Space Adventure RPGs

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Trav has a dton of stuff, other games are not even close, if someone wants something there is probably something across the breadth of material for Traveller (or Cepheus Engine) and it's there. I think all other SF games combined probably don't have half the material that Trav does, that is why it is the big dog.
 

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half of those are absent in Traveller.

Traveller has as a line a large number of Aliens. None in the CT core, but by 1981, several were published humaniform but clearly not human.
Meh, I know of little to no material that deals with mixed-race culture, few materials and adventures that really deal with aliens in any substantive way. Yes, they technically exist, but none of Traveller's alien races ever amount to much, and there were no provisions at all in the CT core, as you point out, which WAS the game for quite a long time, and remains the default "build random subsectors" model even today.
There is no single dominationg galactic power. official maps of the Imperium are about 320×512 parsecs, the imperium itself is about 220×200 Pc. The Aslan hierate is 224×120 (triangular). The Zhodani Consulate is 120×120, roughly rectangular. The Hiver Federation and "Two Thousand Worlds (K'kree).
Meh, and lots of Foundation and Foundation and Empire deal with smaller polities and factions as well. Also, if you actually READ the stories you will quickly learn that, while the Galactic Empire is OLD it is not eternal and has ebbed and flowed over the millennia. Beyond that there was a LONG period before it became dominant. And yes, the scale of the Empires in Traveller is somewhat less, but the idea is still basically the same. If you look at Asimov's jump drive it has a much longer range, so a similar "limited by the speed of communication" empire is just physically larger. That doesn't really change the structure of the thing.
Traveller has no supersoldiers.
Classic Foundation (the Trilogy) doesn't have anything like supersoldiers. In fact its tech is VERY travelleresque with little in the way of discussion of personal communications and computing, etc. nothing about robots or AI, etc. etc. etc. LATER Asimov retroactively explained this stuff by invoking a tie-in to his other milieu, but that was quite obviously a revisionist move. The CT Empire/Universe and the Foundation Trilogy Universe are VERY similar in overall tone and form.
The Navies are age of sail, in core, and WW I in Bk5/Sup5/Adv5/Sup9, not WW II. Battleships dominate, not carriers.
The overall substance of the Traveller Imperium and its structure is an 'Age of Sail' analogy. Information flows at the speed of ships, which leads to a highly decentralized form of government with local officials and the possibility for things like character's reputations and crimes to be 'left behind', etc. Semi-independent planets, rogue bases, pirates, etc. can all easily exist within this framework. This is also largely true of the Foundation Empire, though it seemed a bit more centralized in some sense, at least it seemed clear that AT ITS HEIGHT the central authority was quite strong. OTOH the 5th Imperium is also pretty powerful, and Asimov outlines in the earlier stories how his empire has the classic 'General Problem' where military success on the perimeter results in competent leaders being recalled and executed because they begin to pose a threat to the center. Spinward Marches and related stuff indicates the 5th Imperium has a similar problem.
There is no dark age of lost tech. There is a dark age of no/very low trade, but that's not the same. Even the Ancients still, technically, exist at TL 22+...
Well, maybe in some later material, they're not a part of anything talked about in the earlier game, and even later the Ancients are merely some sort of remnant, or perhaps we could consider them some kind of "ascended beings" that don't really interact with us anymore. Note that Foundation, in its later material, basically does the same thing! The 'Robots of Dawn' are far more advanced than Humanity and basically run things! And again, if you read Foundation you will immediately find that there are indeed dark ages in Imperial history. Heck, they don't even know where Earth is! (that is later explained as one of the Robot's things, but in the original stories it is simply explained by the gradual loss of records over 10's of millennia of war, collapse and resurgence).
There's no established caste system; it's borrowed the Imperial Russian mode of increased social titles as rewards for service.
That was the common medieval system in every country originally, but I don't see any indication that you are correct here. According to the Traveller system you are born with a social status, and while it MIGHT increase or decrease slightly, there is no actual explanation of what might trigger that. I know of no particular way in which that is stated to differ from what exists in the Galactic Empire of the original Foundation trilogy. In any case, the exact mechanisms surrounding the choosing of an Emperor isn't some massive difference, and it is implied in the Trilogy that there have been many many imperial dynasties with different traditions and such over the vast history of the Galactic Empire.
You're seeing connections that simply don't exist to the strength you claim, overgeneralizing. Quite likely by lack of reference to the original breadth of inspirations. Hell, I've only read half the list of inspirations. I do recommend a read of Lensman...
I've read practically every single thing on that list at some point in my life, including every single thing ever written by EE Doc Smith. I agree, there are influences outside of JUST Asimov, but the Asimovian influence is by far the strongest. The instant I first read Traveller and ran a game back in 1977 I was quite aware of it, its hard to miss! However, I would say that Lensman, or Skylark either, are barely any influence on Traveller, with their much grander 'Wild West' kind of genre and super heroes sort of characters, ultra-advanced aliens, and Manichean moral system pervading the whole thing. The technology is entirely different as well, and I would classify Lensman as more Science Fantasy than anything else, though in tone it does try to 'feel' science-fictiony.
Marc's been very open about his sources. Dune's one I've not heard mentioned by Marc. (I have from one of the other GDW alumni.) It's possible he read the serialized version of Dune... but if he did, it didn't resonate with him the way the CoDo and Foundation settings did.
Yeah, I don't see a lot of the tone or feel of Dune in Traveller either. There's nothing like shield tech, or the whole highly intensely intrigue-based fighting, and certainly nothing like the religious aspects, or the secret societies and hidden plans being worked out over millennia. CoDo is a much better fit, though I would say that CoDo itself is pretty heavily influenced by Asimov! I mean, there was a kind of general Space Opera 'star empire' kind of pattern that a lot of stuff roughly followed back in the '50s and '60s particularly that is common between authors like Niven, Pournelle, Harrison, Asimov, Norton, etc. They all have some differences, some of which are fairly significant, but they all have a lot of the same elements too. Smith was of course the father of the idea of interstellar travel and civilizations and whatnot, so they all borrowed a bit from him, but Asimov put a lot more of a hard, humanistic, and science bent on it, and I think the others often riffed off of that more than off Smith directly.

My feeling is Traveller largely drew from Asimov, and then began to weave in some other stuff, like Norton-style Ancients and such. The original CT Universe is really surprisingly limited, much like the original Foundation Universe, with nothing but humans and the whole thing already colonized and filled with civilization. Its only later that we start to get into Aslan, and Hivers, and rumors of the Ancients (well, and adventures about them). Asimov obviously found his model too restrictive too, and we can easily see where Niven wanted things to be more interesting as well. It seems to me that a lot of the later material is more heavily indebted to other writers of the period. And then obviously you see some modest influence of more modern stuff with things like a malevolent AI and whatnot, which is definitely grabbing at some threads of Cyberpunk or related transhumanist stuff.
The CoDo influence is unmistakeable in Book 4: Mercenary, and explicit in Sup4's list. SgtMaj Calvin is from the CoDo verse. Early end thereof. Mote in God's Eye is the explicit inspiration for the black globe and white globe in Bk 5; it's the later end of the CoDo verse. (but if one wasn't aware of the conjunction, the Motie end (late end) of the CoDo can look very different from the Falconberg end (early end). The middle wasn't well developed.
Yeah, well, Asimov didn't do much really in terms of explicating military 'stuff' in his books. His focus was much more on society/politics/big ideas. Niven (and especially Pournelle) are well-known as some of the originators of the whole 'military sci fi' sub-genre. So, when Marc et al dug more into the military side of their milieu they naturally tapped the CoDo as a primary influence. Things like the 'black globe' didn't really seem terribly relevant, but I'm sure the idea is from Niven, or perhaps Arsen Darnay. It was certainly not intended to be something characters would run around with, but more like a plot device! In any case, I am not disagreeing that CoDo can be taken as a significant influence on Traveller, but I still think it is secondary to Foundation, and I think Foundation is a primary influence on CoDo itself! Note how Traveller's hyper jump system is lifted directly from Foundation, not from the 'jump point' concept of CoDo, although the range of the Traveller jump drive does fit better with CoDo. Nothing is ever going to be completely pure, if Marc had wanted to simply set his stuff in the Galactic Empire, he would have! So, clearly there's some diversity of influences.
 


Yora

Legend
Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
 

payn

Legend
Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
There is a great write up in Pirates of Drinax on this. Random table for ship encounters and a rating for the PCs. The rating is based on the type of crew and ship reputation they have. If you get spotted and are wanted, the type of random ship encounter could go very differently. Otherwise, with a clean bill of rep, most likely ignored unless the crew can talk some business, diplomacy, etc..
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
Here are some encounters: Cepheus Engine SRD - Starship Encounters
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
At its core, that kind of thing is a combination of the detector gear available- plus countermeasures- and the skill of its operator(s). The more a game leans into “kewl powerz”, the more they may be a factor.
 

Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
Firstly, I should note I never use random encounters in any campaign.

A point would be that large warships are not used for patrolling; in space, as now, patrol vessels would be fast, small, and well-equipped with advanced sensors, as well as stand-off weaponry.

When I run space campaigns, I do not let the PCs have an armed ship. I really do not see why any government would allow armed vessels, and certainly no port or orbital controller system. I treat the ship as a base, means of transport, and most importantly, a cash sink to keep the players hungry. The excellent series Firefly is in my mind the best media depiction of a ship-based campaign.
 

payn

Legend
Something that plays a very central role in fantasy wilderness sandboxes are random encounters. They can be the primary generator for adventure ideas that the players can decide to pursue or just walk away from as a single interaction that mixed things up a bit at their own discretion.

How do you think such a mechanic could work in a space opera campaign?

I guess one starting point would be to have random tables for types of ships, numbers of ships and their faction, and perhaps a secondary table with current goals for different types of factions.
With PCs probably having a fast ship and big warships generally being medium to slow speed, the risk of getting surprised and cornered by completely unbeatable attackers would be very small. There also can be a check which ship detects the other first, which probably should be modified by the size and number of ships. The likelihood of encountering other ships should probably depend on how often the PCs travel through space. Though then, if the campaign has a lot of space travel, maybe having a lot of encounters would be appropriate.

What are your thoughts on that? How would you set up a system?
I just browsed my PDFs.

Drianxian Companion has rules for running a sandbox SCI-FI campaign. A handful of detailed star clusters, adventures, and stuff on ship operation and restoration. Detailed ship encounters with interesting NPCs and situations.

Just that PDF is generic enough to give you material for just about any Sci-Fi sandbox. The more detailed Pirates of Drinax 3 book/PDF campaign has even more encounter tables, adventures, etc.. but is pretty specific to the campaign and probably too large an investment just for the goodies if you want to strip them out. Either way, I think its a pretty great set for Traveller gaming.
 

Yora

Legend
When I run space campaigns, I do not let the PCs have an armed ship. I really do not see why any government would allow armed vessels, and certainly no port or orbital controller system.
A general state of lawlessness. When you have cargo and passenger ships travel for weeks or months, and in some cases years, away from any kind of police force, with no way to call anyone for help and the next safe place being days away at best, and it is technically quite doable for pirates to intercept ships with weapons they bought on some backwater planet that has fallen into anarchy, I would imagine it being quite hard to do any interatellar transportation without the ability to arm ships.
Why is the front passenger seat called shotgun? Because the guy in that seat on a stage coach is the one holding the shotgun while the driver controls the horses.

Current containerships are typically not armed because pirate ships can be tracked everywhere in the world from space, and there's police on almost all coasts to catch pirates when they come to shore. It took a complete breakdown into anarchy in Somalia for people to seriously consider piracy again, and once that became a nuisance the fleets that patrol the seas took an end to that in a few years. It certainly is possible to make space settings like that. I would guess the Federation is Star Trek is such a case, and I can't really see Federation freighters being armed. But that's a different genre than the Space Scoundrels on swashbuckling adventures.

Weapons on merchant ships really only went away in the 19th centuries when national navies gained the technical capabilities and necessary capacity to enforce the law in their waters and on shipping lanes.
 

Traveller is pretty much built from the ground up (CT certainly) around the concept of a completely random sandboxed type of play. Ships are always potentially vulnerable to hijack or piracy, and space is LARGE, so being armed is a very good idea. However, most of the sorts of ships PCs are ever likely to possess are tiny and thus carry very limited weaponry. Also, small size does not grant one speed, not in any sense. Smaller ships actually tend to be on the slow end of the scale, as there's little justification to waste huge volumes of expensive hull on fuel tanks and such. However, even military vessels don't really gain 'speed' by being small. The most likely reason why there ARE very small very fast ships is simply because that level of speed is sub-optimal for most military uses, but its cheap enough to have a limited supply of fast scouts and interceptors, most 'book 5' warships can easily afford to carry a pretty hefty mix of small craft. They're worthless in any real battle, but quite handy if you just want to nab an enemy spy or something.
 

aramis erak

Legend
When I run space campaigns, I do not let the PCs have an armed ship. I really do not see why any government would allow armed vessels, and certainly no port or orbital controller system.
The UK and US did so for a long time... Even anti-shipping weapons were still allowed on private ships until nearly the end of the 19th C.
It's the Naval Limitations Treaties that ended most private armed vessels... but there still were civilian ships with guns into the 1960's under US registry. Whalers, to be specific, usually have a harpoon gun. Replace the 56kg harpoon with a 20kg HEAP round, and it's a passable anti-shipping weapon. Especially against non-warships and modern unarmored warships.

And that's ignoring small arms.

There is some discussion of whether or not the Somali Piracy is grounds for arming merchant shipping again. Most Merchant Marine Sailors I've known are ambivalent about it... one more thing to maintain, one more thing to keep current upon. There are a lot of current politics that could rapidly justify rearming almost all commercial shipping.

That Sci-Fi settings could include such situations? quite plausible.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I would guess the Federation is Star Trek is such a case, and I can't really see Federation freighters being armed. But that's a different genre than the Space Scoundrels on swashbuckling adventures.
In Ent: Fortunate Son, it is established that the Earth Gov't allows armed freighters. That's pre-Federation, but...

The designer of the Vulcan Shuttle for ST:TMP notes that there are greeblies for weapons.
 

The UK and US did so for a long time... Even anti-shipping weapons were still allowed on private ships until nearly the end of the 19th C.
It's the Naval Limitations Treaties that ended most private armed vessels... but there still were civilian ships with guns into the 1960's under US registry. Whalers, to be specific, usually have a harpoon gun. Replace the 56kg harpoon with a 20kg HEAP round, and it's a passable anti-shipping weapon. Especially against non-warships and modern unarmored warships.

And that's ignoring small arms.

There is some discussion of whether or not the Somali Piracy is grounds for arming merchant shipping again. Most Merchant Marine Sailors I've known are ambivalent about it... one more thing to maintain, one more thing to keep current upon. There are a lot of current politics that could rapidly justify rearming almost all commercial shipping.

That Sci-Fi settings could include such situations? quite plausible.
I don't think the historical precedents are valid. The ability of ship-to-shore weaponry was minimal back then, and the need for armaments quickly faded once governmental controls eliminated safe ports for pirates. The Golden Age of piracy in the Caribbean, for example, was actually quite short.

Examples like the Somali pirates do not carry over, IMO, because space lacks the choke points that the Somali pirates exploit.

I could see a ship have arms lockers and dead stick options to render piracy unattractive.

But the cost of mounting weapons and targeting systems, ECM/EW suites, and training/maintaining crews to military levels would seem to swiftly kill the profit margin of cargo ships.
 

I don't think the historical precedents are valid. The ability of ship-to-shore weaponry was minimal back then, and the need for armaments quickly faded once governmental controls eliminated safe ports for pirates. The Golden Age of piracy in the Caribbean, for example, was actually quite short.

Examples like the Somali pirates do not carry over, IMO, because space lacks the choke points that the Somali pirates exploit.

I could see a ship have arms lockers and dead stick options to render piracy unattractive.

But the cost of mounting weapons and targeting systems, ECM/EW suites, and training/maintaining crews to military levels would seem to swiftly kill the profit margin of cargo ships.
What modern shippers are REALLY afraid of is escalation. As it stands most 'piracy', such as the Somali stuff, is really just kidnapping. However, if the intended victims start shooting, then things could get bloody pretty fast. Shippers would rather pay a few ransoms vs the massive insurance rate increases that firefights and dead crews would entail.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Examples like the Somali pirates do not carry over, IMO, because space lacks the choke points that the Somali pirates exploit.
That is entirely dependent upon the FTL methods. For Star Trek, I would agree. For other settings? It varies by setting.

Many settings' FTL modes are reliant upon some particular point for FTL transitions...
  • Each point connects to one and only one destination:
    • Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle/SM Stirling's CoDoVerse - drive interacts with weakpoint in space to transition to counterpart point.
    • Bujld's Vorkosiverse - drive enables travelling the wormholes that are normally intransversible. They can be artificially and/or naturally closed.
    • Steve Cole, David Webber, and Ian White's Starfire universe - no specific drive needed, fly into it, and transit the wormhole.
  • Each point leads to a pair (or more) of points
    • Jimmy Doohan & SM Stirling's Flight Engineer - superstring webs, with FTL drives allowing transition between the string and a node in system - but the nodes are fixed points. You can fly past, and if your jump drive isn't working, you cannot exit...
    • Stargate - The gates themselves are able to connect almost any node to any node - but there needs to be a gate at the other end to go anywhere. This setting also has hyperspace drives.
  • Point is a function of FTL drive operation
    • Steve Gallacci's Albedo setting - one must travel on a line tangent between source star and destination star... or not arrive.
    • GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars - side nearest sourceworld, at precisely100 diameters...
    • Battletech Universe - zenith or nadir vs the eccliptic.
It's worth noting that those last two are game-settings first... and GTIW is different than the rest of Traveller for Jump Exit; GTIW requires hitting the 100 diameter limit, while other Traveller flavors only mandate no closer than it.
Starfire also starts as a game setting, by Steve Cole, developed further by Webber, novelised by Webber and White, and now White and someone else writing the novels, and the original game universe abandoned by the holder of the game name...
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
A point would be that large warships are not used for patrolling; in space, as now, patrol vessels would be fast, small, and well-equipped with advanced sensors, as well as stand-off weaponry.
[/QUOTE]
That will of course depend on the technology assumptions of the SF setting in question.
One thing that clearly won't be the case when compared to modern sea patrols is that there's no distinction between sea and air movement; which means no aircraft manoeuvring at speeds a large ship can't match. To use Traveller as an example, Dreadnoughts aren't inferior in acceleration to Destroyers unless you build them that way.
And from a purely technological point of view, a large ship has more area for it's distributed sensor arrays to be spread across, so it's likely the best sensor platforms will be large Or they'll be "throw-away" drones, and again a larger ship will have space to store more.

When I run space campaigns, I do not let the PCs have an armed ship. I really do not see why any government would allow armed vessels, and certainly no port or orbital controller system.
As has already been mentioned, the disarming of civilian vessels is a very modern effect, and in some areas where piracy is a problem ships are regaining the right to carry weapons. Note that the weapons in question tend to be machine guns or grenade launchers, possibly even just small arms, which fall well short of the type of weapons that are useful against warships. though in the past, plenty of merchant ships would have had guns comparable to small warships - some ships from the East India Company in the 18th/19th century were the size of frigates and mounted the same 12pdr cannon (though fewer of them). In some periods the distinction between a merchant ship and a warship could be uncertain - galleons spent most of their time carrying cargo, but were mobilised for war and among the most effective vessels in a military fleet.
 

Yora

Legend
Worldbuilding where small details follow naturally from the interactions of established elements is always really nice.
But in the end, all interstellar science fiction is pure fantasy (I even hesitatemto call spce opera sci-fi) and the big picture and overall themes come first, with justifications and plausibility following later.
 

Worldbuilding where small details follow naturally from the interactions of established elements is always really nice.
But in the end, all interstellar science fiction is pure fantasy (I even hesitatemto call spce opera sci-fi) and the big picture and overall themes come first, with justifications and plausibility following later.

I believe the exact opposite. Even in fantasy campaigns, but especially in sci-fi.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Worldbuilding where small details follow naturally from the interactions of established elements is always really nice.
I'd go with "usually," not "always."
But in the end, all interstellar science fiction is pure fantasy
Disagree. Most, yes. Far from all. There are several which are lacking elements unsupported by physics. Niven's Integral Trees/Smoke Ring duology, for example...
(I even hesitatemto call spce opera sci-fi)
As do I...
and the big picture and overall themes come first, with justifications and plausibility following later.
Not how I approach it as a GM, not how Lois Bujold handles it as an author. Nor how a number of designers have approached it.
Bujold's discussed her process for certain novels... Ethan of Athos is a well grounded "what if?" So is Falling Free.

Niven's Smoke Ring setting is one of the most well grounded "start with the physics, then add a story" novels.

Most SF games are bad SF. Most SF GMs are bad at SF. Most people don't distinguish between space fantasy, space opera, space horror, and science fiction.

I don't run real Science Fiction much. I have - Mars 2100 (BTRC) being the hardest SF game I've encountered... but I prefer to run Space Opera and Space Fantasy. (Alien as Space Opera is great...) I'm at least self-honest about that. But I prefer to read harder SF as much as Space Opera.
 

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