By Jason Campbell – And You!

In our cooperative campaign creation series, we will create a campaign setting together step by step. I’ll propose some options and ideas, and you propose your own ideas in the comments! In this series we’re working on a homebrew sci-fi campaign.

In this edition we begin preparing for an upcoming long term Sci-Fi TTRPG campaign. We’ll do this step by step, so we can get input from our readers! Feel free to comment below! The universe and scenario will be entirely home brewed so we won’t be relying on any existing story universe’s lore. The game might be played either online (via discord, Zoom, Roll20 or similar) or in person at a table, so we won’t consider VTT support as an essential element. Let’s also presume that we don’t have an established group of players, so their preferences won’t factor into the choices we make.  

The first question is, what game system should we use? I’ll note my personal feelings along with the potential choices:

  1. Starfinder – This seems like an obvious choice for the genre. I think it has the advantage that it has the largest player base, so it might make it easier to find players. The personal disadvantage here is that I haven’t run Starfinder (or Pathfinder, or D&D 3.5) and given the system there are a lot of rules to read and learn.
  2. Cypher System/Stars Are Fire – Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System is so flexible it fits into any genre, and the Stars Are Fire sourcebook adds things like ship to ship combat rules. The flexibility is a big plus, and this system has the advantage for me in that I’m very familiar with the system as I run it all the time. The potential disadvantage is that it might keep some players away if they are unfamiliar with the system.
  3. Traveler – This system seems to cater more to stories about the business and governments of the galaxy. Honestly I’m already thinking there might be a bit of fantasy and mystical elements in this story, I’m not sure this is a great fit. I’ve only played the original version, and I’m not sure it would attract a lot of players.
  4. Esper Genesys – I’ve never run this system but it has the distinct advantage that it’s based on D&D 5e mechanics so it should be easier for new players. I’ve never run it but I think it would fit in well.
  5. SW5E – (Star Wars 5e) Like Esper Genesys, this system is based on D&D 5e mechanics. It has the additional advantage (for the players, not the designers) that it is built into a website that is free to use, so the players wouldn’t have to purchase any rule books. I think a potential downside is that I wouldn’t be using the Star Wars lore, so some players might be disappointed to find that they can’t be jedi.

So what do you think? Which one of these systems would work best for our game? Did we miss one that might work even better? Let us know in the comments below!

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