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The game system would need to (at least) handle the following well:

  • detailed rules for space combat (especially movement in space and damage to ships)
  • highly customizable ships (preferably offering tech similar to the online game out of the box)
  • environmental effects (areas blocking FTL travel, damaging nebulas, ...)
  • cloning and mental imaging (for the capsule technology)

The first thing I thought of was GURPS, but having been out of touch with GURPS for several years and not knowing the details of the latest edition I wanted to ask what supplements or other systems can do something like what I need.


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/sigh. White Wolf was supposed to be working on an EVE tabletop as part of their merge with CCP, but I haven't heard a peep about it. :( – Brian S Mar 28 '14 at 3:24
up vote 13 down vote accepted

There are not any I've heard of that support all the items you're looking for off-the-shelf.

I haven't played EVE, but friends have, and I seem to recall it being limited jump points.

If, however, you drop the space hazard effects, there are several.

GURPS is capable of it... but you'll be looking for multiple books. And GURPS 4E is only a slight bit different from 3E. Vorkosigan Saga RPG (Powered by GURPS 4E - 4E Lite integral) has a good baseline for what you're looking for in terms of rules, but you'll need to augment it with some other supplements. For good trade rules, you'll need GURPS Traveller Far Trader. (If you can wrap your brain around the math, and can accept the lack of effect of the comm lag... but given the different setting, it may be less an issue.)

Traveller in it's latest incarnation (Mongoose Traveller) has most of what you'll need in the core, but you'll need the Psionics book (for the mental imaging and transfer rules), and the High Guard book (for the expansions to ship design - you may want to keep tonnages down, tho', as the Bk2). Further, the core trade rules are excellent.

If you don't mind a little bit more work, R Talsorian Games' Mekton Zeta has exquisite combat and design rules, albeit a bit vague in labeling. It also mentions brain-in-box. What it doesn't cover is the actual brain-taping and cloning, nor trade.

Hero System can do it, but it's a matter of knowing how to work it in Hero System terms. You'll need Star Hero (and if it's not the late 80's edition, the corresponding core rules; the late 80's edition was a standalone). Again, you'll need a trade system. Plus it's a

d6 Space can easily cover everything but the trade rules and brainreading, and the starships book expands the ships nicely. You may want to find WEG's Star Wars Galaxy Guide: Traders if going that route, tho'.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I guess I'm up for an extensive reading session about several of the systems you mentioned. – user660 Mar 16 '11 at 20:20
Most are available in PDF, at least. Big G4E change was swapping Hits and Fatigue. But that was a G3 option since GC2. – aramis Mar 18 '11 at 3:00

Go with GURPS, I'd pick 3rd edition over 4th simply for ease of use with all the supplements that have been released for it. 4th is really scaled down, and while it has some balance tweaks, such as making IQ and DX more expensive, it comes at the expense of some of the simulationism it offered prior, and doesn't make any hugely significant changes.

An alternate choice would be Big Eyes Small Mouth, I'm mainly familiar with the 2nd Edition, and both 2nd and 3rd are out of print, so you might as well look at 2nd due to more material. It includes starship creation rules that are quite detailed, but to the insane level of GURPS Vehicles, but BESM is a bit more of an effects based game like HERO, so there's a bit more grunt work, whereas GURPS has most everything done out for you, and just expects you to put it together.

Diaspora is also a potential choice, it handles space combat in a rather unique fashion, reducing all 3 axes of relative position as well as movement down to a single axis, which streamlines space combat while still representing things the way they would work, and the environment rules also cover what you're looking at for stuff like areas blocking FTL travel. It might not be on a crunch level as detailed as you'd like, but the nature of FATE with aspects is that it's actually more customisable than most systems out there.


There is a GURPS Transhuman Space set of supplements that would help out with the cloning/mental imaging and other such newfangled things. I'm not sure where/how good the core spaceship combat rules are but the ones in the GURPS:Traveller line are all right. Probably GURPS combining Traveller, Transhuman Space, and other stuff would be your best bet here.

Eclipse Phase is the new transhuman/"Ghost In The Shell" style RPG wunderkind; plus it's released free under Creative Commons and you can torrent it legally (and/or buy it in print). But it doesn't have much at all in the space combat realm.

Most of the other SF RPGs I've used don't do the transhuman stuff at all (Traveller, Silhouette, Alternity, Star Frontiers).

Traveller has skirted Transhumanism since 1993... never diving deeply into it, but definitely getting into some aspects. And the new version, by Mongoose, DOES cover various bits of transhumanism. In the Psionics book. A bit ironic, IMO, but hey... I didn't write it... oh, and someone wrote a GITS d20... – aramis Mar 6 '11 at 7:21

Gurps traveller with maybe the gurps space add on book may help, Gurps traveller is based on jumpdrives in the ship, but as you know with Eve you have to go to a jump gate and use that. so you can drop the fuel requirement, POS you would have to manage the stations and such. Gurps Space can add the ships and the tech the idea of gurps is a selection of general rules you can change to suit your own needs and requirements. But a good understanding of the game and the mechanics in the game.

I am an Eve Player and love it , it even took my addiction to Guild wars, WoW and Minecraft so now i am fending off enemies in Catch trying to make isk

You could add a bit more detail on how exactly those GURPS books would help, and add the EVE playing as a comment. Right now, it is the main content in your post. – Adriano Varoli Piazza Mar 11 '11 at 16:27

The Insight RPG System would be a suitable system for running an EVE campaign.

I've used the system for a sci-fi (Firefly'ish) campaign, and it worked really well. Using EVE online as an Addon to the system, you have what you need. The Abilities used in EVE has some similarities to the Insight system as well. But anyhow, you would need to make adjustments if you go for GURPS or Insight, but the Insight rules are simpler and more adaptable.

Please explain why it is, and your personal experience with the system. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 28 '14 at 10:51
I've used the system for a sci-fi (Firefly'ish) campaign, and it worked really good. Using EVE online as an Addon to the system, you have what you need. The Abilities used in EVE has some similarities to the Insight system as well. But anyhow, you would need to make adjustments if you go for GURPS of Insight, but the Insight rules are simpler and more adaptable. – WEarp Mar 28 '14 at 11:01
Please edit this into your answer. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Mar 28 '14 at 11:06