Spotlight May the 4th 2021 | Storytelling Games
May the Fourth be with you!
Every May Fourth, we celebrate Star Wars and the other science fiction stories that have touched our hearts! Throughout the month of May, we ruminate on the Future and all it holds for us. For May Fourth thus year, we want to celebrate our Top 5 science fiction roleplaying games that aren’t Star Wars!
(Rebel forces never fear! For a rundown on our favorite Star Wars board games and roleplaying games, check out our blog post from 2019!)
The science fiction game inspired by Pathfinder, Starfinder imagines a magical world that has taken to the stars and infused their technology with magic. The Starfinder system focuses on incredibly customized characters, and tends to have "crunchier" rules (interactive rules that can be manipulated by the players, typically more involved than rules-light games).
Starfinder improves custom character creation with the inclusion of character themes, a focus for your character that influences their abilities, background, and overall trajectory. These themes can be anything from Ace Pilot, Corporate Agent, Dragonblood, Space Pirate, and more! The world of Starfinder is large and versatile, with plenty of details for a new Game Master, while remaining wide enough to take in any direction or build your own lore within its bounds.
Lastly, Starfinder includes exciting space combat! Build your starship, take command over your part of the ship, and blast your enemies out of space.
Numenera Discovery & Destiny
Numenera explores where the past and future meet, and the new present these influences create. It is the Ninth World, the eight preceding worlds lost to time and history. Your characters live with the shadow of these former worlds, and the promise of their own destinies before them.
Discovery and Destiny are new printings of the Numenera world, with everything you need to play included! Discovery reintroduces the Cypher System rules Numenera uses, as well as character creation and everything a Game Master needs to run their games, including three new adventures and a wealth of advice. Destiny adds new character types that focus on innovations and introduces rules for salvaging and crafting in a world where the past has an active influence over the future.
Numenera might be for you if you are looking for a mix of the archaic and the inventive, the old and the new, with a dose of mystery within every scientific advancement.
Become the internet with this indie game!
Created as a setting for another indie game, Mainframe can be easily adapted into a standalone sci-fi setting or integrated into existing games! You play as body-less consciousnesses within the mainframe, tasked with tracking down corporate Artificial Intelligence programs trying to take over cyberspace.
A completely unique take on the scifi mercenary trope, Mainframe offers a strange look into cyberspace, challenging your notions of good, science, and reality.
"I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off."
Alien changed the scope of science fiction cinema, masterfully blending elements of horror into humanity's future. The Alien RPG recreates the sensations of an Alien film - the hostility and darkness of the unknown void of space - and creates a system of rules to create your own unique characters and plotlines.
Cinematic play offers single session gameplay that captures the cat-and-mouse action and terror audiences have come to expect from the Alien franchise. Campaign gameplay allows players to bring their characters through longer arcs, exploring the world of Alien wherever their whims (or needs of survival) take them.
Alien RPG uses the Year Zero Engine, an adaptable, player-centric story-driven rules system where players roll six sided dice to determine successes and failures. In the Alien RPG, every roll could be your last.
The updated edition of the 1984 award winning roleplaying game offers more reasons to horrify and humor a new generation of gamers. A darkly comic take on a dystopian future, Paranoia places you in a city controlled by The Computer, an artificially intelligent construct determined to convince your character that it has your best interests at heart.
Each session is a new mission dictated by the computer, often something difficult to do and even harder to understand. Players must balance the unhelpful nature of their faulty equipment, the inherent danger of their missions, and the secrets they are keeping from each other. Paranoia has a competitive twist other roleplaying games often lack, as each character has their own hidden objectives that often succeed at the expense of their team.
Paranoia offers a grim view of the future but insists on finding the humor in even the most dire circumstances. Everything you need to play is contained in this compact box, and is a perfect starting point for new players or fans of the original game.
Written by Johnni Medina