Space Adventure RPGs


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Yora

Legend
While I am working on a space setting that I really like so far, I keep being terribly undecided on whether I should run a campaign with Scum and Villainy or with Stars Without Number. Both seem really quite similar in their setting assumptions and tend towards the lighter end of rules density. I think both would be great choices, but I can continue with only one. (At least per campaign.)

To anyone familiar with both games, what are your subjective pros and cons for either system? What things do you think one does better than the other, and for what kind of campaign style would they be particularly well suited?
 

amethal

Adventurer
The best "Space Rogues" setting I've seen is a toss up between the Early Codoverse (Falkonberg and other start of the Codo era novels), The Vorkosiverse, and Ringworld... Falconberg's about taming the frontier as much as the merc ops. The Vorkosiverse, well, Miles and Ivan are both intelligence operatives - in different modes - and the side stories involving Ellie Quinn are Ellie doing things on behalf of ImpSec when Miles can't. And Ringworld? It's a terra incognita exploratum.
I'm familiar with the last two, but I'm struggling to identify the first one.

Do you mean "Falkenberg's Legion" by Jerry Pournelle? (It doesn't match either of your spellings but looks like it might fit.)
 

Yora

Legend
Here's something interesting that I found, regarding what scale of travel time could be plausible between planets of an interstellar empire.

In 1914, a military convoy from Australia to Cairo spend seven weeks at sea transporting soldiers to support the invasion of Turkey.
In 1944, reinforcements for Pearl Harbor took 12 days for the journey from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

If you base the ideas for planetary colonies on remote cities in the early 20th century before air travel became common, these are the kind of travel times that people apparently were fine to put up with. 50 days in hyperspace to get to the homeworld, or 10 days just to reach the nearest other colony appears to something that would work for colony worlds with only a million inhabitants. For all intents and purposes, cities like Honolulu or Perth could just as well exist as the only major settlement of a whole planet. And that was at a level of modern technology dependence not even a hundred years ago.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I'm familiar with the last two, but I'm struggling to identify the first one.

Do you mean "Falkenberg's Legion" by Jerry Pournelle? (It doesn't match either of your spellings but looks like it might fit.)
CoDo Verse is indeed initiated with Falconberg's Legion... but it's the same setting as Niven/Pournelle use (at the other end of the timeline) with the Mote in God's Eye, and it's sequels.

Co-Do from Co-Dominion - the government of the era...
 

Yora

Legend
Are there any space games other than Scum and Villainy that have some kind of adventure structure mechanics or gameplay loops? Stars Without Number says its a sandbox game, but is missing all the mechanics from OD&D that created unscripted adventures.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Are there any space games other than Scum and Villainy that have some kind of adventure structure mechanics or gameplay loops? Stars Without Number says its a sandbox game, but is missing all the mechanics from OD&D that created unscripted adventures.
All of them with trade systems create a play-loop, albeit one that often is very mechanistic...
Traveller, for example... key terminology issue: cargo is owned by the ship or a crewmember; freight is owned by others and sent as hired space. Passengers are special kind of freight.
  1. Decide destination
  2. post for passengers and freight
  3. check the speculative cargo available and decide whether to buy or not
  4. accept and load cargo, passengers, and freight.
  5. MegaT: GM checks for significant encounters for the week
  6. depart and head for jump point.
  7. GM checks for space encounter
  8. jump
  9. check for arrival encounter
  10. proceed to destination port
  11. offload freight and passengers
  12. See if it's worth selling cargo
  13. back to 1.
That said, it's not a fun loop for everyone.
Space Opera's loop looks almost identical.
A similar loop exists for Star Wars d6 in GG6: Tramp Freighters
GURPS: Traveller differs in the details, but uses a similar loop.

ALIEN also has a trade mission generator, with a play loop that's different in interesting ways...

  1. Exit hyperdrive
  2. Wake non-synth crew
  3. ship maintenance
  4. random encounter
  5. arrive at world
  6. discharge mission (if possible)
  7. find new mission (if space available)
  8. depart world
  9. random encounter
  10. crew sleep
  11. enter hyperspace
  12. repeat

Trade and commerce as a play loop can get old very fast, but it's definitely a play loop that can be added to any SFRPG with ships.
I've even used the CT/MT trade system in a car wars campaign.
 

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