Science-Fiction Mental Melange

The strongest gaming urge I have had over the years is the one about running a science-fiction roleplaying game. Usually the urge strikes and I end up tail-spinning into a mental melange of ideas, unable to figure out quite what I want to play. This urge and the consequent mental melange is upon me now and, as ever, I don’t quite know what to do with it.

Science-fiction RPGs are largely defined in my experience by Traveller. It was my first roleplaying experience and I always seem to associate good times to the games I shared with with my friends and the Little Black Books.

That being said, I also have a deep and abiding love for Star Wars, Star Trek, and the now-classic but underappreciated TV show Space: Above and Beyond. And, yes, Firefly too.

These science-fiction properties get stirred up with the SF reading I used to do as a kid – Asimov and Heinlein having been early influences – and cause me to freeze up in the face of too many cool choices.

Maybe the reason for science-fiction playing second-fiddle to the fantasy genre in the roleplaying market is the sheer myriad of options presented. Whereas fantasy tends to be a grab-bag of staid tropes, SF is much wider and more varied. SF scope and style are rich with possibilities.

Perhaps the simplest answer is to go back to that Little Black Box from 1977 and just see where it takes me. But, truth me told, I dream of bringing my love for the open-ended GURPS game system to the vast array of possibilities that SF roleplaying might offer.

That’s where the explosion of mind-melting options grips me and holds me psionically paralysed. Where to begin? Where does the future lead? Am I doomed to this time-loop forever?

Game on!


  1. Very fun talking with you today. Good luck navigating this genre! As you know, my thoughts are start small, think of something fun and awesome for your players to do, and try to set up situations for each PC to shine. That time to really do something cool, often with an odd skill, is the payoff for Traveller players. Oh – and describe the beautiful and strange environments and beings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL, CT is the Way! (By the way, have you seen my Traveller weapon cards?)
    I agree, start off small, just one subsector. You could even grab one of the old Judges Guild books and use that, or the Gamelords Sky Raiders series. Something limited. Last year I dug out the King Richard and used that. And much as I hate to mention, you could always use GURPS Traveller since you like GURPS.

    Liked by 1 person

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