Sci-fi roleplaying games might not be ampere popular as some illusion RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons 5E or Pathfinder, but they can offer experiences that are just as exalted or enthralling as those focused on swords and sorcery. In many ways, as a writing style, skill fiction has the potential to provide more experimental or unusual settings than fantasy – as you ’ ll meet in the very best sci-fi RPGs. Whilst there are some long-familiar names featured on this number, there will be several titles that you ’ ve likely never heard of before that could serve as a gateway to an entirely new roleplaying have .
Best sci-fi tabletop RPGs
Embark on an epic journey across space in this adventurous sci-fi RPG
Yes, that is a rat person in this image.
scout is considered to be one of the most popular RPGs out there, specially since the secrete of its recent second edition. It ’ south unsurprising that Pazio, the game ’ mho publisher, thought to take the mechanics of its classical fantasy title and translate them into a science-fiction plot. Hence Starfinder, an adventurous RPG that promises players a horde of exciting escapades across the stars. As sci-fi roleplaying games go, Starfinder is decidedly more of the space opera kind, with a across-the-board excerpt of different species to play as – including androids, scab people called Ysoki and even futuristic elves – and an arsenal of abilities and weapons to wield .
Should they desire it, players will be able to pilot their very own starship and engage in starship fight with enemy vessels they encounter in their travels. Whilst the world of Starfinder decidedly feels like it ’ s a future version of Pathfinder – which it technically is – with the inclusion of authoritative fantasy species and its own form of space charming, it hush has its own rich populace and lore for players to explore. If you ’ re not confident about devising your storylines for this huge set, Starfinder has a series of Adventure Paths for game masters to use in their campaigns, taking their players from fantastic adventures on exciting planets to creepy abandon space ships. Give Starfinder a attempt if you ’ rhenium looking for a expansive foray into sci-fi.
Reading: 10 best sci-fi tabletop RPGs
Buy Starfinder on Amazon UK and Amazon US .
2. Those Dark Places
Horror and sci-fi merge in this Alien-inspired RPG about the desolation of outer space
Those Dark Places wears its inspirations on its sleeve.
foreigner may have its very own official RPG now – which Rich heavy praised in our review – but that doesn ’ t mean that there aren ’ t batch of other roleplaying games taking cues from the beloved horror franchise. Those Dark Places is a rules-light RPG, meaning that it ’ s a little more square to play than something like D & D 5E, that focuses on the scarier parts of space-living. Players become crew members with different roles and personalities, such as the pilot burner or a louche bodied shill, who will venture into cramped space stations and the surfaces of eerie planets in the hopes of carving out a decent biography for themselves .
much like Alien, the universe of Those Dark Places is dominated by unethical companies looking to make as much net income as possible, regardless of the consequences. The players are workers for one of these corporations and, as such, are likely to find themselves tied up in something illegal or differently extremely dangerous. The rules for Those Dark Places are easy enough for tied stigmatize newly roleplayers to pick things up well, with the experience being more about air than complex character universe and fight. For a repugnance heavy sci-fi adventure, you ’ five hundred be derelict to not turn to Those Dark Places .
Buy Those Dark Places on Amazon UK and Amazon US .
3. Tales from the Loop
Indulge your ‘80s nostalgia with a roleplaying game about weird childhood adventures
Tales From the Loop sees players exploring an alternative 1980s as a group of kids who are in over their heads.
You may have already heard of Tales from the Loop thanks to the recent Amazon Prime series starring Rebecca Hill and Paul Schneider, but you might not know it began as a narrative art ledger. Simon Stålenhag is a scandinavian artist who created a solicitation of illustrations that combined the brilliant vistas of forests and plains with strange images of enormous mechs and machinery. These images were finally adapted into a roleplaying game record called Tales from the Loop, which depicts an alternative 1980s in which the swedish government has been conducting strange experiments .
The consequence of these experiments is The Loop, a adeptness that seems to be the origin of several odd events taking place around the countryside of Mälaröarna. In the game, players become a group of children who are curious about the goings-on in the underground facility. This group can be made up of any number of authoritative ‘ 80s sci-fi archetypes, such as the pedant or the troublemaker. Players will need to balance the challenges of everyday life – such as school bullies and demanding parents – with the eldritch troubles presented by The Loop. Lovers of classical sci-fi movies like ET or series such as Stranger Things would be derelict not to give Tales from the Loop a attempt .
Buy Tales from the Loop from Amazon UK and the Modiphius on-line store .
A fantasy and cyberpunk-infused RPG about the clash of magic and technology
The world of Shadowrun is filled with all sorts of odd and interesting characters.
Shadowrun is the RPG that likes to challenge the statement of ‘ you can have excessively many sub-genres ’ in one thing. This beloved act plot is a authentic pick-and-mix of genre tropes, from science fabrication and hacker to fantasy. Shadowrun manages to fuse all of these slightly disparate elements in concert into one stonkingly original mount. First published in 1989, Shadowrun is an RPG that takes station in the near-future where corporations have last taken the adjacent tone to complete world domination and have broadly made things bad for literally everyone else .
Living in cities haunted by a past cataclysmal event, humans, elves, dwarves and other authoritative fantasy species attempt to survive their harsh and dangerous lives. One authoritative matter to note about Shadowrun is that, like many older RPGs, it contains respective baffling elements related to the manner it depicts species like orks and trolls as the result of the horrifying aftereffects of the aforesaid event. Nonetheless, Shadowrun ’ s deep worldbuilding and unusual odds and ends of cyberpunk and fantasy elements has made it a family name in the tabletop diligence, leading to multiple by-product titles and video games. Playing Shadowrun may feel like diving directly into the cryptic end of building complex roleplaying games, so it ’ s credibly not an ideal starting degree for beginners, but its rich lore and wide diverseness of character creation options provide batch of opportunities for engaging storytelling .
Buy Shadowrun 6E Beginner Box on Zatu and DrivethruRPG .
5. Scum and Villainy
Fly through the stars on the hunt for your next paycheck in this Star Wars-inspired RPG
Players will have the freedom to explore the galaxy in their own spaceship.
The Forged in the Dark system has been used to make many excellent roleplaying games, including John Harper ’ s own Blades in the Dark. One of these RPGs is called Scum and Villainy and sees players becoming a crowd of spacefaring folks precisely looking to make a sting of money. Whilst the game is clearly inspired by the likes of Star Wars and Firefly, it inactive manages to present its own original bring on the sci-fi writing style. Life is difficult in space – where bands of dangerous aliens, the rule Galactic Hegemony and quarrelling lord families clash with one another – then you ’ re going to have to come together as a team if you want to survive .
Players will need to plan their jobs carefully if they ’ re going to get out alive. fortunately enough, the Forged in the Dark system allows players to pause the game to describe a flashback during which their character and others can do something to prepare for their current heist. Completing jobs will net players experience, money and gear that they ’ ll be able to use to improve their characters and equip them for their adjacent bad burglarize. The more jobs players successfully pull off, the greater the reputation and the more shape will come their way. however, this is a double-edged sword, as they ’ ll besides gain enough of notoriety as well. If you ’ ve ever dreamed of being Han Solo or Captain Reynolds, Scum and Villainy is the act game for you .
Buy Scum and Villainy on the Evil Hat Productions on-line storehouse.
6. Cyberpunk Red
This newest edition of the classic dark futuristic RPG brings it into the modern age
Night City is an equally bright and sinister place promising opportunity.
You ’ ve probable hear about the Cyberpunk series via the release of the video game Cyberpunk 2077. The multi-million dollar video game is set in the global of a roleplaying franchise that began with the launch of the first edition of Cyberpunk back in 1988. The root behind the series can be found within the appoint itself, with Cyberpunk Red – death year ’ second fourth and latest edition – depicting a bum and dangerous futuristic global where affluent corporations hold all the cards, cybernetic implants are freely available and gangs roam the wastes outside Night City. Whilst there ’ s batch of glazed things to be found in the world of Cyberpunk Red, a lot of it serves to hide the grimier and sinister elements of a terribly crooked arrangement .
Players are able to create characters based on some of the plot ’ s key archetypes – such as the accomplished hackers, netrunners, or fame rockerboys – and advance them through the ranks of Night City by taking lucrative jobs from leery sources or differently grab success and might for themselves. Though the game can be unnecessarily bloated in some areas, such as the sheer come of skills or the inert combat, Cyberpunk Red still shows how far the series has come since its initial creation – with the Jumpstart Kit providing newer players with a good rise off point to get into the game. Once you are into it, the earth of Cyberpunk Red is a sprawling one filled with social comment, engaging stories and a adept mix of the weird and the cool .
Buy Cyberpunk Red on Zatu and the R Talsorian on-line store .
7. Blue Planet: Recontact
A roleplaying game with a bold premise that does something a little different with sci-fi
Dive into the ocean-depths to discover strange alien creatures.
It ’ s the far future. land has been ravaged by a severe event. While some of humanness live on a colony on a distant planet called Poseidon 2199, there are those who remain on what ’ sulfur forget of Earth, urgently hoping for their eventual rescue. blue Planet is an strange tabletop roleplaying game that tackles some pretty crucial themes of environmentalism and modern sociopolitics, which are possibly more relevant topics nowadays more than always. Though the first gear edition of Blue Planet was published in 1997, a newer edition called Recontact was released to modernise the act title .
As a world apparently entirely made of water, Poseidon is an equally weird and scheme adjust for an RPG – with Recontact exploring elements of both antic skill fabrication and the benighted side of homo progress. Although there ’ s batch for lovers of inquisitive engineering to enjoy, Recontact besides has a surprising amount of subject focused around marine life sentence and biota. As players will be diving into their fair partake of oceans and swimming through stranger tropical reefs, they ’ ll need to be aware of the wonders and dangers that await them. It ’ s refresh to see an RPG embrace the more ecological side of skill fabrication, whilst still ensuring that players will be able to indulge in fanciful aspects of world-building. oceanic enthusiasts and environmentalists owe it to themselves to experience Blue Planet : Recontact .
Buy the Blue Planet : Recontact Quickstart Kit on DrivethruRPG .
8. Star Trek Adventures
Travel to the Final Frontier in the name of Starfleet in this licensed roleplaying game
Starship combat features heavily within Star Trek Adventures.
Created by Modiphius, a season publisher of accredited roleplaying games, Star Trek Adventures seeks to bring everything that fans of the master television serial, arsenic well as its many sequels, spin-offs, films and such, expect to see in an RPG adaptation. Players become members of Starfleet, the arrangement dedicated to protecting the many species that occupy the galaxy, who form their very own crew and travel across the United Federation of Planets and beyond. The core book for Star Trek Adventures focuses on the emergence of a newfangled threat in the Gamma Quadrant, providing players with a breadcrumb trail towards the Dominion and the risk they pose .
If all this lore sounds a little intimidate, there ’ s no motivation to worry – the Star Trek Adventures core bible comes with guidelines for newer players deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as veterans. The most crucial thing about Star Trek Adventures is that it provides a gateway for fans to explore the worldly concern of the franchise, including the Federation, adenine well as Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants. Be prepared to face off against some authoritative villains such as the Cadassians, Borg, Romulans and, of course, the Klingons. Or tied, in the case of the recently released Klingon congress of racial equality rulebook, play as one yourself. Trekkies will be able to indulge in their passion for the franchise with this authentically good RPG adaptation .
Buy Star Trek Adventures on Zatu and Amazon US .
9. Lasers & Feelings
A simple RPG about travelling through space using either your head or your heart
Players will have their own spaceship to command on their journeys in Lasers & Feelings.
The tension between emotions and rationalism is something that ’ randomness often explored in skill fabrication – for case, creating something that ’ s technologically impressive, but incompatible with empathy. Lasers & Feelings is a roleplaying game that seeks to tackle this concept in a more lineal sense, with player characters literally using either lasers – differently known as rational skills – or feelings to overcome the potential problems they encounter. Another crippled from John Harper, Lasers & Feelings sees players becoming crewmembers of a starship called Raptor, with the aim of ensuring the safety of the Consortium worlds .
Players create characters based on respective likely archetypes – such as the alien or hot-shot – and select a function for them to play on the ship itself. They then select a total between two and five as their set target number. Whenever players want to perform an action, the GM determines whether they think it concerns lasers or feelings – with the player needing to roll over their target number for feelings and under for lasers. This means that players who are more empathic will be looking to use opinion or compassion to their advantage, whereas more scientifically-minded characters are well suited to smarts or cognition. Having such a childlike system makes Lasers & Feelings the perfect sci-fi themed RPG for fresh-faced roleplayers .
Buy Lasers & Feelings on John Harper ‘s Itch.io page.
Read more: 15 Games ’00s Kids Played From Computer Lab
10. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium
Frank Herbert’s series of science-fiction novels are brought to life in this RPG adaptation
Be prepared to get mixed up in politics and intrigue on the planet Arrakis.
The Dune series has always been on the heavier side of sci-fi, exploring the topics of religion and politics with ardor, so it ’ randomness unsurprising that its tabletop act adaptation contains around 70 pages dedicated to lore alone. however, if you ’ rhenium intrigued by the world of Dune – or you ’ re a tried-and-tested fan – you ’ ll likely relish the intensely detailed nature of Modiphius ’ Dune : Adventures in the Imperium. There ’ randomness surely a draw to take in with the Dune RPG, from espionage missions to all-out war, but it ’ mho all identical genuine to the liveliness of the franchise .
Based on the 2d20 system that besides powers Star Trek Adventures, players roll two d20s and attack to get under a target number with each die. Players will be able to use their characters ’ abilities and skills to improve their chances of success but, more importantly, besides need to consider factors beyond merely the numbers of their sheet – such as their position in society and what assets they have entree to. This might sound like a fortune – and it is – but it helps to immerse players in a deep and engage world that rewards apt act and punishes haste. It helps that Dune : Adventures in the Imperium provides GMs with guidance on how to tackle some of the outdated and debatable elements of the franchise – making it a bunch more accessible. Devoted fans of skill fiction will have plenty to bite off with Dune : Adventures in the imperium.
Buy Dune : Adventures in the Imperium on Zatu and the Modiphius on-line store .