

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The game is basically a classic star trek setup where each player has a designated role on a spaceship. Players will decide to solve problems using logic (lasers) or empathy (feeling). Players will have a blast traveling through space and debating how best to keep friendly planets safe. With the simplicity of the game, it can also be easily played by J&D groups that just want to mix things up for a session or two.

Divers explore underwater in Blue Contact.

Blue Planet: Recontact has one of the most interesting settings, not just in TTRPGs, but in science fiction in general. It takes place in the far future after Earth has been rendered largely uninhabitable on a colony planet known as Poseidon 2199.

Poseiden 2199 is essentially an ocean planet, which means that Blue Planet: Recontact deals with many interesting underwater adventures. There are also strong themes of environmentalism and the dangerous side of technological advancement that can give players and GMs a lot of work for their collaborative storytelling.

4/10 Scum And Villainy is a sci-fi dream come true

Spaceships fly through rings in Scum and Villainy.

There are two distinct camps of sci-fi media. For fans of lighter sci-fi and science-fantasy, Scum and meanness provides the perfect setting. Although the game has its own story, it clearly draws inspiration from popular media such as star wars and Fireflymaking the world familiar to new players.

Scum and meanness lets players experience many sci-fi staples, like smuggling goods between worlds or pulling off a high-level heist. There’s also a fun flashback mechanic that allows players to pause the ongoing action of the game and describe something their characters had set up in preparation for that moment. This gives the game a cinematic, stylized feel that other RPGs might not have.

3/10 Numenera is an interesting narrative experience

Space spiders weave a web in Numenera.

The world of Numbering is one that players will love to explore. The game takes place in what is called the “Ninth World”, a place where eight other civilizations once existed. Ancient civilizations have either been destroyed or advanced beyond the world, and players must explore the ruins of what remains.

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Numbering provides the perfect setting for storytelling, as there are plenty of mysteries to uncover. It’s also a relatively simple game to start playing, which makes it friendly for new players. In fact, the character sheet is basically just a crazy library, asking players to fill in their names and a brief description of what their character does.

2/10 Star Wars: Edge of The Empire Shows Players a Grittier Side of the Galaxy

An angry alien from Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.

There is a lot of star wars TTRPGs to choose from, as well as Dungeons and Dragons material put in the star wars universe. Which makes On the edge of the Empire standing out is its emphasis on the more interesting side of star wars.

On the edge of the Empire focuses more on the fringes of society star wars, such as smugglers and bounty hunters. Players may have some minor Force powers, but there won’t be a big fight over who becomes a Jedi and wields their lightsaber. By focusing on the peripheries of society, On the edge of the Empire also allows for more complex storytelling than typical good versus evil fans expect from most star wars media.

1/10 Starfinder is the J&D science fiction

A dual-wielding gun adventurer in Starfinder.

Many sci-fi RPGs are slightly more focused, but star seeker shines because of its extensive options. The same way as Dungeons and Dragons can safely support anything fancy, star seeker can be used to create any type of sci-fi tale GMs can imagine.

star seeker offers a robust system and plenty of options to create any type of game players want, whether GMs want to wage a horror campaign on a spooky abandoned space station like dead space or something more like star wars. The game also has adventure hook suggestions for new GMs if they want help creating one.

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