Looking for a good Sci-fi setting

Jd Smith1

Explorer
My group has been together (most of it) since 2002. We switch settings about every 12-13 months. We're due for a sci-fi setting soon, as usually we go fantasy, post-apoc, scfi-fi, back to fantasy, with a couple Old West campaign in the mix. We're currently half-way through a fantasy campaign, Degenesius is locked and loaded next, and beyond that, sci-fi.

We've done Fading Suns (twice), Firefly/Serenity, FTL Now, and a sort of bastardized Traveler thing that got wildly out of control and in retrospect reflected badly on all involved.

What my guys would go for is a finite space map, detail that is less intense than WH 40k but still fully developed, and if possible dark and decaying (we're big fans of dark and decaying). Coriolis is not an option. Transhuman is likely not going to be utilized much if it is included, as there is a dearth of interest.

The group's sci-fi tastes are heavily influenced by the TV series (not the movie) Firefly, modestly by Star Wars, and if not carefully regulated, quickly becomes Unethical Bastards in Space. But basically, the small struggling ship crew with money problems and a temperamental ship is the sort of thing they like. Exploration is viewed as boring at best, especially as they know I'm not going to let them encounter any primitive cultures ever again.

So, to recap: a sci-fi setting with a finite starmap, no magic, good setting detail, loose or broken government control, and not Fading Suns, WH 40k, FTL Now, Firefly, Traveler, Star Wars, Star Trek, or Coriolis. The system isn't an issue.
 
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Jd Smith1

Explorer
I highly recommend Star Without Number. There's a free version with 90% of the rules if you want to check it out (I think the only things it leaves out are the rules for AIs and mechs). The system is designed for sandbox play. There's also a free online tool, Sectors Without Number, that you can use to generate star maps and worlds.
Thanks, but as I said, I'm looking for a limited star map. SWN is too sprawling for our tastes.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
Yes that's the one, I believe the RPG is a fairly new release
Already downloaded the free intro. The scale and scope is perfect. Its certainly dark and decaying enough. I don't know if I would follow the core plot, but the setting's the thing in any case.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Yes that's the one, I believe the RPG is a fairly new release
Yeah, it was done as a Kickstarter, but is now generally available. I got my copy a few months back. Pretty good system. Lots of background info for the setting (a fair amount of which you would be familiar with if you've read the books, but practically indispensable for someone more familiar with the show).

The Churn rules (optional system for generating rising action) feel a tad underdeveloped (or at least felt like they could have used a few more examples), but they aren't bad IMO.
 
I don't know if you're interested in the anime/manga direction, but there is the series Five Star Stories. It's a series that takes place over centuries, involving the unification/conquest of a small star cluster by the future Emperor. The governments are feudal in nature, the previous civilization having fallen victim to the "great collapse" syndrome a few thousand years ago The bigger battles taking place between gigantic mechs called Mortarheads, piloted by who are essentially knights.

It's a huge story with lots of background info. If you don't care the for the anime tropes of mechs and such, it can still be used for inspiration or altered to use with standard war machines than mechs. I used it as an inspiration, with a number of changes, for a space opera campaign of my own a long time ago.

There was another series that a GM of min based a Spacemaster campaign around. I wish I could remember the name, but it's been too long. I recall there were 3 or 4 planets (I think) of about the level of tech humans have in the Aliens universe, all independently ruled. The one thing I really remember is that people could have their physical ages frozen at a certain point, usually early 30's, so they could live for much longer. I wish I could remember more. If I do I'll edit it in.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
If you wan't a setting that is more contained, want more science in your science fiction, yet enjoy elegant mechanics that support cinematic adventures, check out The Expanse RPG. Personally, I think that The Expanse is best suited for mini campaigns, rather than something you'll want to run for years, but YMMV.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
I see The Expanse has already been mentioned and may be a good fit, but I just wanted to mention Mothership as an option. It’s sci-fi horror very much in line with Alien, so I think the tone fits what you’re looking for.

The core rules are free. The setting within is only loosely implied, but there are a couple of supplements that help flesh out the setting a bit more. One is a series of adventure sites and the other is a city-sized space station. They’re both really great and offer a lot of inspiration. They’re also designed with utility in mind, so they’re very helpful for a GM to run.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
Alternatively — the new Alien RPG looks awesome.
I am tempted, but I have used the alien (of the movie) in several sci-fi campaigns already, because like Skaven, it is simply impossible for me to resist. I'll take a look, but The Expanse is #1 with a bullet.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Well how about the expanse? It sounds like it would fit your fluff requirement's

Yes. This one. I'm a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan. But I'd jump to run/play this one with a group in a second. It reads really, really well.

You do NOT have to follow the plot of the show. And would probably work best if you didn't and just had the show moving along in the background.

I don't have my book in front of me. But I seem to recall that it's set after Book One, which is about the end of the first season (?), middle of the second (?). Definitely well before the end of the third. Definitely. No ring.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
Yes. This one. I'm a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan. But I'd jump to run/play this one with a group in a second. It reads really, really well.

You do NOT have to follow the plot of the show. And would probably work best if you didn't and just had the show moving along in the background.

I don't have my book in front of me. But I seem to recall that it's set after Book One, which is about the end of the first season (?), middle of the second (?). Definitely well before the end of the third. Definitely. No ring.
Yeah, definitely no ring in my campaign. But the political conflicts are excellent.
 

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