Fans of Star Wars, Cowboy Bebop, and Mass Effect should check out these narrative RPGs, designed to tell similar stories in quirky sci-fi sets.
A surprising number of recently released sci-fi tabletop RPGs contain original settings inspired by classic sci-fi franchises, just like classic fantasy RPGs like Dungeon and dragons are modeled after The Hobbit, Conan the Barbarian, and other fantasy classics. Fans of sci-fi franchises like Star Wars, Mass Effect, Cowboy Bebop or Alien can use the original rules and settings of these following tabletop RPG systems to tell stories that are similar in theme and feel while going in surprising new directions.
Fan-fiction – the art of borrowing characters and themes from the stories you love to create new tales – is a practice as old as the art of storytelling itself. even. Dante The Divine Comedy was essentially a self-inserted fan-fiction where he and his favorite Roman poet Virgil Aeneid– an inspired tour of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Garrett P. Serviss, HG Well’s fan War of the Worlds, wrote an unauthorized sequel where Thomas Edison invents a disintegrator beam and a fleet of electric spacecraft to retaliate against invading Martians. the Star Trek the fan community popularized the art of fan fiction writing as an act of appreciation for expensive franchises, while Dungeons and Dragons, the first role-playing game, was sort of a system for players to collectively tell stories inspired by their favorite stories of sword and witchcraft.
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The following tabletop RPG systems were most definitely inspired by people who were fans of certain sci-fi franchises. Their settings and rules, while original, are designed to help gamers tell stories in the style of the sci-fi TV shows, movies, and video games they love. In many ways, these original RPGs offer more chances for good storytelling than the official RPG adaptations; Players of these games don’t have to worry about contradicting the pre-established tradition of their favorite franchises, and don’t have to hang on to aspects of the franchise that are awkward or restrictive.
Galactic 2e (inspired by Star Wars)
2nd galactic is a science fiction role-playing game featured on its itch.io page like “a game of rebellion, relationships and war between the stars.“Inspired with all my heart by the Star wars franchise, 2nd galactic has playbooks for archetypes such as “Scoundrel” for Han Solo type characters and “Nova” for Jedi and Sith type mystics. Built from the “Belonging Outside Belonging” system used in community-centric RPGs Dream Askew and Dream apart, players trigger “weak moves” that put their characters at a disadvantage in order to earn in-game currency for successful actions later with “strong moves”.
Into The Black (inspired by Mass Effect)
In the dark, according to Dice breaker, is “a love letter to Mass Effect without the military traps,“set in a future world where space travelers indebted to powerful mega-corporations navigate the depths of space to complete missions and settle their debts. The three main classes in In the dark are Soldier, Specialist and Technician, each with special abilities inspired by the Soldier, Engineer and Biotics classes of the Mass Effect franchise. Mechanical side, In the dark borrows heavily from the Old School Renaissance RPG design school, especially more minimalist games like In the strange or Electric Bastionland.
Orbital Blues (inspired by Cowboy Bebop)
Recently funded on Kickstarter, Orbital blues is a sci-fi western RPG about interstellar thugs with a beaten spaceship that makes a living across the lawless frontier of outer space. If this premise sounds familiar to you, it’s because it fits the storylines of the TV show. Firefly, the Guardians of the Galaxy japanese movies and anime Cowboy Bebop.
The simple narrative rules of Orbital blues are designed to facilitate the game where a team of misfits pool their skills to tackle legally questionable jobs and concerts, while the grungy outer space setting is inspired by the tunes of Rock’n ‘Roll and Folk Blues.
Mothership RPG (inspired by Alien)
The go-to RPG for gamers looking to tell sci-fi horror and suspense stories in the style of Extraterrestrial, Mothership RPG is about groups of blue-class space travelers trying to survive in the harsh and deadly environment of outer space, filled with dangerous planets, deadly monsters, and endless darkness. The main character classes in Mothership RPG – Scientist, Teamster, Android and Marine – correspond to iconic characters from the Extraterrestrial The movies, while the game’s D100-centric dice-centric rules, readily available on player character sheets, encourage gaming sessions filled with tension, terror, and copious amounts of lethality.
Next: Official Star Trek Tabletop RPG Adaptations (& Their Unique Assets)
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