Post-apocalyptic sci-fi - need rules suggestions

edited May 2013 in General Discussion
I'm looking for a rule set that will fit this setting, and was hoping that someone here could come up with some good recommendations.

Read the following to get a feel for it.

(Working title for the setting is Waste Space.)

The game is set in the far future, where the human race has taken refuge in large, derelict space stations around the galaxy. Earth is but a distant memory; humankind lives on the scraps and crumbs left behind by a once great civilization that has crumbled to dust centuries ago. People make do with the debris and spare parts they can find; remnants of when humankind lived in a technological paradise. Our Golden Age is over; all that's left is bits and pieces.

The stations would be isolated from each other if it wasn't for one communications protocol that is still functional, simply called the Network. It is not perfect; as with everything else in the Waste Space, technology is a luxury. But when it works, it enables the stations to keep in contact and work together to better the lives of their inhabitants.

The players are a rescue/investigative team sent out to investigate why certain space stations no longer are in contact with the main Network. But the team isn't your typical tight-assed space marine crew; teams are often made up of people who have nothing else in their lives, people who really need the cash or really need to get away from something. Usually, they're an undisciplined rag tag group of people that are forced together to keep stations up and running.

The reason for Network dropouts are many; sometimes, the problem is simply technical, but most of the time, there's something dangerous or weird going on, and more often than not, it is not a pretty situation.

Living in space stations has a peculiar effect on people. They tend to get weird and unpredictable. Sometimes, the inhabitants of a station decide to cut the connection to the Network because of social issues; maybe they have started a fanatic cult. Maybe some power-hungry maniac has taken control of the station somehow. Maybe the technicians who took care of Network maintenance have all been killed off under mysterious circumstances.

A lot can go wrong on a space station, which means that the rescue team needs to have a wide range of skills. Sometimes, what's needed is smarts and knowledge, sometimes the situation calls for social intervention . And sometimes, inhabitants need to be taken out of the equation the hard way.
When the team enters a space station that hasn't been in contact for a while, they'd better be ready for anything.

Getting to know the Waste Space universe

There are thousands of stations in all shapes and sizes, all of them leftovers from a time when the human race was still on the rise. On most stations nowadays, even basics like food and water can become scarce. Other stations still have completely functional computer systems and working eco-systems; those stations are few, and they are called Edens.

The first session of the game should be used for character creation and the creation of the characters' own space station. This should be a group exercise. It will help you get an idea of what the players are looking for in the game. Make the players' space station as big as it needs to be in order to handle all the diferent characters the players come up with. Then have them fill out the blanks; how the disparate elements are tied together and why.

The main villains of Waste Space are the evil Drazee, a race that feeds on human flesh and blood. When they attack a space station, they jam the communications relays. Sometimes the residents are in the middle of a battle of life and death with the Drazee; other times, it's a clean-up gig. If a space station has managed to contain the Drazee, there will be major damage to the station, security issues and personnel problems. If the Drazee have taken over the station, they'll stay there and make the station their nest. Then the gig is all about getting rid of them. Bug-hunt, as rescue teams call them.

Every game session introduces a new space station with new challenges, twists and goals for the players. The story takes place in the corridors, tubes and rooms of different space stations, but they are never the same, neither layout-wise nor challenge-wise. The game is not an action-oriented space combat game; that being said, it is always a good idea to cover all possible scenarios. Be prepared.

That's it. I am open to all ideas; one of the Fate sci-fi games could be neat, but also stuff like Apocalypse World and even a hack of Dogs in the Vineyard could work. I am a rules-light GM, but nothing's been set in stone regarding rule sets.

if you have a good idea for which rules would fit this setting best, please leave a comment.


  • Keryth987
    Posts: 1,047
    Well, the Dresden Files RPG has made me a HUGE fan of the FATE System, and I've pretty much begun converting all ym other campaign ideas to FATE games. It's simple, fairly straightforward, and incredibly flexible.

    Keelah Se'lai,
    "Shadows Over New York":

  • saethone
    Posts: 153
    FATE is a good system, and I believe the Fate core 3 is going to come out pretty soon. You could also try GURPS - its a building blocks system which makes it possible to create literally anything you want, but its pretty rules intensive. Fate is more focused on integrating the story with the rules.
  • Baalshamon
    Posts: 585
    I would recommend EABA as they have a setting that would fit your needs already designed. EABAv2 just got released and they have a free download of the quickstart rules. The game is very simple to play but has a learning curve for picking it up.

    "Check this out for a good review with links":
  • NinjaFlashX
    Posts: 94
    I'm with Keryth and Saethone, we recently began gearing up for a Mass Effect game. In my research for a good system to use, the FATE system seems very flexible. While maybe not totally rules-light, I'd say it's still lighter than most. It is definitely narrative driven IMO, with just enough crunch to satisfy those types of players.

    While we aren't going to use the Dresden RPG for our Mass Effect game, we do plan on using the Strands of FATE system. We talked about using the Nova Praxis as well, but after reading through it, just didn't quite fit for our Mass Effect game. However, it might work for you Eskea.

    "Heroes Unchained": - _Where Slaves Become Legends_

    Heroes Unchained: CotM 2013

  • Eskea
    Posts: 4
    Thanks everybody, for now, we're going with Fate (the Bulldogs version).

    If anyone's interested in participating, we still have an open seat or two.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740 edited May 2013
    Are you looking for local or online players? And if local, where?

    (You might have had that up there, but I just skimmed it. It's tl;dr while I'm working :P)
    Post edited by gaaran on
  • Eskea
    Posts: 4
    Hey garaan,

    thanks, it's going to be a voice chat game. You're welcome to join.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    What time zone will most of you be based in? And do you have a possible time for when you'd be playing? I'm on the West coast and I'm not usually home until late (long commute) so I don't know how well I'd be able to make things.
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