Super-Crunchy Sci-Fi / Modern games...?


Other RPGs

Scarab Sages

Does anybody know of games in the Space Opera or Modern genres that have as much crunchy optimization goodness as games like 3.5/PF and Shadowrun have for their respective genres? As much as I love FATE, sometimes heavily Narrativist games leave me wanting something a bit more objective (in the five-foot squares and precalculated DCs for everything way), and a bit more game-like. I've looked at d20 Modern/Future as an option, though the complete lack of sneak attack and the part where they are out of print lose some points with me. Any suggestions?

Tangentially, anybody know if Infinite Futures is any good? Does it cover Mecha? Modern Day?


GURPS seems like an obvious choice. It's got a lot of crunch, especially if you start adding supplementary material; more, probably, than PF. Spycraft is pretty crunchy too. Most of the modern day RPGs I'm familiar with tend to put the crunch into equipment rather than character creation, but there's a lot like that.


I would suggest taking a look at the old "Alternity" rpg system, it is a crunchy system for sure. Admittedly it is no longer in print so that is a downside, but it isn't to hard to find.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Give Eclipse Phase a look. It has a unique background, so it is not a standard generic sci-fi setting.

Liberty's Edge

For Space Opera there is Star Wars d20 (Revised Core Rules or Saga), though both are out of print now.

For modern day you could potentially look into Mutants & Masterminds, its d20 based though simplified a bit (e.g. no Attacks of Opportunity) but has the rest of the d20 crunch - abilities, skills, feats etc. I am only familiar with the 2nd ed but 3e is out now.


+1 for Eclipse Phase.

Several of the designers that worked on Shadowrun designed this game. It is a percentile based system but it has much of the complexity of Shadowrun. The cool thing about this game is that your character's persona is digitized and can be downloaded into different morphs (bodies), so when you build your character you start with multiple physical forms, and you can switch between them, picking the one that best fits the mission you are undertaking. It also means that the gm can be pretty ruthless about wasting morphs because even if your body is destroyed your mind is on file elsewhere and can be brought back into play in a new morph.

You might also check out the Warhammer 40k rpgs (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch).

R_Kane wrote:
Give Eclipse Phase a look. It has a unique background, so it is not a standard generic sci-fi setting.


You mentioned Shadowrun. If you like that system there is no reason why you couldn't run a modern game or near future game without all the fantasy aspects, using the Shadowrun rules. I would recommend the 4E rules over the previous editions.


I dunno about any modern-day games like that, but if you want crunchy, super-optimized ass-kicking goodness in a sci-fi RPG, check out Deathwatch. It is a game in the Warhammer 40k universe centered around playing space marines, and it is totally awesome!

Grand Lodge

Zouron wrote:
I would suggest taking a look at the old "Alternity" rpg system, it is a crunchy system for sure. Admittedly it is no longer in print so that is a downside, but it isn't to hard to find.

I too give a vote for Alternity being a great "crunchy" sytem...

It is generic enough that you can use it for modern, space opera, post apocalyptic, or whatever. You could also track down any of the settings that were published for the game (such as Star*Drive, Dark*Matter, and Gamma World)...

Like Zouron above said, it has been OOP for over a decade, but it is easy enough to find on places like eBay...


Eclipse Phase.


Check out Chronicles of the Void. Defiantly space opera and Mech styled with some crunchy, range oriented, combat and killer art.

Chronicles of the Void

Scarab Sages

Digitalelf wrote:
Zouron wrote:
I would suggest taking a look at the old "Alternity" rpg system, it is a crunchy system for sure. Admittedly it is no longer in print so that is a downside, but it isn't to hard to find.

I too give a vote for Alternity being a great "crunchy" sytem...

It is generic enough that you can use it for modern, space opera, post apocalyptic, or whatever. You could also track down any of the settings that were published for the game (such as Star*Drive, Dark*Matter, and Gamma World)...

Like Zouron above said, it has been OOP for over a decade, but it is easy enough to find on places like eBay...

Actually, I bought the Alternity PHB and GMG back when it was in print. I just haven't looked at the game since.

Maybe I'll dig them out sometime. I saw them when I was moving, they might be in the car...

Hopefully I can easily ebay/amazon Dataware, the psionic book, and the magic book if I like what I read...

Did Alternity ever get Mecha rules? Either Battletech or Anime style? Or both...? (Hoping...)

EDIT: CotV looks promising. Maybe I can finally run my campaign based off of the Xenosaga games...

Liberty's Edge

From my collection:
GURPS gives you a very crunchy experience that's perfect for a very gritty campaign - though you can have a RIFTS style damage race with the Ultra Tech sourcebook (which has rules for such things as antimatter weaponry - which deals several million points of damage. In a system where the average person has ten and will be killed after taking 60 points of damage).

Mutants and Masterminds can give you a pretty good Scifi setting, and balances a decent level of crunch (not what I'd consider crunchy, really, but about on par with D&D).

Spycraft 1.0 and 2.0 are both solid modern superspy systems, and 2.0 has a lot of rules and add-ons that can help customize your gaming experience, and are both a touch crunchier than D&D 3e.

You could also look at d6 Adventures and d6 Space, both of which are based on the famed Star Wars d6 system. I haven't run either myself, but the books look like they'd be fun to run.

You may also look at the Heroes system, though that's far crunchier than most people like.

Same goes for Palladium's modern/scifi settings (RIFTS, Robotech, Heroes Unlimited, etc) - interesting system, lots of crunch to look through, but goes too far in my opinion.

Hm... That's just off the top of my head. Hope that helps.
Magius out.


Magius Alpha wrote:
In a system where the average person has ten and will be killed after taking 60 points of damage).

And their body completely annihilated after 600, as I recall. That'd work quite well for something like Star Trek too ;).

Grand Lodge

Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Did Alternity ever get Mecha rules? Either Battletech or Anime style? Or both...? (Hoping...)

Not that I've seen. But I don't have two of the three published campaign settings (Gamma World and StarCarft)...

There are some fan-based rules available on "Alternityrpg.net" that have mech rules. But they are flavored towards Gundam mechs and not BattleTech...


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Tangentially, anybody know if Infinite Futures is any good? Does it cover Mecha? Modern Day?

In reverse order:

No, no modern-day coverage.

Yes, Infinite Mecha was released in May, iirc.

IF as a whole suffers from having been rushed into print. It could be VERY good, but it needs some work at the editorial level. Hopefully, that will be addressed in the near future. I know *I* am compiling a huge list of fan-caught errata to send them.

Scarab Sages

Digitalelf wrote:
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Did Alternity ever get Mecha rules? Either Battletech or Anime style? Or both...? (Hoping...)

Not that I've seen. But I don't have two of the three published campaign settings (Gamma World and StarCarft)...

There are some fan-based rules available on "Alternityrpg.net" that have mech rules. But they are flavored towards Gundam mechs and not BattleTech...

The best shot would probably be "Mechatech", a short ruleset for alternity (found on the aforementioned site) for mechs, IMO fit for Battletech Style as well as Gundam style mechs.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Traveller is still my favorite. Although Eclipse Phase is very awesome too. And released Creative Commons so go legally download it to check it out.


Cthulhutech?

Scarab Sages

To me Traveller lacks "character powers" crunch, though I guess the vast selection of ships and gear could make up for that.

Right now though, I'm giving Trinity, Eclipse Phase, and Rogue Trader a closer look.

Scarab Sages

Anyone mention Eclipse Phase yet? Yeah? Well it's still ++good.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Trent wrote:
Anyone mention Eclipse Phase yet? Yeah? Well it's still ++good.

Eclipse Phase and Trinity both look good for what I have in mind. They seem to have strong settings and a lot of crunchy bits and powers for players to spend many an hour choosing from.

I'm seriously giving Spycraft some consideration next time I run a modern game that doesn't involve the supernatural (if I need supernatural elements in my modern world, the Worlds of Darkness or Call of Cthulhu do just fine). I've also successfully adapted the Adventure! system to a modern day setting.

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