Thoughts On a New Space Campaign.

‘ve been inspired by “The Orville” as it is somewhat as I imagine someone’s starship RPG campaign to look like. Unlike other TV series that take themselves too seriously at times, I think many RPG groups do pretty much insist on dropping some witty side banter and the occasional humorous situation.

Picture, if you will, “The Orville” using Star Frontiers Rules.

The sheer awesomeness of Space Freighter One.
Art by @tinyworld96

Gonna try to make my friend on Twitter, @FreighterOne proud with this one. I’m contemplating writing a short series of adventures or at least an outline for 9-12 episodes. It’s going to be centered on a smaller starship crew (the PCs and a few select NPCs) traveling through space and their wacky adventures every week.

I’ve been inspired by “The Orville” as it is somewhat as I imagine someone’s starship RPG campaign to look like. Unlike other TV series that take themselves too seriously at times, I think many RPG groups do pretty much insist on dropping some witty side banter and the occasional humorous situation. I think gamers tend to take things less seriously than Hollywood most of the time, anyway.

The only question I’m having currently is which system to use?

Nothing new, right? I’m always sort of hemming and hawing about which system I want to use for any given game. This is a campaign calling for something easy to learn, easy to play, fast and fun. This campaign will be designed around getting a group together for about a dozen sessions, so nothing too complicated.
My short list of contenders for this game:

  • ICRPG by Runehammer. Warp Shell gives us some sci-fi/space context. It’s a very easy system to work with. I could almost create a generic series of adventures and fill in the details later.
  • FATE by Evil Hat. This game company has been on a roll as of late. I like FATE for its simplicity, ease of adaptation and spiffy dice.
  • FrontierSpace by DwD. I mentioned Star Frontiers earlier. This is sort of the next generation of SF. It’s a bit crunchier than the previous two games. I like it a lot because of its harder sci-fi edge.
  • D6 System by West End Games (Nocturnal Media.) I mean, it worked for Star Wars, right? Plus I can design ships and characters in my head in less time than it takes me to write them down. I can still run this game blindfolded.
  • Shatterzone by West End Games (Precis Intermedia.) If you follow my blog, you probably know I have lots of love for old WEG products and Precis Intermedia for keeping some of them going. Shatterzone has awesome backstory and a deep world design, but it is a bit crunchier than everything else on the list.

Other thoughts included Starfinder, Cortex, SWADE, EGS, MCC, and even D&D 5E. I’m trying to minimize the crunch and find a base set of core rules that most players will have good access to. At the same time, I want a product that is more easily licensed in the event I decide to publish the campaign on DriveThruRPG.

I think with Spelljammer coming out soon, it might be fun to run a space game for a few weeks. You can only do so much fantasy, right? I think a space game set in Earth’s future might be a fun change of pace.

The next part of the series will be the first two episodes.

I like to link the first two episodes of any campaign together and usually the last two or three episodes. What can I say? I take a lot of RPG inspiration from TV and movies. My more structured campaign style functions very well with that format.

I want to do all of this without railroading the players, but unfortunately most published RPG campaigns and many adventures tend to be somewhat railroady in their presentation. I have learned a lot from Monster of the Week in terms of presentation, though. I might create episodes as missions this time.

Thanks again for stopping by. Space Freighter One isn’t helping me with any game development and probably has no idea I mentioned it. I just really wanted to give a friend a shout-out. Please go visit their site if you get a chance. I can’t think of humor and starship without thinking of SFO.

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