Looking for Guardians of the Galaxy type system recommendations.

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
What rules system would you suggest for a Guardian of the Galaxy "we're lovable scoundrels who talk and shoot our way out of problems (often of our own creation) and sometimes to the right thing but it's even better when we're paid to do so" in outer space type campaign. Like what they do between movies.

Not requirements, but all positives
  1. Not fantasy-heartbreaker-in-space, either in concept nor implementation.
  2. Quick, semi+tactical fights both in person and on starships. (And everyone is doing something important during starship combat.)
  3. More about the character and not just collecting the best gear.
  4. Mechanical support for reputation, relationships, all the sort of thing where you can make things happen "because I said so", as well as "I know a guy..." type interactions.
  5. Mechanical support for heists (flashbacks, preparedness mechanic instead of 3 hours of planning and then 30 minutes of Leeroy Jenkins).
  6. Rules support for a player just making up stuff that fits the narrative. "Hey, I'm an engineer, I want to detune their engine so it leaves a unique signature to make it easy for us to identify and follow them".
  7. Characters start kinda bad***, without the complexity of creating advanced characters.
  8. More interesting conditions and stuff than just "hit points", including from other things then just combat. Think PbtA modifiers for an example. But still with a feeling of danger.
  9. Not a huge $$ investment since I'm not sure the players will like it.
  10. Straightforward character creation. (Character advancement can be a bit heavier once they've gotten the gist of it.)
  11. Session 0 NPC/worldbuilding system.
EDIT: 12. Reasons to have flawed characters, and mechanical support for it. (Like one use of Fate's Aspects.)

You don't need to have a system suggestion that meets any of these, but in that case I'd love to hear a good elevator pitch about why it's the right one for a GotG-like game.

The group are all veteran players, but have been heavily D&D focused and a bit of it is that different games will widen their perspective. Focused heavily on RP and creating interesting and/or idiosyncratic characters. Minimal character optimization happens. One player is more into tactical chess-like combat, but doesn't require it, and if it makes combat slow that might be a turn-off.

Can be anything from a glossy published system to a Cortex Prime homebrew someone wrote for themselves, that doesn't matter to me.
 
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hawkeyefan

Legend
I saw the title and jumped in to suggest Scum & Villainy, but of course that's already been suggested by @Ovinomancer

I think it hits each of your 12 points, @Blue, with maybe the possible exception of ship combat engaging all players (I'm uncertain of this more than the system fails; the 4 sessions I played didn't involve ship combat).

It's one book, easy character creation but then the game does have some crunchy elements, characters are capable from the go, but they do get more powerful as they progress. Very player facing, coop worldbuilding, with players being able to broadly apply the actions in interesting ways. Definitely involves reputation and character flaws and all of that in a meaningful way.

I think it's a strong contender.

Simpler and totally free is Lasers and Feelings, also by John Harper. It's a one-page game you can find here: http://onesevendesign.com/lasers_and_feelings_rpg.pdf

That may be too simple for your tastes, but it surprising hits a decent amount of your 12 points.

The other space adventure type games I've had recent experience with are Alien and Mothership, but both of those lean more horror than adventure, and each fails with at least a few of your 12 points. I think Coriolis may be a game that uses the same engine as Alien that is more geared for adventure than Alien.... that may be worth a look.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I would consider looking into Cortex Prime. You could set up Relationships as a prime trait and then pick whatever you want for the third trait set (e.g., Roles, Skills, Attributes, etc.). You could easily port in the rules and guidelines for heists from the Leverage RPG.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I would consider looking into Cortex Prime. You could set up Relationships as a prime trait and then pick whatever you want for the third trait set (e.g., Roles, Skills, Attributes, etc.). You could easily port in the rules and guidelines for heists from the Leverage RPG.
I kickstarted Cortex Prime, thought I don't have the earlier Leverage RPG. With it's toolkit approach it should be able to put together a lot of different ideas - do you have a recommendation of a SF based one? I don't want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to things like space combat.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Bulldogs.
I'm glad I reached out, because i haven't heard of Bulldogs so never would have known to look into it.

Fate Core, and a good blurb, seem like it's definitely in the ballpark.

Can you expand a little about why it would be a good fit for a Guardians of the Galaxy type campaign, and with my 12 hopes?
 

Aldarc

Legend
I kickstarted Cortex Prime, thought I don't have the earlier Leverage RPG. With it's toolkit approach it should be able to put together a lot of different ideas - do you have a recommendation of a SF based one? I don't want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to things like space combat.
The core book includes a police procedural setting, a Final Fantasy-esque setting, and a Thunderbirds setting. You could modify the ship rules from Hammerheads. Or you could assign the ship its own character sheet with roles (e.g., Communications, Sensors, Structure, Weapons, Engines, etc.).

Also there are likely some fan made ones in the Discord, namely the Confab Creations.

Edit: If you could get your hands on Leverage that would also help as it has Flashback mechanics. (I believe they may have even inspired Flashbacks in Blades in the Dark.
 
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I'm glad I reached out, because i haven't heard of Bulldogs so never would have known to look into it.

Fate Core, and a good blurb, seem like it's definitely in the ballpark.

Can you expand a little about why it would be a good fit for a Guardians of the Galaxy type campaign, and with my 12 hopes?
Fate is pretty flexable. The setting is very tongue in cheek. Doesn't have mystical elements to my knowledge, unlike Scum and Villainy.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
The Expanse for Modern AGE. The PC are though and flashy with the Stunt system and the narrative behind what replace the good ol' HP (I cant remember the name). Just change the names of places and you can jump straigth to play.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The Expanse for Modern AGE. The PC are though and flashy with the Stunt system and the narrative behind what replace the good ol' HP (I cant remember the name). Just change the names of places and you can jump straigth to play.
I haven't really had a chance to look into AGE. For that brief description it sounds good. Does it handle ship combat as well?
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I haven't really had a chance to look into AGE. For that brief description it sounds good. Does it handle ship combat as well?
Yes. IIRC there's the corebook covers most of the rules and there's also a companion book with extra stuff for vehicles and ship.

@Aldarc is more savvy than me on all things AGE, so they may know more.

Its from Green Ronin and there was some review and articles on their website on their rules for ''HP'' and ''armors'', you may want to look them up to give you a better idea.
 

Regarding the part of 2. that says "everyone is doing something important during starship combat," the best solution I've found is to give everyone their own ship during a battle.

So, although I love Scum and Villainy, I'd say, run Beam Saber. It's Forged in the Dark and has rules to give every player character their own personal vehicle to pilot in combat. Just reskin their base as a mothership, and you're good to go.

 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Regarding the part of 2. that says "everyone is doing something important during starship combat," the best solution I've found is to give everyone their own ship during a battle.

So, although I love Scum and Villainy, I'd say, run Beam Saber. It's Forged in the Dark and has rules to give every player character their own personal vehicle to pilot in combat. Just reskin their base as a mothership, and you're good to go.

Beam Saber looks good, but not quite the vibe I'm going for for this group. I've seen good space combat before, but it was when each character explicitly had meaningful things to do. Maybe it was in one of the Star Trek games from a while ago.

From a system design perspective, I almost wish that ship combat was treated as a different pillar of play and used a separate currency. Having a Pilot as a playbook in S&V means working that in that character's specialty as regularly as all of the other player specialties, but they are the only one who's specialty is more often ship combat. Yes, it works fine with any vehicles so it's not so limiting. But still, coming from heavy D&D backgrounds my players are more used to things where everyone can contribute in those types of scenes.
 
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Voadam

Legend
Mutants & Masterminds 3e. Mostly familiar d20 mechanics, fairly streamlined d20 combat where PCs will regularly survive a shootout but much less tactically fiddly than 3e D&D, designed for superhero types with no emphasis on acquiring D&D style loot. There are sourcebooks on space, including a Guardians like team pre done out. It also has a 128 page Basic Heroes Handbook with fully compatible but simplified character creation and some sample Heroes that is cheaper than the main book.

Does not hit every point you raised mechanically, but it came to mind for me for doing Guardians.
 

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