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33

What, Are You a Terrorist? Think of all the things the TSA won't let you bring on planes. Now imagine a higher-tech world where dangerous things are even easier to make out of seemingly-innocuous items. Why can you have a medkit with A but not B? Because someone figured out how to use B to weaponize ebola, or cause apparently natural heart attacks from 50 ...


25

Talk to your players, and you don't need to trick your players into playing a game they don't like. My advice is to actually sit down and talk to your players about running a sci-fi style game and for your entire group to actually sit down and pick out a game that suits everyone's needs. "My problem is my players" is the wrong atitude to have in this ...


16

Finally, I had also thought about some kind of virus which would make robots turn against humans, in a society were security bots are the norm. I find that the best plots are engendered by taking elements of current events, exaggerating the causal themes, and inserting a unique twist, then time adjusting it and inserting it into your baseline campaign ...


16

Traveller. Traveller is an old game that's had a lot of editions, and several of them do what you want. It's... Well, it's basically Firefly. No, seriously: It's a game where the players are the crew of a small independent starship that hauls cargo and passengers between star systems to stay out of the red. I've described its features below, with the points ...


13

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 ...


13

Given the fallout setting, where there's no 'psionics' or magic as such (at least as far as anything appearing the games so far). Broadly speaking you've got a few options: Introduce psionics or magic into the game (this isn't part of the fallout canon). Go with mutation (this does appear in the canon setting). Tell the player no I think that the first ...


13

Luckily, this system you search for is not only existent, but also has a free pdf available! (Although the extra content in the book is definitely worth getting) Stars Without Number is a futuristic sci-fi system and setting. Essentially, humanity reached the stars and spread out across the galaxy using 'spike drives' to travel between solar systems faster ...


12

Other ideas include: Size Yes, the technology exists. It's the size of a room. If you can find a lab that has one, you may be able to rent it by the hour. You must provide 100 points of ID to do so (limiting criminal or anonymous activity.) Limited Ammunition D&D often provide magical weapons in the form of wands with limited charges, such as a ...


12

I figured I'd try to answer the part of the question that most of the other answers haven't really touched on yet, namely "How do I decide whether a particular piece of tech would be too disruptive?" One way to approach this question is to ask yourself, "How could the players achieve the same effect using things that are listed in the books?" If all the ...


12

I recommend Heavy Gear first (or its later generalized version, the Silhouette Core RPG Rules) from Dream Pod 9. It is a nice and smooth system, good for both role-playing and small-scale skirmish. It is not class-based though, but has many character templates, with many support and non-combat roles. A close second is Cyberpunk 2020, with the Maximum Metal ...


11

Traveller Without a doubt, Traveller has to be my first recommend for this subgenre... Why? Battle Dress is stolen liberally from Starship Troopers. The character generation model for CT, MT, T4, MGT, and T5 all show a serious limit upon player control over skills received, but at the same time, involve serious player choices. All the mentioned editions ...


11

Well, it depends what you want out of an actual game system that would make it "hard SF." Except for systems that have bunches of magic integral to them, I assume what you want is a "simulationist" system, one that behaves realistically, and has some explicit rules support for realistic near-future tech. The most prominent fit for this is probably GURPS. ...


11

You are missing one of the best. Conspiracy X. It's pretty much built for XCOM style play. Edit: Not a pathfinder style clone. This is Unisystem, by Eden Studios. Second Edit with Clarification: In Conspiracy X, you play members of Aegis, a secret organization dedicated to protecting human kind. There are three alien races (Greys, Saurians, and ...


10

There hasn't been a formally released Culture game, no. However: Joshua Newman's Shock: Human Contact is designed as a Culture-like game. Diaspora is a hard-science fiction game, based on FATE. Most interesting and speculative of all, Luke Crane, who wrote Burning Wheel, has announced he's acquired a licence. From the way he's announced it, it could be the ...


10

This is the only one I know of that is completely free: Stars without Number This was is part of the D6 universal system. However I am adding this because the progenitor system was Star Wars The Roleplaying Game. Of all the D6 games this is the closest to the original sci-fi RPG: D6 Space


9

I would highly recommend giving Eclipse Phase a try, it's a very enjoyable system and setting in my experience. Let's go through some bullet points that might draw in you and your Pathfinder players in to get excited to play it. The setting is definitely hard-sci; the "star-trek" style tech in it is pretty minimal and I couldn't really find anything in ...


9

I normally avoid recommending generic, "universal" systems for questions like this. It's too easy to think of one's own favourite generic system and think that it can do whatever is being asked about. I hesitate, but not all generic systems are made equal – each has different fiddly bits that it brings to the experience of play, and in this case, Savage ...


8

There's lots of good answers here. I particularly like the first one of using stories from the news as inspiration. Here's some ideas that are still relevant, but perhaps were more obviously cutting edge 8 years ago: widespread use of drones, widespread use of mercenaries by both governments and corporations, and the use of child soldiers. For something more ...


8

Oblivious Sage's answer is fantastic, but except for his very last bullet they are all reasons to deny a request for equipment, they don't do much to help if you already handed the players a piece of equipment and implied it was reasonably easy to get in the world. So let me add some thoughts on how to handle it if the players already have it. The direct ...


8

GURPS You are describing GURPS. Gear All the gear you want (and much, much more) is available in either the basic set or various supplements like High Tech, Ultra Tech, or Biotech. Rules GURPS can provide a highly tactical combat system. You can play on a hex grid or without a map, whatever you prefer. But many combat options and situations are covered ...


7

Many of the Classic Traveller adventure materials could be easily adapted. easily adaptable: Adv 8 Prison Planet Adv 9 Nomads of the World Ocean Adv 11 Murder on Arcturus Station Most of Sup 6 76 patrons CT D02 Double 02a Across The Bright Face/Mission On Mithril - both halves! CT D04 Double 04a Marooned/Marooned Alone Some "rather iffy - bends the 'verse" ...


7

Cyberpunk is about a fast world overwhelming and crushing people. Pick a technological or social advance that occurs too fast and destroys the lives of a lot of people while catapulting a few others beyond humanity. Ideas: A new affordable and safe source of energy (practical fusion power at last, maybe) threatens to upset the balance of power(=oligopoly) ...


7

Pathfinder + Mass Effect Give a try to the unofficial Pathfinder Mass Effect conversion, created by Wesley Schneider... Wesley Schneider the Paizo Editor-in-chief, co-creator of the Pathfinder campaign setting, and co-designer of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game released his home brew Pathfinder Mass Effect Adventure: Project Lobotomy. Everything ...


7

Decribe the situation accordingly, using proper terms. Instead of saying "you are there" say "you are floating there". This should be a pretty strong reminder. Plus, force them to use the near-0 gravity, for instance placing objects in locations they couldn't reach with Earth-like gravity. However I'm puzzled: which problem exactly did you encounter ...


6

Seriously?... Film Noire: Pick any of them, move the story into a cyber punk setting. Any 20/30 police thrillers will do nicely as well. It's gritty, dark, and contains corruption going sky high. Instead of prohibition, use forbidden technologies -- maybe nanotech would fit nicely making all that cyberware obsolete. Instead of corrupt politicians, use ...


6

Savage Worlds First, I would check out Darwin's World. It is a setting in itself, but also provides a comprehensive toolkit for post-apocalypse (or post-collapse if you prefer) gaming. It includes: Varying technology levels and penalties for using items of a higher level than you are used to Different languages in the waste lands Rules for creating ...


6

Declaring Desires: You mentioned your desired solution should be not too long, not too boring, using mostly roleplay or non-combat related interaction, and without too much dice-rolling. Barter Method This suggestion is that you go the route of many famous computer games that are usually referred to as Quest, Adventure, or Point-and-Click. This method ...


6

Put a tented index card labeled No Gravity in the middle of the table.


5

I am generally pretty impressed with NBOS products. You might check out their AstroSynthesis program. It does all sorts of 2 and 3 D star maps and system animations. If that's too much, you might be able to get a stellar graphic set for their 2d fractal mapper program.


5

The non-cliche would be to build up stories about a neighborhood or sub-culture that the player characters can care about. When you get down to it there aren't that many things to do: get some(thing/one), protect some(thing/one), discover some(thing/one), escape some(thing/one), or affect somechange. Rather than looking for some new fresh idea, build on ...



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